The Roar
The Roar


The Roar's NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 3

Benji Marshall of the Tigers during the Round 1 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
21st March, 2018
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The NRL season is just two weeks old, but tipping is already proving to be somethhing of a nightmare with upsets left, right and centre causing plenty of untippable games for our NRL expert tipping panel in Round 3.

Tom Rock, Tim Gore and myself are joined by AJ Mithen from this point forward, who joined The Roar as an expert this week, penning his first column on Wednesday.

AJ assures me he has struggled just as much as the rest of us to start the season. To save dignity, the score will be in the table at the bottom of the article.

Regardless of which way you look at it, Round 2 was crazy. The Tigers recorded their second win over premiership contenders and suddenly can’t be taken like a joke, the Knights won again and the Dragons played out what will hopefully be the worst game we have to watch this season against the Sharks.

The Cowboys lost to a goalpost on Friday against Brisbane and the Sea Eagles pasted 54 points on the Eels, while the Panthers and Warriors meant there was some level of sanity left in the weekend of footy.

To put it bluntly, it was crazy.

And this weekend promises more of the same with a grand final re-match in Melbourne to kick off Round 3. Both sides are coming off tough losses and need to build some momentum in a pivotal clash.

Speaking of sides needing to build momentum, the Bulldogs will chase their first win of the season against the slow-starting Panthers outfit, before the Tigers look to make it three from three against a Brisbane side still trying to find their stride.

The green machine will play the in-form Warriors to start up Super Saturday, before the Rabbitohs host the Sea Eagles and Eels host the Sharks in a doubleheader at ANZ Stadium. Let’s hope crowds are up for those matches, or it could be an atmosphere-less four hours of rugby league.


Rugby League hits Toowoomba on Sunday afternoon with the Gold Coast Titans taking on the top of the table St George Illawarra Dragons, before the round finishes with Mitchell Pearce playing his first game against old the Sydney Roosters in a Newcastle Knights uniform.

The potential for upsets in Round 3 is very real, as it was in Rounds 1 and 2, and those fixtures are going to leave plenty scratching their heads.

Don’t forget to submit your tips on the form below by 5pm (AEDT) to be part of The Crowd as you take on the experts.

Leading us off is AJ. He is the new man on the panel, so why not?

AJ Mithen

Tips: Cowboys, Panthers, Broncos, Warriors, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Dragons, Roosters
Can Brodie Croft tackle Coen Hess and Jason Taumalolo? We’re about to find out! The Cowboys will take the points from Melbourne, but don’t be surprised if they play an extra few minutes.

Penrith were my slider this year but they’ve placed egg on my face (for now). They’ve had two impressive wins chasing down leads – they won’t have to do that against Canterbury.

Who would have guessed Brisbane giving Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima freedom would pay off? Unfortunately, it’ll be back to a dreary grind against Ivan’s Tigers. Not that it bothers Wayne Bennett. He lives for a grind. His Broncos will do it better than Wests.


Matt Lodge

The joint record holders for fans sent to the insane asylum meet in Canberra. Both teams are consistent – the Warriors work all game while the Raiders put in a solid 70 before heading to the sheds. Even though they’re at home, I’ve got a baaaad feeling for the men in green.

I confess, I like Souths. For me their 0-2 start doesn’t reflect their effort. But Manly are literally running hot and they’ll do the business.

Parramatta’s soul-searching after Sunday’s Brookvale baking would have been deep. Unfortunately they’re not getting an easy outing against Cronulla, who seem even more annoyed than usual. Eels in strife.

St George are having their traditional ripping start to a season. Will the Titans put a hold on that? No, they won’t. Let’s move on.

The Knights are fun to watch, aren’t they. Even when they stunk, they were fun to watch. It’s going to be even more fun watching Mitchell Pearce head back to his old stomping ground. Unfortunately for Newcastle, the Roosters are pretty good, and they’ll win.

