Teams are starting to fall out of the finals picture as the race for the NRL finals heats up, and Round 18 is promising some more huge matches. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel for the weekend ahead.
It’s the crucial point of the season over the next couple of weeks. Right after State of Origin, and right before the finals race gets narrowed down by the week, with teams for the most part at full strength and squads back together for the first time in six weeks following the disruption of the state vs state concept.
As it stands, the Titans and Bulldogs are virtually out of the finals race, while the Dragons, Broncos and Warriors appear to be nearly so unless they can have monumental turnarounds.
At the other end of the ladder, the Storm have all but locked up the minor premiership, while the Rabbitohs and Roosters are around, and the Raiders continue to punch well above their weight.
And speaking of the Raiders, they can solidify a top-four spot when they take on a desperate Tigers this weekend. That will be just one of a number of big games, with the Sea Eagles to take on the Eels, the Dragons to take on the Panthers and the Roosters to play the Knights.
The Warriors and Sharks will also put it all on the line, while the Rabbitohs and Cowboys face off, making it six out of eight games this weekend where the finals implications are just enormous.
The Broncos could be thrown into that boat as well as they host the Bulldogs, while the Storm and Titans appears the game which probably drops to the back of the line in terms of neutral fans caring.
In tipping, The Crowd and myself picked up five last week, while The Barry and AJ had four, and Stuart three. All those scores must be taken out of seven though, given no one received a point for the first draw of the season between Brisbane and New Zealand.
It means The Crowd continue to lead by four, I’ve drawn level with The Barry on 74, Stuart is on 71, and AJ rounds out the tail on 67 with plenty of work to do.
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 6pm (AEST) on Thursday evening.
Tips: Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Eels
It’ll be a slow build back to the top, but we’re on the way. Here’s round 18.
Brisbane actually did pretty well to pull off a draw after being down for long periods last week. I don’t think the Doggies can repeat last week’s effort. I like the Dogs though.
The Sharks are up and down more than something that goes up and down a lot. They’ll beat the Warriors because it’s just what no one expects.
I look forward to Paul McGregor’s presser after Penrith end his St George’s side’s premiership chances.
The Roosters lost to Newcastle last time, they won’t do that again. Knights in borderline strife.
Canberra will get over the Tigers and start to lock away a top-four spot.
North Queensland are sneaky good and they’ll keep being sneaky good against a stuttering Rabbitohs.
The Storm will rout the Titans, sure as night follows day. And Parramatta will edge the Sea Eagles in a game that has a pretty important finals impact.
Tips: Broncos, Warriors, Panthers, Roosters, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Storm, Sea Eagles
I contemplated not putting my selections in this week, because defaulting to away teams might improve my score. It would have helped last weekend.
Anyway, at least I’mm enjoying the footy.
I like the look of the 80s Winfield Cup throwback Manly vs Parramatta clash for the game of the round. The Eels have looked solid and focussed recently but the return of Tommy T tips me the way of the Sea Eagles at Lottoland.
The Bulldogs have done well to get off the bottom of the table in recent times but Brisbane will be a bridge too far on Thursday.
The Sharks keep letting me down so I have gone for the Warriors in NZ.
Penrith have Nathan Cleary back and I imagine that’s a good thing even though they have been getting the job done in his absence. The Dragons fell badly to the Raiders last week. Panthers
Ponga’s back but so are Tedesco and Cordner while JWH got off. The Knights have been off the boil for a while. The Roosters have been tepid but should win this one.
I am frightened to think how many points the Raiders will pile on the Wests Tigers in Canberra. They have a recent record of big wins against the joint venture and it would take a form reversal for it not to happen again.
The Cowboys vs Rabbitohs encounter in Townsville should be close. I am leaning towards Souths.
Beware the Titans team that has just sacked their coach! Melbourne should still be too good.
Tips: Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Sea Eagles
Greetings from Bali as The Barry and family takes a bit of well-earned, mid-season R and R.
I’ve done these tips a week early, so whatever happened in Round 17 won’t be taken into account here.
The Sharks have probably found new and interesting ways to outplay their opposition and lose. After head butting and eye-gouging suspensions, how have Souths taken their grub game to a new level? No doubt, the Bulldogs are still last.
If this works, I might get the crystal ball out more regularly and start putting my tips in a couple of weeks in advance.
The Bulldogs can’t win at Belmore, so as bad as the Broncos have been, it’s hard to see the Bulldogs beating the Broncos in Brisbane. How’s that for alliteration?
The Sharks have been turning getting themselves beaten into an art form but I just can’t bring myself to tip the Warriors. They’ve broken me.
Panthers to make it seven wins in a row and cement themselves in the eight against the Dragons.
The Roosters surge to September to continue with Cordner and Teddy back on deck following their own post-Origin breathers.
Raiders to announce the signing of two more pommy forwards and beat the Tigers.
Cowboys to win but Souths to lift their game and have a player suspended for biting.
Storm to beat the Titans by 112 points.
In the early 80s, Manly and Parramatta were involved in the greatest minute of television ever put to screen.
“So, here we go again, Manly and Parra, Parra’s well ahead but the gap starts to narrow. Manly’s coming back, it seems like their built outta steel. How do you feel?”
Manly to get their revenge this time around…
Tips: Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Storm, Sea Eagles
I’m on a bit of a roll here, so you know, you should probably take most of my tips and run with them. I’ve gone from battling for the spoon with poor old AJ to equal top of the experts in a month, so make of that what you will.
Let’s start with Penrith and St George Illawarra… Even I’ve jumped off the Dragons bandwagon now. My oh my they are struggling. It’s season over, and start to plan for 2020. Get Tristan Sailor in there, and try not to lose by 50 to the red-hot Panthers.
The two games I’m really liking the look of this week are the Roosters vs Knights and Sea Eagles vs Eels.
The Knights really need to hit back after a couple of poor weeks. A young side like Newcastle build their way off momentum, and as I wrote in talking points last week, I’m not sure they’ll be able to hit back off three losses on the hop.
In saying that, the Roosters have already lost to them once this year, and probably won’t do that again.
The battle of the silver tails and men from the west has pretty enormous finals implications riding on it as well. Expect a packed out house and Des Hasler’s battlers to come away with the chocolates after almost getting past South Sydney last weekend.
Elsewhere, it’s a doozy on Thursday night as the Broncos and Bulldogs face off. (Note, sarcasm).
I genuinely don’t know who to tip. I got on the Bulldogs bandwagon last week and they beat the Knights, but a trip to Brisvegas is a tougher prospect, so Broncos.
Cronulla will beat the Warriors because anyone tipping the Warriors has lost their marbles, and also, Shaun Johnson will want to have a big game against his old club.
I’ll take the Raiders to tame the Tigers at home pretty comfortably, and the Rabbitohs to come away from Townsville with two points.
The other game, on Sunday, will feature the Storm beating the Titans. By many, many points.
Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm (AEST) on Thursday, and we will have the results in the table and comments section below.
|Round 15||AJ||Stuart||The Barry||Scott||Crowd|
|BRO v BUL||BRO||BRO||BRO||BRO||BRO|
|WAR v SHA||SHA||WAR||SHA||SHA||SHA|
|PAN v DRA||PAN||PAN||PAN||PAN||PAN|
|ROO v KNI||ROO||ROO||ROO||ROO||ROO|
|RAI v TIG||RAI||RAI||RAI||RAI||RAI|
|COW v RAB||COW||RAB||COW||RAB||RAB|
|TIT v STO||STO||STO||STO||STO||STO|
|SEA v EEL||EEL||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA|
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