We’re up to round 16 of the NRL. Another 10 rounds to go after this one, so we are well into the second half of the season and it’s the last weekend where teams will be affected by state of origin selections.

So after this one you can expect the cream to begin to rise to the top, and for the pretenders to fade away.

Who is the cream? I think it’s Manly, Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.

Who are the pretenders? I think Gold Coast, Cronulla, St. George-Illawarra and the Wests Tigers. But time will tell.

To the tips. In tonight’s games you can expected Rhys Wesser to play for Penrith against Brisbane.

The Panthers will beat an understrength Bronco’s team, which features the halves combination of  PJ Marsh and Shane Perry. They can’t win!

The Sydney Roosters, even without their origin players, should still beat the Bulldogs, even though the Doggies will be improved by the return of Sonny Bill Williams.

Tomorrow St. George-Illawarra will win its 6th game in a row, and become the first team to beat Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

The Titans have hit the wall. I don’t think they can make the finals and without Scott Prince, Luke Bailey and Anthony Laffranchi, they may even get towelled up.

In the 7.30 game tomorrow night Manly, on top of the table yet with only one state of origin player, should beat a Newcastle side minus Kurt Gidley, Danny Buderus and Ben Cross.

Plus South Sydney will make it three wins in a row. They should run up a big score actually in beating North Queensland, even though it’s in Townsville.

No Jonathan Thurston, no Cowboys. In fact even with Thurston in the team the Cowboys have been absolutely hopeless this year.

On Sunday the Wests Tigers should bounce back and beat the Warriors at Leichhardt, but the Tigers aren’t playing well, so don’t be surprised if there’s an upset.

Parramatta should flog a barely recognisable Melbourne team, without nine state of origin representatives.

And on Monday night, I’m going to stick with Canberra at home to upset Cronulla.

Good luck to your team, and have a great weekend.

By ricky

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