By Stephen Gallagher
Saint George Illawarra Dragons V Brisbane Broncos – WIN Stadium – 21.50NZT
The season of both these sides round rely on this result.
The Dragons only have a faint chance of making the top eight – where as if the Broncos keep up their current woes, their chances will quickly slip away.
There’s a big difference on paper between the two, but their both playing fairly poor footy.
If I was Wayne Bennett – I would be trying to get my forwards motivated. “Poor” is an under statement of their performance of late, and they need a kick up the bum.
The Dragons need to score points, something they have never really been good at.
This match is totally suited for a Thursday, as it won’t really be worth watching.
TIP: Broncos 13+
Parramatta Eels V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Pirtek Stadium – 21.50NZT
With Parra’s season from hell officially over, and the Sea Eagles season on the verge of a miraculous comeback – this game is going to be important for a few reasons.
With Jarryd Hayne playing for the ‘other’ blue and gold team, the taste of bitterness has really been horrible for the Eels in 2016.
The way I see it though, that this game is Manly’s to lose. Three wins in a row and with a team on the increase every week – they are a roughie to slip in to the top eight.
Manly just need to keep their wits about them. Another strong start will most definitely be enough to win it.
If Turbo Tom Trbojevic gets hands on ball, it could spell disaster for Parramatta.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
Newcastle Knights V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Hunter Stadium – 17.00NZT
It’s a shit time for the Knights, lets be frank. They will be good – just not last year, this year, or next year unless there are some drastic changes.
The Bulldogs haven’t really been that great over the last fortnight. However, this is a good game for them to boost their for and against while playing themselves back in to form.
TIP: Bulldogs 1-12
Cronulla Sharks V Canberra Raiders – Southern Cross Group Stadium – 19.30NZT
While some of you may be tuning in for the Hurricanes union match – my eyes will be locked on the game of the SEASON!
The Sharks win streak ended in a draw, but they are still undefeated through 16.
Canberra are just stunning the comp with an incredibly positive style of play backed by a whole lot of confidence.
They’re very similar really – which is why I find this match to be exciting.
With a lot of freakish attacking talent on display, I hope this game lives up to the hype I have been giving it.
There’s potential to be acrobatic tries, brilliant back-line moves and some really strong and committing defence.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
Melbourne Storm V South Sydney Rabbitohs – AAMI Park – 21.30NZT
The team topping in second spot versus a side who can barely muster up 25 metres in a set of six. There’s going to be punishment.
Though it would be silly of me to write of Souths, especially since we have seen flourishes of awesome this year (mainly at the beginning of the season, not lately) but I can’t see any other result than a Melbourne win.
They’re frustratingly good. They play bloody strong footy.
TIP: Storm 13+
Gold Coast Titans V New Zealand Warriors – Cbus Super Stadium – 16.00NZT
There’s going to be a helluva lot of interest around this match.
If Jarryd “I have a dream” Hayne plays – this could be the highest rated game of the year for TV.
The Titans are definitely a top eight side. So the Warriors need to be wary.
The Warriors are a committed bunch of blokes this season who have been solid over the last two months.
This match is another game that is really important for them.
I feel like the Titans have the upper hand (with or without Hayne) just by the way they have conducted themselves of late.
It should be a great match.
TIP: Titans 1-12
Wests Tigers V North Queensland Cowboys – Leichhardt Oval – 18.15 NZT
Can the Tigers make it three in a row?
No JT again for the Cowboys, so the answer must be swaying towards yes.
However the lack of consistency this year from Wests means they really could come out and be poor.
The Cowboys will make the eight, but their aim is definitely to stay in the top four for a lifeline.
I think after the weak showing last week that they have to make a statement this week in a grind against the Tigers.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
Penrith Panthers V Sydney Roosters – Pepper Stadium – 21.00NZT
Penrith need to win.
The Roosters would like to at least finish their season on a high by getting a few wins on the board to boost them up the table.
If the Panthers can manage to pay the strong, desirable football in this game like they have over the past month I can see them really running away with it.
Sydney Roosters want to be able to take some pride away from this match though.
Penrith need to build on their strength of direct play around the ruck and capitalise on the laziness of the Roosters markers.
TIP: Panthers 1-12.
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