THURSDAY: Sharks V Sea Eagles – Pointsbet Stadium – 21.50NZT
Two big outs in the forwards for Cronulla are covered well, but it will still put them under a little bit of pressure.
The Sea Eagles are now flying with four wins in a row.
We’ve seen just how good Manly are at kicking teams to death, so the Sharks have to pressure DCE early and try to rattle him anyway they can.
I’ve been impressed with the impact Manly’s bench has had, and there will be a lot of effort going in to making sure they keep that up.
This could easily be the game of the round, too. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens in this one.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
FRIDAY: Broncos V Bulldogs – Suncorp Stadium – 21.55NZT
On paper, these are both sides that should be doing a lot better than they currently are.
One name you’ll have to take notice of is Te Maire Martin, lining up at fullback for Brisbane – years after a brain bleed stopped his professional career instantly. Great to see him back.
While both sides are struggling with form, you’d have to say that the Broncos are the better of the two, just.
This could really be an ugly game, but I think that if both sides can stay in the contest it can be interesting.
Both sides have been great starters, and slow finishers. So whoever can weather the storm best will win this one.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
SATURDAY: Cowboys V Titans – QCB Stadium – 19.30NZT
The strongest Queensland NRL side goes up against the most inconsistent Queensland NRL side.
Drinkwater adds so much value to this Cowboys team at fullback, and just adds another dimension to their attack.
And yes, the Titans lack experience in key areas, their biggest loss of the season was last week, and that was 8 points. So we know that they’re able to stay in the game.
North Queensland’s composure last week won them the match, and they want to see more of that for sure.
For the Gold Coast, I just want to see if they can play a game that doesn’t involve them having to play catch up, or get in to a shootout.
Do they have the capability to grind out a win? It looks unlikely, but they are not that unlikely to win this.
TIP: Cowboys 1-12
Tigers V Rabbitohs – CommBank Stadium – 21.30NZT
After sealing their first win of the season here as an away team last week, the Tigers will be at home against Souths in another important game.
The way Wests performed last week was great. Hastings freed up Brooks, and despite some attacking deficiencies, they got the job done when it counted.
Souths will be aware of the swagger the Tigers will have, and won’t want to have this as a banana peel match.
Really hoping both sides can put on a solid display. I’m sure that crazy finish last year still hurts the Tigers.
TIP: Rabbitohs 1-12
SUNDAY: Knights V Eels – McDonald Jones Stadium – 16.00NZT
Pressure is starting to form on the Knights after dropping their last four. While the Eels know they let themselves down last week, they’ll be training really hard to rectify at loss.
Both sides see the return of key players, which can only boost what they’re working with.
For the Knights, they have been competitive, but what can they do to turn that competitiveness into winning? They lack the x-factor. Is the Ponga contract saga causing issues?
And with the Eels, a blip on the radar last week won’t deter them from playing strong, direct football.
TIP: Eels 1-12
Panthers V Raiders – BlueBet Stadium – 18.05NZT
This must be the hardest away trip in the comp right now. Undefeated in their last 20 starts at home, the Panthers are really building a solid fortress at the foot of the Blue Mountains.
Canberra have shuffled some players around, and need something to go their way. They’re a little like the Knights in the previous match, where will their win come from?
It’s hard to go past the Panthers winning this 13+. They’re just too hot right now.
TIP: Panthers 13+
MONDAY: Dragons V Roosters – SCG – 18.00NZT
Not sure how the Dragons have this as a ‘home game’ but never mind – this ANZAC Day clash is always a goodie.
Dragons went close last year, but a sin bin cost them dearly.
A win would have absolutely helped their confidence last Sunday, but they’ll need more than that to back up again.
The Roosters didn’t play their best footy but still won, which shows just how good they can be when it comes to close matches.
Ben Hunt is such a crucial person for this Dragons side. He’ll need some support though to at least get close to winning this
TIP: Roosters 1-12
Storm V Warriors – AAMI Park – 20.00NZT
Both Bromwich brothers return for Melbourne, but so does Lodge for New Zealand.
This traditional ANZAC Clash usually only goes one way, but there’s no doubting the Warriors’ ability to compete when things don’t fall for them in 2022. They are more mature, and have a lot more experience dealing with those situations.
I’d like to see them really take it to Melbourne, but after last week, who can take it to Melbourne?
They’re just so damn good, and I admire the way they can get up every week. It’s so impressive.
TIP: Storm 1-12.
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