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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 2

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Expert
17th March, 2021
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One week down, 24 to go. It feels nice to say that as we return to some sort of normality in the NRL after last season’s COVID chaos.

Normality returned too with all the big names winning in the opening week. Let’s dive into The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions for Round 2.

It was a pretty successful tipping week all round in the opener, with Mary, The Barry, The Crowd and myself all landing seven. It would have been eight for The Barry if he hadn’t have gone with the heart, his Bulldogs letting him down as he correctly got on the Warriors.

David ended up with six, and AJ five to start the season.

Round 2 gets underway with the Storm again, this time on the road to play Parramatta. The Warriors will take on the Knights in the early Friday game, before the Broncos get another run on free to air TV in a shock to no one, this time against the Titans who will be smarting from their Round 1 upset loss.

Bankwest gets its second game of the weekend on Saturday when the Bulldogs host the Panthers, before we head east to Lottoland and north to Townsville, with the Sea Eagles to play the Rabbitohs and Cowboys to host the Dragons in what could be two very average games.

Sunday afternoon closes the round with the Tigers playing the Roosters, a game which could be all one-way traffic, and the Sharks ‘hosting’ the Raiders at Kogarah… Makes me sick it does.

Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEDT) on Sunday to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2020 and be featured as part of the Crowd’s tips for Round 1.

Given Mary, The Barry and myself all tied on seven last week, I put all the names into a hat to determine who would go first this week. David will be off fourth and AJ brings up the rear.

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Over to The Barry.

The Barry

Tips: Storm, Knights, Titans, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Roosters, Raiders

I’ve always said when the Bulldogs are going well, I’m a 12 per cent better tipster. That proved the case last week when a wonderfully loyal but wildly misplaced tip on the blue and whites cost me a perfect round and the ensuing fame and fortune.

Is Tyson Smoothy leading the ‘best name in the NRL’ competition for 2021? It’s been something of a curse with previous winners Marcelo Montoya and Ofahiki Ogden not kicking on. Home ground gives the Eels some hope, but it’s hard to see the Storm dropping points at this stage of the season.

My Bulldogs tip took some off the gloss off being the only tipster to tip the Central Coast Warriors. I’d love to double down on the Warriors but I was really impressed (through gritted teeth) with the Knights through the middle. David Klemmer and Jacob Saifiti are quickly becoming the competition’s premier front row combination. Klemfiti?

The Broncos showed a lot of heart last weekend. The Titans were very clunky and while they’re really strong in a few positions, there are big question marks on parts of their spine. Bookies have the Titans at $1.42 which is ridiculous. I think they’ll win but this game is closer than that.

Don’t tip the Bulldogs. Don’t tip the Bulldogs. Don’t tip the… Wait a second, who are they playing? Oh. Sweet. Panthers.

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Adam Elliott

Adam Elliott is one of the Bulldogs’ key men. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Teams don’t always bounce back well after a game against the Storm but I think Souths have too many points in them and Manly have too much not stopping points in them.

Todd Payten’s angry press conference was the harbinger of some serious team changes… Until he looked at the draw and saw they had the Dragons in Townsville. “I’ll give it another week.”

The Tigers weren’t a million miles away against the Raiders but lacked the class in key moments to go toe to toe with a premier team. I expect it will be more of the same against the Roosters.

Raiders and Sharks will be a tough game with a great forward battle. I think the Raiders will edge them out.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Storm, Knights, Broncos, Panthers, Souths, Cowboys, Roosters, Raiders

After the Eels first-half performance, I am really worried about this week against the Storm. The Storm demonstrated why they are one of the best teams in the competition last week, picking up from exactly where they left off last year and dismantling Souths.

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The Storm also used the new rules to their advantage and will be near impossible for the Eels to beat on Thursday night.

The next game is a tough one to tip, but I’ll go with the Knights. The Knights surprised me with how good they were, particularly Daniel Saifiti who has cemented his position as one of the best props in the game. The Warriors were equally impressive (or perhaps I just had low expectations) and I expect this game to be close.

Are the Broncos the best team in Queensland again? At this stage, I’m not sure. I’m tipping the Broncos in this game, despite injury concerns, because the Titans look several weeks away from being at their best. Who would have thought? Apparently buying David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui doesn’t automatically ensure you go from pretenders to contenders.

The next game will be a whitewash. The new rules have contributed to a situation in footy now where the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ is widening. My only question about this game is how many will the Panthers win by.

Similar expectations for the next game. After Manly’s performance last weekend, nothing short of divine intervention will see them beat the Bunnies.

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Do I have to watch the next game? The Dragons were better than I thought they would be in Round 1, while the Cowboys were beyond disappointing. I’m tipping the Cowboys because I feel like Todd Payten’s press conference may have been the rocket the players needed, especially Jason Taumololo.

The Roosters will beat the Cowboys and I’m predicting that the Raiders will beat the Sharks in a fiery affair at Kogarah.

Scott Pryde

Tips: Eels, Knights, Titans, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Roosters, Raiders

So, after tipping seven out of eight in Round 1, what is the best way to go into Round 2? Well, swinging for the fences of course.

Okay, so maybe there is nothing completely outlandish, but the Eels beating the Storm would be a pretty major upset. I just have a funny feeling about this being at Bankwest, and the Storm’s game management not being quite what it once was. If Melbourne don’t get the same start they did last week, well, I’m not convinced. Let’s call it a hunch.

The Knights should get over the Warriors on the back of Klemmer and Saifiti, while I’ll take the Titans to beat Brisbane. I, along with just about everyone, was very unimpressed with the Gold Coast last week – they might take a while to come good, but should still beat Brisbane who rely far too heavily on Milford.

