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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 16

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30th June, 2021
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Everyone has had a week off to recharge the batteries, and it’s now time for the NRL season to resume. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping for Round 16.

Following a State of Origin mauling on an NRL-free weekend, fans are chomping at the bit for more action, and isn’t it excellent that we get a bell-ringer to kick it off?

The Roosters will play the Storm in the opener, even if that is in Newcastle as COVID rips through the competition and Australia once again.

Friday brings us the Warriors and Dragons, before the Panthers play the Eels in another clash between two sides at the top of the table. Of particular intrigue will be how Penrith perform without Nathan Cleary.

Saturday may get a little more lopsided with the Bulldogs in action against the Sea Eagles, the Raiders playing the Titans in Canberra and the Knights hosting the Cowboys.

The round will finish with the hapless Broncos hosting the struggling Sharks, and the Tigers just looking to avoid another cricket score at Leichhardt when they host the Rabbitohs.

Brisbane Broncos players, including Matt Lodge, looking dejected

Broncos players look dejected after conceding another try (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

On the tipping front, it’s a round of applause for Mary, who tipped eight out of eight in Round 15, which feels like an eternity ago. David also had a good round with seven, while The Barry and The Crowd had six. I was next with five, and AJ brought up the tail with four.

The Barry slipping ever so slightly may still mean he leads you, The Crowd, by one, but David has closed to within five points and Mary is now just three behind him. The less said about AJ and myself, the better.

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Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEST) this evening to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2021 and be featured as part of the Crowd’s tips for Round 15.

I know he finished last in Round 15, but AJ is going to lead us away this week. His idea came very much out of left field following a Monday email.

I’ll let him explain.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Roosters, Dragons, Panthers, Bulldogs, Titans, Cowboys, Broncos, Rabbitohs

Hi folks. It’s with a heavy heart we have said farewell to Scott Pryde from The Roar this week. I’ve been battling to keep my emotions in check. Of all the things that have happened in NRL season 2021 to affect my tipping – V’landys changing the rules, injuries to key players, COVID-19 ruining everything, NRL HQ doing everything they can to stop me winning my third title in four years, now this comes along…

Yes, I know Scott will still be doing the tipping bit. But it’s not the same when he’s going to be actually starting to enforce the midday Wednesday deadline instead of politely dropping me a message at 9pm to remind me I’ve got about 20 minutes to send my tips before he publishes the piece.

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As a sign of respect, I have allowed Scott to do my tips for me just this one week. I accept this will impact my overall total, but rest assured I shall return to my glorious ascent next week. Thank you for everything, Scott.

Hang on – Titans to win over the people’s team, the glorious Canberra Raiders? And in a game played in the greatest city in the world, no less? You disgust me Pryde! I won’t forget this!!

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Storm, Dragons, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Knights, Sharks and Rabbitohs

With almost a full week turnaround following the last State of Origin game, I expect all of the Storm’s Origin representatives to return for their game against the Roosters.

This may be a competitive contest, but one which ultimately the Storm will win. Unfortunately for the Roosters, their side has been absolutely decimated by injury this year and with the Storm being one of the frontrunners in the competition this year, they will be too strong.

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Both the Dragons and Warriors have been inconsistent this year, so in this clash I am tipping the Dragons. The Warriors have a couple of new recruits joining them for this clash including Chad Townsend and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and I feel like the Warriors new combinations will take some time to work out.

I would love to tip the Eels in the next game, but I am going with my head and tipping Penrith. Nathan Cleary is a big out for the Panthers, but I am curious to see how Jarome Luai and Matt Burton work together.

Even without Cleary, Penrith have strike power all over the field and this should not be impacted without their key playmaker. This game will be a test for Parramatta who many still think are pretenders in the premiership race this year.

Clint Gutherson of the Eels warms up

(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Sea Eagles have way too much attacking prowess to be troubled by the Bulldogs and will easily win that game.

