The Rabbitohs put together back-to-back victories for the 3rd time this season, putting away the struggling Bulldogs. They’ve looked good over the last fortnight but will be without Sam Burgess who has succumbed to a persistent rib injury. They come up against the Warriors to haven’t won a game since June 23 and haven’t been able to score more than 16 points in the last month.
With the teams sitting in 11th and 12th respectively, they’re only playing for pride with 3 rounds left in the season. Recent history supports the Rabbitohs chances with the Warriors unable to beat South Sydney since 2012. The Warriors are boosted by the return of Kieran Foran but have lost forward Ben Matulino to suspension.
The Rabbitohs have looked fluent in attack in their last 2 matches and are playing with some confidence. If they start well, they should easily give the Warriors their 7th straight loss. Rabbitohs -7.5 @ 1.93
Broncos v Dragons
It looks like Wayne Bennett has got the Broncos humming at the right time with the finals just 3 weeks away and a top 4 spot almost locked in. The Dragons made no mistake against the Titans last week but this Queensland team will be a much tougher task.
The Dragons have only beaten Brisbane once since 2010 with the only win in this time coming in early 2015. To make matters worse, they haven’t won an away match since May. In contrast, the Broncos home form has been almost flawless with a golden point loss to the Cowboys in March and a loss to the table topping Storm their only only defeats at Suncorp Stadium.
The Dragons need to win 2 of their last 3 to ensure a finals berth but that includes the in-form Panthers and the Bulldogs. Both teams have much to play for but the Broncos recent form and their record at home is too hard to ignore. Broncos -12.5 @ 1.93
Knights v Storm
The Storm were able to snare a late try for victory against the 2nd placed Roosters last weekend and now sit a comfortable 6 points ahead of the competition and the minor premiership all but theirs. Meanwhile the Knights have put together 3 wins in a row with the incentive of avoiding the wooden spoon in their sights.
While the Knights will be full of confidence, 2 of their wins have come against teams out of form. The Storm are a completely different kettle of fish but it’s not beyond them – they produced an upset win over them in 2015, that time away from home. Brock Lamb’s growing into his role and will be looked to provide the Knights with some spark.
If the Storm play anywhere near their potential, they should put away the bottom placed Knights. However they can’t underestimate Newcastle who would be playing with nothing to lose at this stage of the season. They are boosted by the return of Cameron Munster but lose Tim Glasby. A quick start will ensure they get the 2 points but if the Knights get going early they’ll really have to earn it. I’m tipping Knights +12.5/Under 44.5 @ 3.53
Roosters v Tigers
The Tigers, much like the Knights, are playing with nothing to lose but with plenty of energy. Their last fortnight has been admirable, topped off with a last minute win against the (now 7th placed) Manly Sea Eagles last weekend. They come up against the Roosters who have lost their last 2, one of them being against the the aforementioned Manly side.
History is against the Tigers, having not been able to topple the Roosters since way back in 2011. The last 4 meetings between the sides haven’t been pretty for the Wests’ with big margins recorded against them. With the Roosters having their co-captains back and fullback Michael Gordon this week, it will be tough for the Tigers to reverse those statistics.
The Roosters will be looking to nail down a spot in the top 4 with a victory at home. While I’m confident they will get it done, I think the Tigers form will keep them in it. Roosters 1-12 @ 3.10
Cowboys v Sharks
The Cowboys have had a very tough run in the last few weeks, coming up against the Storm, Roosters & Panthers, quality teams in good form. To their credit, they haven’t been completely blown off the park but need to get back into the winner’s circle to lock in their finals spot.
The Sharks have been their own worst enemy. The amount of penalties they’ve been giving away and errors they’ve been making have let them down all season but are hard to swallow as they make their run towards the pointy end of the season. Without a sharp turnaround, it’s hard to see them defend their title.
The Sharks have won the last 3 meetings between the sides but their form at the moment make them a hard team to back. Both teams will be looking to turn their form around with the Cowboys arguably having more to play for as they barely hanging on to 8th place. Cowboys 1-12 @ 2.90
Raiders v Panthers
The Panthers have made a huge charge into the finals with 6 straight wins putting them in 6th place and a top 4 spot not out of reach with a strong finish to the season. They come up against the Raiders who have found some form themselves with a 6 point loss to the Storm their only blemish over the last 5 weeks.
The Panthers will be without veteran Peter Wallace due to a broken hand with Sione Katoa taking his place. These two sides last met in June this year with the Panthers stealing the win with 2 tries in the final 4 minutes. The team with the home advantage has taken the last 5 wins in this fixture and the bookies seem to be following this stat with the Raiders 1.53 favourites.
I think the Panthers are capable of pulling off an upset here and are good value.Panthers 1-12 @ 4.00
Bulldogs v Sea Eagles
The Bulldogs have lost 4 straight and their season is well and truly off the rails. There is even a slight chance that they get the wooden spoon with the Knights & Tigers finding form. Chase Stanley keeps his spot in the halves which is bewildering as Josh Reynolds has succumbed to injury. Sam Kasiano is also out due to a sternum issue.
Manly suffered a shock loss to the Tigers, conceding late in the game to let slip the 2 points after leading 20-6 at halftime. Their season has been a roller coaster but they are narrowly holding on to a spot in the and will see this match as a chance to boost their confidence and get them back on track. They welcome back livewire Brian Kelly in the centres.
These teams last met in March this year and the Sea Eagles handed the Dogs a 36-0 thrashing. I can’t see this time around being much different. Manly -12/U41.5 @ 3.80