By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Penrith Panthers V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 21.50NZT
Penrith remain unchanged after their strong win over the Storm, and come up against a Rabbitohs side who put 40 on the hapless Warriors.
The Panthers season looks to be building nicely, and another win here would really cement their top four intentions.
A strong dummy half and strong kicking game has really made Penrith a force.
Souths will still be a challenge, and are slowly coming together as a unit. This should be an exciting clash.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
FRIDAY: Melbourne Storm V New Zealand Warriors – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 20.00NZT
The Storm will make light work of the Warriors in this one. I do see a little bit of resilience from the Warriors, but they don’t have the strike to take down Melbourne.
What does work in the Warriors favour is that this game has been moved from Victoria to Sydney due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Storm are almost at full strength, but the Warriors also have some strength back with Maumalo and Fusitu’a.
TIP: Storm 13+
– Sydney Roosters V St George Illawarra Dragons – Bankwest Stadium – 21.55NZT
The Roosters are on a roll, winning their last four games comfortably.
St George Illawarra have strung a couple of wins together, and look a little more consistent, but this is a definite challenge with attitude and form.
The Roosters have so many players in career best form, which is just phenomenal. The Dragons have a massive challenge on their hands, but I can’t see the Roosters losing this one.
TIP: Roosters 13+
SATURDAY: North Queensland Cowboys V Newcastle Knights – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 17.00NZT
The Knights stocks are rising, and the Cowboys are desperately diving. North Queensland one-man game plan is quickly becoming found out, and they’ll have to do more against a red hot Newcastle.
Bradman Best falls out of the Knights side due to failing to follow COVID-19 protocol.
There’s plenty of strength and flair for Newcastle, and the confidence in their ability will prove the difference. Cowboys just look a shade of themselves at the moment, and have some key injuries.
TIP: Knights 13+
– Brisbane Broncos V Gold Coast Titans – Suncorp Stadium – 19.30NZT
Both sides have a lot of improvement in them, and what we’ve seen over the last few weeks definitely is not good enough.
Brisbane’s attack is directionless, and the Titans just can’t seem to convert pressure in to points.
The Broncos have a lot of suspension and injury woes, which makes me thing the Titans could get up here.
Both sides are practically rock bottom, so it’s hard to know what will play out at Suncorp.
TIP: Titans 1-12
– Parramatta Eels V Canberra Raiders – Bankwest Stadium – 21.30NZT
With the Eels suffering their first loss of the season, and the Raiders dropping a game they should have won, redemption is the theme here.
The left edge of the Eels is causing chaos to a lot of teams, so the Raiders will have to be aware of the mayhem they can cause.
The Raiders forward pack was soft last week, and they’ll take that personally.
I can see this game being won on defence. There’s some big tackles to be made.
TIP: Eels 1-12
SUNDAY: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Cronulla Sharks – Central Coast Stadium – 18.00NZT
I love the way Manly grinds out a niggly win. It’s so fascinating the way they big their heels in to deny the opposition despite being out on their asses.
That’s a sign of character, and this Manly side has plenty of it.
Cronulla still aren’t working well as a side, which creates many headaches for them.
Despite the injuries, I still see Manly winning this. They’ll be too smart and too strong.
TIP: Sea Eagles 1-12
– Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Wests Tigers – Bankwest Stadium – 20.30NZT
The Bulldogs are their own worst enemy. They perform poorly for the first third of the season, then finally put it together late.
They haven’t shown any signs of continuity, but you can’t doubt their determination.
Wests should get up comfortably, and crack in to the top eight.
TIP: Tigers 13+
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