By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: North Queensland Cowboys V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, 21.50 – 1300 SMILES Stadium
The Cowboys surprised us all with a win last week, but what’s more surprising is the rich vein of form the Bulldogs are in.
I think it’s too little, too late, but they can still mathematically make the playoffs.
They shoot up to North Queensland where they don’t have a great winning record, but are putting the pedal to the floor.
Definitely good enough to keep this streak going, but the Cowboys will be putting it on for Matt Scott, after he suffered a mild stroke. Rough.
TIP: Bulldogs 1-12
FRIDAY: New Zealand Warriors V South Sydney Rabbitohs, 20.00NZT – Mount Smart Stadium
Another Warriors season full of woulda’s, coulda’s, and shoulda’s. They play their last home game of the year against a Rabbitohs side.
Souths will be looking to get back in form against the Warriors, especially as their top four hopes have slid drastically over the last month.
It’s a similar line up for the Warriors who have underperformed all year, and I can’t see much change in attitude.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
Brisbane Broncos V Parramatta Eels, 22.00NZT – Suncorp Stadium
Another one of those matchups where this feels like finals footy. The Eels are hot on the heels of a top four finish, and need a win this and next week.
Brisbane balance in eighth place. A loss, and pending results could see them drop out.
The Eels are boosted by the return of Blake Ferguson, which helps in this big away game.
Brisbane have to put it all on the line. This could be it for them. Are they a complete enough side to beat a hot Eels team?
TIP: Eels 1-12
SATURDAY: Newcastle Knights V Gold Coast Titans, 17.00NZT – McDonald Jones Stadium
Despite their coach copping the sack, the Knights still have the same 17 that copped a hiding last week.
The Titans are staring down the barrel of ten straight losses, so it could be a points fest for this match.
I don’t expect many defensive plays – but I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of tries scored. A 50-30 score would be a fair reflection.
TIP: Knights 13+
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Melbourne Storm, 19.30NZT – Lottoland
This is a game! A huge game. It was a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal that won it in Melbourne earlier this year.
The Sea Eagles are genuine contenders, and a win over the J.J Giltinan Shield holders would raise their stocks even hire.
Manly have been really impressed me this season, and they’re good enough to win the 2019 grand final.
Melbourne will be incredibly tough to beat. A real fight on our hands in this game.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
Sydney Roosters V Penrith Panthers, 21.30NZT – Sydney Cricket Ground
The Roosters are once again peaking at the right end of the season. They’ll come in to the finals football eyeing up back to back premierships.
Penrith have had a season to forget, but they still could pull out a performance to upset Sydney.
The more ball that James Fisher-Harris gets, the better the Panthers chances are. He’s been their best in 2019.
Roosters will be bolstered by the return of Latrell Mitchell.
Should be a good watch.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
SUNDAY: Cronulla Sharks V Canberra Raiders, 16.00NZT – Pointsbet Stadium
Paul Gallen’s last home game after eighteen seasons for Cronulla. If that’s not enough to help his side get up, what will?
The Raiders will be disappointed letting slip last week, and have their mind set on spoiling the Sharks party.
Expect a very physical, gritty game.
Cronulla and Canberra are both similar in the way they play. The Raiders have just been more consistent this season.
This game to go down to the wire in the Sunday sun in the Shire.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
St George Illawarra Dragons V Wests Tigers, 18.00NZT – Sydney Cricket Ground
Saints have one eye on the future with Tristan Sailor named in the fullback jersey after a solid individual debut last week.
Wests have a lot to play for as they sit in ninth, and could crack the top eight.
Sydney Cricket Ground has had plenty of memorable moments in cricket over the years, and the Tigers would be looking for their own cricket score against the Dragons.
The Saints are good enough, but just haven’t been. That’s the difference. The Tigers will get the win.
TIP: Tigers 1-12
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