Newcastle Knights v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Thursday 7th April at McDonald Jones Stadium, 7:50pm
The Knights received a harsh reality check last round, being kept to nil by the Sharks. Manly on the other hand, are hitting their straps winning their last two. Unfortunately they lose star fullback Tom Trbojevic for an extended period due to injury, and Manly’s win percentage nosedives when he is out of the side. The Knights forwards must deliver a much better performance and give Ponga time and space to produce his best footy in front of their home fans.
Knights by 6
New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys
Friday 8th April at Moreton Daily Stadium, 6pm
The Warriors downed the Broncos in a confidence boosting win last round, while the Cowboys were completely outclassed by a resurgent Roosters. Both sides are evenly matched on paper, and this game may come down to completion rate and possession. The Cowboys have put a lot of emphasis on their defence this year and they will be looking to bounce back by nullifying the Warriors attack.
Cowboys by 2
Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters
Friday 8th April at Suncorp Stadium, 7:55pm
The Broncos are under pressure after two poor losses while the Roosters are building after a convincing win against the Cowboys. The challenge for the Broncos is shortening the massive gap between their best and worst football and ignoring the off-field dramas which continues to plague the club. The Tedesco, Walker and Keary combination is starting to fire for the Roosters, and that spells trouble for a Broncos defence lacking resilience when momentum is against them.
Roosters by 16
Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm
Saturday 9th April at McDonalds Park in Wagga Wagga, 3pm
The Raiders were trounced by Manly last round, while the Storm trounced the lowly Bulldogs. The problem for the Raiders is they struggle to fire a shot when Wighton is not at his best. If the Storm shut down Wighton with their defence, the Raiders are next to no chance unless their other key players step up. The Storm are at full strength, they should handle the Raiders attack comfortably and have too many points in them with their spine hitting top form.
Storm by 20
South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons
Saturday 9th April at Accor Stadium, 5:30pm
The Rabbitohs went down in their grand final rematch against the Panthers last round, while the Dragons have suffered two-straight humiliating defeats. The Dragons problems extend back to last season, winning just one of the past 12 games. They are not getting the best out of their young players and they are lacking continuity with the constant positional changes. The Rabbitohs are not at their best, but they are not far off. This is their chance to build some momentum into their season.
Rabbitohs by 14
Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels
Saturday 9th April at Cbus Super Stadium, 7:35pm
The Titans produced a bludger of a performance last round against the Tigers, yet they escaped with a last minute win. Parramatta mauled the Dragons and are starting to flex their premiership muscles. This will be their second encounter this season, the first of which the Titans copped some rough calls, costing them a win. But the Eels have dusted off those round one cobwebs and should have too much class for the inconsistent Titans.
Eels by 12
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Wests Tigers
Sunday 10th April at PointsBet Stadium, 4:05pm
The Sharks have impressed in the opening month of the season while the poor Tigers continue to flounder at the bottom of the ladder. The Tigers have put in some spirited efforts in their four losses, but have ultimately lacked the class on their roster to win those games. Their heartbreaking loss to the Titans last round may have broken that spirit and now they face the daunting task of facing the red-hot Sharks, who should put on a clinic at home.
Sharks by 18
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers
Sunday 10th April at CommBank Stadium, 6:15pm
The hapless Bulldogs copped a 44-0 hiding from the Storm last round while the Panthers remain the only undefeated team in the competition after four rounds. The Bulldogs halfback merry-go-round continues, with Kyle Flanagan being thrown to the wolves against the reigning premiers in his first game for the season. If the Bulldogs can show some defensive resolve, maybe they will make this a contest but with Cleary back and better for the run , the Panthers should win comfortably.
Panthers by 22
Feature Image: Courtesy of McDonald Jones Stadium Facebook