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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 14

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Expert
12th August, 2020
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Teams battling injuries, COVID-related suspensions and some very important games are on the table ahead of Round 14. Here to guide you through it all are The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Broncos, they are now under investigation for a wide-scale breach. While the club statement tends to suggest the players didn’t do anything wrong, the added attention when they are already without their coach, Allan Langer and Tevita Pangai Junior is unwanted at best.

Unwanted could also be used to describe their upcoming Saturday night trip to the nation’s capital to play the Raiders.

Elsewhere, the Paul Vaughan-less Dragons will take on the Eels, who will be out to make a statement after some indifferent form, while South Sydney travel to Townsville without Wayne Bennett in charge and needing a victory to keep themselves safely in the top eight.

If that wasn’t already enough to wrap your head around, the weekend starts with a Thursday night blockbuster between the injury-ravaged Roosters and Storm, both of whom are relying on back-up brigades like never before.

The Panthers then look to extend their winning stream against the Warriors in Gosford while like South Sydney, the Sharks in an as good as must-win position when they play the resurgent Titans.

Sunday’s games see the Knights play the Sea Eagles, both teams who were thought to be in the premiership race at one point or another but are now scratching around just to make the eight, before the round ends with the Tigers facing the Bulldogs.

On the tipping front, another shocker for me means I have fallen behind Mary, am equal with David and am just a point ahead of The Barry. It was The Barry and you, The Crowd, who scored seven last week, meaning AJ is no longer outright top but instead tied.

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 14.

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Maika Sivo gives the thumbs up

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

AJ Mithen

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

We are tied, Mithen and The Crowd. The referees and head office suits have finally got what they wanted, dragging me to a most distasteful ‘joint’ lead with all you guessers. Forget about the rest of the experts, they’re in our dust. It’s you and me, baby. Having said that, I will shake off the shame of being tied this week, never to be caught again. You’ve all had your fleeting moment of excitement.

The Storm will outlast the Roosters at the SCG in a grinder. There’s a lot of quality out for both sides but still a lot of quality in too…

The Panthers snuck over the line with help from the refs last week and should beat the Warriors, but can Penrith handle being forced to play so far away from their cosy home?

Eels will do the Dragons in a run of the mill win that excites no-one.

Sharks over Titans in a sneaky good one.

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The Bunnies and Cowboys is an interesting one. Souths can beat the duds, but North Queensland might have a sniff against a day-tripping opponent. No way am I picking the Queenslanders, though!

The mighty Raiders will put 76 on the hapless curfew breakers. That is, if the game goes ahead.

In Sunday’s two non-events, Knights over Manly in a drag-out grinder and Tigers barely over the Dogs.

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Mary Konstantopoulos

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

The last time the Roosters and Storm played it was an incredible battle between two powerhouses. I’m expecting the same this time. Both teams are heavily impacted by injury. The Roosters are missing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton and Brett Morris, while the Storm are missing Cam Munster and Cameron Smith. I’m tipping the Roosters given the Storm are missing two key weapons in attack, and they’ll also be determined to beat Melbourne after their last showdown.

The Panthers are the competition high-flyers. Even though I’m tipping them, the Warriors can’t be completely written off. Despite the challenges, Todd Payten has managed to bring this team together. The challenge is inconsistency, and I haven’t seen enough to be convinced they can beat the team with the most exciting attack in the competition.

The Eels have been disappointing over the last three weeks. The positive is on each of these occasions they managed victories. I’m tipping them to beat the Dragons, who will struggle in the forwards without Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan.

The Sharks might have lost last week, but they have impressed in recent weeks, particularly considering how many Newton players have been called into the line-up. The Titans are another team improving, but given the calibre of teams the Sharks have played in the last couple of weeks (and their narrow losses), they will get the win.

The Rabbitohs will beat the Cowboys, who continue to disappoint, and there is almost no team in the competition that I think the Brisbane Broncos can beat at the moment either. What a world we live in where the Titans are Queensland’s best team.