Tim Gore

Tips: Storm, Panthers, Wests Tigers, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Eels, Dragons, Roosters
Storm at home will just pip the Cowboys. Although who really knows after last week…


I just can’t see the Dogs getting over the Panthers right now. It’s going to take a while for the new structure to get going. On the other hand, in the other Friday game, why not? If they can beat the Roosters and the Storm then who am I to say that the Wests Tigers wont get the Broncs as well?

I have no good reason to say that my Raiders will beat the resurgent Warriors. But, I bleed Green. They will find a way.

Canberra Raiders celebrate a try

I want to tip the Rabbitohs but I just can’t find a good reason too. They haven’t been bad in their two losses but they are up against a manly side in form, and Adam Reynolds isn’t there…

On the other and, the only reason I’ll take the Eels over the Sharks is that they simply must respond if they have any self-respect. The problem they have is the Sharkies – who have by no means been bad – will also be desperate. This is the match of the round for mine.

The Dragons are building. I reckon they could actually win a match in Queensland on Sunday and to finish it all off, I really, really want to tip the Knights. I do. But I reckon the Roosters might have them here. I hope I’m wrong though.

Tom Rock

Tips: Storm, Bulldogs, Broncos, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Dragons, Roosters
What a cracking game to kick off Round 3. The Melbourne Storm host the North Queensland Cowboys in what many believe will be a Grand Final preview. Both sides have been below their prolific best in the opening fortnight of footy, but with so many big game players in each side, expect both teams to bring their best.


I’m backing the Storm to scrape through on the back of their stout goal-line defence and home ground advantage.

Friday Night Football will see the Canterbury Bulldogs open their 2018 account with a comfortable victory against the Panthers, while Wayne Bennett will continue to channel his inner Steven Segal to help his under siege Broncos overcome the giant-killing Tigers.

Round 3 might be a little premature to start talking about season saving wins, but that’s exactly the position Canberra and Cronulla find themselves in. Both beleaguered squads will bounce back from unexpected 0-2 starts with wins over the New Zealand Warriors and Parramatta Eels, respectively.

And in Tom’s “Rock Solid” tip of the week, put your house on the Sydney Roosters killing the biggest buzz in Newcastle since Joey Johns skated down King Street in ’97. The Knights have been outstanding in wins against the Sea Eagles and Raiders, but the emotion of those games will catch up to them. Expect Cronk et al. to put the cleaners through them.

Scott Pryde

Tips: Storm, Panthers, Wests Tigers, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Eels, Dragons, Knights
Dragons by plenty. Let’s get that one out of the way, because even in Toowoomba, that looks like the easiest tip of the week by a considerable distance.

James Graham celebrates a try for the Dragons

I want to stick at the end of the round, because despite accusations of ‘hating the Roosters’ (Jee, you caught me), I genuinely didn’t like what they put up in Round 1.


I was wrong not to tip them last week with Luke Keary exceeding all expectations and Canterbury going backwards. But there were still holes in the performance, and the Bulldogs didn’t put up much of a fight. I’m again going against the tri-colours, with the Knights two from two – if they can work on their defence this week – Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra should all be in for huge games.

Speaking of teams exceeding expectations, what about the Tigers? It’s been an incredible start to the season for them and, at home, I reckon they might continue that.

The Panthers, even with their slow starts, should account for the Bulldogs on Friday night, while the Warriors are an impossibility to tip away from home, even if the Raiders’ form has been inconsistent at best.

That leaves the grand final re-match, in which it’s impossible to go against the Storm playing at home, and the doubleheader at Homebush.

The Sea Eagles were great last week and should get the better of South Sydney, while I expect the Eels to bounce back. The Sharks haven’t been impressive one bit so far this season and Parramatta were blown out last week – teams often have a way of bouncing back from that, and if the Sharks continue to handle the ball like they have, it could get a little big ugly in favour of the men in blue and gold.

Round 3 Tim Tom AJ Scott The Crowd
Last week 5 3 4 3 4
Total 9 7 8 8 7

Crowd tipping will close at 5pm (AEDT) on Thursday evening. Be sure to submit your tips on the form below before then to make your opinion count as part of The Crowd.