Welcome to the Magic Round. A concept that’s been around for 13 years in the English Super League, but for the very first time in the National Rugby League.
16 teams, 8 games, 4 days, 1 stadium. Suncorp Stadium. Should be a very entertaining weekend of footy.
THURSDAY: Gold Coast Titans V Cronulla Sharks, 22.00NZT
It’s a tough time to be a Titans fan. They’re lack of depth once again hindering their season. Injury concerns have been a weekly occurrence.
The Sharks have a very green backline, but will back themselves here after a solid victory last week.
Cronulla look too big, and too mean for the Titans. They’re a lot sharper across the field. I expect this to be a big win by the Sharks.
TIP: Sharks 13+
FRIDAY: Wests Tigers V Penrith Panthers,20.05NZT
For the second time this year these two teams do battle. It was a Nathan Cleary field goal that separated them in the first meeting.
The Panthers are absolutely battling with injuries. The Tigers are battling with form, so there’s a lot to prove from both sides.
The Tigers will be happy to have Benji Marshall back, but they still have some improvement to do on defence.
Should be a close game this one.
TIP: Tigers 1-12
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Brisbane Broncos, 22.00NZT
After all the adversity that the Sea Eagles have faced in 2019, they’re doing incredibly well.
The Broncos however, have fallen at every hurdle thus far. Do they have any magic in them for this game?
Anthony Siebold has made changes after poor showings – with players dropped, and players shuffled.
The Sea Eagles have injury concerns too. I do think they’ll get the result here. They have a lot more heart than Brisbane.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
SATURDAY: Canterbury Bulldogs V Newcastle Knights, 17.00NZT
One small change with the Bulldogs, and an outside chance for Kieran Foran to play.
The Knights remain the same after their demolition job on the Warriors.
Both sides are yet to hit their stride, but Newcastle do look the stronger of the two in this clash.
Canterbury’s forwards have started to get more confident. The likes of Napa, Harawira-Naera, and Tolman are getting things done.
Newcastle will have to be weary of the threat they pose.
TIP: Knights 1-12
New Zealand Warriors V St George Illawarra Dragons, 19.30NZT
Will Kodi Nikorima be the saviour of this Warriors side and turn their luck around? It will take something magical.
The Dragons lost on both occasions against the Warriors last year – and have lost two in a row after showing some promise.
Patrick Herbert goes up against his old team, and the Dragons lose their playmaker Corey Norman.
Dragons look more composed on the field, and smarter. They should get the result.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
Melbourne Storm V Parramatta Eels, 21.35NZT
It’s really the last chance for many Storm players to show up. Three poor weeks in a row and coach Bellamy is not happy.
That means there will have been a fire lit beneath them. Lots of pride on the line.
Parramatta’s fearless competitive nature has been a revelation for the gold and blue’s this year.
If they can perform like they did last week, they’ll have a big chance of pulling this off.
TIP: Storm 1-12
SUNDAY: Sydney Roosters V Canberra Raiders, 16.00NZT
The Roosters are going to be very hard to stop in this clash. This side have got their shit together, and their opponents are paying for it.
A couple of injuries come at a bad time for the Green Machine, but they’ll still put in a solid shift here.
The Bondi boys are looking dangerous, with no obvious chinks in their armour. Will take some dark arts for an upset by Canberra.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
South Sydney Rabbitohs V North Queensland Cowboys, 18.10NZT
This clash will round out what I am sure will be an amazing weekend.
The Bunnies stay the same, but the Cowboys have a couple of changes through injury.
North Queensland’s season is hanging on by a thread, and what better way to show what you have in the tank than to go up against the second best team in the comp.
Also, not many sides have a prop start at five-eighth. Shows how talented John Asiata really is.
South Sydney are hot right now. I can’t see them dropping this match.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
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