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

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Expert
3rd June, 2020
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Five days of rugby league lie ahead on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, and to talk you through all the games, The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel are back on deck ahead of Round 4.

Six-again, one referee, a shortened competition, blowouts and surprise results. It was all happening as the competition got back underway in Round 3.

On the tipping front, it was Mary who led the way, getting five out of eight. AJ, The Barry and you – The Crowd – had four tips, while David and myself had three.

It means AJ leads on 15 points, but the field is separated by nothing as we move into a round where there seem to be eight fairly clear favourites.

It all gets underway on Thursday as the Roosters travel to play the Broncos, before Friday brings us the wasteful Penrith against the bandwagon-heavy Warriors, and the seething Storm looking to hit back against South Sydney.

Thanks to Monday’s game – likely to be an absolute bludger between Canterbury and St George Illawarra – Saturday only has two games, but the first is likely to be the game of the week as the Eels host the Sea Eagles, before the Sharks travel to Townsville.

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Sunday sees us kick things up in Campbelltown for the Raiders to host the Knights in an unexpected top-of-the-table clash, before the Tigers will look to continue their handy start to the season against the struggling Titans.

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: Roosters, Panthers, Storm, Eels, Cowboys, Raiders, Tigers, Bulldogs

I’m just padding my lead now. Don’t bother trying to catch up, because in three weeks I’ll be a dot on the horizon. Here’s this week’s answers for your tipping questions.

The Roosters will knock over an incredibly disappointing Brisbane side. The Broncos without David Fifita were so bad last week, Saint Peter V’landys decided to split their market in half.

Peter V’landys

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Penrith should be disgusted with themselves for last week’s inability to beat the Knights under-16s side. Life doesn’t get better with an amped-up Warriors coming to Campbelltown but as per the rules of NRL tipping, I refuse to favour New Zealand.

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Melbourne will dead set trounce the Bunnies at the bubble dome. The Storm weren’t as bad as advertised against your premiership certainties Canberra and Souths were just fair to middling against the Roosters.

I’m angsting over the Parra-Manly match-up because one of those teams has a reputation for quality defence, and it ain’t the Eels even though they’ve been great in defence early on against rubbish. I’ll tip them, but I don’t mean anything by it. This will be a fun one.

Cowboys will belt up the Sharks, who put in a total fizzier last week. Maybe I’ve overrated the boys from the Shire.

Your premiership certainties, the mighty Canberra Raiders, will overcome the horrific adversity of being forced to play a home game at Campbelltown by destroying the hapless Newcastle. Sure, Kalyn Ponga might be back and the full-strength Knights side looks pretty good, but they’re no hope against the best of the best.

The Tigers will beat the Titans handily and (once again) set themselves up for a decent look at a season.

In the ‘loser sacks the coach’ derby, I reckon the Bullies will put the knife to Mary McGregor because they’re more gritty. St George Illawarra are all over the shop.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Storm, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Raiders, Tigers, Bulldogs

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The Broncos are still missing a number of key players, including Tevita Pangai Junior and David Fifita, so I am expecting them to struggle against the Roosters on Thursday who were back to their best last week against the Bunnies.

The Warriors were impressive last week and it was great to see them playing to their potential. I am on the bandwagon and predicting another upset this weekend against the Panthers.

I’m tipping the Storm against the Bunnies, because I don’t think the Storm will lose two weeks in a row.

Ryan Papenhuyzen of the Storm.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Sea Eagles and Tom Trbojevic will bring the Eels crashing back to earth this week and after a horrible week last week for the Sharks, I’m expecting them to beat the Cowboys who will desperately miss Jason Taumalolo.

The Raiders will continue their dominance with a win over the Knights and the Tigers will be far too strong for the Titans, who demonstrated last week that the break really hasn’t helped them at all. And as for the Dragons, I don’t hold much hope for them this weekend, especially with Kieran Foran returning for the Dogs.

David Holden

Tips: Roosters, Panthers, Storm, Eels, Cowboys, Raiders, Tigers, Bulldogs

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In so many NRL press conferences, the losing coach will say words to the effect of it’s not time to make wholesale changes. Instead, he’ll say something like, we should be sticking to our systems. In other words, don’t panic.

