By Stephen Gallagher
FRIDAY: South Sydney Rabbitohs V Newcastle Knights, 20.00NZT – ANZ Stadium
Both sides have named their players to back up just two days after Origin 1.
This is the game of the round for me. The Rabbitohs sit on top of the table, but the Knights are surging up the ladder after five straight wins.
What’s exciting is the amount of attacking prowess on display. Two teams that will absolutely throw everything at each other. You know it’s going to be exciting to watch.
Here’s hoping we’re treated to a rugby league spectacle.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
Wests Tigers V Canberra Raiders, 22.00NZT – Bankwest Stadium
The Tigers will look to cement some form around this Origin period. The Raiders have a few players returning from injury which will boost their ranks.
What I’ve been impressed with about the Tigers this year is their ability to apply pressure in the red zone.
Canberra are a very good defensive side, and are tough to crack.
They’ll look to their forward to help them out – they’ve been most impressive throughout the first half of the year. Tigers will be a tough gig.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
SATURDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Melbourne Storm, 17.00NZT – Mount Smart Stadium
The Warriors host the Storm, whose Origin players will likely back up despite the trip over the Tasman.
This game will have a big focus on the backlines. The Warriors back three are up there in the best in the NRL, and will go against the raw speed and shape of the Storm.
Pressure is definitely mounting on the Auckland based side, who are in danger of having their season written off now with a loss.
The Storm have a good record against the Warriors of late, and that looks to continue.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Cronulla Sharks V Parramatta Eels, 19.30NZT – Pointsbet Stadium
The Sharkies are looking to keep their season on track with a win against the Eels.
Brad Arthur has stuck true to his Parramatta players who beat the Rabbitohs last week.
Cronulla’s strengths lie in the middle of the field – and that’s where most teams have had success against the Eels.
The Eels still have a couple of inconsistencies to iron out, mainly their simple errors in their own half.
Cronulla are good enough to capitalise on those, and take the game away from their opponents.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, 21.30NZT – 1300Smiles Stadium
The Sea Eagles have some good news with Tom Trbojevic returning from a long injury layoff, but will that be enough to get them out of their recent funk?
The North Queensladers haven’t produced anything amazing over their last couple of wins – but that won’t do against Manly.
Some big boppers running around in this game, which will provide some physicality out there.
It might come as an upset, but I think the Cowboys will get the job done. They’re five times better than the team they were at the beginning of the year.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
SUNDAY: Brisbane Broncos V Gold Coast Titans, 16.00NZT – Suncorp Stadium
Probably a good time for the Broncos to continue their form with a game against the Titans.
A lot of scrutiny has been put on the Gold Coast coach, and halves which always happens when you can’t get wins.
Brisbane should do this comfortably, but the Titans really have nothing to lose.
Lots of points on offer if Brisbane put it all on the pack in a nice little eighty minute package.
TIP: Broncos 13+
Penrith Panthers V Sydney Roosters, 18.05NZT – Panthers Stadium
Really hard to know which Penrith side will turn up against the Premiers. Nathan Cleary has been named in the reserves, but chances are will be elevated to start.
The Roosters have named all their Origin stars with this match taking place five days after.
Drew Hutchinson named alongside Cronk after Keary’s concussion, who hasn’t played in the NRL in two years.
The forwards for the Roosters should run over the Panthers and their inability to perform consistently.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
MONDAY: Canterbury Bulldogs V St George Illawarra Dragons, 18.00NZT – ANZ Stadium
A series of changes for the Dragons as they are desperate to turn around their fortunes.
They come up against a Bulldogs side who sit in last place, and share the same desire as the Red V to get back in to the winners circle.
The Bulldogs are best when they bash their opposition, while the Dragons rely heavily on smart fifth tackle options and a good kicking game.
If the Bulldogs can force the Dragons in to making more errors like they have recently, then they have a good chance to upset them.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
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