By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Melbourne Storm V Sydney Roosters – Suncorp Stadium – 21.50NZT
While both sides lost key players to injury last week, this game is set to be one of the best games this year.
Melbourne have kissed goodbye to their home games due to COVID-19, but we know they’re still ultimate competitors.
The Roosters have won five straight and don’t look like stopping.
For me, they’re going to really have to keep that up for as long as possible, especially in this match up. It’ll be one of those memorable games for sure.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
FRIDAY: Canberra Raiders V St George Illawarra Dragons – GIO Stadium – 20.00NZT
Despite a few recent losses, the Raiders aren’t far off finding their feet.
The Dragons are desperate to get a win, with only two to their name this season.
Canberra haven’t been consistent enough for their liking, but a game like this will benefit their squad.
For the Dragons, they have to execute smarter. Haven’t been able to make the most of their opportunities, and that’s a definite concern.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Parramatta Eels V North Queensland Cowboys – Bankwest Stadium – 21.55NZT
The Eels just keep getting wins, and it’s pretty impressive how they’re doing it.
North Queensland had their best 80-minute performance of the season last week, and definitely their best first half of the year.
The Cowboys game is slowly evolving, and coming up against a Parra side who have barely shown a weakness in 2020.
The Cowboys have to believe they can take it to the Eels, much like they did against the Knights, but I still don’t see them winning this game.
TIP: Eels 1-12
SATURDAY: Gold Coast Titans V Cronulla Sharks – CBus Super Stadium – 17.00NZT
The Titans seem to be finding a bit of form, despite only notching up their second win of the season in round seven.
The Sharks disposed of a weak Manly side, which is a game they did need to show up and perform as they did.
That’s why I am finding this one hard to pick.
I like the way the Titans forwards have done the dirty work, but the outside backs of the Sharks will really cause them some headaches.
TIP: Titans 1-12
New Zealand Warriors V Brisbane Broncos – Central Coast Stadium – 19.30NZT
I think all NRL fans are dreading this game. The two most out of form teams, who have probably been as bad as ever, are going head to head in an absolute snoozefest.
There’s nothing about this game that is inspiring.
The Warriors lack of continuity are causing them a lot of problems, and with the Broncos they just don’t just have any answers to their poor form.
This game could throw up anything, and fans might throw up watching it.
It could also end in a draw..They drew in 2019….
TIP: Broncos 1-12
Wests Tigers V Penrith Panthers – Bankwest Stadium – 21.30NZT
If fans survived the game before this, then they’ll be rewarded with a fantastic battle of the West.
The Tigers barely got out of second gear in an emphatic win against the Bulldogs, and the Panthers are flying under the radar as they sit in third.
Harry Grant’s form for Wests has been undeniable, as he sits second in the Daly M standings.
Penrith is being led graciously by Nathan Cleary, in career-best form.
What I like about this matchup is that there’s plenty of points in both these sides. The second phase play creates so much danger, and more space out wide.
Whoever capitalists on the second-phase play will come away with a win.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
SUNDAY: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Newcastle Knights – Lottoland – 18.00NZT
Manly get some of their injured players back, and just in time.
The way both these sides were embarrassed last week means it’s time to redeem themselves.
Manly’s being led around by Addin Fonua-Blake who is terrorising front-row opponents in every game.
Newcastle’s best chance against Manly is to play more direct, especially around the ruck.
If they can get some six-again sets and keep the Sea Eagles out on their feet, they’ll be doing their best to get the win.
TIP: Knights 1-12
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Bankwest Stadium – 20.30NZT
The Rabbitohs seem to be getting up every second week, and this is their week to get up.
Canterbury showed little desire to be on the field last Sunday, and it’ll be tough coming up against Souths.
The Bulldogs are struggling for form. No one is yet to really show some urgency and make a big tackle, kick a 40/20, or take it to their opposition in any way.
Souths can’t just cruise though, and I think that’ll be the message. Get in a good performance and build for the second half of the season.
TIP: Souths 13+
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