After 18 weeks of trying, we have our first perfect round for the season. In fact, there were three of them in a week which went more or less as expected. Round 19 presents another chance, but who on The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel will deliver this weekend?
To go with perfect rounds by The Crowd, David and Mary, there were sevens for AJ and The Barry, while the less said about my upset-laden score the better.
That means The Crowd have added another point to their lead over AJ, now sitting ahead by three, while I’m back on the bottom with a lot of work to do in the last two rounds and finals to avoid that tag.
Funnily enough, I was asked last week by AJ if we had any perfect rounds to that point, an answer which has of course now changed, as predicted by David in a return email.
Anyway, some investigative minutes later and it was ascertained that, to the end of Round 17, we had 16 scores of seven during the season to that point. So 17th time lucky!
Round 19’s biggest game is the Roosters and Sharks on Saturday, with one side looking to lock away their top-four berth and the other desperately trying to get a home elimination final.
Elsewhere, it could be another week of favourites running away with games. South Sydney and Canterbury kick us off, before the Cowboys play Penrith and the Broncos travel to Parramatta.
Manly might – key word being might – welcome back Tom Trbojevic to kick-off Saturday’s action against the in-form Titans, before the Storm look to run on a score against the Tigers.
Sunday’s games start with a Canberra side still in with a shot at the top four playing the Warriors, and the Knights close the round looking to make a statement about their finals aspirations against the Dragons – in a match-up the Novocastrians have had little success in recently.
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 19.
Tips: Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels, Sea Eagles, Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Knights
First up – well done to Mary K, David and yes, even you punks in The Crowd for a flawless round’s tipping last week. We hadn’t had any in 2020 and it’s nice to finally see a few on the board. The way this week is shaking out, every NRL tipper is in line for another maximum result.
It will start with the Bunnies routing the Dogs, the Panthers routing the Cowboys, and the Eels beating the Broncos easily enough.
Manly and the Titans could be a toss-up but I’m saving my speculators for Round 20 and a glorious victory, so Sea Eagles by 8.
The Storm will rumble along against the Tigers, who might put up a fight but won’t win.
The Roosters will toy with the Sharks and have a slim win people will read too much into (they shouldn’t – because, the Roosters are in cruise control until the finals).
The glorious Canberra Raiders will celebrate a new deal for everyone’s favourite big bopper, Josh Papalii. How? By putting at least 56 on the hapless Warriors, who are officlaly cooked and liable to clocking off with a trip home so close they can taste it.
Finally, Knights over Dragons, who have also decided they’ve played enough rugby league for 2020.
Tips: Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Knights
The poor old Bulldogs have been brave and have also improved over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t see enough improvement in them to beat the Rabbitohs, who are playing just brilliant attacking footy at the moment.
There have been questions about which team is going to stop the Panthers’ roll and it certainly isn’t going to be the Cowboys, who fought back against the Storm last week, but I don’t seem them up to the defensive challenge of holding out the likes of Viliame Kikau and Stephen Crichton.
Parra will beat Brisbane at Bankwest Stadium. What is more important for the Eels in this game is to get their attack to fire again. The defensive effort against Penrith was impressive, but the inability to score points is a worry.
I’m going out on a limb and tipping the Gold Coast, who have been one my most improved teams this year. The Sea Eagles have been hit by injuries, but have really struggled without Tom Trbojevic. If the Titans can beat Manly at Lottoland, it will be a good sign things are heading in the right direction.
The Storm will beat the Tigers and the Roosters will beat the Sharks (who are still yet to beat a top-eight team this year).
The Warriors’ season may be over, but they won’t give up against Canberra. I still think the Raiders will win, but I see it being close.
After sealing a finals berth, the Knights will beat St George Illawarra in front of their home crowd for the Old Boys game and the Dragons will continue their count down to Mad Monday.
Tips: Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Knights
Coming off a perfect round, the top eight is all sorted, tipping should be easy, right? Wrong. Now’s the time when the dreaded rest comes into play and there is going to be a fair bit of resting over the fortnight. I hope that Sonny Bill Williams has a rest after playing less than 80 minutes, if only to pause the hype.
The Bulldogs are clenching their backsides firmly together because the wooden spoon has reached the top of its arc and is on its way down. They were on top early against Manly but some awful defence followed. The Rabbits are likely to be without Cody Walker but that will only impact the margin of the win rather than the win itself. Souths to win comfortably.
The Cowboys played some enterprising footy against the Storm. It was unfortunate that this only started when they were 30-4 down but it does show that North Queensland have ability. The larger JT is back and will make a difference. The Panthers will likely rest some players but you would have to be brave to back against them going 15 straight leading into the finals. I don’t like snakes, great heights or stepping on bindis. Generally, I’m not brave. Penrith will keep the streak going.
Surprisingly enough, the Broncos again appear on free-to-air TV this week, playing an Eels team that is only one loss away from falling out of the top four and into the abyss. Of course, Brisbane are already in the abyss so there is no room for Parra. I’m not saying that Parramatta are going to recapture their early-season form but they will get the two points.
