NRL: Tips for Round 18

@Hayward_AdamK

North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Friday 15th July at QCB Stadium, 6pm

A top four clash kicks off the round in what should be an entertaining contest. The Cowboys overtook the Storm to sit outright second on the ladder, winning 10 from their past 11 games. The Sharks have racked up the numerous wins against the bottom sides to find themselves in the top four, but finally netted a big fish with their convincing win over the Storm last round. A toss of the coin game, but the Cowboys have a strong record at home this season.

Cowboys by 4

Parramatta Eels v New Zealand Warriors

Friday 15th July at CommBank Stadium, 7:55pm

The Eels patchy form continued last round, escaping with the win against a lowly Tigers side, while the Warriors will be looking to build on their big win at home before the bye. It is hard to know which Eels side will show up, and it may not surprise anyone if they are upset by the 13th placed Warriors. But they usually turn it on when playing at home more often than not, and they desperately need to start building some momentum heading into the finals.

Eels by 10

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Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons

Saturday 16th July at Central Coast Stadium, 3pm

The Roosters find themselves languishing in 10th position and are one of five teams battling it out for two finals spots, while the Dragons dropped out of the top eight after losing to the Broncos last round. So there is a lot riding on this game, so-much-so that key players James Tedesco and Ben Hunt will backup after Origin. The Dragons recent form suggests they should pick up the win here, but at some point the Roosters big name, big game players will step it up.

Roosters by 8

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights

Saturday 16th July at 4 Pines Park, 5:30pm

Another important game for Manly, as a win will ensure they remain in the top eight at the end of this round. The Knights season of woe continued with their loss to Souths, although it was a spirited performance, specifically with their attack and it is something for them to build on. But the problem for them is their fragile defence, and a confident Manly side should have too many points in them following their points demolition of the Storm before the bye.

Sea Eagles by 16

CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos

Saturday 16th July at Cbus Super Stadium, 7:35pm

The 15th placed Titans have finally rung in the changes coming up against a Broncos side who returned to form last round after back-to-back losses. The two points from the bye lifted the Titans off the bottom of the ladder, and the challenge for them now is to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon. The Broncos desperately need the win to stay in touch with the top four, and they should get the job done comfortably in the local derby.

Broncos by 18

Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers

Sunday 17th July at CommBank Stadium, 2pm

The Tigers were gallant in defeat against the Eels last round, and they come up against a Panthers side who will rest all of their Origin players. It is a huge opportunity for the Tigers to potentially lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder with a win against a second-string Panthers outfit as they did last season, but the problem for them is, the majority of Panthers current depth players are NRL quality, and will still field an imposing lineup.

Panthers by 6

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Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders

Sunday 17th July at AAMI Park, 4:05pm

The Storm will be relieved to be back playing at home after two-dreadful losses away, while the Raiders will be desperate to keep their finals hopes alive with an upset win. Normally the Storm would be an easy pick at fortress AAMI Park, but they are looking like a team low on confidence, especially with their defence. The question is whether the Raiders attack will be good enough to take advantage but based on recent form, it is unlikely.

Storm by 12

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Sunday 17th July at Accor Stadium, 6:15pm

The Bulldogs are an improving side since Mick Potter has taken over as interim coach, while the Rabbitohs look to have taken their game to a new level since the return of star fullback, Latrell Mitchell. There are still question marks regarding the Rabbitohs defensive resolve, but whether the Bulldogs attack can trouble them is another question. If Latrell was not playing, the Bulldogs would be a real chance of causing the upset, but because Latrell is playing, it is hard to tip against Souths.

Rabbitohs by 14