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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 4

(Matt King/Getty Images)
Expert
3rd April, 2019
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19403 Reads

We are three rounds into the NRL season, and tipping isn’t getting any easier, thanks to a couple of upsets last week and some very tough games this weekend. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel for Round 4.

While a vast majority of tipsters seem to be struggling with the start of the season, The Barry found some form last weekend.

He led us with seven, and it would have been eight, but he didn’t tip the Dragons. You best believe he will be forced to remember that monumental moment of madness for the remainder of 2019.

Unfortunately, it was downhill for the rest of us. I managed to pick up five tips alongside AJ, who still sits last. For those copying the defending champion, it might be time to pick a new strategy.

Stuart and The Crowd only managed to muster four points last weekend.

Round 4 kicks off at the Sydney Cricket Ground as the Roosters play the Broncos, before Friday brings us the Ivan Cleary Cup, with the Tigers tackling the Panthers after the Warriors play the Titans.

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On Saturday, Manly host the Rabbitohs on the worst surface in the NRL, before the Cowboys take on the Raiders in Townsville, and the Sharks – with Bronson Xerri set to debut – face the Eels.

Melbourne will be heavy favourites to remain undefeated on Sunday against the Bulldogs, with the Knights and Dragons capping the round off in the Hunter.

Don’t forget to join in with your tips at the bottom of the article to try and beat the experts in 2019 as The Crowd and try your luck in our Roar NRL tipping comp. Crowd tips will close at approximately 5:30pm (AEDT) on Thursday afternoon.

Because The Barry clearly out-tipped all of us last week, he is going to lead things away in Round 4.

The Barry

Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Tigers, Rabbitohs, Raiders, Sharks, Storm, Dragons
I’m back baby! We’re back baby!

The Bulldogs scored their first win of the season. Who saw that coming? Well, me actually, one of seven successful tips for the week. Any sense of jubilation was short lived and quickly replaced by an uneasy feeling as I saw how hard this week’s games are, and the Dogs are playing away to the Storm.

Rhyse Martin

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The Roosters haven’t been totally convincing to date but have been doing enough to get the wins. I’m tipping them to do the same on Thursday, but I do like the look of the Broncos with Matt Lodge returning, Matt Gillett back on an edge and Tevita Pangai Junior at lock. Part of me senses an ambush.

The Warriors have been dismal since routing the Bulldogs in Round 1. A five-day turnaround and travel to New Zealand prevent me from tipping the Titans.

Villiame Kikau’s return almost has me tipping Penrith. He adds so much to the Panthers attack, not just on the left, but his charges create space to set up a quick shift right. But there’s just too much going on at the foot of the mountains. The five-day turnaround for the Tigers makes me nervous, but I’m tipping a combination of Madge’s full-time spray and the return of Josh Reynolds to get them home.

It’s a tremendous luxury for a team to not be at their best and still be good enough to be undefeated. That’s where I see the Rabbitohs at the moment. I’m sticking with them but a Tom Turbo-inspired upset at home wouldn’t surprise.

On Saturday afternoon, the Cowboys and Raiders squads will have a combined three Joshes and three Jordans, two Jakes, Jacks, Josephs and Johns plus a Jarrod, a Javid, a Justin and a JJ. No joke. Triple J should think about broadcasting the game. I’m going for the Raiders.

Sharks against the Eels is the game of the round. The Sharks will be too strong, although home ground advantage gives the Eels some hope. Looking forward to seeing Bronson Xerri’s debut.

I’m tipping the Storm. I don’t really want to talk about it.

In the last game, yet again the team I like is away from home, making picking a winner more difficult. With not much confidence, I expect the Dragons to build on last week’s win, particularly if Tyson Frizell and his ruptured wheel is ready to roll.

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AJ Mithen

Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Eels, Storm, Knights
Steady as she goes. If I keep this up, I’ll surely come out ahead of all you streaky tippers with your peaks and troughs.

The Roosters will take care of an iffy Brisbane on Thursday, but it won’t be a domination. They’ll do what they need to do and nothing more.

New Zealand will sneak the Titans in a close one that might well go longer than 80 minutes.

All the talk has been about the Cleary ‘debacle’ at Penrith… So obviously the Panthers are guaranteed to beat Wests Tigers. It’s the way of the universe. Also, Viliame Kikau is back and he is glorious.

Souths will battle for an hour or so before they take the game away from Manly’s Trbojevic-inspired renewal.

(AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING

My beautiful Raiders will beat the discombobulated, Taumalololess Cowboys up north.

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Parramatta will get the Sharks, a tip made with absolutely no confidence. This game should be a beauty.

