The Broncos really bounced back last week with a 54-0 over the hapless Titans. The Sharks are coming off a loss against the Raiders last week and are struggling to stay in the top 4. They are boosted by the return of Maloney but have lost Jack Bird again to injury.
Ben Hunt looked in fine form off the bench in the hooker role and the Broncos attack looks much more potent with him there. The Sharks have leaked 30 points twice in the last month against bottom 8 teams but they will be looking to bounce back this week.
With Maloney back in the fold, the Sharks will be much more composed in attack which they missed last week. The away team has won 5 of the last 6 in this fixture and I think the Broncos last performance shouldn’t be read into too much considering their opposition. Cronulla playing for their captain with Gallen playing his 300th. Sharks H2H @ 2.60
Dragons v Titans
The Dragons find themselves out of the 8 for the first time this year and the slope is getting more and more slippery. They’ve only won 1 of their last 5 and need to turn it around to have any hope of playing finals in 2017. They come up against a Titans side low on confidence after a 54-0 thrashing at the hands of Brisbane and it seems like the perfect match for the Dragons to get back on track.
These teams last met in June and the Titans won that clash 20-10 at home. It’s a very different outlook now with the Titans having nothing to play for and the Dragons desperate for 2 points. The Titans have conceded 104 points over the last 3 weeks and the win against the Sharks seems distant.
The Titans coach is under pressure and the team really needs to sort out its defensive woes. This is a tricky match to tip but I think the Dragons will be too good at the line. Dragons -8.5 @ 1.93
Storm v Roosters
This top of the table clash could well be our grand final preview. The Roosters get co-captains Jake Friend & Boyd Cordner back from injury which would be a huge boost coming off their last start loss to Manly. The Storm are still without Munster & Harris but have had 2 big wins in their last few matches.
The Storm have looked like a well oiled machine these last few weeks and have thrown aside teams as good as the Cowboys & the Sea Eagles. They’re looking as good as ever and that’s without some of their star players. The Roosters were coming off 3 wins before the loss last week and will be looking to bounce back.
I think this match will be closer than the odds suggest with the returning Roosters stars and I think they could pip the competition leaders. I like the Roosters +8.0 @ 1.93
Panthers v Cowboys
The Panthers are on a tear away, winning 5 straight and finding themselves in the top 8. They come up against a Cowboys side who’ve last their last 2 but they’ve been against the top 2 sides in the competition.
The odds here are skewed in the Panthers favour but unfairly so – their draw over the last 4-5 weeks has been soft. Their credentials as a genuine contender will be under the microscope this week and a loss could come at a great cost with the Cowboys one of the teams they would be aiming to displace in the top 8.
I really like the Cowboys here – their confidence might be a bit low due to consecutive losses but they are a class team and will put up more than just a fight against Penrith. Cowboys +5.5 @ 1.93
Warriors v Raiders
The Raiders are making a very late push for the finals but need to win all their games and have results go their way. They come up against the Warriors who are very low on confidence, losing their last 5 straight.
The Warriors promise so much and deliver so little year after year – they finally broke last weekend with a loss to the cellar-dwellar Knights. It’s tough to say where they go from here. The Raiders knocked off the reigning premiers last weekend and their players, especially their halves, are finding some good form.
Canberra have won their last 3 against the Warriors and I can’t see this being too different. Raiders -8.5 @ 1.93
Tigers v Sea Eagles
Manly are coming off a win against the 2nd placed Roosters – this after being thrashed 2 weeks in a row. Those results pretty much sum up their season, brilliant at times but ever so inconsistent. They currently sit 7th and have plenty to play for with a few weeks to go.
The Tigers have shown some fight over the last month and their 28-14 scoreline last weekend doesn’t show how close they came to knocking over Penrith. They are capable of pulling off the upset and are hoping to stay away from the dreaded spoon.
The home team has won the last 5 in this fixture but I think that trend is about to change with Manly finding form and having too much to play for. Sea Eagles -6.5 @ 1.93