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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 8

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Expert
1st July, 2020
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Hot on the tails of fascinating upsets and an almost perfect round, it’s another intriguing week ahead in the NRL as the mid-point of the season draws near. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping for Round 8.

A golden-point field goal robbed me of my first perfect round for the season last weekend. A lousy field goal. Damn you AJ and your Raiders.

But I’ll certainly take the seven out of eight in a tough round to tip. It brings me back into the competition and apparently scared half the panel, who well and truly missed deadline submitting their tips yesterday.

My seven out of eight puts me just two tips back from AJ, who continues to lead despite only scoring four last week. The Crowd sit in between us, with The Barry, David and Mary a further two back and all locked at the bottom.

Round 8 sees the return of home grounds for some, and the loss for others. Read, the Melbourne Storm. They have been evicted from their coronavirus-rampant city and re-located to the Sunshine Coast, before tracking to Brisbane to play the Roosters in what should be a cracker.

Still with me? Good.

Cameron Smith and Brendon Smith.

(Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Canberra get to host their first home game since the shutdown on Friday, and of course it would be against the Dragons, before Parramatta then take to the re-laid turf at Bankwest to play North Queensland.

Saturday takes us to the Gold Coast for the Titans and Sharks, the Central Coast for a fascinating who cares cup style battle between the Warriors and Brisbane, and the Parramatta River Coast for the Tigers and Panthers.

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The round finishes with a wounded Manly returning to Brookvale to host the Knights, before the Bulldogs again get to put us all to sleep in the final game against South Sydney.

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 8.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Roosters, Raiders, Eels, Sharks, Broncos, Panthers, Knights, Rabbitohs

Round of applause for Mr Pryde! He lived by the sword and last week and dragged himself back into contention for second place. The question now is does he have the spirit to do it again? Or is that stroke of luck one too many?

The Roosters are going to demount the Storm, sadly. Melbourne might hang for a bit but the Roosters are just irresistible. If they didn’t cheat their way to the 2019 title against the people’s team, I might even have a soft spot for them.

Speaking of the people’s team, the mighty Canberra Raiders are going to put 56 on the hapless Dragons, who will regret ever being scheduled as the fodder for Canberra’s return to Bruce.

Dejected Dragons.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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The Eels should get the Cowboys sorted out quickly and coast for the last 40-50 minutes. The Titans and Sharks have had a few entertaining games over the years and this might be a sneaky good one. Unfortunately, I don’t tip the Titans, so Sharks to win.

I’d really love the Warriors to beat Brisbane for comedic reasons but they’re not in a good place. I’ll tip Brisbane but my god, do I want New Zealand to win.

Penrith versus Wests should be a good fun game to watch. Can the Tigers hold on? Nope. Penrith by a little bit.

Manly ruined a lot of multis last week (Scott’s note: My multi was fine) and the Knights should get themselves back on track with a steadying win.

Finally, uncle Wayne will move from sledging the Broncos to taking care of the Bulldogs, in a genuine banana skin game. Bullies will have a crack, but Bunnies surely walk away with two points.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Roosters, Raiders, Eels, Sharks, Warriors, Panthers, Knights, Rabbitohs

This should be a wonderful game between two of the competition heavyweights, who even with injury, still somehow find a way to get things done. The Roosters are without several key players including Victor Radley, but the Storm are without Cameron Munster. I’m tipping the Roosters because over the last two weeks, they have looked magnificent in attack.

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James Tedesco

(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Raiders, despite their challenges in attack, will beat the Dragons and despite missing Mitch Moses, the Eels should beat the Cowboys, who have yet to be convincing in 2020. The Titans and Sharks will both be enthused after wins last weekend, but the Sharks have more class across the field and have really benefited from the return of Matt Moylan.

Even though the Warriors were pummelled last week, they were missing that ten per cent polish with passes that went astray close to the line and many opportunities over the line where they could not get the ball down. I expect the Broncos to rally this weekend after a difficult week, but am tipping the Warriors despite this.

The Tigers versus Panthers game should have plenty of fire. Even though the Tigers are moving in the right direction, the Panthers have been one of my biggest surprises this year and should win this game.

I’m tipping the Knights to beat the Sea Eagles, only because the Sea Eagles have been decimated by injury and their attack will struggle without Dylan Walker and Tom Trbojevic. Souths should have no trouble containing the poor old Bulldogs either.

David Holden

Tips: Roosters, Raiders, Eels, Sharks, Broncos, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs

As if tipping wasn’t hard enough. Now we’ve got return to home grounds, albeit with limited crowds, and injury tolls to grapple with.

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However, with uncertainty comes opportunity. AJ’s Raiders-first strategy is starting to fracture while Scotty can’t get that lucky two weeks in a row. It’s my time to shine.

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The Storm and Roosters are both dealing with injury problems. Cameron Smith has been named at hooker with Ryley Jacks named to replace Cameron Munster in the halves. I think this is likely a Bellamy special. I’m thinking a Cameron is going to replace a Cameron and a Smith will replace a Smith. Easy, right? It won’t be enough though, with a Radley-less Roosters still too good for the Storm.

It’s just as well Canberra take on the Dragons at GIO Stadium. Otherwise, this would be a hard one to pick, giving an indication of just how stinky the Raiders are at the moment. The Raiders will appreciate driving, rather than flying, to home games and may even get a slightly quieter Viking Clap on Friday night, unless we can get the fake crowd noise to join in. The Raiders will get the chocolates.

