With State of Origin happening next week, a total of 4 teams will enjoy the bye this weekend – leaving a 6 games to choose from.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Gold Coast Titans at WIN Stadium Wollongong
Tip: St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons at WIN will be desperate to get the win here, and should prove too much for the Titans – who had a hiccup last week against the Roosters. No Webster for the Titans and the couldron that is WIN will be their downfall.
NZ Warriors vs Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium, New Zealand
Tip: NZ Warriors
This should be a great game, and a very hard one to pick. The Tigers are in good form and aren’t affected by Origin selections. The Warriors after some shock lossess will really pull out all stops in Auckland. Look for the NZ side to play physical and out muscle the smaller Tigers pack.
Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys at Parra Stadium
Tip: Parramatta Eels
Not as one sided as everyone thinks. The undermanned Cowboys prove a danger to the plucky Eels and this match will be interesting considering no Jonathan Thurston and former Eel Ash Graham playing pivot. The soft, dewy surface as always will suit the Eels and they will be out to avenge last weeks loss.
Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters at Olympic Stadium, Melbourne
Tip: Melbourne Storm
Melbourne will be too much for the Roosters, who also lose some key players to Origin duty. The Storm at home will rain down on any Roosters parade. Look for rookie Storm players to stake their claim in the top grade and for Billy Slater to have a blinder in the face of missing Origin selection.
Bulldogs vs Cronulla Sharks at Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Tip: Cronulla Sharks
The Bulldogs are rarely outsiders in most people minds, but their recent form and loss of Mason for this clash really hurts them. They have a spare parts or trial halves combination and many players that aren’t playing well in the outside backs. Look for the Sharks to dominate through Luke Douglas up front and guys like Greg Bird to give the rough stuff back to the usually gritty Dogs. Cronulla have Dykes and Kimmorley pairing in the halves and are sure to be hard to contain.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos at Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Tip: Manly Sea Eagles
Both sides heavily affected by Origin stars missing, but the Broncos really are fielding a reserve grade side. Expect to see Orford get some form back here, as well at Monaghan to play well after putting contract discussions behind him. Manly should do this comfortably. And Brooky faithful will turn up in droves being a Monday night game.