The Manly Sea Eagles will go down to the Knights. It’s unfortunate that the Sea Eagles have so many injuries at the moment, because this otherwise could have been a really good match.

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I’m also tipping the Tigers to beat the Bulldogs, but the Tigers are inconsistent, so I wouldn’t consider it a sure thing.

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers runs the ball

Nathan Cleary. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

David Holden

Tips: Roosters, Panthers, Eels, Sharks, Rabbits, Raiders, Knights, Tigers

The worst thing about expert tipping is that, before the round starts, you know exactly where you differ from your tipping rivals. Games you typically wouldn’t give two hoots about suddenly carry gargantuan importance.

Which brings me to the Titans and Cowboys. Before expert tipping this game was all upside for me given I knew a Queensland team would lose. Last weekend, with my Cowboys tip looking like the proverbial shag on the rock (what does that even mean?), it was either a point to the good or the vice versa on my rivals. Those rotten Cowboys were never in it. Michael Morgan looked like he had just come back from Mars rather than injury.

But we never give up, so here are this weeks tips.

It’s hard to get a read on the Roosters and Storm. Both teams are missing key players, but Melbourne might just miss the two Camerons more. Luke Keary is the best half on the field and could prove pivotal. Now that we’ve sorted a tip, will Ryan Hall score? Matching up on Josh Addo-Carr, he’s not going to win a race to the line. My prediction is no.

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The Warriors have been the surprise packets of the last month, having lost a coach, gained a coach, lost a coach again and also a range of first-grade players. Jack Hetherington has politely declined to fill in for the Warriors given he didn’t want to head high tackle a Panthers teammate. The Panthers have to drop one at some point, but it won’t happen here.

Paul McGregor does seem to be in a bit of a muddle at the moment, and can’t decide which spine will work. The answer of course is none. They competed with a half-strength Roosters outfit last round but ultimately fell short. The Eels are waterlogged but close to full strength. They should win.

The Sharks return to Kogarah on Saturday hoping for a surface that is not underwater. This is a danger game for Cronulla against a Titans team that is showing signs of improvement, albeit from a very low base. There may be some fatigue after playing in a swamp last round, but Cronulla should have the class to get home.

The Cowboys hurt me bad last weekend. I’m not backing up for more. Rabbits to win.

Every week, I feel the Broncos must have reached their low point. Every week I’m proven wrong. They should come out and call time on their season. Bubble breaching is one thing, but in-your-face intentional bubble breaching is another thing altogether. Half the Broncos coaching staff are out, Tevita Pangai Junior looks headed for the exit door and Darius Boyd doesn’t want to lead. Some would argue that he doesn’t offer much else. Can it get any worse? Well, they do run into a Raiders outfit that Ricky Stuart would have been showing some tough love this week. So, yes, it can get worse. I’m with AJ, Raiders by 50-plus.

The Eagles do get a couple of players back, but Addin Fonua-Blake is now out and Marty Taupau is in doubt. Manly resembles a partygoer who’s had a big night, gets to the train station, realises that they have missed the last train and has to wait a few hours before the early train. Just work with me. Tom Trbojevic is that early morning train that the Eagles are desperately waiting for, but they are likely to end up in a whole lot of trouble before that train arrives. Knights will win.

The Bulldogs showed signs of a resurgence before getting belted last weekend. On the other hand, something smells dodgy at Leichhardt. Three losses in a row have Michael Maguire kicking chairs and making changes. I’ll tip the Tigers but maintain that Maguire is struggling to keep the dressing room.

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The Barry

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

Look out, I’m running hot! By my calculations I’ve tipped 23 of the last 26 games. But who’s counting? Except AJ.

Geez, there’s some talent missing from this week’s first game. Cameron Smith, Boyd Cordner, Cam Munster, Angus Crichton, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Brett Morris, Daniel Tupou, Victor Radley, Sam Verrills, Tui Kamikamica, Paul Momirovski, Marion Seve. The combined injury list might just might beat both starting line-ups. I’m sure most of these have been in my SuperCoach team lately. The Roosters are two and four against the top nine teams and I think the Storm will get them.

