By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Titans V Cowboys – Cbus Super Stadium – 21.50NZT
Interesting that with only four games this weekend, we’re still having a Thursday game…
The Titans are the only side two give up two twenty-point leads in one season, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of their campaign this year.
Yes, the Cowboys are missing a few key players in their lineup, but the inclusion of Jason Taumalolo solidifies their middle.
My concern around the Gold Coast is their inexperience in these big games. With the form of the Cowboys in 2022, they are definitely good enough and resilient enough to beat the Titans.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
FRIDAY: Panthers V Bulldogs – BlueBet Stadium – 21.55NZT
Replacing both halves is always a big ask, but the way Sean O’Sullivan started the season in Cleary’s absence leads me to believe the Panthers will be okay.
Canterbury Bankstown will be hurting after letting the Dragons start strong against them and couldn’t peg them back.
This Panthers side is still very heavily stacked in the forwards, and the Bulldogs are doing to really have to rise to the occasion.
We saw the Tigers get up over the Panthers in this corresponding game this year, but I think the Panthers are more prepared for this, and will still be good enough and have enough points in them to win.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
SATURDAY: Sea Eagles V Warriors – 4 Pines Park – 21.30NZT
I’m not sure what’s more disappointing, the Warriors performances on the field, or the shambles off it.
One thing’s for certain, though – they’re desperate for a win.
Regardless of their situation, coming up against Manly is going to be a very hard task.
We get our first look at Josh Schuster in the halves where he will play in 2023 for Manly, and the return of speedster Jason Saab can create some chaos on the flank.
The Warriors will be happy to get Egan and Sironen back, but their lack of attacking prowess from the halves is a major concern.
Only two weeks ago, Shaun Johnson was the statistically best half back in the round, but it’s not on paper where he needs to dominate. It’s on the field.
TIP: Sea Eagles 13+
SUNDAY: Raiders V Roosters – GIO Stadium – 18.00NZT
The game of the round for sure.
Despite a loss last week, it really showed to me that the Raiders have found something within them to compete every week now. They look a lot more composed.
This Roosters outfit loses three to Origin, but still have some very impressive players filling those spots.
I like the battle of Tapine going up against Kiwis teammate Waerea-Hargreaves in the middle of the paddock.
It’s not the end of Canberra if they don’t win this one, but they do need to compete and play hard without Papali’i and Wighton.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
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