By Stephen Gallagher
Brisbane Broncos V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Suncorp Stadium – 21.50NZT
The Broncos are back with a vengeance after a rampant win last week.
The Bulldogs are always timing their finals run just right, but this year they seem to be lacking execution which has been so cutthroat in years gone by.
The Broncos have to keep winning to push as close as they can to a top four finish. They sit sixth now, and a win here could go a long way.
Canterbury Bankstown have to play more direct, with a bit more power. Too much sideways movement over the last month has seen opposition teams shutting them down.
Brisbane have to get the ball in the hands of the Milf. He looks like he has his groove back, and could decimate the Doggies in this match.
TIP: Broncos 13+
Penrith Panthers V Wests Tigers – Pepper Stadium – 21.50NZT
Penrith are looking very determined at the right end of the season.
Wests look almost shot, with their points differential hounding them down to 10th.
The battle of the West Cats is going to be quite interesting.
I can’t see the Tigers slowing down the phenomenal momentum of the Panthers, but an upset could spell the end of their season.
The Tigers have to throw everything they can to win this game.
The Panthers should get the job done comfortably.
TIP: Panthers 13+
Newcastle Knights V Gold Coast Titans – Hunter Stadium – 17.00NZT
Call me crazy, but the feel like Newcastle could pull off a remarkable upset.
The Knights, with ONE win all season have been slogging their guts out and falling short.
I would really like to see them get a victory on the board in front of their suffering home fans.
The Titans realistically have this in the bag. They’re a quality side with plenty of room to grow.
A banana peel match for the Gold Coast.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles V Melbourne Storm – Brookvale Oval – 19.30NZT
With their season over, the Sea Eagles can try pin a win over arch-rivals Melbourne who sit pretty in top spot.
The Storm will look to back up a poor performance with a big win here.
Melbourne have to get back on the horse with a dominant performance which we are all aware of.
The Sea Eagles will try give the ball plenty of air, but the rush defence of Melbourne will be there to meet them.
Melbourne’s match to lose. They’re too good to lose this one at this time of year.
TIP: Storm 1-12
North Queensland Cowboys V New Zealand Warriors – 1300SMILES Stadium – 21.30NZT
Both teams have to redeem themselves after a poor performance last week.
The Cowboys have the comforts of Townsville and the safety of being sitting in the top eight. Whereas the Warriors are sitting just out, and need to win every remaining match to make the finals.
North Queensland have a strong record at home against the Aucklanders, and after a dull few weeks need to get back on the horse.
The Warriors season lies on this match. Lose – and their season is over. How desperate can they get to win?
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
Canberra Raiders V Parramatta Eels – GIO Stadium – 16.00NZT
The giant killers in Australia’s Capital Territory will love to keep their winning streak of seven matches going against a broken Parramatta team.
Canberra’s performances of late can only be described as red hot. It’s just not their attack that’s making waves – their defence has been outstanding.
Parramatta’s horror season just needs to be finished, however they will want to spoil the party for teams gunning to do their best.
The Green Machine are just too good all over the park. They will beat the Eels convincingly.
TIP: Raiders 13+
Sydney Roosters V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Allianz Stadium – 18.00NZT
Beat big teams last week on their quest to finish their seasons on a high – these traditional foes have a big match ahead of them.
The Red V got up on ANZAC Day in another classic, so expect this match to be an exciting one.
The Roosters are living up to potential with some great performances up front. Their big boys getting the job done has really lifted spirits.
A handy halves game dictates the Dragons. If Marshall and Widdop get some good ball, they can put on a clinic.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
South Sydney Rabbitohs V Cronulla Sharks – ANZ Stadium – 21.00NZT
The Bunnies want to hurt some top eight teams now.
Nine straight losses was all forgotten after a phenomenal win last week.
The Sharks are in the unusual spot of a losing streak. Two in a row and staring down the barrel of 3.
Souths might upset the apple-cart here. Cronulla have to go back to their winning ways in order to have a chance of finishing minor premiers.
If the Sharks can get a roll on early, it might break the Bunnies.
An important test for the Sharks before the finals.
TIP: Sharks 1-12.
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