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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 20

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31st July, 2019
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Refereeing controversy might be the order of the day, but it won’t de-rail The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel as we tell you who is about to lose their season, and who moves one step closer to the top eight and the promised land of finals footy in Round 20 of the NRL season.

There can be no doubt that refereeing discussion has dominated the discussion in recent days, but it’s an almighty shame, because Round 19 was one of the best of the season – and maybe more than just this season.

We had five of the first six games decided by less than two points, one of the greatest golden point games in the history of everything, and a Sunday blockbuster that saw two premiership hopefuls slug it out at the foot of the mountains.

For about three-quarters of the weekend, I reckon I wasn’t the only one watching going “How good is footy?” with maybe a few unprintable expletives thrown in around it from time to time.

That’s how good Round 19 was, and here is to hoping that Round 20 brings us more of the same.

I’m sure Stuart McLennan would tell you it’s amazingly good as well, given another seven tips on the weekend means he has now tipped 15 of the last 16 games.

The Crowd also wound up with seven tips, while AJ had six, I had five and The Barry rounded things out with four.

While you good people continue to lead on 92 points, Stuart and myself are on 86, The Barry has 84 and AJ rounds out the field with 78.
Round 20 promises some more thrilling games, and none more so than the two desperation contests on Saturday, where the Knights must beat the Sea Eagles, and the Sharks must beat the Rabbitohs for the sake of their respective finals chances.

Elsewhere, the Tigers and Cowboys are both still in the hunt, so Thursday’s game is enormous, while the Warriors will look to do one on the Raiders at home.

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If Melbourne learnt their lesson last week, then their record at Suncorp against the Broncos might only get better, while the Panthers will be keen to return to the winner’s circle against the Bulldogs in the middle Saturday game.

Sunday will bring us the Roosters and the Titans, before the Dragons take on the Eels in a match that could really be anything at Kogarah.

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.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Tigers, Raiders, Storm, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Dragons

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Although there are only six rounds to be played, I’m conceding nothing. With good judgement and good fortune, I will avoid going from the penthouse to the outhouse in just one season! This week’s winners are:

Wests Tigers, who I do have a bit of a soft spot for. They’ll knock away the Cowboys who are now in that twilight zone of needing to play but not having to care.

My beautiful Canberra Raiders will put at least 40 on a hapless New Zealand who are without Tohu Harris and Isaac Luke.

Josh Papalii scores as the Raiders celebrate.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Manly will dump the Knights into the worst battle of all… The battle for eighth spot and a first-week elimination. Penrith should beat Canterbury if they’ve stopped sooking about their loss to the glorious Raiders last Sunday. Dogs a sneaky chance.

Souths will beat Cronulla in an uninspiring effort like they’ve been doing for the last two months and the Roosters will annihilate the Titans who at least could have appointed Kevin Walters to make themselves mildly interesting.

In the last game, I’ll take the Dragons over the Eels, but this is basically two identical teams who won’t make September impact wasting all of our time. Be done already!

Stuart McLennan

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Tips: Tigers, Raiders, Storm, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Dragons

My perfect round double was killed by a Cherry-Evans field goal in the 89th minute. It’s not the first time the Manly Sea Eagles have spoilt my footy party and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

In memory of the Leichhardt Oval erupted scrum Robbie Farah payback to Anthony Watts, I am starting with the Wests Tigers vs Cowboys at the eighth Wonder.

With the emotion of Robbie’s impending retirement running high and a good crowd behind them, I am tipping the Tigers to repeat the 2005 grand final result.

The Raiders are looking sensational at the moment and I expect the good form to continue against the Warriors who haven’t been awful.

The Storm won’t have it all Cam’s way at Suncorp against a Broncos side that put an ordinary Titans team to sleep last weekend. Melbourne in a close one.

I am liking the look of the Sea Eagles. They are on a high coming back home against the Knights who went close against the Tigers. Brown has made changes but as I say I like what Manly are doing.

Manly Sea Eagles

(Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

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The Panthers should have an easier game this round against the Bulldogs who are looking to next year. Penrith

Slammin Sam is apparently really back this week while the Sharks will have Fifita and Graham. I am going for Souths but I expect Cronulla to push them.

