By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Parramatta Eels V Wests Tigers – Bankwest Stadium – 21.50NZT
The battle of the West kicks off round 11.
Parramatta need to bounce back after a poor showing last week, and it helps with Mitch Moses coming back from injury.
The Walters/Marshall combination worked well for Wests, and they’ll take that confidence in to this crucial clash.
This Thursday night battle should be a close one, but I think Parra will get the job done.
TIP: Eels 1-12
FRIDAY: North Queensland Cowboys V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 20.00NZT
The Cowboys season is over, but there are some youngsters still putting their hands up and wanting a crack at first grade.
Their coach walked, making this a big game to prove something.
Manly get the world’s best prop back in Addin Fonua-Blake, and he’ll add some very big metres through the middle.
Manly’s game to lose.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
Brisbane Broncos V Melbourne Storm – Suncorp Stadium – 21.55NZT
Things don’t get any easier for this wounded Brisbane team. They’re a walking disaster, with players all over the place, and they come up against one of the toughest assignments in 2020.
Melbourne will absolutely obliterate the Broncos, especially with Munster back from injury last week, and no other changes in their squad.
Will be tough watching if you’re a Brisbane supporter.
TIP: Storm 13+
SATURDAY: New Zealand Warriors V Sydney Roosters – Central Coast Stadium – 17.00NZT
This is going to be a hiding, and sadly it’s also the end of the season for four Warriors going home to their families after this, and rightfully so.
I expect the Warriors to put up little resistance, and the Roosters will run riot.
I see the Morris brothers scoring about five tries between them.
Cronulla Sharks V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 19.30NZT
This rivalry will be a close game.
The Sharks put many points on the hapless Warriors, and the Dragons just survived a Bulldogs scare.
There are plenty of similarities in both these sides, and I think that comes down to the halves.
Plenty of good shape out the back, and there are guys who are really good at finishing off a backline move.
The winning side gets a chance to continue to push for the eight, so there’s a lot riding on this outcome.
Canberra Raiders V South Sydney Rabbitohs – GIO Stadium – 21.30NZT
Raiders looked more direct last week, and made some 98% of their tackles in the middle.
The Rabbitohs have still a lot to prove, and have a few missing which is a concern.
Shout out to Matty Johns’ son Jack who makes his first grade debut for the Bunnies.
If Canberra continue to run in the halves, they will tire out Souths forwards and win.
SUNDAY: Newcastle Knights V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – McDonald Jones Stadium – 16.00NZT
Tough match for the Bulldogs as they come up against the Knights.
Newcastle were complacent in the last fifteen minutes last week but still won, and I imagine they would have copped a spray about finishing off games.
The Bulldogs will have their backs up against the wall, and have to show something. They’ve only got one win this season.
Gold Coast Titans V Penrith Panthers – Cbus Super Stadium – 18.00NZT
Another tough outing for the Titans.
They come up against the second youngest NRL side in the comp, and they are top of the table.
Penrith’s inspired performances come from an inspired Nathan Cleary who is playing well beyond his years.
Titans seem to be missing a lot of tackles, and can’t get any possession of the football, and that shows why they’re getting blown off the park.
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