By Stephen Gallagher
An abbreviated round this, but some good match ups nonetheless.
FRIDAY: Brisbane Broncos V Wests Tigers – Suncorp Stadium 21.50NZT
A match up more fair on the Tigers than the Broncos – but when you’re a side as good as the Broncos are, you will always be burned by the current schedule of the rep season.
But lets be serious, this is the Broncos game to lose. The side that will be fielded on Friday is still a side worthy of respect from any opposition.
Plus, Wayne Bennett gets his favourite Friday to play on.
The Tigers took home their fourth win of the season against this years duds the Newcastle Knights. If this is a sort of confidence building win – we will see it on the field in this clash.
This match will be decided by the experience – and the way the Broncos are running around – they should be able to get this match notched up as a win.
TIP: Tigers will give the Broncos a bit of a scare, but will eventually win by 13+
SATURDAY: Saint George Illawarra Dragons V North Queensland Cowboys – WIN Stadium – 21.30NZT
The Dragons time to catch out the Premiers is now. As with all the games this round – there is one side that is underhanded by State Of Origin Selection – and this is the Cowboys.
The Dragons had a woeful experience in Townsville, thrashed by this side less than two months ago. They will need to make amends at home.
The Dragons put on their best attacking football of the season last week, albeit a loss. They are slowly showing some form with ball in hand.
This could come timely for them, against this short handed Cowboys side.
But don’t let that suck you in, the Cowboys are a quality team, but their depth has rarely been tested over the last two years – and when it is – it’s a tense result. I honestly think the Dragons can sneak a win here, but it won’t be by much.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
SUNDAY: Canberra Raiders V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – GIO Stadium – 18.00NZT
The match of the round for me. I am already excited for this.
Both with quality wins last week, the Raiders need to continue this form. Their big blokes are finally full of venom – ready to rip in to the Bulldogs. Perfect timing for them.
The Sydney-siders will be looking to take on their opponents the only way they know how – head on.
Don’t mind the missing Origin players, there’s still plenty at stake for these two teams with depth that goes well deep.
Based on current form, you’d expect to Doggies to go down to Canberra and win – the Raiders home record sucks too.
I won’t let that get in the way of a Raiders win. I think their established halves pairing will be able to guide this team to a hard-fought win.
TIP: Raiders by 1-12 with Josh Hodgson given all three Daly M Points again.
MONDAY: Newcastle Knights V Parramatta Eels – Hunter Stadium – 21.00NZT
Oh here we go! How bad can the Knights get? Surely a second win is not too far away for this club.
But then again… They are playing the Eels – who are a club with a goal – just keep winning.
The Knights suffering can’t go on for too much longer, but the Cowboys, Warriors, Dragons and Raiders are all on their radar as forthcoming opponents. The effort is there, but not much more than that.
Parramatta can’t afford to lose, and that’s their mentality. They just need to keep winning for a chance to even make the finals. This is a game that is crucial for both sides. Almost like finals footy for two teams anchored last.
TIP: Knights at half-time, Eels at full-time. 1-12.
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