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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 12

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29th July, 2020
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The NRL arrives at Indigenous round with the teams in the race to play finals footy dwindling and a couple of potential contenders likely to be put to the test. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping for Round 12.

Those big games would appear to be Manly against Penrith on Saturday night, and the Storm against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, with all four teams wanting victories to raise their premiership credentials.

The round will get underway with a battle of desperation though, as the Dragons host the Rabbitohs at Kogarah. While the Tigers should smoke the Warriors in Friday’s early game, it’s back to the desperation stakes in the free-to-air game when Brisbane play Cronulla.

Saturday brings us the Roosters and Titans, before the Raiders have to face the daunting game day trek north to Townsville for a clash with the misfiring, under-performing Cowboys, who are coming off an ordinary home loss to the Sea Eagles last weekend.

The other game on Sunday will see one of the NRL’s fiercest rivalries as Parramatta look to heap more misery on the Bulldogs.

In tipping, it was The Crowd who won the battle last week, grabbing seven tips and pegging a point back on clubhouse leader AJ.


AJ, who got six, still holds his lead to The Crowd by one with nine weeks, as well as finals, left. Everyone else apart from me got six, while I got five, meaning the gap between myself and Mary is now just one for second spot.

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 12.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Rabbitohs, Tigers, Sharks, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Eels, Storm

So you all know, I’ve lodged a formal complaint about last week’s Dragons-Sharks result after the horrendous bunker decision cut into my tipping lead. It’s typical for the NRL to pull this sort of thing to try to stop the Mithen tipping train. For shame, V’landys. Try and rort these results now, you cowards at head office!

The Rabbitohs will beat the Dragons. The Bunnies aren’t that bad, neither are St George, but the Dragons are still worse than the Bunnies.

Tigers will smack the Warriors, who asked me to join the second row for this weekend (unfortunately I was otherwise engaged).

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in a huddle

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


It wouldn’t surprise me to see Brisbane beat Cronulla but maybe I’ve been selling the Sharks short in 2020. Sharks to win, if they tank it they’re on my out list.

Roosters couldn’t be less interested in playing the Titans right now but they’ll beat them anyway. Justin Holbrook has his team building into something, but the finished product is years away.

The heroic Canberra Raiders will put 56 on the hapless Cowboys in Townsville, who are without chief grub Josh McGuire.

Manly will scrap and scrounge to drag the Panthers into a brawl but it won’t be enough, Panthers, barely.

The Eels will beat the Bulldogs in a pretty uninspiring effort, same for the Storm over the Knights. The Knights play and act like they’ve achieved something, Melbourne play and act like they want to achieve something.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Dragons, Tigers, Sharks, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Eels, Storm

It shouldn’t count as an upset if I tip the Dragons to beat the Bunnies given the Bunnies are sitting in tenth and the Dragons 11th. The Bunnies are in all sorts of trouble at the moment, struggling on-field and with a raft of injuries including Alex Johnston, Ethan Lowe and James Roberts. Then you have the Dragons coming off a very tight loss against the Sharks last week and seem to finally be finding form.


The Tigers showed a lot of courage and fire in their loss against the Eels, but simply lacked the class in attack to get across the line. They have easier opposition this week against the Warriors and I’m expecting them to win. Tigers fans will also rejoice at the return of Alex Twal and Benji Marshall will start with Josh Reynolds coming off the bench, which should be more effective than starting.

Benji Marshall

(Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

It would take a very brave person to tip the Broncos at the moment, especially with the Sharks recent form which has catapulted them into the top eight. Perhaps the only question is by how many will the Sharks win?

Even with a raft of injuries, the Roosters should have no problem beating the Titans, who have been their own worst enemy in recent weeks with poor ball handling and silly errors.

The Raiders have some injury concerns of their own, but will beat the Cowboys who were disappointing last weekend against a depleted Sea Eagles team. Jason Taumalolo still made over 200 metres but looked lethargic and we know how dependent the Cowboys are on him for go forward and energy. The Raiders will be boosted by the return of John Bateman, who has been named in the starting side this week.

I would love to tip the Sea Eagles to beat the Panthers, but I just don’t see it happening. The Panthers are flying high at the top of the ladder at the moment and will welcome back Viliame Kikau to the starting side. The Sea Eagles just have too many injuries at the moment to challenge a team like the Panthers.

The Eels need to beat the Bulldogs and beat them convincingly. The last couple of occasions these teams have met, the games have been close and forgive the pun, have been real dog fights. The Eels may think they are premiership contenders, but if they are, they need to dispose of teams at the bottom of the ladder.

I wouldn’t be surprised after their dismal performance last week against the Bulldogs if the Knights beat the Storm, but I’m still not brave enough to make that tip. Melbourne will be too classy.


David Holden

Tips: Rabbitohs, Tigers, Broncos, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Eels, Storm

Life is full of little lessons. The one last weekend was don’t judge a book by its cover, or words to that effect. On paper, the Knights and Bulldogs seemed like a complete mismatch. However, throw in a rain deluge and a complacent favourite, and a massive upset was complete. Of course, the art of tipping is picking these upsets and that is where I have been a failure this year. Scott has done better. I think he must have studied psychology along the way.

Although I’m slightly out of the mix at the moment, I’m still searching for the perfect round that will drain the complacency out of AJ. We saw what happened to complacent favourites last weekend, and Roarers, it’s going to happen again.

We start Indigenous round with the traditional clash between the Dragons and Rabbits. These sides have won countless premierships between them, unless you are a Sharks supporter and believe the merged Dragons have won one. The rest aren’t to be counted. (Scott here: Oi! That’s what all the haters say.)

