Plenty of value on offer here with the Knights coming off a victory against the 8th-placed Dragons while the Warriors have a hit a roadblock in the last month with 4 straight losses.
While it’s been a long time since the Knights won back-to-back matches, they showed good resolve against the Dragons & will be looking to consolidate and take some momentum into 2018. The Warriors continue their slide down the ladder and have only managed 1 away victory out of 9 matches in 2017.
The Knights keep the same lineup as last week while the Warriors have one change with Isaiah Papali’i replacing Bodene Thompson through injury. I think the Knights will win in a close one and look good value. Knights 1-12 @ 3.50
Titans v Broncos
The Titans will be reeling from their poor offering against the lowly Tigers last week which confirmed that they won’t be contesting the finals this year but will be looking to bounce back against big brother Brisbane, boosted by the inclusion of Kevin Proctor.
The Broncos have been inconsistent and the loss of McCullough will be felt throughout the squad. While Ben Hunt has experience in the role, his input won’t quite be on the same level. Their loss to Parramatta last week showed that they are far from their best at the moment and will need to turn it around to be any sort of force in the finals.
While the Titans haven’t beaten Brisbane since 2014, I think they’ll go very close in an effort to rectify last week’s wrongs. While I’m tempted by the 1-12, I think they’ll cover their line. Titans +6.0 @ 1.93
Sharks v Raiders
Cronulla have put in back-to-back solid performances in the last few weeks albeit against struggling opposition in the Warriors & Rabbitohs. The Raiders themselves have found a bit of form with a solid outing in the loss against the Storm followed by a win against South Sydney.
The Raiders aren’t completely out of finals contention yet but need to win and keep winning. Recent history is against them as they’ve lost 4 of the last 5 against the Sharks in recent years. The Sharks will be desperate for a win here as they look to shore up their top 4 prospects with a few contenders biting beneath them.
Jack Bird returns to the Sharks lineup while Canberra will return suspended stars Jordan Rapana & Josh Papalii. While the Raiders will surely put up a fight with both their halves in form, I think the Sharks will be too good at home. Sharks 1-12 @ 2.90
Sea Eagles v Roosters
Manly have leaked 92 points in their last 2 matches coming into this important clash. They are in the 8 but if this slide continues, their spot in the finals will be under threat. Meanwhile the Roosters have won 3 straight, including a significant win against the in-form Cowboys & have Jake Friend named to return via the extended bench.
The Roosters find themselves in 2nd spot and this match will go a long way to securing a top 4 finish. With the return of Friend combined with recent form, it’s hard to see them losing this one. However, Manly have been known over the years for backs-to-the-wall performances and this seems like just the game for them to respond.
The Roosters away form isn’t great in recent history while Manly have won 4 in a row at home. The odds seem to reflect that Manly will be producing a better performance than last week and I think Manly 1-12 @ 3.50 is good value.
Panthers v Tigers
Much has been said during the week about this match with the father and son battle between Tigers coach Ivan Cleary and Panthers halfback Nathan. The last time these two teams met, the Panthers had a resounding victory to the tune of 34 points but much has changed since then.
The Panthers have won 4 straight on their way to finals relevance as they are equal on points with the 8th-placed Dragons. The Tigers are not yet out of the woods in terms of the wooden spoon and will be desperate to claim a few victories in the back end of the season.
The Tigers are playing decent footy and while I think the Panthers will win, I think the Tigers will keep it close, even with the potential (but unlikely) return of Matt Moylan from injury. I’m tipping the Panthers 1-12 @ 3.00.