By Stephen Gallagher
Penrith Panthers V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – Pepper Stadium – 10.05PM Kickoff NZT.
Penrith get their first home game of the season up against a Bulldogs side who emphatically walked past the Sea Eagles.
Penrith were competitive but a shade off the pace last week, and as they come up agaisnt a strong side like the Doggies, they will have their work cut out for them.
The Panthers will have to muscle up. If they leak easy points early like they did last week it will be their backs up against the wall.
Tip: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score the first try. Bulldogs to win 1-12
Brisbane Broncos V New Zealand Warriors – Suncorp Stadium – 10.05PM Kickoff NZT.
Well this is going to be a game. The Broncos starts didn’t get to unleash too much flair last week as they beat Parramatta. The Warriors didn’t perform as their first round woes continued.
In front of the Brisbane faithful for the first time in 2016 – the Broncos will not slip up. They have so much talent, depth and quality all around that it will be their game to lose.
The Warriors name only one change forced by injury from their big but close loss last weekend. They usually put up a good performance against the Broncos – but as the Broncos buck back in to their usual Friday night slot – it will be a mammoth task to tame these wild horses.
Tip: Take a Corey Parker penalty as the first scoring play. Broncos to win 1-12
Canberra Raiders V Sydney Roosters – GIO Stadium – 5PM Kickoff NZT
Interesting match up here as the Raiders have been forced in to injury changes to their two key men in the halves.
Lachlan Crocker has been named for his NRL debut along side Sam Williams.
The Roosters will have erased last weeks abomination as the Raiders will be ready to take the Chooks heads off.
The Green machine will make it 2/2, and the Roosters will be left winless.
Tip: Frank-Paul Nu’uasala will crash over for the first try and the Raiders will comfortably win 13+
South Sydney Rabbitohs V Newcastle Knights – ANZ Stadium – 7.30PM Kickoff NZT
The Rabbitohs will need not concern this week as they may as well be playing the bye.
The Knights new era kicked off with a big loss, but such a young group will be relishing the NRL experience.
Reynolds and Sutton are lost to mid and long term injuries respectively, but the Rabbitohs depth will shine and the tries will be raining for the Bunnies.
Tip: Damien Cook to score the last try. Rabbitohs 13+
Parramatta Eels V North Queensland Cowboys – Pirtek Stadium – 9.30PM Kickoff NZT
The Blue n Gold finally get their star halves pairing together after a rested NRL pre-season from Foran.
How will they match up against the Cowboys though? There’s a bit of difference.
Don’t write off the Eels – they love a good upset. The Cowboys will be ready to defend their title as gallantly as possible and will not let the Eels get one up on them.
The battle of the forward packs will be interesting. Eels seemingly undersized, but they do have so much potential to stick it to the Cowboys.
Tip: Eels halftime/Cowboys fulltime is on the cards. Cowboys win 1-12
Cronulla Sharks V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Remondis Stadium – 6PM Kickoff NZT
Ah the good ol fashioned neighbourly rival. The Sharks and the Dragons have been boppin’ each other since Bruce Jenner was a man.
Both of these sides are bloody good this year, and I feel like this has the potential to be the game of the round.
They will be lacking in leadership as Paul Gallen misses this and potentially a few more games with a knee injury – however players like Mick Ennis and James Maloney to lead them around, they won’t slack off too much.
The Dragons need to fix their handling errors if they want to be able to compete for 80. Silly mistakes cost them a great start and it could hamper them the same way in this one.
Tip: Valentine Homes loves scoring tries at Remondis. He will grab the first. Sharks to win 1-12.
Melbourne Storm V Gold Coast Titans – AAMI Park – 8.30PM Kickoff NZT
UPSET ALERT! Yep – you’re reading it right. I am tipping the Titans to get up against the Storm.
I don’t think Melbourne were amazing on Monday night, actually they were quite lucky like they always seem to be – but the Titans will be wanting to continue to run hard and throw the Titans amongst the Storm.
Born-again revelation Agnatius Paasi seems to be the man to watch this season, and if he can mix it with the likes of Bromwich and Harris this game is going to be a physical barn-stormer.
Tip: Storm halftime/Titans fulltime will be worth a punt. Titans by 4.
Wests Tigers V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Leichhardt Oval – 9PM Kickoff NZT
Jason Taylor will feel like a supercoach after the way he inspired his Tigers to a Round One win last weekend. Trent Barrett? Not so much.
There’s work to do for this new-look Manly side who will take on the Tigers and their reckless-abondon style at the traditional home ground of Leichhardt Oval.
The Tigers will want to keep opposition points to a minimum if they want to get a win. The Sea Eagles will want to prove their haters wrong and get a win.
Tip: Aaron Woods to score the first one! Sea Eagles to win by 1-12.
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