The tipping guru himself, Tipping Point, joins us for another week, as he casts his eye over who will win and why. If you are struggling to tip this week, or any, Tipping Point is your man, as he helps you make the best decision.
Round 25 Tips
Season: 110/183 (60%) Last week: 4/8
At a glance: Broncos, Manly, Sharks, Bulldogs, Storm, Tigers, Dragons, Raiders
Rabbitohs v Broncos, Allianz Stadium
Itâ€™s hard to believe that weâ€™ve had twenty four rounds of football since these two sides last duked it out, and the Rabbitohsâ€™ win in game one, round one 2015 seems like a lifetime ago. Souths will be playing out of an unfamiliar arena in Allianz Stadium and the Broncos playing on an unfamiliar night of Thursday in clash which has massive ramifications for the top four and the minor premiership. The Bunnies were ordinary against the Dogs last week and will have to cope without GI for a number of weeks after he injured his knee. They do welcome back Keary and Luke from suspension which will make a massive difference to the side, but I really like the Broncos in this clash. They werenâ€™t far off the Roosters last weekend and I think theyâ€™re a cut above the Bunnies, especially without their champion fullback. The Broncos have a real air of consistency and quality about them and I expect them to keep the pressure on the Roosters for the JJ Giltnan Shield.
Manly v Roosters, Brookvale Oval
Itâ€™s the last throw of the dice for the Sea Eagles this Friday and the challenge doesnâ€™t get much bigger than the current competition leaders. The Roosters are on a ten-game winning streak but come into the match with some significant injury worries: JWH is out for the year and Pearce will be gone for a number of weeks, and Jennings is also out due to suspension. They are still putting out a fair side, but I like Manly in this game. With their season on the line in front of a full house at Brookie I think theyâ€™ll come out all guns blazing. They were poor against the Eels but theyâ€™ve shown us over the back-end of this season that they are a quality side. The Roosters are going to drop a game at some point and you get the feeling this could be the one.
Eels v Sharks, Pirtek Stadium
It feels like an eternity since the Eels last played at Pirtek â€“ probably because it has been. Their last game at their spiritual home was in round 16 and the complexion of their season has changed dramatically since then. They come into this game off a great win over Manly and a close loss to the Roosters: theyâ€™re definitely playing some tough footy but they come up against a side that set the benchmark in winning ugly. The Sharks could well be in the top four at the end of this weekend and I donâ€™t think theyâ€™ll let the chance slip against the Eels, despite only winning one of their last five matches against them and being the dreaded â€œaway favouriteâ€.
Knights v Bulldogs, Hunter Stadium
Itâ€™s Old Boysâ€™ Day at Hunter Stadium and with Kurt Gidley playing his farewell match the stage is set for an epic performance from the Novocastrians, who were absolutely outstanding in knocking over the Storm last weekend. The Knights got themselves out of spoon territory off the back of a sublime performance from Tyrone Roberts and a dominant effort from their forwards. The Dogs will be a massive test though. Theyâ€™re awkwardly placed in seventh spot and would dearly love a home final in week one of the semis; I think theyâ€™ll be too good but the Knights wonâ€™t be easy-beats.
Storm v Cowboys, AAMI Park
It must have been a rather uncomfortable dressing room for the Storm players after last Mondayâ€™s game against the Knights because they were completely outmuscled and humiliated on their home turf. The Storm have dropped a few games unexpectedly this season but they do tend to aim up when the heat is on and historically they rarely play poorly in back-to-back fixtures. The Cowboys chalked up a big win over the Warriors but it came at a cost with Michael Morgan ruled out for the year with an ankle injury. Morgan has been a big part of the Cowboysâ€™ surge this year and I think his absence will be the difference in this game and puts a massive dint in their premiership hopes.
Tigers v Warriors, Campbelltown Stadium
Westsâ€™ year went from bad to worse this week with their leader Robbie Farah told to look for a new club for 2016 in what is surely a morale-killer at the club. What exactly this means from a tipping perspective is hard to say: we often see sides ride a wave of emotion in the opening exchanges of matches before falling away as sentiment does not win footy games â€“ particularly when your side is stone cold last. If it were anyone except the Warriors I wouldnâ€™t be going near the Tigers, but I canâ€™t see the Warriors offering too much in this game. The Tigers will rally around their skipper and send him out a winner.
Titans v Dragons, Cbus Super Stadium
This is definitely an awkward tip. The Titans have been spoilers all year, often winning matches we donâ€™t expect â€“ as was the case last weekend against the Raiders. The Dragons have won three of their last four but those wins came against the Panthers, Warriors and Knights so the record is flattering. That said, they should have a touch more class than the Titans who despite being pretty robust and willing, make far too many errors and concede too many penalties to stay with a reasonably well-disciplined side like the Dragons, who are also playing for a top eight spot. I worry about this game though, and once again Iâ€™ve picked an away favourite which is always risky.
Raiders v Panthers, GIO Stadium
The Panthers enjoy the long Thursday-night-Monday-night break between rounds and should be well-rested for the trip to the Nationâ€™s capital. While Monday will be the last day of winter the temperature is still expected to drop below zero overnight so it should be chilly conditions for two sides well out of finals contention. Canberraâ€™s poor home record (2/11) has been well-documented and coming off their worst performance of the year they will have plenty to prove. The Panthers injury ward welcomed a new addition last week with skipper Elijah Taylor ruled out for the year, and I really canâ€™t see them winning this game with so many players out. They play with plenty of ticker but I donâ€™t see them spoiling the Raidersâ€™ farewell home game for the year.