The Sea Eagles and Titans, on paper at least, should be the tightest game of the round. Tommy Turbo is a big chance of returning but he may not be as sharp as normal in his first game back. I like the Gold Coast. They have taken down some ordinary teams over the past few weeks and there is no doubt Manly fit that category.
The Tigers will fall out of ninth spot if they lose this weekend, so the upset radar is on high alert. But they are playing the Storm on the Sunshine Coast. I like picking the occasional upset but Melbourne are too professional to drop one here.
My celebration of the Sharks making the semis on Sunday night was soured somewhat by the knowledge that we are also likely to be out in the first week. At least we won’t be playing the Roosters who, it genuinely hurts me to say, are firming for three premierships in a row. It would be a fitting end for Josh Morris to win a premiership at last, but I’m still dirty that he left Cronulla early in the season. Maybe I should watch Frozen again with my youngest and just let it go.
The Warriors have exceeded all expectations this season but will their intensity drop now that they are out of the semi-final race? It has to have an impact and the Raiders are still a chance of making the four if they keep winning and the Eels drop a game. Ricky Stuart is sticking pins in his Mitchell Moses voodoo doll as you read this. Canberra will keep the pressure on Parramatta.
The Knights return to Newcastle to take on the Dragons in the last game of the round. The Red V have been one big disappointment this season and are probably marking time until Anthony Griffin arrives. The home side simply have too much to play for.
Tips: Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Eels, Sea Eagles, Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Knights
For most of the season, I’ve resisted the urge to tip the Bulldogs – admittedly the urge hasn’t been that strong – but last week I finally weakened and it cost me a perfect round!
No fear of that happening this week – either the perfect round or tipping the Dogs. Souths by as many as they want.
I don’t think this game against the Cowboys will be as straightforward for the Panthers as the $1.15 price tag might suggest. Two weeks ago, travelling to Brisbane was one of the Panthers’ shakiest performances. A loss might not be the worst thing in the world for the mountain men. Bugger it, I’m tipping the Cowboys.
Despite sitting fourth, the Eels are desperate for a momentum-changing victory. They’ll win against the Broncos, but the question is will it be enough to get their season back on track?
The biggest news out of Brookie for neutral fans is Tom Trbojevic being named in the 21 jersey. It’d be great to see him back on the paddock, even if only for a couple of games. Sea Eagles for the win.
Melbourne will ravage the Tigers. Camerons Smith and Munster were ruthless last week and the whole Storm juggernaut is warming up nicely for the finals.
Nothing but respect for Trent Robinson as a coach, but as a SuperCoach I hate his guts right now. Why are you resting James Tedesco?! My team is buggered but it shouldn’t make too much difference on the actual NRL paddock. Roosters.
The brave Warriors have been so brave, but they’ll be semi-final warm-up fodder for the Raiders.
Knights fans must be quietly rejoicing at the club’s return to semi-final football but simultaneously anxious about the mixed bag performances they’re putting in on the park. They really are Jekyll and Hyde. Either way they should be too good for the Dragons.
Tips: Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Dragons
This looks a straight-forward week on paper, although, so did last week’s and look where tipping a bag of upsets got me. Two steps closer to the tipping spoon.
Anyway, Rabbitohs to beat the Bulldogs because they are just a lot better and finding form at the right time. They may not have been as clinical last week, but thinking the Bulldogs could beat them would probably have you laughed at.
I’ve tipped against the Panthers a lot, expecting them to lose. I’ve learnt my lesson. They won’t fall to the Cowboys.
Parramatta haven’t been good recently. In fact, for a team who were considered premiership hopefuls not so long ago, they have been downright dreadful. Good thing Brisbane are in town to play them back into form.
Maybe the toughest game of the weekend to tip when the Gold Coast play Manly, but with Tom Trbojevic only an outside chance to return and the Titans playing attractive footy, it’s hard to tip against them.
The Storm will clean house against the Tigers and the Roosters will probably do similar to the Sharks, despite the fact Cronulla could still play a home elimination final.
The Warriors have been brave but the finals are gone and so are their loan players. They could fall apart against the Raiders.
The Dragons have won 14 of their last 18 against the Knights and 13 of their last 15 in Newcastle. That is a record too good to ignore and while St George Illawarra haven’t been playing well, neither have Newcastle. Give me what the heart wants here.
|Round 18||AJ||Mary||David||The Barry||Scott||Crowd|
|SOU v CBY||SOU||SOU||SOU||SOU||SOU||SOU|
|NQL v PEN||PEN||PEN||PEN||NQL||PEN||PEN|
|PAR v BRI||PAR||PAR||PAR||PAR||PAR||PAR|
|MAN v GCT||MAN||GCT||GCT||MAN||GCT||MAN|
|MEL v WST||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL|
|SYD v CRO||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|CAN v NZL||CAN||CAN||CAN||CAN||CAN||CAN|
|NEW v STI||NEW||NEW||NEW||NEW||STI||NEW|
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.