The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 15

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    You have to question things sometimes. Like why on Earth the Melbourne Storm are meeting the North Queensland Cowboys with no Origin players on the park. Who made that decision? The Roar‘s NRL expert tipping panel are here to unravel Round 15.

    Wouldn’t it be enthralling to watch Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater all on the same field. The answer is yes, it’s just that we will have to wait until Wednesday when they all play for the same team.

    Origin continues to take its stranglehold on the competition, with just four games to get through this week after some superb action last weekend.

    That was capped by an incredible Panthers comeback, a grand final re-match taken by Melbourne, Johnathan Thurston making a convincing return in Darwin and the Warriors proving everyone wrong one more time.

    The Sea Eagles, Broncos, Roosters and Bulldogs also joined the winners list.

    Round 15 kicks off with the Rabbitohs hosting the Titans in a game of desperation, before the already mentioned Storm and Cowboys clash takes us to Melbourne.

    The second Saturday game has the Sharks looking to get back into the winner’s circle without their Origin stars against the Wests Tigers, before the Eels and Dragons close the round at Homebush.

    Last week, it was Tim, The Crowd and myself with five, Mary and Greg with four. The Crowd still leads on 75, with Greg in second on 68, while I’m 63, Tim’s 62 and Mary is on 60.

    Don’t forget that on the form below, you can put your own tips in on behalf of The Crowd. We will have the results at 1pm (AEST) on Friday, so be sure to have them in before then. Who knows, The Crowd might prove themselves to be better than the experts.

    Tim Gore

    Tips: Rabbitohs, Storm, Sharks, Eels

    South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Gold Coast Titans
    Rabbitohs. No Peats and no Wallace are both big outs for the Titans. Being away from home is a big out for the Titans. Rabbits weren’t too bad last week neither. Going Rabbits.

    Robbie Farah South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Storm. At home. While they are missing Cronk, Slater and Smith, the side they’ve put on the field looks solid. The Cowboys are missing JT, Hess, Cooper, Morgan and that’s really the core of what makes them good. Look for a great display of Bellamy ball from the Storm B team.

    Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers
    Sharks. They are missing Fifita, Holmes, Graham, Bird and Maloney. But they still have Gallen, Lewis and Townshend. No Tedesco really blunts the Tigers too. It’ll be tight but the Sharks should grind a tough win.

    Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons
    Eels. This should be a cracker of a game. The Eels got smacked up in Darwin while the Dragons were below par against the Bulldogs. I reckon the Eels will want it more after getting pantsed last week but, who knows, the Dragons have been rubbing egg in my face all year…

    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Tips: Rabbitohs, Storm, Sharks, Eels

    South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Gold Coast Titans
    Rabbitohs. I can’t believe I am actually tipping the Rabbitohs here, but I feel like the Titans are just too depleted by injury and State of Origin to be able to compete this weekend. There’s never been a better time to face the Titans with them missing Jarrod Wallace, Jarryd Hayne, Kane Elgey and Nathan Peats.

    Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Storm. A very tricky game to tip because both sides will be without their Origin players. The Cowboys have struggled without JT throughout this year and I expect the Storm to win at home.

    Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers
    Sharks. Unfortunately, the Tigers are a team I can’t tip at the moment. They are really struggling in the forwards and without Aaron Woods there, despite how many players the Sharks are missing, I still see them unable to match the reigning Premiers.

    Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons
    Eels. I don’t know why I’m tipping the Eels this weekend other than a feeling that they will bounce back following being embarrassed by the Cowboys last weekend. The Eels will be bolstered by the return of Michael Jennings while the Dragons will really miss Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell.

    Clint Gutherson Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Greg Prichard

    Tips: Rabbitohs, Storm, Sharks, Dragons

    South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Gold Coast Titans
    Rabbitohs. I don’t rate the Rabbitohs much, but they’re getting the Titans at a good time with Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace out because of State of Origin. As long as the Rabbitohs still knuckle down, that is.

    Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Storm. Plenty of State of Origin outs for both teams and nothing certain about the result here. Not a lot between the two forward packs, but Cameron Munster stands out in the halves for the Storm. He could make the difference.

    Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers
    Sharks. Another game severely affected by State of Origin outs, but even though the Sharks have more out than the Tigers their superior depth allows them to cover better. Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis to lead the way to a win.

    Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons
    Dragons. Tricky one between two teams looking to improve on disappointing performances in the last round. The Eels look better in the backs, but it’s the Dragons to win the forward battle and Gareth Widdop to take advantage.

    Scott Pryde

    Tips: Titans, Storm, Sharks, Dragons

    South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Gold Coast Titans
    Titans. The Gold Coast are coming off what can only be described as a soul-crushing loss. If they don’t turn it around here, their finals hopes can be sent off into the sunset. The Rabbitohs are in a similar predicament, but playing poor footy.

    Gold Coast Titans player Ryan James

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Storm. Tough one to work out, but not having Johnathan Thurston has shown it’s impact on the Cowboys. Their attack went from zero to hero against the Eels last week, and you can bet the Storm defence isn’t going to drop off. With Cameron Munster still on the park, they will get it done, with Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu scoring most of their tries.

    Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers
    Sharks. Another game that makes you scratch your head. The Sharks are without five of their Origin stars, but the Tigers don’t look like they could score against an under 20’s team at the moment. Cronulla, on the back of their defence and Chad Townsend’s patient kicking game, which was so prominent against Canterbury a few weeks ago will win.

    Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons
    Dragons. I’m doubting last week’s performance is going to be a new precedent and they will rebound strongly against the Eels. I hope anyway.

    Round 14 Tim Greg Mary Scott The Crowd
    RAB V TIT RAB RAB RAB TIT RAB
    STO V COW STO STO STO STO STO
    SHA V TIG SHA SHA SHA SHA SHA
    EEL V DRA EEL DRA EEL DRA EEL/td>
    Last week 5 4 4 5 5
    Total 62 68 60 63 75

    Now it’s your turn to try and beat the experts. Using the form below, select your tips for the weekend ahead and we will have the results at 1pm (AEDT) on Friday afternoon.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.