By Stephen Gallagher
THURSDAY: Rabbitohs V Broncos – Accor Stadium – 21.50NZT
Playing each other in the first round of the season the Broncos got the jump on the Bunnies at Suncorp.
Now getting the chance for revenge at home.
Brisbane lose Haas and Capewell due to injury, so already the Bunnies will feel more confident.
Adam Reynolds has had many a halves partner this season, and it’s Gamble again this week.
My concerns with Souths are around their defence. They leaked a lot of points against a 12 man Manly last start.
Reynolds playing against his old side for the first time however will be a massive moment for him and you know he’s going to step up and play really big.
TIP: Broncos 1-12
FRIDAY: Raiders V Bulldogs – GIO Stadium – 20.00NZT
Damn, the Raiders are abysmal aye. They lost to the Warriors who were just as horrible as they were, if not more so.
The Doggies got a massive scalp against the Roosters, and will be bouncing into Canberra with plenty of swag.
They’ve got the belief now, after grinding out that win last week. Belief is so important.
It’s good to see common sense prevail and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad come back in the 1 jersey for Canberra, and Jarrod Croker get his first start for the season.
Plenty riding on this one. Momentum for the Bulldogs, and pressure on the Raiders to get it done.
TIP: Raiders 1-12
Panthers V Eels – BlueBet Stadium – 20.00NZT
Undefeated at home since 2019, this Westen Sydney derby has all the right signs to be a cracker.
The Eels were horrid last week, and getting Brown and Moses back together is the smartest and sanest option which has happened for this week.
That Panthers side who were taken to the edge by the Titans last week is the same side to play Parra.
Penrith look to go 9-0 before Melbourne next weekend which is exciting!
I think they’re definitely good enough to whack the Eels here, but Brad Arthur will know what’s coming his side’s way.
TIP: Panthers 1-12
SATURDAY: Sea Eagles V Wests Tigers – 4 Pines Park – 17.00NZT
I’m excited about this game.
What the Tigers have showed the last three weeks is better than anything they did in the opening five rounds.
And despite playing with 12 men for 69 minutes, the Sea Eagles were very good and weren’t that far away from winning last week.
A very young backline for Manly, with the average age just over 20. 3 Trbojevic’s starting is very cool, too.
The Tigers backline needs some firepower. That’s one thing they’re lacking at the moment. Nofoaluma is out this week, and Laurie missing again means someone in this back 5 needs to step up.
Hastings and Brooks looking better together each week is positive too.
What Olakau’atu and Schuster can do on the edge is scary for Manly. I think those two make the difference here.
TIP: Sea Eagles 13+
Roosters V Titans – BB Print Stadium – 19.30NZT
A match in Mackay means rural footy is back.
The Roosters, however, aren’t back – and maybe a bush match is something that’ll help them get back to their winning roots.
While every man and his dog run a comb over this Titans side to figure out what’s wrong with them, they are needing someone to get stuck in without David Fifita.
The Roosters will be happy to see Tupou and Momirovski return on the left edge.
The Titans must be a target for the Roosters to target. Their season needs to get back on track asap.
TIP: Roosters 1-12
Cowboys V Knights – Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 21.30NZT
Every week Newcastle play a team that is in form and dangerous. This is such a tough away game for the Knights.
The Cowboys are the most improved side so far this season without a doubt, and have found what works for them and it works very well.
Tabuai-Fidow off the bench is going to destroy the Knights if they get on a roll.
Where does the rut stop with Newcastle? They haven’t scored a try in two weeks, and they barely look alive at the best of times. I guess that’s why they have a brand new halves pairing.
Obviously, there are fingers being pointed at Kalyn Ponga, but a one-man show isn’t going to help. 16 other blokes need to deliver too.
TIP: Cowboys 13+
SUNDAY: Storm V Dragons – AAMI Park – 16.00NZT
A Sunday afternoon game in Melbourne!
The Dragons have won three on the trot now, which is great for their confidence, and they’ve had to dig deep in every game to get that result. That shows to me there’s something about this side.
But what can they do to stop this scary Melbourne juggernaut?
120 points in two weeks, and only conceding three tries in that time….and this feels to me like they’re only just getting started.
I’d like to think the Dragons can put up a fight, but whatever way I see it – the Storm still come out on top in a big way.
TIP: Storm 13+
You have to celebrate the wins, but the Warriors were very poor last week – but two points are two points.
The Sharks get a long turnaround time to think about their loss to Brisbane last Thursday, and will be fired up and want to bounce back in an emphatic fashion.
They definitely look the more structured and the more dangerous of the two, but the Warriors strength on defence has been really good in 2022.
I reckon this game has some fireworks in it. The Sharks love to beat the Warriors, but I don’t think they do it convincingly.
TIP: Sharks 1-12
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