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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 5

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Expert
7th April, 2021
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The trend of big victories reached fever pitch in the NRL last weekend, but there could be more on the cards as Round 5 rolls around. The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel are here to tell you who is winning what.

With all of the first four games in Round 4 being one-way traffic, viewers will be hoping for a more competitive edge to start Round 5.

Unfortunately, the Rabbitohs going up against the Broncos isn’t shaping up as that, with the Broncos competitive for about 20 minutes last week before being rolled by the Ryan Papenhuyzen show.

The Warriors take on the Sea Eagles in Friday’s early game, with Manly struggling in a big way, while the Panthers and Raiders shapes as one of the games of the season so far in prime time.

Saturday kicks off with an injury-ravaged Knights travelling to play the Titans, before the Storm will look to put more pain on the Bulldogs who haven’t scored in three weeks.

The Roosters would ordinarily go in as favourites against the Sharks, but their own injury crisis makes that an intriguing game, while the Tigers and Cowboys could be anything, as could the Eels and Dragons to close out the round.

On the tipping front, David, The Barry, The Crowd and myself all managed to record seven last week, with AJ getting six and Mary only five. It leaves the overall ladder as The Barry and myself tied on 25, The Crowd on 24, David on 23, Mary 21 and our defending champion AJ on just 20.

Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEDT) on Sunday to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2021 and be featured as part of the Crowd’s tips for Round 4.

A three-way tie at the top last week, but we will go with David first this week.

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David Holden

Tips: Rabbitohs, Warriors, Panthers, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Tigers, Eels

Well, it’s happened. After a slow start to the season, the long march to the top of the tipping ladder is underway. It’s only a matter of time until The Barry weakens and picks the Dogs, whilst Scott’s love for the Dragons will eventually bring him undone. Until then, we will continue to chip away.

The Rabbits should continue their strong start to the season when they play the Broncos on Thursday night. Cody Walker will be missing but, realistically, that should only impact the victory margin.

The Warriors will be dirty after losing to the understrength Roosters last round but they get a golden chance to redeem themselves this week. The Sea Eagles season has lurched from bad to worse and it’s hard to see how they turn it around. Warriors to win.

We get the match of the round on Friday night between the Panthers and the Raiders. Both sides are miserly in defence but I think the Panthers ask more questions in attack. They fell one win short in 2020. Granted, it’s only early in the season, but I think Penrith will go one better this year.

Injuries have ravaged a number of teams so far and the Knights are no exception. The Titans have established themselves as slightly above mediocre, which should be enough to get the win on Saturday afternoon.

To save the Bulldogs further embarrassment late Saturday, the NRL need to declare Stadium Australia a red zone and call the whole thing off. A side hasn’t scored a point for 3 weeks and runs into the Storm. Melbourne will win and the Bulldogs will bag another duck, unless Kyle Flanagan can kick a field goal late.

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Nick Cotric of the Bulldogs runs the ball

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

As a Sharks supporter, the next one really interests me. Sure, the Roosters are undermanned but so are the Sharks, with both teams missing their first choice half. I’m picking the Roosters, purely because of the Sharks’ record last year against top 8 teams. That is going to end at some point though, and it may be on Saturday night.

The Tigers were gallant in defeat against the Eels but gallantry only gets you so far. They should get the 2 points this week against a Cowboys side whose season is officially toast. Valentine Holmes will be having nightmares all week about Adam Doueihi.

And, finally, the Eels and Dragons. The Dragons supporters are hailing three straight wins. The doubters are saying that was wins over the Cowboys, Sea Eagles and the Knights with no bench. They are better, no questions. But the Eels should win this at Bankwest.

The Barry

Tips: Rabbitohs, Warriors, Panthers, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Tigers, Eels

Another seven out of eight last week. But let’s be honest that was like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone in my family tipping comp, from my 10-year-old son to my 83-year-old father got seven last week.

I’d love to see a couple of upsets this round, but we’re looking at about an 80-point turnaround for the Broncos to beat the Rabbitohs. Nope.

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The rumour that Tom Trbojevic was returning for the Sea Eagles has unfortunately fallen through, to be replaced by one that he’ll eventually be returning in the centres. Dylan Walker at fullback ahead of Turbo? Warriors to be too strong.

Panthers versus Raiders looks like match of the round on paper. The Raiders haven’t been super convincing all season but they looked good in the middle against the Titans tough pack. The Panthers have barely missed a beat despite missing three of their spine at different times. Panthers in a belter.

Brian To'o

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Kalyn Ponga returns. Not quite a ‘must-win’ for the Knights but they’d be stinging after dropping games to the Tigers and Dragons. Titans to win especially if the game goes ahead at Cbus.

Look on the bright side Bulldogs fans. If you thought averaging four points per game was bad… it’s probably going to be 3.2 by 8pm on Saturday.

The Sharks and Roosters keep looking further away from their best lineups but still adding to their W column. Roosters to win and Sam Walker to keep pumping out the Fantasy points.

Hard to get a gauge on the Tigers. They seem to be at their best only when their opponents are at their worst. Against the Cowboys they should get plenty of opportunities.