Which brings me to the fact that I’m sitting last on the table. Only three weeks in… Surely it’s not time to panic? Wrong, there’s some wholesale changes happening with my tips this week.

On Thursday night, the Broncos take on the Roosters at Suncorp. It’s hard to get a read on whether the Broncos were bad last start, or whether the Eels were just that good. Regardless, the Broncos were belted and Anthony Seibold was grumpy. He won’t be in a better mood after this one with David Fifita still out and Kotoni Staggs suspended. Roosters to win.

Siosiua Taukeiaho

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Panthers should have won last Sunday afternoon but were undone by goal posts that were clearly not far enough apart and a halftime speech from a concussed Mitchell Pearce that even he can’t remember. It must have been a good one. The Warriors were the good news story last week, to everyone but Dragons fans (sorry Scott), but their travel bubble will burst this weekend. Panthers by plenty.

We follow that with two third-round losers, the Storm and Rabbits. Wayne Bennett hinted that Souths were slightly underdone last week while Craig Bellamy hinted that the Storm were crap. I haven’t checked the stats but the Melbourne Storm haven’t lost two straight games at AAMI in, like, forever. Missing Nelson Asofa-Solomona is a negative for the Storm however at least he won’t be going for the miracle grubber with minutes to go. Bellamy will have the Storm playing for their lives, quite literally. They will win.

Manly and Parramatta is probably match of the round. Both last-start winners, although the quality of the opposition was different. The Eels looked the goods last weekend and the faster style of play seems to suit them. Every Mitchell Moses great game brings him closer to a game where he is barely sighted, but it won’t be this round. Back at home, even with no one there, they will win.

I’m a Sharks supporter and they were woeful last weekend, so I’m off the bandwagon this weekend and not tipping them. The loss of Jason Taumalolo was just sent to entice me to swing back. The Sharks are no chance. Cowboys will win. Therefore, for those looking for a sure bet this weekend, Cronulla 1-13 looks the goods.

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The Knights were brave last weekend. The Raiders were brilliant. Bravery only gets you so far, just ask Mel Gibson. Looking at the Raiders last weekend, it’s hard to see where their next loss will come from. Ricky Stuart will have them motivated. Raiders to win.

Ricky Stuart in the wet

(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Next up, we are back to Suncorp for the Titans versus Tigers. Wests got a massive surprise last weekend when they walked out for the second half and the Sharks had forgotten they were still playing. The Tigers are masters at early-season victories, it’s only the late-season losses that hurt them. A shortened season may be just what the doctor ordered. They will back up with another win this weekend.

The NRL are happy that the holiday Monday game is played in front of an empty stadium. If they are smart, they will see if Foxtel can “develop” some technical difficulties, something similar to what happened last Saturday night.

It’s a difficult one to pick, the Bulldogs versus Dragons. The only thing we can be sure of is that it won’t be a points fest. Kieran Foran is back. Will that make a difference? Probably. Shane Flanagan will be flashing his pearly whites on Monday night, hoping for an early return to NRL coaching. Bulldogs will win.

The Barry

Tips: Roosters, Panthers, Storm, Eels, Cowboys, Raiders, Tigers, Bulldogs

While the first game of the round has ambush written all over it with a combination of baby Broncos plus bounce-back factor, I can’t go past the Roosters. They were clinical last week. Never looked in doubt and they were able to change gears whenever they needed to. When was the last time Boyd Cordner played that well in Round 3?

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Hard to get a line on the Panthers. Five of a possible six points to start the season, but in that a scrappy win against the hapless Dragons and a point thrown away against the Knights. But then they beat the Roosters. Go figure. Loads of raw talent but not a lot of smarts at times.

Speaking of bounce-back factor – look out, Rabbitohs! The Storm will be stinging, while Souths still have too much happening off the park. Melbourne by plenty.

“Here we go again, Manly and Parra. Parra’s well ahead but the gap starts to narra. Manly’s coming back but it feels like they’re built out of steel. How d’ya feel?”

