By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Sydney Roosters V St George Illawarra Dragons – Sydney Cricket Ground, 18.05NZT
I absolutely love this ANZAC Day clash. Over the 17 times this has happened, the Dragons have come away with the win 11 times.
This game has been perfectly timed with both sides on big winning streaks.
A big loss is Luke Keary, but Latrell Mitchell slots in to 6.
No changes for the Dragons.
There’s plenty of emotion involved with this clash. So many amazing matchups over the years, and I expect this one to be an absolute nail biter.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
Melbourne Storm V New Zealand Warriors – AAMI Park, 22.05NZT
The Warriors are in absolute disarray, and with an injury to the Dally M Player Of The Year, it’ll make it even harder.
A big in for the New Zealand side is Blake Green, but it’ll take a big attitude adjustment, a massive improve on defence, and fitness to overcome the Storm.
This game will be very similar to last year’s clash, as the Storm but 50 on them.
The Warriors will be in survival mode for sure.
TIP: Storm 13+
FRIDAY: Canterbury Bulldogs V North Queensland Cowboys – ANZ Stadium, 20.05NZT
Despite winning only three games between them, I think this has the potential to be game of the round.
Both sides have fairly young squads, and both have been playing a very courageous style of football.
They both like to hang in there, so it will really go down to the 80th minute this one.
Canterbury went very close last week, and I think being at home will be the difference here.
TIP: Bulldogs 1-12
Penrith Panthers V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Panthers Stadium, 22.00NZT
Picking the Panthers is hard to do in their current form. There’s big pressure on them to perform, and against the high flying Rabbitohs – it’ll be a tough one.
Souths have been very strong across the park this year. No real weaknesses, a strong kicking game, and a very direct style of play.
The Panthers will have to be on high alert. If they are to compete, they have to weather the storm early on and win the defensive battle.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
SATURDAY: Wests Tigers V Gold Coast Titans – Scully Park, 19.30NZT
I’m ringing in the bounce back factor here. After an absolute pantsing, the Tigers will be hurting big time.
Gold Coast have got two in a row, looking to improve to three wins.
The Tigers are the same 17 as Monday’s booming loss, and there will be plenty of players sweating about being dropped, so will perform well.
Titans lose Ryan James for the season, so there will be a need of go forward from those there.
It’ll be a close game. Not much in it.
TIP: Tigers 1-12
Brisbane Broncos V Cronulla Sharks – Suncorp Stadium, 21.30NZT
The bells are ringing in Brisbane, and it’s for an emergency.
Their worst start to a season in a very long time, and fans are losing their patience.
It doesn’t get any better with a tough match against a very good Cronulla side.
There’s a buzz in the Shire, with a healthy side they look very strong.
Suncorp will be a very hard place to win. The Broncos are desperate, and they’ll be fighting very hard to get the win.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
SUNDAY: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Canberra Raiders, Lottoland 16.00NZT
Manly have been really good the last month, but the Raiders better.
This shapes up to be a very physical encounter.
The Sea Eagles have been getting it done up front, with lots of effort from their young forwards.
Canberra’s confidence comes off the back of being able to defend their line solidly, and turning pressure in to points at the other end of the field.
Two very good sides going up against each other here. Will be a great game to witness.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Newcastle Knights V Parramatta Eels – McDonald Jones Stadium, 18.10NZT
More desperate times for the Newcastle faithful with one win so far this season.
They’ll be up against it this Sunday evening against this Eels side who come off the biggest win of the season so far.
It could be the last chance to impress Nathan Brown for some of these Knights players, so they will have to dig in deep.
I just can’t see them beating the Eels, and they style they play.
Parramatta benefit greatly off playing what’s in front of them, and if the Knights are slightly off the pace, the Eels will smell it.
TIP: Eels 13+
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