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

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27th May, 2020
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Footy is back. It’s a miracle. A living and breathing miracle. After nine weeks in the wilderness, the NRL finally makes its return this evening in Brisbane, and while there will be no crowds, a shortened season and some upset teams, it promises some cracking games. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping for Round 3.

A 20-week season means every game holds that much more importance, and those teams without a win to their name will be desperate to pick up points in Round 3.

That being said, the winless back-to-back defending premiers the Sydney Roosters feature in the game of the round against the Rabbitohs on Friday in prime time.

Elsewhere, the Broncos host a Thursday night game in a surprise to no one against Parramatta, everyone’s second favourite side the Warriors kick off with a winnable game against St George Illawarra, and Canberra make the trip to Melbourne in what should be a belter on Saturday night.

The Titans are the first side with the dreaded game day trip to Townsville on Friday, the Sharks host the Tigers in Parramatta and Manly will look to put about a thousand points on Canterbury in the final game of the week. That leaves the Knights and Panthers, both missing their biggest stars, to play in prime time on Sunday.

Go figure.


Back on the tipping front, and a quick reminder into the state of affairs. The Barry won Round 2 all those weeks ago, but he still sits equal with Mary and David on nine, who are two tips behind AJ and myself as equal leaders. The Crowd are in between on ten, having scored five tips both weeks thus far.

Remember to you get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEDT) on Thursday to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2020 and be featured as part of The Crowd’s tips for Round 3.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters, Dragons, Sharks, Raiders, Panthers, Sea Eagles

We’re back and I’m picking up where I left off – in front and unassailable. You’ve all had your rest to refocus and think about where you’re all at – now do your best to match this accuracy!

Brisbane are going to plough the Eels at a vacant Suncorp Stadium. Parra might be top but that’s because they are notorious downhill skiers – they’ve had the ‘challenge’ of a soft draw against tomato cans the Bulldogs and the Titans. Brisbane will be up and about and even though David Fifita is out, they’ll do the business.

The Cowboys will beat the Gold Coast if they’re remotely serious about achieving anything in 2020.

Jason Taumalolo North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League Grand Final 2017

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


The Roosters need to get a bit more serious than they would usually for Round 3, considering there’s a shortened season. They’ll grind over the Bunnies in a filthy, filthy exhibition of grinding rugby league.

How about those Warriors? They’ve made huge sacrifices to be over here, away from family in a truly unique situation. What a heartwarming tale for everyone’s second team. That won’t stop them getting absolutely pasted by the Dragons though, because unfortunately they’re just no good.

Cronulla find themselves in the familiar situation of having to play with a performance enhancing drugs drama hanging over their heads. Bronson Xerri or not, they’ll get over the Tigers in the worst quality match of the round.

My beautiful Raiders will make the trip to Melbourne and rout the Storm by 48. Melbourne just aren’t ready to face your 2020 premiership favourites, and what have the Storm done lately anyway?

Penrith face Newcastle and risk a TikTok-related loss, but even though their halves Matt Burton and Jarome Luai have less NRL experience than I do, they’ll get the points against a Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey-less opponent.

Finally, Manly will get the win over Canterbury. I’ve professed my love for the Dogs quite a bit, but they don’t match it with a decent point-scoring performance.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Eels, Cowboys, Roosters, Dragons, Sharks, Raiders, Knights, Sea Eagles


I’m tipping the Eels because it’s about time they had a win against strong opposition. The Eels will also be boosted by the return of Reed Mahoney and the Broncos will really miss David Fifita and Tevita Pangai Junior.

I’m tipping the Cowboys based on the Titans’ woeful form in the first two rounds and predicting that the Roosters will score their first win of the season against the Rabbitohs.

Despite the courage the Warriors have shown in keeping the competition going, the Dragons should have won their first two games so I see them being far too strong.

NZ Warriors

(Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The Sharks may be zero and two, but they pushed both the Storm and the Bunnies to the limit and I see them beating the Tigers, despite the Tigers alleged home-ground advantage.

The Raiders will beat the Storm as retribution for the finals last year and the Knights will be too strong for the Panthers, despite the Panthers being one of the more impressive teams in the opening two rounds. The Sea Eagles will also beat the Bulldogs convincingly. The Bulldogs’ defence may be gritty, but I don’t seem them scoring enough points to beat Manly.

David Holden

Tips: Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters, Dragons, Sharks, Storm, Panthers, Sea Eagles


Congrats to Peter V’landys. He has busted the age-old myth that men can’t do two jobs at once. That myth may well still apply to me but the horses are still racing and the NRL is out of hibernation. In the words of the late, great Jack Gibson, V’landys has played strong, done good.

But enough of the back-slapping. It’s tipping time.

It’s a case of everything old is new again when Suncorp Stadium holds a prime time match. September 15, 2019 seems so long ago but the Broncos will remember it well. The Eels finished Brisbane’s season with a 58-0 thumping in Week 1 of the 2019 finals. The Broncos will still be hurting from that and I expect them to beat the Eels on Thursday night. Not by much, but enough, even without David Fifita.

Michael Morgan is out for the Cowboys, but this just allows Jake Clifford to play alongside Scott Drinkwater. This could get ugly. Cowboys by 30.

Seriously, the Roosters-Rabbitohs match has more subplots than a Game of Thrones episode. Latrell Mitchell lining up against his former club, the Morris brothers happily reunited and Cody Walker’s two-game suspension. If Hollywood isn’t calling Cody, they should be. He could be the new Jackie Chan. It’s a toss of the coin, but the Roosters will get their first win of the season.

