By Stephen Gallagher
FRIDAY: • Brisbane Broncos v Newcastle Knights – Suncorp Stadium 21.45NZT
Brisbane are way too strong all over the park to lose this game. Newcastle are in dire straits, and are an aging club that needs to freshen up. The Broncos defensive effort from last week will take a bit out of them, but they’re still such a strong, dominant side that losing this game is not an option.
• South Sydney Rabbitohs V Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – ANZ Stadium 22.45NZT
This game has classic written all over it. Both clubs not where they should be, and the Rabbitohs fresh from a week off. However Manly’s momentum from last week might be enough to follow through in to this one. The Sea Eagles need to press hard from now to try and make the finals, the Rabbitohs stand in their way.
SATURDAY: • New Zealand Warriors V Canberra Raiders – Mount Smart Stadium 17.00NZT
The Warriors need to prove they’re a top eight side, and need a win over the Raiders. Back home at Mount Smart, they will look to build on what was their best performance of the season last week. The Raiders have fallen away of late – but they’re still a dangerous side.
• North Queensland Cowboys V Cronulla Sharks – 1300 Smiles Stadium 19.30NZT
The Cowboys have 11 in a row, and it is likely they will make it 12. The Sharks are too inconsistent, so it’s hard to pinpoint how or if they can bring down the Cowboys – which is why I think they’ll be too big and too strong for the boys from the Shire.
• Parramatta Eels V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Pirtek Stadium 21.30NZT
I think the Dragons will get this one done – they’ve been a little slow of late, but they need to get a win on the board to keep up in the Top 8. The Eels will front up, but I don’t think they have the superb execution or defence they need to tame the Dragons.
SUNDAY: • Sydney Roosters V Gold Coast Titans – Allianz Stadium 17.00NZT
The Roosters have been in some solid form of late, and at home they are really tough to beat. The Titans are in a little bit of a lull, but they are a strong enough side to front up and deliver if need be. I think the Sydneysiders will do enough, they’re a strong side all over the park.
• Wests Tigers V Penrith Panthers – Leichhardt Oval 19.00NZT
The battle of West Sydney with the Tigers and Panthers going at it. The Tigers are going to have to deliver in emphatic fashion. The Panthers have been talked about plenty with their injuries and their depth challenged. The Tigers have a bit more talent in their ranks and will get the job done.
MONDAY: • Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Melbourne Storm – Belmore Sports Ground 21.00NZT
The Bulldogs are back at Belmore, and this will be a fantastic event. The Storm are going to be definiely up for this – and so will the Bulldogs in this historic event. This to me looks like it’s going to be the game of the round, so who will take it? The battle goes down to the big boys, and the Bulldogs have it won.
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