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First versus tenth on the ladder shouldn’t be that hard to pick, right? But the loss of Mitchell Moses is huge and though Jai Field comes with a few wraps, he is a reject from the Dragons. Once again, home-ground advantage plays a role here and I’m going to lean towards the Eels in a tight one.

Michael Jennings of the Eels.

(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

I haven’t tipped a Sharks win all season but I need to be brave here. The Sharks’ spine started to click last weekend and I think they may be too strong for a Titans outfit still celebrating after beating big brother last round. Home-ground factor is never large at Cbus Super Stadium so I’m disregarding that. We are all in this together though.

The Broncos and Warriors are lucky to get a TV game, even on Foxtel. No streaming this one overseas, thanks. These teams do share something in common… Both seemed to want to be somewhere else last weekend. Perhaps the Warriors have a more reasonable excuse for this, but they are paid to play football. The Broncos have a number of players returning while the Warriors are sweating on the availability of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. I’ll go with the Broncos but the side that shows a bit of ticker will win.

I’m going to stick with my theory that the Tigers will out-enthuse ordinary opposition but come up short against talented teams, where effort can only get you so far. Rumours of Benji being on the move may unsettle some. It needs to be said that there’s no truth to the rumour that there’s a link between Nathan Cleary’s TikTok incident and a skin complaint last weekend. He looked a bit like Batman to me and the Tigers will be the Joker this round. Batman’s team will win.

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Lottoland is the spiritual home of the Sea Eagles and, until recently, a fair dose of asbestos. Both sides played well below expectations last round, with Manly in particular victims of a really tough schedule. The Eagles don’t win much without Tommy Turbo but I think they will grind out a win over the Knights at home.

Frankly, both the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs have been less than inspiring this season. The Bulldogs are without Will Hopoate while the Rabbits simply should be better than they are currently. They will win.

The Barry

Tips: Roosters, Raiders, Eels, Sharks, Broncos, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs

Another week, another potential grand final preview! Both teams have been affected by injury, but the Roosters look just a little more settled and the players coming in look a little better.

The Green Machine finds itself back in Canberra and I suspect Ricky Stuart’s men will be looking to make a statement. Clap clap Raiders.

Ricky Stuart

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Cowboys are struggling on the road this year. I’d start banging on about the asterisk but let’s be honest, that’s nothing new. No Moses for the Eels will be interesting. He’s been a bit slow out of the blocks since the restart but still controls so much of Parra’s game. Eels in a close one.

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The Sharks are starting to get on a bit of a roll now and Shaun Johnson is starting to look more threatening. I don’t think they’ll do it easy against the Titans but will get the points.

With most teams finding their way back to their home grounds, the poor old Warriors are still based in Terrigal. They missed the sacked-coach bounce-back factor last week but maybe they can do it this week. I’m tempted to tip them but just can’t quite do it.

The Tigers are starting to look more consistent than they have for years – who knew the answer was signing two Leiluas? I think the Panthers will be too good but this should be a cracking game – particularly the duel between the in-form nines.

The Cowboys might have shown teams the way to nullifying Kalyn Ponga with their kick for touch tactics last week. DCE has one of the best kicking games in the comp, so if he and Des were paying attention they will make it a victorious return to Brookie.

Daly Cherry-Evans

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

I went with my heart last week and got burned so I’m reluctantly on the bunnies this week. Big Luke Thompson has been named on the extended bench. Will Dean Pay name him straight out of quarantine?

Straight outta quarantine… Sounds like a hit single.

Scott Pryde

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Tips: Roosters, Raiders, Eels, Sharks, Warriors, Panthers, Knights, Rabbitohs

Right, I’m on a roll. That being said, I’m not going for four outlandish upsets this weekend. There simply aren’t as many reasons favourites won’t win.

I’ll start off with the Roosters. The Storm put 50 on the Warriors last week, but moving to the Sunshine Coast will mess with them. You can’t be at anything less than 100 per cent to play the Tricolours, even factoring in their issues.

The Dragons being the first team playing in Canberra – now there is a joke if ever I’ve seen one. The Red V don’t win in the nation’s capital, and the Raiders are desperate – scratch that, beyond desperate – to get a win and their little clap firing again.

Parramatta should roll the Cowboys fairly easily. I don’t see this one being close if I’m honest. The Eels have just gone off the boil a little bit, but the trip from Townsville to Sydney won’t do the Cowboys any favours, as they would know in reverse from their win last week.

Cronulla and the Titans. Who knows. The Sharks were a mile better last week against the directionless and Turboless Manly, but I’ll still back them to get one over the Gold Coast.

Jesse Ramien

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Can I take a Warriors and Broncos nil-all draw? No, okay. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is out, but the Broncos are a rabble who couldn’t beat wet newspaper. So… Warriors to show something and win? I think. No idea.

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Penrith’s trip to Bankwest to play the up again, down again Tigers should come with another two competition points, while I don’t think I’ll tip Manly without Tom Trbojevic unless they are playing a real bottom side. Newcastle by many.

Souths should finish the round with a big win. Canterbury are going about as well as Donald Trump’s coronavirus containment policy.

Round 8 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
MEL v SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD
CAN v STI CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN
PAR v NQL PAR PAR PAR PAR PAR PAR
GCT v CRO CRO CRO CRO CRO CRO CRO
NZL v BRI BRI NZL BRI BRI NZL BRI
WST v PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
MAN v NEW NEW NEW MAN MAN NEW NEW
CBY v SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU
Last week 4 5 5 4 7 5
Total 37 33 33 33 35 36

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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