This is the last week this year where teams will be affected by State of Origin duties and for a team such as the Broncos, suffering injuries on top of heavy State of Origin representation, it can’t pass soon enough. Last week’s football was an amazing round with 6 of the 8 games being decided by one or two points. the other two games unfortunately were absolute blow outs.
Broncos 19 def Tigers 18
Dragons 13 def Panthers 12
Storm 48 def Cowboys 20
Bulldogs 18 lost Raiders 58
Warriors 14 lost to Sea Eagles 20
Sharks 16 def Eels 14
Knights 14 lost to Roosters 16
Rabbitohs 24 def Titans 23 (talk about an upset)
This week should see some of the lower placed sides taking wins against sides they may not have got near at any other time this season and two of those games kick off the weekend’s NRL action on Friday night.
Panthers vs Broncos
An already depleted panthers outfit put up a brave fight last week against the much stronger Dragons, while the Broncos with their uninjured Origin stars in the side snuck home for a lucky win against an undersized Tigers outfit. The Panthers should be able to win this one even without Petro Civoniceva even though the Broncos forward still pack some punch, their backs will be their downfall.
Panthers by 10
Roosters vs Bulldogs
Roosters are 1 – 1 on the score sheet this year on the pre-Origin weekend. Last time they got beaten soundly, 42 – 0, by the Sea Aagles back in round 13. This time they are missing their halves as well. To make matters worse, Sunny Bill Williams returns for the Bulldogs. I’m not predicting a route, but I think mthe Bulldogs are a good chance for a comfortable win.
Bulldogs by 16.
Titans vs Dragons
Call it luck of the draw, will of the gods or whatever but the Dragons have drawn Storm, Broncos and now the Titans on the weekend before Origin this year when all three clubs have had reasonable representative commitments. Not surprisingly the have beaten the Storm and Broncos in these rounds and again they should come away with the points here. Titans lost three key players last weekend through injury and are down another three with the state sides.
Dragons by 14
Sea Eagles vs Knights
Sea Eagles are again pretty much a full strength side while the Knights are missing Buderus and Gidley on Origin duty. Both sides had great games last weekend with the Sea Eagles coming from behind to beat the Warriors and the Knights fighting right to the end against joint competition leaders, the Roosters. Manly at Brookvale though should should be too strong.
Sea Eagles by 8
Cowboys vs Rabbitohs
The newest version of the battle for the wooden spoon. the Cowboys are now on their longest ever losing streak, 8 games in a row, and have been that bad, they were lucky to get the two points for the bye. Rabbitohs won their clash earlier this year but both sides look vastly different to the two that played in round 8. Craig wing returns for the Bunnies to partner Sandow in the halves.
Rabbitohs by 18
Tigers vs Warriors
The Tigers return to Leichardt this week and should feel disappointed not to have come away with the 2 points against Brisbane last week. Perhaps a reduction in the number of play makers on the field at one time may help. Last week Farah, Marshall, Head and Morris were all on the paddock together. May be creating some confusion. The Warriors will be dirty about letting the Sea Eagles get away from them late in the game last week and will want to give Ruben Wiki a win to celebrate his 300th first grade game. He becomes just the 10th player to reach the milestone and the first New Zealander. Warriors are without Price and Tate.
Tigers by 10
Eels vs Storm
Well, Eels vs Brisbane Norths. With the Storm missing nearly their entire starting side from last week due to Origin selection, and the eels pretty much all hands on deck, this can only go one way.
Eels by 24
Raiders vs Sharks
Raiders confidence will be sky high after absolutely belting the Bulldogs last weekend. Sharks will be missing Greg Bird (injured) and Paul Gallen (Origin). Canberra Stadium is not a nice place to play football at night time with the temperature often near freezing. The Raiders, who as always surprise people with their results, will be used to it and it may be the advantage that gets them over the line. Sharks are still a strong side on paper though and will take some beating.
Raiders by 6
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