The next one is a curious case. The Titans have proven that they can score plenty of points, but struggle to defend and to overcome challenges that present themselves during the game. The Raiders have been fading in the second half.

I’m tipping the Raiders in this one because of their home ground advantage. One thing is for sure – this is going to be a high scoring game.

The Knights will overcome the Cowboys, especially now that Mitchell Pearce and likely Kalyn Ponga have returned and the Sharks will be too strong for Brisbane, who are struggling this season.

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The Rabbitohs will also be too strong for the Tigers.

David Holden

Tips: Storm, Dragons, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Knights, Sharks, Rabbitohs

After an Origin weekend, we are back to the NRL this week. And with ten rounds to go, the race for the final two spots in the eight is hotting up. The other six spots are already decided and the Panthers will play the Storm in the grand final.

Or will they? Many a club season has been ruined by Origin injury, and Penrith fans are sweating over the shoulder prognosis for Nathan Cleary.

But, first to Round 16 tipping. I edged one closer to The Barry but will need to get most of the 50-50 games right to create a little bit of trepidation towards the end. There’s a few 50-50s shaping up this weekend so away we go.

COVID has thrown up a lot of curveballs but I’ve got no idea why the Roosters play the Storm at Newcastle on Thursday night. I can’t imagine a huge Newcastle crowd turning up to watch the sombrero wearing Roosters against the real Mexicans, but we will see.

The Roosters look strong and the Storm are missing a few, but I don’t see Melbourne losing this. Actually, I don’t see them losing for the rest of the season.

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First up on Friday night is the Warriors and Dragons at Gosford. Chad Townsend will start for the Warriors as does Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, so combinations may be a little rusty. I’m not a huge fan of this Dragons team, by any means, but I think they may jag a win.

With the loss of Nathan Cleary, the western derby suddenly gets a lot closer. However, I reckon we are all missing another big omission. Reed Mahoney is out for the Eels whilst Api Koroisau is back for Penrith. A lot of the Eels attack comes off the back of Mahoney and, against a strong defensive line, the Eels won’t have enough points in them.

Saturday, theoretically, should be a little easier for tipsters. The Bulldogs are missing a few injured players and as many clowns, which doesn’t make Trent Barrett’s job any easier against his former club. They will get pumped, by 20 if Tommy Turbo sits it out, or by 40 otherwise.

The Raiders and Titans were seen as semi-final locks by many in the pre-season. I don’t want to be too melodramatic about this, but whoever loses is as good as gone for the year. Mathematically possible, yes, but practically impossible. Jarrod Croker returns for the Raiders and it seems there is no quick fix for the Titans leaking defence. Raiders to win.

Last up on Saturday, the Knights host the Cowboys. There have been rumours of Kalyn Ponga’s return for a few weeks now and it looks like it will finally happen. The Cowboys will continue their slide of recent weeks with Newcastle to get home by a few.

On Sunday afternoon, the Broncos play the Sharks, supposedly at Suncorp Stadium. Kotoni Staggs finally makes his return but may be a little underdone. Brisbane are due for one of their rare good performances but the Sharks have won four in a row and are just finding ways to win at the moment.

Time hasn’t flown for the Wests Tigers over the past fortnight. They’d still be having flashbacks to their thrashing by the Storm. Leichhardt on Sunday afternoon would normally provide an advantage but, apart from a few fans watching from their balconies, there will be no crowds. The Rabbits will get a win.

The Barry

Tips: Storm, Warriors, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Knights, Sharks, Rabbitohs

If you were going through the draw at the start of the season, Roosters vS Storm would be one of the games you’d get the highlighter out for as a must-watch. So it boggles the mind that the NRL would schedule it on a four-day turnaround after Origin. The Roosters hopes are pinned to whether Tedesco plays. After his huge game for the Blues and the fact he’s carrying an injury that may not be likely.

Midseason transfers DWZ and Chad Townsend slot straight into the Central Coast Warriors lineup. Should be a tight game but I’m leaning to the Warriors.

