The Top 8 appears set, perhaps the only team that can disrupt that would be the Warriors. Now I would love that, what a fairytale that would be for 2020. 4 rounds remaining, a couple of high-class match ups to look forward to this weekend. Let's find some winners!
Well, this could be bad. The only saving grace? It's in Brisbane but unfortunately the Suncorp Stadium field is the same size as all the others. Nothing can save Brisbane here, you'd think. They are expected to get a couple of their 'stars' back, Payne Haas, Corey Oates and Issac Luke who will start at Hooker. Regardless, it won't be enough against a Penrith team who seemingly are at full strength with Api Koroisau back. That said, I am going to back the Broncos to not be so shit this week, 22.5 start on the line, I might have a bit on that and say my prayers.
This will be interesting, the Knights handed a real reality check last week at the hands of the Warriors. The Sharks welcome back Halfback Chad Townsend, whilst Shaun Johnson is expected to miss another week. Fairly certain both these teams are safe in the NRL top eight, but you'd also be forgiven for thinking that this match is a must-win. Not sure what to do here, the market is very tight and this looks a hard one to pick. Going to favour Newcastle in a tight one, coach Adam O'Brien would have given his side a nice reminder after last week's reality check. Knights, maybe just, by 4.
This is juicy. Soured somewhat with Latrell Mitchell missing, but the Bunnies do get back Alex Johnston and most likely, origin star Dane Gagai. Both teams were super impressive last week and there just seems to be some nice momentum building for both. Statement game opportunity for Souths, they'd been beating up on some weak sides prior to their demolition of Parra, taking on a firing Storm outfit will tell us where the Bunnies are at in terms of their 2020 finals campaign.
This should be close, it might be hard for Souths to back up after last week's heroics and with that considered, I'll take the Storm here by 10. Enjoy this one!
Can the Bulldogs win a game? Again, they weren't bad against Canberra and led for much of the game. Can they put 80 minutes together this week? I might be going nuts, but I think they can. The Broncos deserve the spoon, it wouldn't feel right if the Bulldogs got it and I think this is the week they can get a W.
Yes, I know what you're saying, the Titans were good last week, but they aren't the most consistent side in the NRL! The Dogs get back Luke Thompson and Jake Averillo who will add some power from the bench, that might be enough to get them over the line. Dogs by 6.
To be honest, probably won't watch this one. Both teams are done for season 2020. The Tigers seem to be imploding with the playing group frustrated with Michael Maguire, while Manly have had their fair share of injuries, but ultimately have been very disappointing. There was a whisper that Tommy Turbo might be returning for the Sea Eagles, but it appears he is not, whilst the Tigers will have to make some changes after a number of lacklustre performances.
Sea Eagles by 10, might be a high scorer with both teams happy to throw the ball around, I don't think defense will be at a premium.
You beauty, this'll be good. How about the Roosters? Luke Keary is set to return and we've all heard about that man, Sonny Bill Williams. Angus Crichton and club stalwart, the retiring Mitch Aubusson have also be named on an extended bench, will they make their return as well? Yikes!
In terms of blockbusters, it doesn't get much better than this narrative. Let me remind you of a few things.
Grand final re-match, both teams fighting it out for a Top 4 position and the return of SBW. Saturday night, 7:35pm!
For the record, sadly, despite the fact I have a bet on the Raiders to make the Top 4, the Roosters just look too complete here. Yes, they lost at the SCG around 6-7 weeks ago, but the Chooks are ready now you'd think. In fact, they may not lose again in 2020. Roosters by 14.
You wouldn't have thought it would have been the case, but the Eels Round 17 clash with the Warriors is almost season defining. Yes, they've done enough to be in the finals, where they finish on the ladder will naturally be determined by what they do in the next four weeks, I am not expecting it to be pretty.
For this week, I am going to tip them to bounce back in a tight one against the Warriors, but not expecting it to be convincing by any stretch of the imagination. Nathan Brown will be the man of the match in this, they'll need to show some fight. Eels by 4.
Bit of a Debbie Downer to end the week to be honest. The Cowboys have a host of players returning, but lose Michael Morgan and Coen Hess. The Dragons got their hearts broken by the Titians last week, they too welcoming a number of players back but will be missing Trent Merrin.
I have seriously no idea here, for the sake of a tip I'll back the Cowboys perhaps in somewhat of a surprise, but come 6:30pm Sunday night, I'll probably be watching some form of reality television. Cowboys by 8.