Tipping in the NRL has never been harder and with so many upsets, tough decisions to make and inconsistent teams, finding the right balance is hard. Do not fear, our tipping guru Tipping Point is here to help. Here are his tips and analysis for Rd 8 of the NRL.
The Dragons have won five straight, Manly are favourites to claim the wooden spoon, the Bunnies and the Roosters are on losing streaks, the Raiders and the Eels are winning on the road, the Titans and the Sharks are winning at home: what is happening in the world of rugby league, people! Everything is going a bit haywire at the moment and thatâ€™s reflected in the tipping â€“ especially mine. Last week was an absolute disaster â€“ the less said about it the better! Iâ€™m keen to get back on track and with a few tasty 50/50s this round it shapes as weekend of massive ladder-climbing potential. Itâ€™s important to note that this is the last week before the representative weekend which means teams will be busting their guts to get the two points before having a week off. Thereâ€™s also no Monday night fixture which means the round concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Season: 32/56 (57%) â€“ Last week: 2/8 â€“ Stand-outs: 3/7
At a glance: Tigers, Warriors, Cowboys, Roosters, Storm, Broncos, Sharks, Souths
Bulldogs v Tigers, ANZ Stadium
I really like the Tigers here, even though they let in 30 unanswered points against the Raiders last w. The Dogs meanwhile returned to the winnerâ€™s circle last week but I donâ€™t think you can read too much into it: despite overpowering a dreadful Manly outfit theyâ€™re still missing plenty of stars (Josh Morris has also been ruled out) and their halves are in very dicey form. I think the Tigers will be primed for a massive game. Besides coming off a shock loss, theyâ€™ll be desperate to avenge their golden-point defeat to the Dogs back in round four. Itâ€™ll be a wet night which favours the Dogs, but the Tigers will be too slick.
Warriors v Titans, Mt Smart Stadium
Our Anzac Day football feast kicks off in New Zealand with the Warriors taking on the improving Titans in a match between two of the most untrustworthy sides in the NRL. This is a really close call and the Titans are playing decent footy â€“ but you just have to take the Warriors. Theyâ€™ve won eight straight over the Titans and theyâ€™re pretty solid (well, as solid as they ever are) at home â€“ they ought to get the chocolates, especially after a narrow loss to the Cowboys which should leave them fired up for a good performance.
Knights v Cowboys, Hunter Stadium
A repeat of the round two fixture and havenâ€™t things changed immeasurably since then? The Cowboys are just about premiership favourites with four straight wins whereas the Knights are in freefall, losing their past three including home matches against the Dragons and Eels. The Cowboys are noted poor travellers and have a bad record in Newcastle, but they are the form team in the comp and should be too good. Iâ€™ll be watching with interest to see if Beau Scott returns to the Knights squad to again ruffle JTâ€™s feathers: I doubt Thurstonâ€™s forward pack will let him get one over their leader a second time this year.
Roosters v Dragons, Allianz Stadium
The Roosters have lost three in a row and Iâ€™ve backed them every week â€“ and will again this week. Theyâ€™re too good a side and the wins are going to come eventually. They were unlucky against the Storm and unlucky against the Broncos â€“ but that will turn around. The Dragons on the other hand have strung together five wins which is an achievement, but in truth the opposition has been a mixed bag, accounting for Manly, a depleted Broncos and Bulldogs as well as the Raiders and the Knights. The Roosters will be their biggest test to date, and I predict the tri-colours will unleash some pain in this match and make it six straight wins over the Red V.
Storm v Sea Eagles, AAMI Park
Manly are playing like deadset busteds at the moment, and I give them next-to-no chance against an ultra-clinical Storm outfit who have snuck under the radar this year to find themselves in first place. Even with Cronk in doubt, the Storm will get the job done â€“ I reckon weâ€™ll see Billy Slater return and stake his claims for the Kangaroos #1 jersey he has made his own in recent years. As for Manly? Well, itâ€™s a long, long road ahead: down on troops, down on morale and down on their luck.
Broncos v Eels, Suncorp Stadium
Itâ€™s a pretty straightforward tip: you just have to take the Broncos. Theyâ€™re ultra-bankable at Suncorp with eight wins from their last ten matches and it takes a pretty good team to beat them at home – I donâ€™t think the Eels have back-to-back away wins in them just yet. In saying that, Brisbane are definitely down a few troops and this will be close game â€“ but the Broncos should get home.
Panthers v Sharks, Pepper Stadium
After three straight wins over decent opposition, are the Sharkies back? With an injury toll that may see Brandy Alexander recalled, are the Panthers done and dusted in 2015? I really feel for the Panthers: they were among the heavyweights in pre-season, but they seem to lose front-liners to long-term injuries every week; Kite and Mansour are the latest to join a pretty talented recovery ward (and thereâ€™s plenty of conjecture around Segeyaroâ€™s availability this weekend). The Panthers always play above themselves, but they simply do not have the troops available to compete for 80 minutes against a Sharkies outfit starting to believe that better times could be ahead.
Rabbitohs v Raiders, Barlow Park (Cairns)
Now I might be a bit biased, but I reckon the Raiders are the most underrated team in the comp. Besides a blow-out against the Roosters in round four, the Green Machine have been thereabouts in every match this year, and were unlucky to lose to the Dragons and the Storm at home. With their massive forward pack I give them plenty of hope against the Bunnies who look all at sea without Adam Reynolds and have lost three of their last four. Iâ€™d love to be one-eyed and tip the Raiders, but I think the Bunnies are due to come good and GI might just prove the difference in what should be a close game.
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