NRL: Tips for Round 3

@Hayward_AdamK

St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Thursday 24th March at WIN Stadium, 8:05pm

It is hard to split these two teams. Both have shown promising signs in the opening two rounds but both also have plenty of improvement left in them. The Sharks combinations still need more time to gel, especially their halves. McCullough is a big loss for the Dragons but they have a capable replacement in Mbye, who may offer more in attack. Dragons to take out the local derby… just.

Dragons by 2

Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors

Friday 25th March at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, 6pm

It is hard to put into words the performance the Tigers dished up last round, while the Warriors have rued missed opportunities and need to start capitalizing on those opportunities if they are going to register their first win. To be fair to the Tigers, their defence has been reasonably solid when you take out the fluke tries scored against them, but the Warriors have enough ‘X-factor’ in their side to get on the board for 2022.

Warriors by 8

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South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters

Friday 25th march at Accor Stadium, 8:05pm

The Rabbitohs experienced players really need to step up this round if they are to have any chance of beating the Roosters. Their attack remains clunky at best and that will not be good enough against a Roosters side which gained a lot of confidence after their win against Manly last round. It is hard to look past how good this Roosters roster is and their new combinations will only get better.

Roosters by 12

Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights

Saturday 26th March at Carrington Park, 3pm

The Knights will be buzzing after two inspiring performances which has them on top of the ladder after the first two rounds. But they come up against the also-undefeated reigning premiers, who were lucky to escape with the win last round against the Dragons. But it is hard to tip against the Panthers, and they may deliver the Knights the same ruthless reality check they gave to Manly in round one.

Panthers by 10

4 Pines Stadium

Melbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels

Saturday 26th March at AAMI Park, 5:30pm

The Storm survived a late scare last round against Souths while the Eels were beaten on the final siren against the Sharks. You could argue that it has been somewhat of a slow start for both sides, but the Storm are now missing both hookers Brandon Smith (injury) and Harry Grant (Covid) which may give the Eels an opportunity to cause an upset in Melbourne. If the Eels are going to be a serious premiership threat, these are the games they must win.

Eels by 4

Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans

Saturday 26th March at GIO Stadium, 7:35pm

The Raiders have struggled with their injury toll and were comprehensively beaten by the Cowboys last round. Fortunately for them, this week they welcome back Cotric, Rapana and Schneider. As for the Titans, the inexperience in their spine showed last round and they were lucky to escape with the win against the Warriors, but their attack continues to looked slick and fast. They should have enough points in them to outscore the Raiders.

Titans by 10

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Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys

Sunday 27th March at Suncorp Stadium, 4:05pm

Both sides have shown considerable improvement already this season, especially in defence, with the Cowboys conceding just two tries and the Broncos three in the opening two rounds. Hopefully these two sides can reignite one of the best rivalries in Australian sport from previous years. This game is a flip of the coin, but the Cowboys comprehensively defeated a relatively strong Broncos side in the trials a month ago and their defence looks solid, so that may give them a slight edge.

Cowboys by 2

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Sunday 27th March at 4 Pines Stadium, 6:15pm

Judging Manly’s performances in the first two rounds against the Panthers and Roosters, it looks like they desperately need to play a lower team just to find some confidence and rhythm with their attack, especially Turbo and DCE. But if an improving Bulldogs can manage to follow the same footprint of those top sides in shutting down Turbo and DCE, they are in with a chance while Manly’s confidence is shot. Easier said than done though, Manly to bounce back.

Sea Eagles by 14