Injuries, rumoured coaching movements and sex tapes, this week has had it all! Oh, and we get 8 games to look forward to yet again, let's find some winners, shall we?
An improving Dragons side kicks things off for us on Thursday night against the defending champs and premiership favourites. Dragons coach Paul McGregor has dropped Corey Norman but spared Ben Hunt the axe, whilst Adam Clune and Trent Merrin return for the Red and White. Still ravaged by injury, the Roosters get some relief with with Josh Morris returning but it would fair to say, they've only just done enough in recent weeks. Huge danger game for the chooks this, it will be tight as the Dragons get desperate to play footy in October. I think Dragons on the line, 10.5 start might be the bet here with the Roosters winning in a tight one.
How do you possibly tip here? Sea Eagles were terrible last week against the Panthers, whilst the Warriors surprised a pretty weak Tigers side. Now Manly comes here short priced favourites? The Warriors have shipped off Blake Green to the Knights with immediate effect, whilst it was also revealed this week that interim coach Todd Payten had turned down an offer to take the top job in 2021 and beyond. Always plenty going on! For Manly, well they're going to miss Dylan Walker yet again and they too are struggling with plenty of injuries. Not a lot of confidence in this one, same bet as the game previous, taking the outsiders with the line. Warriors with a 12 start and perhaps a close win to Manly.
Bennett Vs Seibold. The two stories of these teams couldn't be much different to be fair. Souths somewhat on the way up, whilst the Broncos have more issues than the Australian Women's Weekly. Anthony Milford now misses for at least a month with a torn hammy, opening the door for Brodie Croft to return and partner young Tom Dearden in the halves. Sadly, Kotoni Staggs has been in the news through no fault of his own it would seem, another unwanted distraction for the Broncos. The good news, David Fifita returns and boy do they need him, they may even see Matt Lodge as well. No changes for the bunnies after their come from behind win against the Dragons last week, the momentum is building.
On paper, these two teams look comparable, my concern is with the Broncos halves unfortunately. Rabbitohs are short, but probably the smart bet here, Rabbitohs by 14.
No Smith. No Papenhuyzen. No worries? Not sure. We say it almost every week, but again, the Bulldogs improved last week, taking it right down to the wire with the Eels. Could we see an upset here?
You'd have to be either stupid or brave to back the Dogs, but I am one of those so I am going to take the Dogs in an upset here. They deserve a win, which doesn't necessarily mean they'll get one but they'll smell a nice opportunity to knock off one of the premiership favourites. Bulldogs by 4, should they lose by something like 30 points, which is entirely possible, please don't send your hate mail.
Wowee, two teams that are desperate for a win. The Knights dealing with plenty of injuries and tumbling down the ladder whilst the Tigers need a win to keep finals hopes alive, maybe not mathematically but at least psychologically. Blake Green probably hasn't even tried his socks on and he'll be running out at five-eight this weekend for Newcastle. Luke Brooks returns to the starting line up for the Tigers but they do lose dynamic hooker Harry Grant to a knee injury. Russell Packer and Joey Leilua will add some venom to the Tigers side and again, tipping them to upset the Knights, think they are a real good bet this week, let's hope Madge Maguire doesn't have to break any chairs! Bet of the week, Tigers by 16.
Match of the round alert! This is tasty this one. Panthers flying bloody high, whilst the Raiders have been getting enough done but need to kick things up a gear now. Couple of nice 'ins' for each side, this is a little preview to some finals footy isn't it.
Canberra did enough to get the 2 points last week.
You wouldn't believe it, but I am backing the Raiders to upset the ladder leaders! Sure, they've not been comprehensive in recent weeks, but let's not forget they beat the Roosters around a month ago and this is a team that arguably should have won a grand final last year. Big game players and bound to give the Panthers the toughest test they've seen in many weeks. Raiders, in an absolute classic, by 6.
14th Vs 13th on the ladder. As a QLD'er, normally this game would hold some appeal to me but jeez I am finding it tough. Who knows here? Titans have been showing improvement and the Cowboys could do anything on their day. Skipper Michael Morgan and forward Josh Maguire back into the side, that'll give the Cowboys a boost and in a game where we are splitting hairs, I'll back the Cowboys in a real high scorer. Total game score above 42.5 might be the go here I think, bit of razzle dazzle and plenty of points. Cowboys, unconvincingly to prevail by 10.
Last game of the round is a good one! The Sharks with the great escape last week against the Broncos, whilst the Eels did just enough against the Dogs. Eels coach, Brad Arthur has re-signed this week which will give them a boost, whilst Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan return for the Sharks. Is Moylan returning a good thing? Apparently. I am not certain he is the player of a few years ago, time to stand up here.
I am going to tip yet another upset, Sharks here to make a mini statement and beat the Eels and really solidify a spot inside the Top 8. Sharks by 1 in a Sunday thriller.
*Odds are subject to change!