Despite appearing to coast a bit at the moment the Roosters will put a big score on the Gold Coast Titans.

The Dragons vs Eels game appears the toughest to tip this week. I am going for the Dragons because they are at home and look better with Widdop around.

The Barry

Tips: Cowboys, Warriors, Storm, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Eels

Ah, the NRL is a funny old game. After 111 seasons and 19 rounds, it seems we’re still not quite sure what’s a forward pass, what a spear tackle looks like or what constitutes a shoulder charge.

Hard to frank the form of the Tigers and Cowboys from last week following a narrow win and loss last week against the less than inspiring Knights and Sharks. I have a feeling there will be an upset here.

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If not for a performance that saw all four officials get sacked, the Warriors would have gotten the points against the Eels and I would have got an upset tip for the ages. I can refs fault with the best of them! Will the men in the middle be looking to square the Warriors up? Do they dare risk the wrath of Ricky? With a five day turn around and travel, I’m tipping against the green machine.

Normally the bounce-back factor applies to a team that has been pumped the week before. For Bellamy and the Storm, any loss will do. A Broncos win would be fascinating for the competition but I think the Storm will get back on the winners list.

Nathan Brown has rung the changes. While I’m really enjoying what Manly are doing, my tipping of them has been dire. I’m on them this week. Sorry Des.

The Bulldogs are not without hope against the Panthers but it’s too hard to tip them.

Another week, another backline reshuffle from John Morris. Apparently he walked up to Josh Dugan into the sheds on Tuesday and said “Josh, you’re on the wing this weekend.”

“Not happening coach” the tattooed one replied. Morris looked around nervous until he noticed his namesake nearby “Josh, Josh…you’re on the wing this weekend.” True Story.

Roosters by plenty.

It wouldn’t blow my hair back if the Dragons won on a Sunday but they’re playing without confidence and finding ways to lose. Eels.

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(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Scott Pryde

Tips: Tigers, Warriors, Storm, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Sharks, Roosters, Dragons

What a weekend we have coming up. It’s probably going to pale in comparison to last weekend, but that’s okay, because the last week of footy was one of the best ever.

Anyway, the Tigers will kick things off with a win in a high-stakes game. Robbie Farah has just announced his retirement, and the Cowboys haven’t had a great deal of fun at Leichhardt over the years.

I’m going to take the Warriors to get over the Raiders. I know, I know, the form of the Green Machine is enviable, but going to Auckland on a five-day turnaround is rough, and New Zealand will be fired up as the crowd dress up like referees.

Melbourne will continue their run of wins at sunny Suncorp, because in what universe does Craig Bellamy’s side lose two in a row… Certainly not this one.

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Channel Nine will be filthy they don’t have the rights to Manly and Newcastle in what could be the game of the round. Newcastle have swung some changes, but are away from home, and I reckon Des and his boys will continue to turn Brookie back into a fortress.

The Panthers will easily dispose of the Bulldogs, who wouldn’t know what a good attacking play looked like if it punched them square in the nose, and the Roosters will steamroll the Titans. It could be ugly on Sunday afternoon – both in terms of scoreline, and crowd size.

I’m going to take the Sharks to beat the Rabbitohs. They are at home in Cronulla, and while I still wasn’t overly impressed by them last week, they will be desperate, and that’s when the men in black, white and blue play their best footy. Souths haven’t been all that good either.

Josh Dugan of the Sharks.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

And to close out the week, let’s have the Dragons at Kogarah over the up and down Parramatta.

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.

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Round 20 AJ Stuart The Barry Scott Crowd
TIG v COW TIG TIG COW TIG TIG
WAR v RAI RAI RAI WAR WAR RAI
BRO v STO STO STO STO STO STO
SEA v KNI SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
BUL v PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN
SHA v RAB RAB RAB RAB SHA RAB
ROO v TIT ROO ROO ROO ROO ROO
DRA v EEL DRA DRA EEL DRA EEL
Last week 6 7 4 5 7
Total 78 86 84 86 92

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