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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 5

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Expert
10th June, 2020
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What do you do when your club is glued to the bottom of the ladder and hasn’t registered a try for almost three hours of rugby league? Try to talk about all the other things happening of course. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping for Round 5.

So, stating the bleedingly obvious, supporting the Dragons isn’t a great deal of fun at the moment. Of course, that doesn’t explain why I tipped them last week, or why one of our panel members will jump on a red-and-white bandwagon this week.

With Paul McGregor given “backing by the board” and the players seemingly lost in how to turn things around, Dragons fans will probably be wishing the round ended at 6pm on Sunday, with no need for the final game against Cronulla.

But, like I said, there are plenty of other things to talk about, and some really high-quality games ahead on paper this weekend.

The top of those is the Saturday night duel on the Central Coast between the Newcastle Knights and Melbourne Storm. The Storm have been unconvincing, the Knights unbelievably surprising, and it genuinely feels like a contest that could go either way.

Kalyn Ponga of the Knights

(AAP Image/Brendon Thorne)

Speaking of contests that could go either way, Parramatta will play Penrith in the battle for western Sydney, and the Warriors “host” the Cowboys.

Elsewhere, the Broncos will aim to not get blown off the park in yet another Thursday night game against the Sea Eagles, the Rabbitohs play the Titans, the Tigers will look to bounce back from their shock loss last week when they play a Raiders side also looking to rebound, and the Bulldogs play the Roosters in a match that, on the surface, feels like it could set some records.

On the tipping front, AJ continues to lead on 20 tips after picking five games right last weekend. The lead hasn’t changed though, with The Crowd, The Barry and David also all picking five. The Crowd sit second on 19 points, while Mary, myself and The Barry sit on 18, and David last on 17.

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Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEST) on Thursday to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2020 and be featured as part of The Crowd’s tips for Round 5.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs, Storm, Raiders, Roosters, Dragons
Another round, still in the lead. This week’s going to be fun.

Manly will continue Brisbane’s horrible time of things. The Sea Eagles have the set-up to do good things in 2020, the Broncos don’t.

The Cowboys had better get over the Warriors, who reverted to type last week. It’s going to be a tough year for NZ and getting the club up and ready to go every week is a job I don’t envy.

Penrith will push the Eels right to the limit, but I’ll stick with Parra. Genuine 50-50 call here.

Michael Jennings of the Eels.

(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Souths should be seething after fumbling their chances away against the Storm and they should get the work done against the Gold Coast at Bankwest.

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My beautiful Raiders were cruelly robbed by the clock against Newcastle and will make short work of a Josh Reynolds-led Wests Tigers. These new Raiders don’t run up cricket scores like the freewheeling Canberra of old, but it’s fair to say a score of 70 is on the cards.

Dean Pay’s mob showed their grit to work over the Dragons, but they’ve got another world ahead when they face the Roosters. The Dogs will hang in defence better than Brisbane did, but they won’t have the answers in attack. Roosters by as many as they feel like.

Finally, I reckon the Dragons will get over Cronulla. Why? No real reason. Cronulla were good against the Cowboys, which means it’s time for them to drop an easy one.

Mary Konstantopoulos

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

While I expect the Broncos to put in a better performance this week (and maybe even score some points), I can’t see them beating the Sea Eagles on Thursday. The Sea Eagles are genuine premiership contenders and proved it in their exceptional comeback against the Eels last week.

Tom Trbojevic runs the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Cowboys-Warriors clash is a hard one to tip, but I am tipping the Cowboys. Even though the Cowboys have been inconsistent at best and I worry about how they will travel, the additions of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Jason Taumalolo’s potential return will make a big difference.

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I am reluctantly tipping the Eels against the Panthers, even though the Panthers have been impressive in the opening rounds of the competition and have the return of Nathan Cleary to look forward to. The Eels were able to just hold on against Manly and will want to beat the Panthers after an embarrassing loss to them late last year.

It was great to see the Titans get a win last weekend, but that joy will be short-lived with the Rabbitohs to win on Saturday.