The Storm will rout Canterbury in Melbourne. That’s all there is to say about that.

Finally, Kalyn Ponga’s return to fullback lets Mason Lino, an actual half, have a crack in the six jersey. He’ll help a lot as the Knights squeak one over the Dragons. It might only be Round 4, but there’s a lot riding on this game.

Stuart McLennan

Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Raiders, Sharks, Storm, Knights
Footy tipping is a bumpy road and like the Eels and the Tigers, I fell in a heap last weekend only managing to get half the games right.

Upsets are what makes the NRL great and tipping interesting.

The game I am hanging out for most is the Busways Cup match between Penrith and Wests Tigers. The teams would have copped a vicious serve from the respective coaches after both sides surrendered meekly on the weekend. Grub (Reynolds) is in for the Tigers while the Panthers welcome back Kikau, I don’t know. Panthers at home.

Cronk has been named again to return from injury for the Roosters while the Broncos who failed at the last start have Lodge returning. Roosters will be too classy particularly in the halves.

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Neither the Warriors or the Titans look good at the moment. Warriors at home.

The Sea Eagles looked a lot better in Christchurch with Tommy Turbo at the back but will face much better opposition when they come up against the Rabbitohs. Souths.

I am enjoying watching Bateman and the half English Raiders go round this season and they should be too good for the Cowboys who were disappointing last round. Canberra.

Dylan Brown out for Parra and Moylan out for Cronulla. This is a tough one but the Sharks are starting to find some good form. Cronulla to win.

Shaun Johnson of the Cronulla Sharks

(Tony Feder/Getty Images)

The Storm should easily prevail at home over the Bulldogs who played well last round but have lost Foran. Storm.

The Knights and Dragons is another tough one to pick. Ponga shifts back to fullback while St George Illawarra have lost a star at the back in Widdop. Knights at home but only just.

Scott Pryde

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Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Sharks, Storm, Dragons
So, I’m not running last. I guess that’s a positive. But tipping is a cruel beast at times, as my results from last weekend will show.

Anyway, let’s get the easy ones out of the way first this week. Melbourne will bash the Bulldogs. End of story. Canterbury were better last week, but a trek to Melbourne is a very tough ask.

Then there is Souths and Manly. The Rabbitohs, even at Brookvale, have been winning without playing well, so should be too good for the Sea Eagles who travel back from New Zealand, probably with a renewed sense of confidence.

In the not-so-easy basket, I’ll take my Dragons to beat the Knights. Tyson Frizell might be back, but even then, the Red V were a lot better last week against Brisbane away from home, and with a spine now set in stone, and a Knights team finally shifting Kalyn Ponga to fullback, it should be a bridge too far for the men from the Hunter.

Meanwhile, I can’t see why anyone would tip the Raiders to beat the Cowboys without Jason Taumalolo, noting the game is in Townsville.

The other games in the middle category of difficulty will see the Roosters get the better of the Broncos at what I’d say will be a sparsely populated Sydney Cricket Ground – seriously, who thought that was a good idea? Playing the Roosters (low fan support) against an out-of-town team, on a Thursday night, at the hardest place to get to on Earth, in a ground which is just dreadful to watch footy at.

Angus Crichton passes the ball for the Roosters

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Anyway, rant over on that one. The Warriors should also get the better of an improved Titans outfit, who have to travel with the dreaded five-day turnaround.

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The two games I’m expecting to line up as matches of the round are the Panthers against the Tigers, and Eels against the Sharks.

Both could go either way. I’ll take the Panthers to beat the Tigers on the assumption it might take Josh Reynolds a little while to find his feet in first grade again. That, combined with big Kikau’s return and the Panthers just generally being desperate for a win, should send the script in their direction.

The Eels and Sharks is going to be a corker. Parramatta have been the team who have surprised me more than any other at the start of this weekend, while you always know what to expect out of the men from the Shire.

I’ll take the Sharks on the back of their defence with absolutely no confidence, but they need to keep Blake Ferguson quiet and dominate the territorial battle if that’s going to be the case.

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Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 5:30pm (AEDT) on Thursday, and we will have the results in the table and comments section below.

Round 4 AJ Stuart The Barry Scott The Crowd
ROO v BRO ROO ROO ROO ROO ROO
WAR v TIT WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR
PAN v TIG PAN PAN TIG PAN PAN
SEA v RAB RAB RAB RAB RAB RAB
COW v RAI RAI RAI RAI COW COW
EEL v SHA EEL SHA SHA SHA SHA
STO v BUL STO STO STO STO STO
KNI v DRA KNI KNI DRA DRA KNI
Last week 5 4 7 5 4
Total 13 15 15 14 16
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