By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Brisbane Broncos V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Suncorp Stadium – 22.00NZT
The Broncos are at their comfortable home of Suncorp against a Dragons side who will be licking their wounds, copping a 36 point hiding against the Premiers.
Leg two of a dreaded Queensland treble, the Dragons have their backs against the wall. Only having two wins under their belt this year, it doesn’t get any tougher when you play the Broncos.
Brisbane’s backs will have to be sharp, as the Dragons generally back themselves on defence.
But it’s attack the Dragons need to focus on, scoring only an average of 8 points a game so far this season. They will have to execute well in order to even get close.
TIP: Hard to see the Dragons getting close. Broncos to score within the first ten minutes, and win by 13+
FRIDAY: South Sydney Rabbitohs V Sydney Roosters – ANZ Stadium – 22.00NZT
It’s not getting any easier for the Roosters. Staring down the barrell of their sixth loss in a row this season.
The Rabbitohs definitely had their number in round one – and early odds would have money going on the Redfern Rabbits.
If you take a look at this Roosters squad though, they are better than the winless streak they’re on. However it needs to happen on the field. How desperate can they be for a win?
A win over their foundation arch-rivals would really start their season. However the Rabbitohs are just too talented to slip on this banana peel game.
TIP: Sorry Roosters, Greg Inglis will score the last try of the match and the Rabbitohs will win 13+
SATURDAY: Parramatta Eels V Canberra Raiders – Pirtek Stadium – 17.00NZT
Now here’s a good clash!
After the Eels were dashed on the hooter last week, they’ll be out to make amends to deliver for the home fans, unfortunately for them – it’s easier said that done.
Canberra have only dropped one game this year, after a refereeing blunder nonetheless – so it will take a pretty special and committed Eels performance to derail the Raiders.
Parramatta’s forwards have been under a bit of scrutiny of late, with indifferent performances throughout the first month of football – their talented halves pairing can only do so much behind a pack that won’t work hard week in week out.
The Raiders will look to make it two away wins in a row, with another early onslaught.
TIP: Canberra’s big boys will make an impact early on and they’ll be able to come away with the win 1-12.
New Zealand Warriors V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Mount Smart Stadium – 19.30NZT
Don’t ask Shaun Johnson about his last game against the Sea Eagles. A broken ankle that has not haunted him at all over the last few weeks as the Warriors have bounced back.
This Manly side is travelling skinny over to Auckland. However that is not a reason to underestimate them.
The Sea Eagles record against the Warriors is brilliant. They can generally rely on getting a W every time these two clash.
The Auckland-based club will have to dig deep for a third week in a row to get a win. Their forwards are finally finding their feet to get them on the front foot.
TIP: Simon Mannering to score a double and the Warriors to surge 13+
Penrith Panthers V North Queensland Cowboys – Pepper Stadium – 21.30NZT
UPSET ALERT! That’s right, I’m picking the boys from the foot of the Blue Mountains to get a vital win against the Premiers.
The Panthers left it as late as possible to win last week, but that’s the kind of win that could really help them against such a solid side.
Despite having them in the halves, and forwards – I think the Cowboys back have let them down a little this year, and that’s when the Panthers will jump and make their mark. Support play and some bustling runs from the wingers to get them out of trouble and win.
TIP: Kane Linnett scores first, but the Panthers have the last laugh 1-12.
SUNDAY: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks V Gold Coast Titans – Southern Cross Group Stadium – 16.00NZT
The Sharkies sitting pretty in sixth after five rounds is testiment to just how well they’ve played under pressure throughout the beginning of the season. However the Titans have performed just as good as they have.
It’s going to be a cracker this one. I think the Sharks halves have been the best of the competition – and with the big units running around for the Titans will mean they’ll be running the game with targets across their chests.
I feel like there’s tension already before they step out for this match. Always a solid viewing when they run head to head.
TIP: Jack Bird to score first, and the Sharks to win 1-12.
Newcastle Knights V Wests Tigers – Hunter Stadium – 18.00NZT
The tale of the tape in this one is two teams who have fallen by the way side in 2016. While having a point on the board, they Knights are still winless through five – they have shown glimpses of a side who should at least have a win on the board.
The Tigers are all talent and no result of late – after starting with a massive hiss and a roar, they’ve boiled early and now what’s left is a smelly egg.
Wests have been a joy to watch when they’re backing each other up – but they’ve gone away from what’s worked for them – and it could cost them this match.
The Knights will be really overdue for a win. The Novicastrians have a great chance to throw a spanner in the works and get a win. This young squad in their new era would really benefit of a somewhat upset win.
TIP: The Knights will do the half time/full time double and win.
MONDAY: Melbourne Storm V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – AAMI Park – 21.00 NZT
A Storm is a-brewing. This game has a lot riding on it. As I’ve mentioned in weeks past, I haven’t been sold yet on Melbourne. They haven’t been able to pile on points with ease, or blow away teams like years gone by.
However, they’re still winning – and that’s a mark of a quality side.
The Bulldogs were upset per se last week, and will have to wait another 7 days to seek revenge.
In previous years, this matchup has been one to mark on your calendars. Two booming forward packs who are capable of everything. It’s almost a case of who blinks first will lose.
Lots of physicality and bodies to be thrown all over the show.
TIP: I think the Doggies have them. Storm half time, Bulldogs full time!
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