By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Dragons V Sharks – WIN Stadium – 22.05NZT
This has the potential to be the game of the round.
These two teams have made major attitude adjustments, and are looking stronger and smarter.
St George Illawarra pushed the premiers to the edge last week, and Cronulla got a last-second win against Parramatta.
This game is going to be really tough. Both have worked really hard on defence and pushing up which is working well.
I see this fixture being really nuggety, low scoring, and only four points in it. The Dragons might just pip the Sharks because of the home advantage. Nothing in this!
TIP: Dragons 1-12
FRIDAY: Tigers V Warriors – Campbelltown Sports Stadium – 20.00NZT
This might start trending on social media as #SpoonBowl because both sides are 0-2 to start the season and someone’s gonna walk away 0-3 more than likely.
Another halves pairing change for the Warriors which is incredibly disrupting for them.
Wests will get another kick up the ass this week, but will it have any effect?
Both have showed major lapses on defence, so unless this gets addressed during the week – we’re in for a high scoring game.
I don’t really know what else to say about these two teams, but, stop sucking.
TIP: Warriors 1-12
Rabbitohs V Roosters – Accor Stadium – 22.05NZT
There’s plenty of media build-up to supply a narrative. The biggest, of course, is the Mitchell V Manu match up after the broken cheekbone incident last year.
Add to that, these two have one of the longest sporting rivalries in history.
The Rabbitohs used the emotion involved to their advantage, while the Roosters didn’t.
It’s also a new look Souths side, and they are staring down the barrel of 0-3 to star the season. Pressure is building.
One of those games that can really go either way, so I am hoping for a stellar match up!
TIP: Roosters 1-12
SATURDAY: Panthers V Knights – Carrington Park – 17.00NZT
Not another close game! My goodness! Both sitting top of the table, the Knights have looked great with their young halves pairing staring the ship.
Penrith have the best player in the world listed in their reserves, and could he make a surprise appearance?
Panthers forward pack have been dominant, but it’s their fitness that’s surprised me the most. They just keep on going.
Newcastle have been strong in the middle third of the field, and they’ll look to keep the Panthers on their toes.
I won’t miss this one!
TIP: Panthers 1-12
Storm V Eels – AAMI Park – 19.30NZT
Parramatta are sniffing around this game and thinking they might just knock off Melbourne for a third time in a row.
Getting the better of the Storm twice last year, Craig Bellamy will be extra vigilant as he knows his side hasn’t been anywhere near their best in 2022.
The Eels were unlucky not to win last week, and they are looking better with every performance.
I expect the Storm to put a little bit more pressure on the Eels on fifth tackle, which is where Moses and Brown have been able to dictate things.
If they can stop the Eels kicking long and strong, they are good enough to win with their own tactics.
TIP: Storm 1-12
Raiders V Titans – GIO Stadium – 21.30NZT
Round one Raiders looked world beaters, and round two Raiders looked like they’d had the weight of the world flatten them.
I can’t work out the Raiders, but I can back them at home to get the win.
I’m also impressed by the Titans, who have been strong on attack, and have sured up on D as well.
They are one of those gun-slinging sides that will just go toe to toe with you the whole eighty minutes and will look to outscore you.
The Green Machine will enjoy the comforts of the cold Canberra climate, and after a dummy spit by Sticky during the week, they’ll be on the up again in no time.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
SUNDAY: Broncos V Cowboys – Suncorp Stadium – 18.05NZT
A Sunday arvo at Suncorp – the fans will be flocking in their thousands, hoping their team will get up yet again.
The Cowboys have only conceded 6 points per game, and that’s the stand out for me for the Todd Payten coached side.
Everyone knows just how good these games have been over the last ten years, and I’m hoping for more the same in this one.
Both teams definitely have it in them to win, but the Broncos at home plays the biggest factor for me.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
Sea Eagles V Bulldogs – 4 Pines Park – 20.15NZT
There’s more pressure on the Sea Eagles again this week after two awful losses to kick off their campaign.
Both are naming an unchanged 17 for this important game that rounds out the weekend of what will no doubt be some brilliant footy.
Manly are playing like a side who want to just score on every play. I’m yet to see them earn it through the middle and then get a result on the edges.
After leaking plenty of points in the first fortnight, the Bulldogs will be licking their lips.
They have some solid enforcers who can make half a break, and enough speed and skill to finish those off.
I wouldn’t want to be a Sea Eagles fan for 80 minutes of this match. It’s going to be tense.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
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