Litmus test for the Dragons on Sunday. They’d be rightfully happy with three from four but the wins have come against the battling Sea Eagles, Cowboys and injury affected Knights. The Eels at Bankwest should give us a real indication of where they’re up to. Eels to remain unbeaten.

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Scott Pryde

Tips: Rabbitohs, Warriors, Panthers, Titans, Storm, Sharks, Tigers, Eels

This is looking like a reasonably straight-forward round on paper, but I reckon there will be more closer games than anyone really cares to imagine.

The Rabbitohs and Broncos won’t be one of them though – Souths by a cricket score.

The Warriors are an interesting case study this year. They seem to be playing quite well for the most part under Nathan Brown. The loss of Addin Fonua-Blake is a monster blow though, but with Manly not troubling anyone so far, it’d take a brave person to back the men from the northern beaches.

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Penrith and Canberra is going to be the game of the round. The Green Machine have been inconsistent, but when they are on, they look close to unbeatable. Unfortunately for them, they travel to play a Panthers side who have been unbeatable, despite the fact they have battled injuries. Penrith in a close one.

The Knights can barely name a team this week. Kalyn Ponga is back, but it won’t help as they slump to another loss against the similarly inconsistent Titans.

Storm over Bulldogs. Will Canterbury score? Probably not. Next!

No, that isn’t a typo in my tipping line. The Sharks are going to beat the Roosters. It has to come unstuck at some point for the tri-colours with so much of their top team missing. The Sharks had a monster win last week against the Cowboys and while they won’t win the premiership, they are the sort of team who can get the chocolates here.

The Tigers will be right up for their Sunday clash against North Queensland. Playing for Tommy Raudonikis, they will win and win well.

And finally, yeah, Parramatta. I want to tip the Dragons. I really do. But I just can’t. They need to prove themselves against a strong team before they start getting favoured to win games against them.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Rabbitohs, Warriors, Panthers, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Tigers, Eels

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The poor old Broncos can’t catch a break and it won’t come this weekend when they face the in-form Rabbitohs. We have seen zero upsets in the competition this year (apart from any caused by one team being impacted severely by injury) and I can’t see it happening here.

The Broncos have real challenges with their halves pairing and I don’t see how they can win… even with the Bunnies missing Adam Reynolds.

Tevita Pangai

Tevita Pangai Jr (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

One player who does seem to be benefitting from the rule changes is Kodi Nikorima. I’ve enjoyed watching him play for the Warriors last year and am confident the Warriors will have no trouble beating the hapless Sea Eagles. Manly are in a world of hurt and not even the return of Tom Trbojevic is going to save them.

Penrith and Canberra will be an exciting contest, especially with the Raiders welcoming back a couple of players from injury including Joe Tapine. The Panthers will win, but not by much. They are a team oozing confidence at the moment and with game-changers like Kikau and the halves combination of Cleary and Laui, they will beat the Raiders.

Newcastle fans will be thrilled that Kalyn Ponga has returned… but unfortunately, I don’t think his return will be enough for the Knights to beat the Titans.

The Knights have an injury crisis and will be missing Bradman Best, Tex Hoy, Mitchell Pearce and Kurt Mann; all players that have been game-changers this season. Ponga is class, but he can’t do it all on his own.

The Storm will beat the Bulldogs. The only questions about this game will be, by how much and will the Bulldogs score any points?

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Last week taught me a lesson about tipping against the Roosters, even in their depleted state. Sam Walker was impressive on debut and looks like a good prospect. I’m tipping the Roosters, but given what Cronulla have shown in the opening four rounds, it will be close. Sharks fans will also be cheering the return of Jesse Ramien.

The Tigers have made big leaps over the last two weeks. They just need to put it together for 80 minutes and with an opposition like the Cowboys, this is their chance to. I’m predicting a big Tigers win in front of the Leichhardt faithful.

Parramatta will beat the Dragons at Bankwest Stadium, but this should also be an exciting game to watch. The Dragons have exceeded my expectations for 2021 already. The key for Parramatta will be to contain Matt Dufty and make sure Tariq Sims doesn’t have too much room to move.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Rabbitohs, Warriors, Raiders, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Tigers, Eels

I almost caught you mob with a heroic round last week, but the Tigers just couldn’t hold on. I’ll have to wait for the next opportunity though, because this week is a most predictable bludger that’s likely to be eight complete duds.

I’m treating this week with the contempt it deserves. Here’s your winners, for what it’s worth, cos we’re all going to tip the card.

Rabbitohs by a mile.

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Warriors by a mile.

Your premiership favourites the beautiful Canberra Raiders by at least 56.

Titans by a mile.

Storm by two miles.

Roosters by a mile.

Tigers by a mile.

Eels by a mile.

Keep ‘fixing’ rugby league, V’landys.

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Round 5 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
SOU v BRI SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU
NZL v MAN NZL NZL NZL NZL NZL NZL
PEN v CAN CAN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
GCT v NEW GLD GLD GLD GLD GLD GLD
CBY v MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
SYD v CRO SYD SYD SYD SYD CRO SYD
WST v NQL WST WST WST WST WST WST
PAR v STI PAR PAR PAR PAR PAR PAR
Last week 6 5 7 7 7 7
Total 20 21 23 25 25 24

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