Our tipping guru is back to help you out during this tough week of games. Just the four this week but none are easy to tip for varying reasons. Our man Tipping Point will hopefully make things a bit clearer tipping wise to help you gain the edge over rivals.
Round 17 Tips
Season: 71/124 (57%) â€“ Last week: 5/8
At a glance: Souths, Cowboys, Manly, Eels, Queensland
Panthers v Rabbitohs, Pepper Stadium
Souths are significantly ahead in this clash if youâ€™re going by the bookies, but I reckon the Panthers will give them a real shake. They were super impressive against the Tigers last week and at their home ground with no Origin outs I think they can spring an upset. What worries me about tipping the Panthers is that they do tend to struggle against the better sides, and Souths have a solid record over them with four straight wins. Iâ€™ll be tipping the Bunnies, but Penrith are a shrewd selection for a point of difference in your tipping comp.
Dragons v Cowboys, WIN Stadium
This game is an absolute lottery, despite the Dragons giving away a considerable start at the line. The Cowboys are obviously without their Origin quartet but the Dragons are in the midst of a massive injury crisis, and have Frizell, Farrell, De Belin, Joel Thompson and Matthews out and Nightingale under a cloud, to go with Dugan and Merrin who are in Origin camp. The Dragons also look a bit out of sorts generally, especially in the halves, with Marshall in particular well down on his good early season form. I think the Cowboys have a more settled line-up and with their strong away form in 2015 I think they can spring an upset and maintain their unbeaten record in NSW this year.
Manly v Sharks, Brookvale Oval
This was probably the most straightforward tip in a tricky round. You just have to take Manly. With their season and pride on the line I think theyâ€™ll be up for a big game, in particular DCE who was dropped from the Queensland side for game three. Crucially, Manly have their 1, 6, 7 and 9 playing and there are rumours that Lyon will be a late inclusion. With their strong record against the Sharks (10 wins from their last 11 games) and in front of the Brookie faithful I think they will get up, although it ought to be a willing contest against a pretty underrated Cronulla side.
Tigers v Eels, ANZ Stadium
This is just flat out awkward to tip. I could list a dozen reasons why you shouldnâ€™t pick either side (Eels are awful on the road, and even worse at ANZ whereas the Tigers struggle without Farah and, seriously, who could pick them after last Sunday?) but I have to nominate a winner. Itâ€™s an even money bet but I think the Eels seem to have more go about them. Theyâ€™ve strung together two wins, and had they held their nerve against the Cowboys it could well have been four straight wins. The Tigers have burned me so many times this year: they seem to put in one outstanding performance every few weeks to give you a bit of hope, and then dish up the kind of effort we saw last Sunday. With a few backline injuries they are looking thin out wide, and I expect the Eels to exploit that. Interestingly, the Tigers could end up in last place after this round should they lose and Manly win.
New South Wales v Queensland
Game three in what has been a spiteful series wraps up at Suncorp Stadium with Queensland going in as favourites. The Maroons will be without Slater and McGuire but welcome back Cooper Cronk and noted hitman Josh Papalii who will no doubt be on a mission to stop David Klemmer (and resume his acquaintance with Paul Gallenâ€™s ribcage). The Blues meanwhile are expected to be without veteran Robbie Farah who had surgery on an injured hand earlier in the week, with Michael Ennis the likely replacement. I have to say I reckon the Blues have Queenslandâ€™s measure, particularly in the forwards, but I worry about their ability to close out the match. The Maroons are going to come at a million miles an hour and it just seems like the kind of encounter where one brilliant play will be the difference: I donâ€™t know that the Blues are good enough to put them away in hostile territory when the game is really up for grabs. Interestingly, over the past ten years only six series have gone to a decider. Four of those six encounters have been won by the side which was victorious in game two. Recent history would suggest a Blues win, but I think a Queensland victory is the more likely.
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