By Stephen Gallagher
Four weeks through the season, I scored about 6/8 in my tips (Thanks, Warriors and Knights for letting me down). Tipping 23/32 in 2021.
THURSDAY: Rabbitohs V Broncos – Stadium Australia – 21.50NZT
It’s been some sensational football produced by the Rabbitohs over the opening month of the season, and they have been seemingly scoring points at will.
It’s been a tough slog for the Broncos, with some really tough match ups to kick off 2021, and backed by their poor form has made it a horror start for the former glamour club.
This is another Rabbitohs win, and it undoubtedly emphatic.
The Broncos seem to struggle as soon as they’re on the backfoot, so they need to show some grit early to stay in the game.
TIP: Rabbitohs 13+
FRIDAY: Warriors V Sea Eagles – Central Coast Stadium – 20.00NZT
With a win loss, win loss season so far for the Warriors, it’s should be a a bounce back win for the New Zealanders, but really – they are struggling with injury and suspension issues.
And there’s no doubt Manly are on struggle street, winless through their four games, but this is a Sea Eagles side that could be played in to form by the Warriors.
Both sides have a number of new faces from the previous week, but I think there’s more to the Warriors this season than years gone by, and I see them getting a scrappy but solid win.
TIP: Warriors 1-12
Panthers V Raiders – BlueBet Stadium – 21.55NZT
It’s the same winning formula for Penrith as they come up against a strong Raiders outfit with a couple of key injury inclusions this week for the game of the week.
The Panthers strength really has been in two parts. Good discipline, and strong rolling footy that sees them make easy metres with quick play the balls.
Canberra are such a nuggety, hardened side that will do their best to slow everything down in to a grind. They also have the ability to crush teams with good fast football too.
The likes of Papali’i and James against Fisher-Harris and Leota is a great prop battle.
Both sets of halves are awesome, so really looking forward to seeing this game.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
SATURDAY: Titans V Knights – Cbus Super Stadium – 17.00NZT
While the Knights have plenty of injury concerns, they will be happy to see Kalyn Ponga in the 1 jersey for the first time this season.
The Gold Coast have yet to stamp any real authority on the comp, but a game like this against the Knights is a game they should be trying to win and win convincingly.
They have a strong forward pack that if unleashed, their halves could put on a clinic.
Newcastle look for life without Mitchell Pearce for the next three months, but Blake Green is there to step up.
The Knights haven’t quite made the statement I thought they would have so far, but a win against the Titans would help their season significantly.
TIP: Titans 1-12
Bulldogs V Storm – Stadium Australia – 19.30NZT
If the Bulldogs get a penalty in the first five minutes, or a chance to kick a field goal. Do it. They have been scoreless in three weeks and that rut could be set to continue against a scary Storm.
Canterbury have three big inclustions with Watene-Zelezniak, Jackson, and Thompson back this week – but they need to look for points to score in a major way.
Melbourne have such a brilliant support player in Papenhuyzen at the back, and any bit of broken play he’s sure to punish them.
I can’t see this being anything other than a solid Storm win.
TIP: Storm 13+
Roosters V Sharks – SCG – 21.35NZT
It’s going to be the same 17 that dismantled the Warriors last week for the Sydney Roosters against Cronulla.
While the Sharks just make one chance as Ramien is back from suspension.
It took a little bit of time, but the Sharks really glued for the first time in a long time which showed off just how dangerous they can be with ball in hand.
The Roosters are showing that despite their injuries, they are still a good enough to be a top four team, and will always be tough to crack.
There’s plenty of competitive nature in these two sides, and there will be some niggle between the big boys, you can just tell.
I think this match will be a close one. The Sharks will want to back up again from their convincing win last week.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
SUNDAY: Tigers V Cowboys – Leichhardt Oval – 18.05NZT
It seems the Tigers have found their feet after a slow start to the year, as they’ve shown some tremendous spirit in the last fortnight.
There’s no real answers for what’s happening in North Queensland. They look soft, weak, and impatient every week.
The return of Taumalolo will be a beneficial one, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s not going to be enough to overcome Wests, especially on a Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt.
TIP: Tigers 13+
Eels V Dragons – Bankwest Stadium – 20.15NZT
The undeafeated Eels take on the Dragons who have won their last three matches in what could be a really interesting and important game for both sides.
Matterson is back for Parra while Bird is in for the Saints.
Two really important inclusions that will help bolster their respective sides.
I do really like watching the Eels when they’re on like they have been. Such a hot side who demand respect and make their opposition pay for the majority of their mistakes.
If the Dragons can somehow get a win against the Eels, it’ll really be a tremendous victory to add to their season, and they would be looking like a real tough side to come up against.
TIP: Eels 1-12
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