By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Cronulla Sharks V North Queensland Cowboys, 21.50 – PointsBet Stadium.
Desperate time for Cronulla after they’ve now conceded defeat in their last four outings.
For the Cowboys, they’re looking to leapfrog the Sharks and inflict even more pain on the club.
They are still without their skipper, but will still fight valiantly as they have over the last few weeks.
Can’t see the Sharks sliding any further down the ladder. They have to win this one, and win it convincingly.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
FRIDAY: Newcastle Knights V Wests Tigers, 20.00NZT – McDonald Jones Stadium
Two sides that started strong and have faded over the last month now have the chance to get their seasons back on track with a win.
The Knights sit in eighth place, and a win would keep them in there for the time being.
Wests looked tired last week, and have to find some rejuvenation otherwise they will miss the finals for a ninth consecutive year.
I’m going to back the Knights at home, they’re a better all-round side and I think they have enough in them to do it.
TIP: Knights 1-12
South Sydney Rabbitohs V St George Illawarra Dragons, 22.00NZT – Panthers Stadium
Desperate times call for desperate measures as the Dragons linger in 14th.
They’ve brought back injured half Gareth Widdop early in a bid to try push for the finals.
The Rabbitohs have a good record over the Dragons in recent years, and I expect that to continue in this match.
Souths are looking for a top two finish to secure a home semi-final, and their form this year suggests they’ll get that if they keep getting better.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
SATURDAY: Parramatta Eels V New Zealand Warriors, 17.00NZT – Bankwest Stadium
The Eels have to be wary of the Warriors.
Although they have definitely been the better side this year, the Warriors have only dropped one game in the last month and that was in Golden Point.
Bankwest Stadium will be packed to the rafters which will encourage the home side.
Warriors will be looking to turn their territory and possession in to points, something they have struggled with.
Parramatta’s firepower will get them home.
TIP: Eels 1-12
Gold Coast Titans V Brisbane Broncos, 19.30NZT – Cbus Super Stadium
The last placed Titans will want to beat the Broncos again. They’ve got English centre Kallum Watkins making his NRL debut, and the signs early on last week suggest there is some spirit left.
The Broncos however have found a little more urgency in their ranks since the last time these two met.
I think this game will be closer than most people will give credit for. The Titans seem to play their best against Queensland opposition.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
Melbourne Storm V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, 21.30NZT – AAMI Park
Can anyway stop this runaway train in Melbourne? Nine on the bounce now, and they’re six points clear at the top.
Manly are worthy contenders to upset them.
The Storm have had a lot go their way, so the Sea Eagles just have to get them on the back foot early.
Melbourne are full strength, so it will be a hard ask for Manly. This game could be decided by a couple of points.
TIP: Storm 1-12
SUNDAY: Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Sydney Roosters, 16.00NZT – ANZ Stadium
A hard ask for Canterbury Bankstown as they come against the Roosters who played sensationally last week.
Canterbury have had another underwhelming season, and it gets harder in this match where the Roosters have big form on their side.
For the Roosters, they just have to start stronger that has been their weakness over the last month.
Bulldogs just have to throw everything at it. They have nothing to lose, so if they can upset some big teams on the way that’ll be a good thing for them.
TIP: Roosters 13+
Penrith Panthers V Canberra Raiders, 18.00NZT – Panthers Stadium
The last match of the round looks likely to be the best game of the week.
The Panthers stunning turnaround has seen them pounce and land feet first in the top eight.
Canberra’s English contingent has bolstered their form in 2019, and they’re producing some of the strongest wins in a long time.
There’s a lot to like about the battle of the forwards. That’s where this game will be won.
Whoever can get that edge in the middle of the field can get the result go their way.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
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