Sydney Roosters hardman Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

(Matt King/Getty Images)

The Warriors have been mentioned as everyone’s second team – I don’t have a second team, I can find valid reasons for hating every team other than my own – but I digress. The Warriors are decimated and the Dragons welcome back a number of players. It goes against everything I believe in but the Dragons will win.

Just when the Sharks get ready to announce a full-strength line up for the first time in years, Bronson Xerri tests positive. Unbelievable. I’ll keep the faith and tip the Sharks again, but they are not assisting my run up the ladder at present.


We can expect Cameron Smith to have a blinder for Melbourne. With only one referee to harass, Smith will have much more time to organise his troops and slow down the play the ball as much as humanly possible. John Bateman is out and the Storm are just too consistent early in the season. They will squeak home in this.

Of course, the key point leading into Penrith and Newcastle is that TikTok is bad for you. Yes, I’m looking at you, Nathan Cleary. I don’t care if the girls rocked up for five minutes or three hours, don’t ever dance in a TikTok video again. The Panthers have been good so far this season, and the loss of Cleary is balanced by a Knights side without Kalyn Ponga or Jayden Brailey. Panthers to win.

It will be another case of Groundhog Day for the Bulldogs, who just can’t seem to score enough points. The Sea Eagles will get the chocolates.

The Barry

Tips: Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters, Warriors, Sharks, Storm, Panthers, B…bu…bull… Sea Eagles

Footy’s back! You beauty! Team list Tuesday, footy tips and SuperCoach… you little ripper. Dogs starting the new season 0 and 2. Doh!

Looking through the line-ups is like a reunion with a season we barely knew. That’s right, Reagan Campbell-Gillard signed with Parramatta. The Morris brothers are reunited. Kieran Foran’s set to be named… Some things never change.

Even in an abbreviated season, Round 3 is too early to be talking about crunch games but the undefeated Broncos versus Eels is an interesting way to reboot. This is one of the few times this year the Eels won’t be playing at home. I’m with the Broncos despite them missing Tevita Pangai, David Fifita, Jack Bird and Matt Lodge.

Thomas Flegler

(Jono Searle/Getty Images)

This will be a long short season for the Titans.

Trent Robinson is normally pretty relaxed about how his team starts the season, but I expect the Roosters to hit the ground running to start making up their four-point deficit. Souths have a number of off-field issues and still have queries about their forward pack.

Everyone’s second favourite team for 2020 have their second home game. The first was on the Gold Coast, this one is at Gosford. It will be a tough season for the Warriors but they’ll (re)start strong here.

The Sharks have heaps out, but somehow the Tigers still look the bits-and-pieces side. Genuine coin toss. Sharks?

There is a nice little rivalry developing between the Storm and Raiders. With Bulldog Bateman out, it’s the Storm for me.

Kalyn Ponga missing and Kurt Mann at six is enough for me to take the Panthers, even without their TikTok man.

All I can say is I tried to find a way to tip the Bulldogs against Manly. I’ll be happy to get this wrong but the Sea Eagles should be too good. It’s a strange side named by the Dogs, and is it a worry the best-looking part is the bench?


Scott Pryde

Tips: Eels, Cowboys, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Sharks, Storm, Knights, Sea Eagles

I’m going to start on Saturday afternoon. Mainly because, for the first time in history, I actually wouldn’t mind if the Dragons lose. I don’t want them too, but the Warriors deserve a bit of luck and good fortune given what they have done to get the footy back. That doesn’t mean I’m tipping them, although the Dragons almost deserve to lose after leaving out Jason Saab and Tristan Sailor to persist with Mikaele Ravalawa and Matt Dufty.

Continuing the Saturday theme, the Sharks have found a way to de-rail the pre-return-season. Is that a thing? Who cares, it is now.

Bronson Xerri testing positive to performance enhancing drugs isn’t exactly the good news story the NRL were aiming for. He is gone, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference to Cronulla. Josh Dugan will come in, spend half the game on the ground pretending to be hurt and Cronulla will win in a scrappy encounter.

The Melbourne-Canberra game is one I’m really looking forward to. The Raiders are going to be a good side again this year, and they have success in Victoria, but the Storm should thrive in this crazy new world under Craig Bellamy.

Cameron Smith and Brendon Smith.

(Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Back to the front of the week, and no David Fifita or Tevita Pangai Junior, as well as the fact Reed Mahoney has been declared fit, should mean Parramatta do a job on Brisbane. It won’t be by much, but the Eels are dripping with talent and class all over the park.


I’ll take North Queensland to beat the Gold Coast in a blowout. Just quietly, the Cowboys should be impossible to beat at home in the next seven weeks.

Then there is the Bunnies and Roosters. The oldest rivalry in the game, and both teams have plenty of questions. No Mitchell Aubusson or Sio Siua Taukeiaho puts a dint in the Roosters, who are still trying to work things out in attack.

I expect a lot of low-scoring games in the next couple of weeks, and this will be one of them. It’s that element that should tip the balance in favour of Souths, who just have more match-winner, X-factor type players with Latrell Mitchell, Adam Reynolds and Damien Cook playing on the back of Cameron Murray’s quick play the balls. It wouldn’t knock me over with surprise if that one went the other way though.

I’ll take the Knights and Sea Eagles on Sunday as well. Newcastle and Penrith is a flip the coin game with no Cleary or Ponga respectively, but Mitchell Pearce should inspire the Knights over the line, while Canterbury will be lucky to register a point in their game.

This week’s tipping

Round 3 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
Last week 5 4 5 6 5 5
Total 11 9 9 9 11 10

Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm (AEDT) this evening, and we will publish the results of The Crowd’s tips before the first game of the round kicks off.