Canterbury were gallant in some ways last week, but still have a lot of issues to work out. The Panthers meanwhile, are a well-oiled machine at both ends of the park and will get another two points here.

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South Sydney can be pencilled in as almost certainties to go over Manly as well, who looked a bit of a rabble last week against the Roosters. Not that they are the only ones to do that in the last few years, but Souths are far stronger and also have a nine-day turnaround into this one.

Benji Marshall

Benji Marshall of the Rabbitohs passes the ball. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Controversy up next. I’m not going to get many chances to tip the Dragons this year. The Cowboys were horrendous last week. That is reason enough for me.

There aren’t going to be many teams getting near the Roosters this year, and the Tigers certainly won’t, while I’ll take the Raiders to finish off with a win over the Sharks in what will be a very tight game. Expect a lot of physicality and not many points, but the green machine should be too good.

David Holden

Tips: Storm, Warriors, Titans, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Roosters, Raiders

Well, the first week of the 2021 season is over and to be honest, it had a bit of the same-same feel. The top six teams are unchanged, there are about four teams playing for the last two finals spots and the rest are residents of Dudville.

Things may change, and I hope they do but, for now, tipping should be reasonably straightforward, right? Completely wrong but I’m here to have another crack.

Melbourne came out of the blocks last week like Cameron Smith was just an average first grader. It was seamless, even with Harry Grant injured. The Eels eventually overcame the Broncos but the edge swaps, apparently proposed by the players, looked ugly at times. The Storm will win.

The Warriors surprised me in Round 1, outclassing a Titans side that loomed as a big improver. They have made Central Coast Stadium a bit of a fortress. Newcastle got the win over a gritty Bulldogs side but their injury list is becoming a concern. The Warriors will make it two from two.

It comes as no surprise that Friday night prime time footy features the Broncos again. I feel sorry for Brisvegas citizens. They start every weekend seeing their team lose on national television, and it’s going to happen again against the Titans.

The Gold Coast spine seemed to pick up from last season’s early form rather than remember what they did at the tail end of 2020. I reckon they will remember this week.

Moeaki Fotuaika

Moeaki Fotuaika of the Titans. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Panthers played great football for the first 15 minutes against the Cowboys last Saturday night and then remembered it was Round 1. Solid but clunky was enough to beat the Cowboys and it will be enough to beat the Bulldogs as well. Canterbury’s new recruits all did their job but I don’t think their position on the ladder will materially change.

We then head to Brookvale where Des Hasler is already under pressure. Eagles fans were hoping for a case of Back to the Future with Daly and Kieran re-united, but they looked out of ideas early on.

It doesn’t get easier this week with the Rabbits looking to bounce back from their first-round defeat. Look away Manly fans, I think the Rabbits could put a score on.

If anything, the Cowboys were more awful first-up than the Dragons. This is an absolute toss of the coin. I’m going with North Queensland because they are playing in Townsville and because Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes eventually will play up to their reputation.

Half time trial standing ovations are just memories for Tigers fans after a solid first half against the Raiders was undone by a mistake-athon in the second 40 minutes. It literally put me to sleep so I’m not completely qualified to comment on this. Jake Friend is again destined for a stint on the sidelines but it won’t make a difference. Roosters to win.

I employed the ying-yang approach to my team first week. I picked the Dragons but was more than happy with the Sharks winning. I’m picking the Raiders this week and, unfortunately, there will be no ying-yang repeat.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Storm, Warriors, Broncos, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Roosters, Raiders

Back for more after being absolutely cheated by NRL head office last week. Refs robbed the Dragons of the go-ahead score against the Sharks, and head office making Xavier Coates try a spectacular one-hander cartwheel try instead of a straightforward dive meant I swung and missed on my two outsider tips in week one.

I might be two behind, but we all know serious injustices were wrought. Never mind, now I know the administration are out to stop me yet again I will redouble my efforts.

Storm to beat the Eels but Parra should get close. If the Eels get blown up, it’s question time for the setup there.

New Zealand surprised everyone in round one and their due reward is being tipped by me. I wasn’t sold on the Knights in their outing against the Bulldogs, but it’s tough to be sold on anyone who played a bludger team in round one.

The Broncos showed 50 per cent grit and 50 per cent shit in going down to the Eels. The Titans left a titanic pile of doodoo on the field in Gosford. Gold Coast have the talent, will the attitude show up? Broncos to win. Yeah. I said it.

Panthers by a mile against the Dogs. Sheesh.

Brian To'o

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Bunnies over Sea Eagles but be forewarned – after being humiliated last week this is the sort of game a proper Manly side would be right up and about for. Is this a proper Manly side though?

Cowboys over Dragons. Yes, North Queensland didn’t score in round one but their defence looked fitter and more focused than the Dragons.

The Roosters were taking the piss against Manly after 23 minutes, and they’ll be taking the piss against Wests after minute 8. The Tigers weren’t as bad as their fans thought last week against the best team in the competition, but the Roosters can do what they like against pretty much anyone.

Finally, your undefeated raging premiership favourite, the beautiful Canberra Raiders will travel to Cronulla’s historical homebase of Kogarah and put at least 56 on the Sharks, who are still embarrassed and shamed after getting trounced by the Baby Raiders in the last round of 2020.

Round 2 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
PAR v MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL PAR MEL
NZL v NEW NZL NEW NZL NEW NEW NZL
GCT v BRI BRI BRI GLD GLD GLD GLD
CBY v PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
MAN v SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU
NQL v STI NQL NQL NQL NQL STI NQL
WST v SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD
CRO v CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN
Last week 5 7 6 7 7 7
Total 5 7 6 7 7 7

Remember to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm tonight to be counted as part of The Crowd for this weekend.

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