By Stephen Gallagher
FRIDAY: • Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers – Suncorp Stadium 21.35NZT
Brisbane are sitting pretty on the table top – Penrith have been set back by injuries – but their depth has saved them. It will take a mammoth effort to surpass Brisbane in Brisbane, and that’s why the Broncos will win. Too strong all over the park.
• Sydney Roosters V Wests Tigers – Allianz Stadium 21.35NZT
The Roosters have been anything but convincing 8 rounds in. The Tigers have been just as much of a mixed bag – but the Roosters should get up in this one. A week off, a few players involved in rep footy may help. The Tigers are young and big – but I think the Sydney side will click and make it count.
SATURDAY: • Canberra Raiders V Gold Coast TItans – GIO Stadium 17.00NZT
The Raiders have been so good to watch of late – and the Titans have also flexed their arsenal. This is going to be a physical game. The Raiders have had time to work again on combinations, and the Titans will be up for this.
• Cronulla Sharks V New Zealand Warriors – Remondis Stadium 19.30NZT
The Sharks have been really good to watch lately. The Warriors, not so much. The Sharks have a decent record against the Warriors too – but history generally means nothing. With a week off to think about their poor performances, can the Warriors awake from their slumber and actually perform for 80 minutes? I think not yet.
• North Queensland Cowboys V Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – 1300 Smiles Stadium 21.30NZT
The Cowboys are the true definition of determination. A weak start to the season put well and truly behind them, as they win five in a row. The Bulldogs mixed bag has continued, and they will have their work cut out for them in Townsville.
SUNDAY: • Manly Warringah Sea Eagles V Newcastle Knights – Brookvale Oval 16.00NZT
Manly wish they could play Melbourne every week, winning their only two games this year against the Victorian based club. Newcastle have fallen from grace and are desperate to get back in the winners circle. I don’t think they will have any luck this week either. The Sea Eagles will finally get it together, and put on a Manly performance we are known to see.Sea Eagles 1-12
• Parramatta Eels V Melbourne Storm – Pirtek Stadium 18.00NZT
Parramatta are the team who can beat the best team in the comp, and lose to the worst. This sets up to be one of those games, but what side will turn up to Pirtek to play? The Storm are always going to be their physical, intimidating selves – so how will they cope against the element of surprise that is the slippery Parramatta Eels?
MONDAY: • South Sydney Rabbitohs V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – ANZ Stadium 21.00NZT
The Rabbitohs are far from the Premiership winning side of 2014 – but it only takes one game to change that. Why not set themselves against the competitions second best team eight rounds deep?
The Dragons defence is going to test Souths big time, and if they can hold strong once again – they could make it seven straight wins.
Desperate times means desperate measures, and the Rabbitohs need to get a win.
Follow Stephen Gallagheron Twitter