By Stephen Gallagher
Tipped one game wrong in the shortened round last week. 87/128 for the season!
FRIDAY: Titans V Eels – CBus Super Stadium – 20.00NZT
The Titans start off the double header at this ground, where from Wednesday to Sunday, five games will be played.
It’s tough to come up against a top four Parra side at the best of times, but the Titans have seven weeks of footy left to make the finals and it’s a race against time.
Something has to change for Justin Holbrook’s men.
Parramatta won’t be too concerned with this match, but they still have to perform.
Mahoney returns from injury which only helps the Eels cause.
All players are named to back up from Origin, so the best players for these teams will make this game better.
TIP: Eels 13+
Sea Eagles V Dragons – CBus Super Stadium – 22.00NZT
I think the Sea Eagles are the only side that can win this comp from outside the top four if they don’t manage to sneak in.
They get an opportunity to strengthen their hopes against the Red V, who have been able to stagger player bans for Covid breaches after a Paul Vaughan party which has sent negative headlines rocketing around the league.
It’s still a good side the Dragons have named, and sitting on the edge of the eight and with all the controversy, they will want to repay the faith of the fans they’ve let down.
But this Sea Eagles team is something else. I’m really enjoying watching them play. An underrated forward pack punching well above their weight is awesome to see.
A big in for Manly is Josh Schuster, who hasn’t played in the last seven weeks.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
SATURDAY: Raiders V Sharks – CBus Super Stadium – 17.00NZT
It’s been a tough ol’ season for the Raiders, but there has been a couple of hopeful sparks in the last few weeks for them to give fans hope that all is not lost.
While caretaker coach Josh Hannay has got the Sharks where they should be with the roster they have.
I can see this being one of those tough, grinding games. Both teams love to play that sort of style. Arm wrestle through the middle, and slow the play the ball down.
It’s a matter of whichever side is able to control that the best.
Reckon this has the potential to be the game of the round.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
Cowboys V Roosters – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 19.30NZT
The form slump for the Cowboys has been evident, but not overly related to Origin. There’s a lot of pressure on them to finish the season strong.
While there’s also plenty riding on the Roosters. They’ve still got potential to finish in the top four.
I like the way that the Sydney Roosters have gone about their business all year, despite what’s been thrown at them.
They’re definitely good enough to win this one too. The Cowboys seem to start fast and fade even faster, so if they can manage the first half an hour of the game, they should be able to manage what North Queensland throw at ‘em.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
Storm V Knights – AAMI Park – 21.35 NZT
The Storm are only one of four teams who have not needed to relocate, so the luxury of playing at home will really help against a resurgent Knights side.
Newcastle are far from perfect, but they have looked a lot better with Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga back.
It’ll still take a mammoth effort for them to overcome the Storm, who are consistently finding ways to better themselves each week, and put on a staggering amount of points at the same time.
I see this game being a gritty first half, but the class and calm of the Storm to send them in to a big win.
TIP: Storm 13+
SUNDAY: Warriors V Panthers – Suncorp Stadium – 16.00NZT
The Warriors have taken a series of L’s of late, which has derailed their season despite a strong roster. It’s a sad and common story for this club.
The Panthers are looking to keep the foot on the throttle with a top two finish in sight, despite losing both their halves for the next few weeks.
It’s going to have to be a significant turnaround for the Warriors who look a little lost in attack, and have struggled to score significant points.
The Panthers score at will, and with the Warriors defence being a little shaky, it could get ugly.
I’d like to think the Warriors are going to put in a fight, but for how long, nobody knows.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
Broncos V Tigers – Suncorp Stadium – 18.00NZT
What we witnessed a fortnight ago from the Broncos was something they’ve been searching for over the last season and a half.
It was a performance to be proud of, and after a bye to freshen up, the expectation is that they will continue to be at that level against the Tigers.
Losing 114-50 over the last three weeks, it’s not looking good for the amber and blacks who struggle at the best of times.
The Broncos have the capacity to shit the bed once again, but I feel like there’s more pressure on the Tigers who have yet again been a difficult side to watch.
TIP: Broncos 13+
Rabbitohs V Bulldogs – CBus Super Stadium – 20.15NZT
The Rabbitohs will be looking to win their sixth game in a row by 13+, and it couldn’t come against a weaker opposition.
It’s the basics by the Bulldogs which have been the biggest disappointment for them, but I suppose sitting comfortably in 16th, the only way is up.
The Rabbitohs are just too hot to trot. They’ll put on a demolition job on Canterbury Bankstown if they get half a chance.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
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