I’m tipping the Knights in an upset over the Storm in what will be one of the clashes of the round. The Storm may have beaten the Bunnies last weekend, but are still not looking as schmick as they generally do at this point of the season. They will also be disrupted with the injury to Jahrome Hughes and inclusion of Ryley Jacks. The Knights are riding high at the moment and I’m looking forward to some more Bradman Best magic.

The Raiders will beat the Tigers, who I think will struggle without Benji Marshall, but I am looking forward to seeing Joey Leilua come up against his old team. The Roosters will be far too strong for the Bulldogs and in the derby, the Dragons’ woes will continue with the Sharks being far too strong.

David Holden

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Tips: Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs, Storm, Raiders, Roosters, Sharks

I’m back, baby. The new kid on the block answered his critics last week. Did I put a dent in AJ’s lead? Well… No, but at least I didn’t fall further behind and am well set now to slowly pick off my opponents one by one. Scott, Mary and The Barry are all in my sights.

The Broncos were awful against the Roosters while the Sea Eagles were robbed against the Eels. It was the old pass it back but it drifts forward trick. Des was calm in the press conference but any pets would have been running for cover as soon as he got home. The Broncos have made a host of changes but it won’t make a difference. It’s a bit like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Manly will win.

The first Friday game is a really tricky one. The Warriors have already won at Gosford a couple of weeks ago over the Dragons, however that form doesn’t stack up too well. The Cowboys stunk against the Sharks and are slim odds to have the larger JT suit up for them this weekend. I may regret not tipping the Warriors, but their injury crisis continues to bite. I will pick the Cowboys but they need to hold the pill.

Valentine Holmes

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Parramatta-Penrith is the match of the round. Nathan Cleary has allegedly given up TikTok videos and is back in the halves. At some point, the Eels have to lose. Manly fans will say it should have been last week. I say it won’t be this week. Parramatta will get home at Bankwest.

The Gold Coast shuffled their side around last weekend and beat a Tigers side that has been feeling Michael Maguire’s wrath ever since. The Rabbits haven’t had a win since the new rules came in but they have played the Roosters and Storm. Comparing them to the Titans is like chalk and cheese. Two certainties on Saturday afternoon. The Rabbits will win and Wayne Bennett won’t crack a smile.

As poor as the Raiders were last weekend, the Knights were very impressive. Kalyn Ponga was everywhere on his return and Mitchell Pearce proved that he plays better in a concussed state. They have a big challenge ahead of them if they are to edge out a Storm team that still haven’t really hit their straps. There’s also a lot of talk that Cameron Smith will spend time in the halves. That remains to be seen, but the Storm will want to make this into a dour affair. They will do enough to win.

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We’ve already covered Madge and his angry pills. We can only imagine Ricky is feeling the same way so this one is really a case of which wrath wins. Benji’s axing is a bit perplexing and suggests that Madge has not only got heated but also a bit clouded. The Raiders will be keen to erase last weekend and will win.

Benji Marshall

(Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

The Dogs got a win last weekend but they won’t be going back-to-back against a Roosters team who just reminded everyone last week they are still very much in contention. Of course, hardly anyone wanted to be reminded of this, but it’s true. Roosters will win by plenty.

All we have heard this week is rumblings about the Dragons’ board, coach and a playing roster that simply should be doing better. Complete chaos – which strikes total fear into Sharks fans. We fans know that no-one plays out-of-form teams back into form like the Sharks, and it’s a local derby too. I’ll pick the Sharks solely because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I picked the Dragons. This is not clear cut, not by a long way.

The Barry

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

Manly were one sketchy forward pass call away from being three from four, which would have been a remarkable start from a tough draw including, among others, the Storm, Roosters and Eels. With Tesi Niu on the bench and Corey Oates in the second row, look for Anthony Seibold to break new coaching ground by spelling both his starting wingers. Manly.

To make a 6pm kickoff in Gosford, the Cowboys have set their alarms for about 2:45am. In welcome news to my SuperCoach team, JT20 is looking to make a return for the Cowboys. I’ll go Cowboys if Taumalolo is in, Warriors if he’s out. Can I do that Scotty? Okay, thought not. Cowboys then.

