The fourth round of the NRL kicks off tonight – how will your team fare?
The first game will be between a Cowboys side gunning for redemption and the Panthers. There are very few teams in the competition that can face a halves combination of Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan, and the game will be in Townsville, so I’ll tip the Cowboys to come roaring back into form and win by a couple of tries.
On Friday afternoon the Rabbitohs play the Bulldogs. The public holiday allows the kick-off to be at 4:10, so expect a decent crowd despite the woeful performance of both teams so far. Neither side looks great this year, so expect a close game. Souths did have an impressive win over Manly last week, and they should take some confidence from that. Rabbitohs to win – but not by much.
Friday night will see a replay of the 2016 NRL grand final when the Sharks face the Storm. Both sides have lost key players since then, but the Storm look to have replaced theirs better. The Storm will almost always be the favourites whenever they play, and they should win. Cronulla, however, could do a lot of damage if they click, as they have a lot of lethal outside backs.
The Saturday games will be interesting. The first will be at Allianz with the Roosters taking on the undefeated Warriors. The New Zealand side has been impressive so far this season, and look like they are finally playing to their potential. The Roosters, on the other hand, have possibly the best side (on paper) in the NRL.
Given that their attack has clicked far more quickly than expected, I think that the Roosters will outpoint the Warriors in a high scoring game.
Saturday also sees the Sea Eagles playing against the Raiders at Brookvale Oval (sorry, Lottoland). While Manly were thoroughly beaten last week by Souths, they are a different beast altogether at Fortress Brookie. Since there are no bridges to cross this week, the Manly faithful will turn up to watch their team sneak over the line.
On Sunday afternoon the Dragons play the Knights at WIN stadium. While Newcastle are a far better side than last year, St George are deservedly top of the table. Expect them to win at home comfortably.
The Broncos and Titans play off in a Queensland derby in Brisbane on Sunday night. Gold Coast are in disarray this year, while the home team are always a strong contender. Brisbane will win, but I don’t think their attack is strong enough to do it by much.
Wests Tigers and Parramatta on Monday afternoon will be close, because all of the Tigers games this year have been. The Eels also have a very underwhelming attack, so they won’t do much against the Tiger’s defensive wall. I think Wests will win, and by their biggest margin of the season (i.e. more than 2).