Thus began a lifelong love of league and lager. This should be a cracking game with both teams red-hot and looking to cement themselves as genuine contenders. For every pro-Parra point there’s a strong Manly rebuttal. I’ll go with the Eels because of the Bankwest factor.

Shaun Lane.

(Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

“Bump ‘em, thump ‘em, pick ‘em up and dump ‘em…” I’m going to the fridge!

How do you rate the Cowboys without Taumalolo? As good an opportunity as the Sharks will get in Townsville but I’m still tipping the Cowboys. The Sharks look a bit of a rabble at the moment. I think they’ll come good but maybe not this week.

Will the Canberra pommies resort to bodyline to stop Bradman? Knights looking good this year but the Green Machine should be too good. Who’d have thought a couple of seasons ago that Raiders versus Knights would be a top-of-the-table clash?

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I’m sure the Titans will win one at some stage this season, but it’s hard to see when that will be. Tigers.

Dogs versus Dragons is a wooden spoon semi-final with the losers to enter spoon-a-palooza against the Titans later in the year. It’s hard to see me getting a better chance to tip the Bulldogs so I’m running with it.

Scott Pryde

Tips: Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Eels, Cowboys, Knights, Tigers, Dragons

What’s the best way to improve your tipping after scoring three out of eight? Ignore the betting, ignore the favourites and go with your gut.

Famous last words and all that.

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Anyway, that brings me to saying I’m taking the Broncos to beat the Roosters, the Knights to beat the Raiders and the Dragons to beat the Bulldogs.

I can almost hear the yelps in the comments already about how much Scott hates the Roosters, but genuinely, I haven’t been that impressed by them yet this year. They haven’t properly experienced the six-again rule yet either, thanks to Ashley Klein’s effort with the whistle last week against Souths.

What’s more, they have to travel to Brisbane, who will be stinging from last week’s loss to Parramatta. A seven-day turnaround has given them a chance to get their heads together, and I reckon they will go a lot better than most say, despite their injury issues. Watch out for the debut of Fanitesi Niu as well.

Now, granted, Newcastle beating Canberra is completely out of left-field, but the Knights get Kalyn Ponga back, Mitchell Pearce doesn’t lose any time and Andrew McCullough adds a tonne of experience. The Raiders might just have a slight let-down after beating Melbourne as well.

And as for the Dragons. Throw a coin. It’s the wooden spoon bowl in Round 4. I hate writing that about the club I support, but here we are. Paul McGregor has swung a couple of (granted, terrible) changes and they have to win. End of.

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Dejected Dragons.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

As for the rest of the games, it all seems fairly stock-standard. The Warriors were good last week and deserve all the credit they get, but also, they were playing the Dragons, so it means nothing. Penrith weren’t great, but they will win.

Melbourne will smoke Souths in Mexico without raising much of a sweat – trust me – Craig Bellamy would have been hammering them this week, and the thought of another week in training like that will spur them onto the win.

Manly and Parramatta will be a belter, but give me the Eels. They like this six-again rule, and Reed Mahoney keeps going from strength to strength, while the Tigers should hammer the Titans, despite their improvement last week in patches. Harry Grant was superb for Wests, and should prove the difference again.

Then there is the curious case of Cronulla. Going zero and four virtually rules you out of finals contention, so it’s must-win. But a 5.30pm kick-off in Townsville means they are going to be on the plane out of Sydney at about 11am. A terrible way to prepare for footy, so Valentine Holmes should have a field day against a tired and slow defence.

This week’s tipping

Round 4 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
BRI v SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD BRI SYD
PEN v NZL PEN NZL PEN PEN PEN PEN
MEL v SOU MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
PAR v MAN PAR MAN PAR PAR PAR PAR
NQL v CRO NQL CRO NQL NQL NQL NQL
CAN v NEW CAN CAN CAN CAN NEW CAN
GCT v WST WST WST WST WST WST WST
CBY v STI CBY CBY CBY CBY STI CBY
Last week 4 5 3 4 3 4
Total 15 14 12 13 14 14

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.

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