Anyway, my point is that they have won heaps between them but they won’t be adding to the tally this year. In a disaster for the red and white, Adam Clune is out injured and Ben Hunt will play halfback. Case closed. The Rabbits will win.

Latrell Mitchell runs the ball

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Four Warriors have departed and they added two Parramatta rejects (okay, slightly harsh) to their team. The Tigers are building nicely to a spot just outside the eight and will have too much.


The Broncos and Sharks has the awful smell of ambush to me. Brodie Croft out, Anthony Milford to six, Darius Boyd at one shouldn’t worry me, but it does. Baby Bronco teams have a good record against the Sharks and with the game at Suncorp on a Friday night and with the Sharks having plenty of injury concerns themselves, I’m tipping against my heart again. Don’t judge me.

I’ve scratched my head trying to think of something to say about the Roosters that doesn’t involve the salary cap. But I can’t. While most media types are wetting themselves at the thought of SBW’s return to Bondi Junction (yes, I’m looking at you, James Hooper), I’m filthy. Salary cap compliant or not, SBW should not be in the house. If ever the game needed a player draft system, it is now. The Roosters will win without the big Kiwi.

I, as a rule, hate every team other than my own but I must be softening in middle age. Under Ricky Stuart, what the Raiders are achieving right now has to be admired. They do welcome back a few names this week, including John Bateman. Will they suffer a mental glitch against the Cowboys? I just don’t see it happening. Raiders to win.

The Sea Eagles at Lottoland are hard to beat. But, geez, the Panthers are good this year and the team at the foot of the mountains deserve their spot at the top of the table. The Eagles will go down fighting but Penrith will get the chocolates.

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers runs the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Bulldogs add Tim Lafai to their side this weekend. Will they make it two in a row and defeat the Eels? I love a good upset but there is zero, Buckley’s, completely nil chance of this happening. If they do win, do not point this out as my comments have been forged.

Adam O’Brien will have the Knights primed for this one. The problem is they run into Craig Bellamy, who is almost as irritated as O’Brien, even after a Storm win. The Storm are starting their rise up the ladder and will beat a Knights team that, ever so slightly, may be on the slide.

The Barry

Tips: Rabbitohs, Tigers, Sharks, Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Eels, Storm

Before Indigenous round, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Australia where NRL will be played this week and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

The Dragons have been riding their luck lately. Fortunate to get the chocolates against the Dogs and a bit stiff against the Sharks. Plenty of points for and against. Souths have shown they’re a couple of rungs below the best teams but have been pretty ruthless in beating the teams below them. They’ll do it again here.

The Tigers and Warriors both put in game efforts last week against competition front runners. Both have plenty of errors in them but the Tigers have more to play for and as brave as they’ve been it’s getting harder and harder to tip the Warriors.

I really thought at some stage things would click for the Broncos and they’d go on a run. Really can’t see it happening. Instead of being the dour grind merchants of recent years the Sharks are scoring and conceding plenty of points. Sharks.

A couple of weeks ago and we’d have been predicting a cricket score from the Roosters. But they’ve been slumping and the Titans were pretty good last week. Roosters will be way too good, but hopefully, it’s another close game.

Kyle Flanagan runs the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Good to see NRL players getting out in the community and promoting the game – 16 of the Raiders squad will be going on school visits while in Townsville. I have a gut feeling (again) about the Cowboys but, again, I just can’t do it.

Manly keep doing just enough to stay in and around the eight. The Panthers are not looking totally slick throughout games but are able to surge and put on points. Panthers to be too good in this one.

The Bulldogs are on a roll, having last week equalled our longest winning streak of the season. Unfortunately, we’ve drawn the second-placed Eels, who will be too good.

If the Knights couldn’t beat the Dogs in Newcastle, what hope against the Storm in New Melbourne? Melbourne by plenty.

Scott Pryde

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

I’ve picked a load of upsets and been lucky once this year, but let’s go again. Given I’m starting to slip behind AJ, there are a couple of games that have the smell of surprise this weekend, so might as well take them while there is time for recovery!

Before we get to those games though, I’ll start by taking the Dragons. I know there are claims of “we woz robbed” last week, but I don’t buy it. The Dragons had chances to win and didn’t. Still, they have been improving rapidly. Souths haven’t.

The Warriors will be lucky to score another try this year, let alone win a game. Their draw is hard, and with four players heading home, the Tigers should rumble on past them.

The Broncos could well perform above expectations against Cronulla at home, but I can’t tip them. Not with Darius Boyd at fullback and a team of players who haven’t really shown up for weeks.

Darius Boyd playing for the Broncos

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Like the Tigers, the Roosters will win easily when they play the Gold Coast, while the Raiders should beat the Cowboys. And yes, a trip from Canberra to Townsville on game day is going to be a nightmare. Genuine nightmare, but the Cowboys weren’t good enough to beat a Tom Trbojevic-less Manly, so they sure won’t be good enough to beat Canberra with a returning John Bateman.

Speaking of Manly, and yep. I’m tipping them. Lottoland is a hard place to play as an away team, and the Panthers, who have won six straight, are due for a loss. Give me the Sea Eagles, whose forwards can match it before Daly Cherry-Evans takes over.

Parramatta will beat the Bulldogs in a bit of a rout, and in the final, I’ll take Newcastle to beat Melbourne. They will be keen to hit back after a couple of very average weeks, but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion they play their game of the season this weekend.

Round 12 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
Last week 6 6 6 6 5 7
Total 61 57 55 52 58 60

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.