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The battle of the west should be a cracker as both these teams like to play attacking footy. Will we see fireworks between the rejuvenated Reagan Campbell-Gillard and his former Panthers teammates? I can hear the sledges now. “Why didn’t you play this good with us, ya bludger?” The light-footed Jarome Luai has retained his spot with Nathan ‘Dancing Queen’ Cleary returning. Eels should be too strong.

Nathan Cleary.

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Souths have been under-strength and executing poorly but have remained well and truly in their games against the Roosters and Storm. If they can get it together they could be a threat but either way they should be too good for the resurgent Titans.

For this game’s live blog I’ve created a little game I like to call Latrell Lotto. Will the first comment of “Mitchell hasn’t done much tonight” come immediately after he’s:
A) scored a try;
B) set up a try;
C) pulled off a try-saving tackle, or;
D) single-handedly rescued a family from a house fire on his way to the ground?

I’ve held off while others have been bullish about the Knights’ chances over the last couple of seasons but I’m pretty much ready to declare them the real deal and to celebrate I’m tipping them against the Storm. Sorry Knights fans, I’ve just jinxed this game and your entire season.

Guess where the Tigers are on the ladder? Yep, ninth! Unfortunately, they’ll be dropping a few spots this week after the Raiders towel them up on the bounce back.

Last week was good to be a Dogs fan. Kieran Foran back, double figures achieved, 20-point victory. Maybe, just maybe, we can build some momentum a bit earlier this season. Who have we got this week? Faaarrr… Out. Roosters.

The battle of the south may not be as gripping as that of the west. The Dragons and Sharks have a combined two competition points between them. The good news is that total is guaranteed to double this weekend. The bad news (Scott) is the Dragons won’t be getting any of them.

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Paul McGregor holds a post match interview

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Scott Pryde

Tips: Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Storm, Raiders, Roosters, Sharks

Imagine a Dragons fan sitting here talking about another club shuffling the deck chairs. Anyway, that’s exactly what the Broncos are doing. Corey Oates in the second row is a liability, and Manly will be fuming after last weekend’s highway robbery. They could run up a cricket score. Manly to be two for 64 at the end of 80.

Speaking of the Dragons, let’s get that one out of the way. They are a mess. Paul McGregor is still there somehow, and his side will be lucky to come within 40 of Cronulla. Jeez that’s a painful sentence to write ahead of the local derby. Excuse me while I go have three back-to-back showers.

The other one-sided games this weekend will see the Rabbitohs hose the Titans, Canberra get a bit of the bounce-back factor to hammer the Tigers, and the Roosters will also whallop Canterbury.

Boyd Cordner

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It’s not that either the Bulldogs or Titans were terrible last week – but they don’t hold a candle to their opposition – while the Raiders suffered a shock (well, some will call it a shock) loss to the Knights and simply will not lose to the Tigers on their home turf at Campberratown.

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In the other games, the Cowboys seem a unanimous tip over the Warriors, but I tossed this one up a few times. The Cowboys won’t fare well travelling this year, and the Warriors are unpredictable at the best of times. Still, the golden rule of NRL tipsters everywhere is do not tip the Warriors.

Parramatta-Penrith is also a game that fills me with interest. Are the Panthers really that good? They haven’t lost a game yet (despite the draw with Newcastle) and have just found ways to get it done. Undoubtedly, this Friday’s game will be their toughest test of the season so far, but Parramatta are due a loss. Give me the Panthers.

Melbourne’s trip to the Central Coast won’t be straightforward either. I’ll take the Storm over the Knights, but this isn’t a bubble bursting for Newcastle. Rather, a learning experience for their youngsters as they start to learn what it’ll take to match it with competition heavyweights come a finals series that, right now, they look destined to make.

This week’s tipping

Round 4 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
MAN v BRI MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN
NZL v NQL NQL NQL NQL NQL NQL NQL
PAR v PEN PAR PAR PAR PAR PEN PAR
SOU v GCT SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU
NEW v MEL MEL NEW MEL NEW MEL MEL
WST v CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN
CBY v SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD
STI v CRO STI CRO CRO CRO CRO CRO
Last week 5 4 5 5 4 5
Total 20 18 17 18 18 19

Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm (AEST) 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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