By Stephen Gallagher
Here comes the second round of footy. If you’re following my tips from last week, I managed 6/8.
THURSDAY: Eels V Storm – Bankwest Stadium – 22.05NZT
If Parramatta let their opposition get off to a strong first half again this week, I don’t think they’ll be able to pull it back like they did last week. Melbourne are mastering the first half ambush, and it’s working a treat.
Eels have to be more composed and capitalise on their chances early on to be in with a run with the Storm.
A sharper performance from the blue and gold halves needs to happen, and hopefully they never wear those awful away kits again.
TIP: Storm 13+
Warriors were the whole package last week. Solid, consistent, and strong. While the media and myself didn’t give them a chance, they showed that they learnt a lot from their 2020 season and are going to cause some headaches for a few teams this season.
Newcastle were slow out of the blocks, but blew away the Doggies in the second half. A few injury concerns again for the Knights, but they should be able to match it with the Warriors up front, and that’s an exciting battle.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Titans V Broncos – CBus Super Stadium – 22.05NZT
With the weight of expectations, the Titans have to do better this time around. Brisbane already looked better than last year, and were in the fight for the full eighty.
Gold Coast at home for the first time in 2021, and there will be a strong crowd to support them.
Brisbane are in the rare spot of being underdogs, and that might work in their favour as the expectations aren’t high.
A loss last week for Gold Coast might be the kick up the bum they need.
TIP: Titans 1-12
SATURDAY: Bulldogs V Panthers – Bankwest Stadium – 17.00NZT
For thirty minutes last week, the Bulldogs looked good. Whether or not the conditions got to them, but they blew it and didn’t fire a shot after that.
Penrith got off to the perfect start, and would love another clean sheet this week.
Bulldogs need to minimise their errors from the previous week in order to do better.
With Cleary and Luai at the helm for the Panthers, they’re going to be in for another great year.
TIP: Panthers 13+
Sea Eagles V Rabbitohs – Lottoland – 19.30NZT
It was dire viewing for Manly fans last week, and it doesn’t get much better this week.
There was effort, but it couldn’t for little as they were woeful with ball in hand and on defence.
South Sydney look to bounce back from a tough round one loss, but know better to take a Des Hasler side lightly.
If the Rabbitohs can get on top of their small errors, and turn them in to better attacking chances, they will go a long way to getting a solid win here.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
Cowboys V Dragons – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 21.35NZT
Both sides looked bad last week, but it was the Cowboys who couldn’t even get on the scoreboard which was a major concern for me.
The Dragons made plenty of really silly school boy errors, but if they can manage those, there is life in the Red V.
The North Queensland halves have to be better, but also, they were let down massively by their forward pack last week.
This game could really throw up anything, and I expect it to be an ugly, high scoring affair.
TIP: Dragons 1-12
SUNDAY: Tigers V Roosters – Campbelltown Sports Stadium – 18.00NZT
I hope for the fans of the Tigers that it’s not going to be the same old same old from them. Last week they showed glimpses of good, but also many minutes of bad.
The Roosters, though. Wow. They were high flyers in all sense of the word.
If they can make teams pay the way they did in week one, it could be a very scary thing.
The Tigers won’t stand a chance if they let the Roosters in with a sniff.
TIP: Roosters 13+
Sharks V Raiders – Netstrata Jubilee Oval – 20.15NZT
There were plenty of similarities in these two sides looking back to week one.
A strong kicking game, digging in deep when the game was in an arm wrestle, and very polished forward packs.
I’m very much looking forward to this one, the game of the round for me.
Cronulla’s defence needs to tighten up slightly, because the Raiders will be coming for them.
Canberra also have to be better in the first half. It could have cost them last week if it wasn’t for some very strong and long range attacking raids.
Not much in this one, really a flip of the coin.
TIP: Sharks 1-12.
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