By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Sydney Roosters V Canberra Raiders – Sydney Cricket Ground – 21.50NZT
Injuries are coming at a bad time for the Raiders, but we’ve seen them in this position before and know just how much they fight to win.
They come up against a Roosters side that have only lost once since the restart of the season.
It’ll be hard to contain the Sydneysiders, who have been absolutely electric in scoring tries, so the Raiders will have to do their bit defensively to contain the Chooks.
Raiders are going in undercooked, so expect the Roosters to capitalise on that.
TIP: Roosters 13+
FRIDAY: Melbourne Storm V Gold Coast Titans – Sunshine Coast Stadium – 20.00NZT
The Hectic Cheese starts at prop this week, and the Storm also get Cameron Munster back.
Bad news for the Titans coming up against the Storm, but they also have some players back to help their chances.
Melbourne are far too clinical to slip up against the Gold Coast, and there’s no way they will play down to their level.
It will be a rugby league lesson.
TIP: Storm 13+
Wests Tigers V Brisbane Broncos – Leichhardt Oval – 21.55NZT
The Tigers get a whole new halves pairing against a Broncos side battling with injuries, but still happy to have had a win.
Lucky for Wests, their forward pack is quite settled, so they’ll be striving to get in under the mixed up Brisbane.
Not sure how well Marshall and Walters will go together for the Tigers, but I think they have the confidence and home advantage to get this game over the line.
TIP: Tigers 1-12
SATURDAY: St George Illawarra Dragons V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – WIN Stadium – 17.00NZT
Only one forced change by the Dragons this week, and they’ll look to secure another win to improve their season.
The Bulldogs lost their coach earlier this week, so it’s going to be a hard slog for the last ten games of the year.
Can’t see them getting a win here, but they did flog the Dragons earlier in the year.
TIP: Dragons 13+
South Sydney Rabbitohs V Newcastle Knights – Bankwest Stadium – 19.30NZT
A few changes through injury and suspension for these two teams, but I still see this being a very good game.
Newcastle were one metre away from winning against the Eels last week, and the Rabbitohs did enough in one half to get the win against Wests.
I think this game comes down to the forwards battle, and that’s where the Knights are stronger than Souths.
A bit of dominance up front, and it could be a convincing win to the Knights.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Parramatta Eels – Lottoland – 21.30NZT
Their backs are against the wall, but that’s when Manly normally did their talons in and fight.
It does make it hard as they come up against the team in first place.
The Eels have been just hanging on in a couple of their most recent outings, but this is a chance for them to gel and put points on and get back in to routine.
Can’t see Manly winning this, but I do see them putting up a bloody big effort to keep the Eels grounded.
TIP: Eels 1-12
SUNDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Cronulla Sharks – Central Coast Stadium – 16.00NZT
The Warriors should have some motivation to get up, after a shit show last week where they didn’t score a point after the tenth minute.
The Sharks were also embarrassed at the hands of the clinical Panthers, so there’s work to do there also.
Both sides aren’t in exactly tip top shape, but with word going around a few Warriors are on their way home – this could be their last chance to get a good win in with a full squad.
The Sharks are stronger on paper, however.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
Penrith Panthers V North Queensland Cowboys – Panthers Stadium – 18.00NZT
It’s injury after injury at the Cowboys, which has written their season off completely.
It’s the opposite at Penrith. They’re playing some of their best footy at the moment, and it comes off the back of having a solid squad that all have confidence in each other’s abilities.
I can’t see the Panthers slipping on this banana peel match, but the Cowboys aren’t just going to roll over.
TIP: Panthers 13+
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