By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Melbourne Storm V Wests Tigers, 22.00NZT – AAMI Park
The Storm sent shockwaves out last weekend with an emphatic thrashing of the Eels.
They take on a Wests Tigers who have plenty of confidence.
I’d say after the rev up Melbourne got, it might set them up for the rest of the season.
The Tigers did their best last week when they just backed themselves from every set, and that’s the sort of awareness and characteristics you need to dismantle the Storm on their home turf.
An exciting game awaits!
TIP: Storm 13+
FRIDAY: Penrith Panthers V New Zealand Warriors, 20.00NZT – Panthers Stadium
Does an ambush await? The last time the Warriors travelled to Penrith they were upstaged by an Origin depleted side.
They’re as desperate as it comes. Last spot. Two wins. Five losses in a row.
The Warriors stemmed the blood loss with a win last week, and now search for consistency. Two wins in a row for the first time this year. It will be a big show if they can.
Penrith have some young players who have a lot to prove. The Warriors have to be wary.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
Brisbane Broncos V Sydney Roosters, 22.00NZT – Suncorp Stadium
The Broncos bucked the losing trend with a win against a shaky injury prone Manly side last week.
Sydney Roosters lose their captain through concussion – but everyone else makes the cut to back up.
This is the ultimate test for this young and indifferent Brisbane side.
The Broncos have to play the best they possibly can to win. The Roosters have so much x factor where the Broncos don’t.
Will be interesting to see what the Suncorp Stadium turf looks like after Magic Weekend.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
SATURDAY: Gold Coast Titans V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, 17.00NZT – Cbus Super Stadium
It’s hard to get excited about the bottom of the table clash, but I’ll try my best.
The Titans lack of depth versus the ever changing Bulldogs side!
Both sides have shown very little steel on their line defending, so it could be one of those games where you get in to the opposition’s 20 and score every time.
This game might end up 44-40, or 4-2. Who really knows. I just hope there’s some fans there to watch.
TIP: Titans 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Parramatta Eels, 19.30NZT – 1300 SMILES Stadium
It was embarrassing times for the Eels as they were absolutely punished last week.
They’ll be looking to find some sort of reality against the lowly ranked Cowboys side.
Parra have made some changes to their ranks, with the Cowboys remain the same personnel.
A trip to Townsville can always be tough, so the Eels have a lot to deal with.
I think the Cowboys will definitely give it their all, but the Eels have to bounce back – they’re too good.
TIP: Eels 1-12
Canberra Raiders V South Sydney Rabbitohs, 21.30NZT – GIO Stadium
I’ve really enjoyed these two teams this year – and this game has screamer written all over it.
The Raiders at home in front of their faithful have only lost one game this season.
The Rabbitohs away record is strong too, only dropping one.
Canberra’s defensive efforts in the first half have to be on point. The Rabbitohs threaten the line with their damaging forwards, so it’ll be tense.
Souths have to make this an 80 minute contest, otherwise the Raiders could sneak in.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
SUNDAY: St George Illawarra Dragons V Newcastle Knights, 22.00NZT – Glen Willow Oval
Three losses in a row, and two second half capitulations will not help the form guide for the Dragons as they go up against a Knights side who have been in the winners circle the last two weeks.
Newcastle know St George’s second halves have been poor, and the Knights will try make the most of that.
The Knights direct, up the guts, go forward has been great for them. This needs to continue.
The Red V need the win to get back on the tracks.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Cronulla Sharks V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, 18.05NZT – PointsBet Stadium
No changes for the Sharks side who came from behind to win last week against the Sea Eagles who ran out of steam and players against Brisbane.
Injuries galore for Manly, but they get Dylan Walker back which is a bonus.
Cronulla’s bench has been proving invaluable in the second half. If this game starts to become tight – look for the Sharks to use their bench efficiently and make the game their own.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
Follow Stephen Gallagher on Twitter