The Eels are coming off an upset loss to Newcastle, while the Titans are a club in crisis. This appears to be a bounce back spot for the Eels as they look to continue their run towards the finals. The Eels should get Bevan French back, while Jarryd Hayne (ankle) has been ruled out for the Titans. This could possibly be a positive for the Titans as Hayne’s feud with the coach continues to cause great disruptions for the club. It will be interesting to see whether the Titans players turn up and play for their coach or not.
Will the Warriors win another game this season? Still without Shaun Johnson for another week or two, things are going from bad to worse this season for the warriors. Souths haven’t been that crash hot themselves though are coming off back-to-back wins over the Dragons and Bulldogs. We can’t see the Warriors turning things around here without a massive change of attitude.
The Broncos have been looking very strong in recent weeks, while the Dragons are looking for a win to save their season. While playing the Broncos at Suncorp on a Friday night is one of the toughest trips in the competition, we are looking forward to what should be a tough battle between the forwards. The Broncos are the better team, tough we a tipping a tightly fought battle.
The Knight’s fairy tale end to the season continues, though this week they find themselves up against the toughest of competitors. While the Knights are at home, a win against the Storm is a huge ask.
Still being without Nathan Ross allows the Knights to play Dane Gagai at fullback, who, along with Shaun Kenny-Dowall, has been excellent in attack in recent weeks. The Storm lose Tim Glasby (shoulder), though have the big inclusions of Cameron Munster, Nate Myles and Tohu Harris.
The Roosters blew the Tigers away 40-18 a few weeks back, though the Tigers have been finding some form of late, highlighted by their comeback win over Manly last week. The Roosters will be aware of Manly’s mistakes last week and be expecting a tough battle from the Tigers.
The Roosters welcomed Friend and Cordner back last week and almost beat the Storm at home. This week they get Michael Gordon back, pushing Conner Watson back into a utility role. The Roosters will be too good this week.
The Cowboys injury woes continue with question marks over Te Maire Martin and Lachlan Coote. The Sharks are close to being back to full strength with Jayden Brailey included in the 21-man squad (coming back from a broken jaw). These two top teams have been on a real slide lately and the Sharks hopes of back-to-back premierships are quickly disappearing. We expect a huge lift from the Sharks as they look to put away the weakened Cowboys.
We are a little surprised to see the Panthers with a +5.5 start in this game. While, the favouritism for the Raiders is not completely undeserved, we see this game as a very tight match that could potentially fall either way. Canberra looked the better team the last time these two met, until Moylan put on 2 tries in the dying minutes to snatch a victory. The Panthers have improved significantly since then, while the Raiders have had a real rough patch before finding form in the last few weeks. Trent Merrin is a chance of returning for the Panthers, while Peter Wallace has been ruled out for the game.
We like the Panthers with the +5.5-point start here.
Manly let go of a 20-4 half-time lead last week against the Tigers, along with any hopes of a top-four finish. They won’t be making the same mistakes against the Bulldogs who have been absolutely dismal of late. The Dogs have very little to play for, except for perhaps making the board’s decision to sack Coach Hasler somewhat easier.
The Dogs lose Josh Reynolds and Sam Kasiano, while Manly welcome back Brian Kelly. This could get ugly for the Dogs.