The NRL made a ruling this week that you’re not allowed to talk about the Warriors without including the word brave in the sentence. Panthers to do enough to put the brave Warriors away.

This is one of the most Mary-esque moves of all time! After being told he’s one loss away from being sacked, Paul McGregor has put his career in the hands of Corey Norman. If you’re going down, who better to rely on? Eels.

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Before last Sunday I’d never seen a waterlogged Shark. Even so, they should be too good for Queensland’s No. 1 team.

I’ve got the Cowboys feeling again! A couple of times this year the Cowboys have lost heavily away from home only to turn it around in Townsville. Then again, they’ve been pumped up there too. I’m not convinced about the Rabbitohs but I’m going to reluctantly tip them here.

Queensland’s No. 2 team – yes, I know they’re third. It’s a double entendre. Yes, I am that immature – travels to the nation’s capital with no coach, no trainer, no second rowers and no hope.

I’ve been looking at the Knights line-up for ages trying to see if I could somehow work Mitchell Pearce and a teammate into the classic 12th Man gag – “Pearce off Jack, Gibbs on” – but I’ve got to admit defeat. Lachlan Fitzgibbon was as close as I could get. Knights.

I’ve got a sneaky feeling about the Dogs, but I just can’t do it. I’m on a roll.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

(Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Scott Pryde

Tips: Roosters, Panthers, Dragons, Titans, Cowboys, Raiders, Knights, Tigers

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Despite what the below table shows from the rest of the expert panel, I’m not sure this weekend is as clear-cut as that. Then again, there is a probably a reason I’ve tipped only 14 of the last 24 games, and it certainly isn’t picking upsets.

Still, like an NRL player breaching COVID-19 rules who refuses to learn his lessons, I’m going for broke again. I’ll be dead last by the end of the week, but it’s fun to have something riding on every result.

In saying that, there is no upset about the first game, and it wouldn’t matter who you tipped. Injuries galore. Luke Keary should prove the difference, so the Roosters at home to get some revenge.

I’m tempted to tip against the Panthers until they lose. It has to come soon, and you’ll get it eventually, but the Warriors are due a shonky performance after a pair of wins. Even at their best I’m not sure they can get the better of Penrith.

Now to shake things up. The Eels and Sharks both played on a heavy surface at Kogarah in the driving rain last Sunday. Five-day turnarounds are hard at the best of times, so Parramatta could be very, very flat. The Dragons haven’t been consistently great, but there have been enough solid patches. I’m backing them.

I’ll take the Titans too. AJ Brimson back has been a big boost, and Cronulla, like the Eels, could be flat as a tack.

Maybe crazily I’m also going to take the Cowboys. Match-day travel doesn’t agree with certain sides, and I reckon Souths might be one of them. The Cowboys are due a decent performance too.

In the other Saturday game, pick a number out of a hat between 50 and 100. That is how many points the Raiders will smack the Broncos by.

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If the Knights hadn’t of shown something last week, I’d probably take Manly. Tom Trbojevic is still out though, so no chance.

I almost don’t want to tip the Tigers. Their selection policy reminds me of my under-ten cricket team, when the batting order was decided by an ongoing rotation policy where if you opened one week, the entire team would have to bat before you could again. This isn’t under-ten cricket, though. This is the NRL, and Michael Maguire needs to learn constant chopping and changing won’t make the finals.

Still, tipping Canterbury doesn’t seem a smart option.

Round 14 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
SYD v MEL MEL SYD SYD MEL SYD SYD
NZL v PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
PAR v STI PAR PAR PAR PAR STI PAR
CRO v GCT CRO CRO CRO CRO GCT CRO
NQL v SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU NQL SOU
CAN v BRI CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN
NEW v MAN NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW
WST v CBY WST WST WST WST WST WST
Last week 6 6 6 7 5 7
Total 74 69 67 66 67 74

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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