Chad Townsend passes the ball

How will Townsend go at his new club? (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Panthers versus Eels is another of those blockbuster games… scheduled five days after Origin.

The cat has been thrown among the Panthers with Nathan Cleary being ruled out for hopefully a few weeks, but maybe for the season. Jarome Luai plays 7 with Matt ‘Bulldog’ Burton at 6 and Charlie Staines getting the nod at fullback over Stephen Crichton.

Huge mountain to overcome for the Panthers with no Cleary and five players backing up but I think they’ll get the W.

There’s no better time for Des Hasler to rest Tom Trbojevic than this weekend against the Bulldogs who have five players missing for COVID breaches. Honestly, if I never see Dylan Napa wear blue and white again it will be too soon. With or without Turbo, Manly by plenty.

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler looks on during a Manly Warringah Sea Eagles NRL training session

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Raiders take on the Titans in the Couldabeen Cup. The Raiders are only one win out of the eight so you’d think they’d have plenty to play for but that hasn’t translated to recent performance. The Titans are only one win further back, but have kept their opponents below 30 only once in their last ten outings. Raiders.

Kurt Mann is looking to break the NRL era record for most positions played in a season, but that’s reliant on Kalyn Ponga – who is looking to break the record for most times named but not showing up – actually playing. Hard to get a read on the form of either the Knights or Cowboys, but not great. Knights.

Sharks are this year’s mojo team, having won four in a row after earlier losing six on the bounce. Surely the motivation of not being the only team to lose to the Broncos and Bulldogs this season (like Souths did last year) is enough.

Does the bounce-back factor count when you’ve had a week off in between? The Tigers were definitely be hoping so as it’s likely to be their only hope against Souths. Would losing by 30 count as a bounce-back?

Scott Pryde

Tips: Storm, Dragons, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Knights, Broncos, Rabbitohs

Always hard to work out who is going to be at full strength in a post-Origin haze. Granted, this time Origin was on Sunday, but it doesn’t mean players won’t drop out last minute.

In saying all of that. The Storm have just been on fire recently. No Ryan Papenhuyzen and no Harry Grant, but those injuries are matched with the Roosters litany of injuries. Give me the Storm.

On Friday, I’ll take the Dragons because if we lose to the Warriors again while they complete at 200 per cent I’ll throw my laptop through the window, and the Panthers to beat the Eels.

No Nathan Cleary is a problem, but not one the Panthers can’t overcome.

Apisai Koroisau of the Panthers

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Sea Eagles will roll past Canterbury without raising a sweat, and the Raiders will probably get the Titans (although now I’ve given AJ a tip of the Titans, I’m sure Canberra will win 60-0 and he will never be able to tip his team again.)

The Knights, at home, should be too strong for a Cowboys outfit who have won just a single game away from Townsville this year.

The Broncos going over the Sharks is, yeah, I get it, a huge call, but Cronulla haven’t been all that impressive. Maybe a Sunday afternoon at home, a week off and plenty of speculation over their key men is enough to inspire the Broncos.

The last game doesn’t even deserve a write-up, but here. The Tigers lost 66-16 to the Storm. If they turn that around to win next start against another top-four side, I’ll be stunned.

As AJ alluded to, my time with The Roar is coming to an end, although I’ll still be here ​to continue tipping until the end of the season.

I may not get this opportunity again, so I’d just like to say thank you. To people like Patrick Effeney and Ryman White who gave me my start. And to those I worked with heavily over the last few years, particularly Stirling Coates, Benjamin Conkey, Josh Elliott and Daniel Jeffrey.

And to you. The audience. The community of The Roar. This website wouldn’t be what it is without you all.

Round 15 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
SYD v MEL SYD MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
NZL v STI STI STI STI NZL STI NZL
PEN v PAR PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
CBY v MAN CBY MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN
CAN v GLD GLD CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN
NEW v NQL NQL NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW
BRI v CRO BRI CRO CRO CRO BRI CRO
WST v SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU SOU
Last week 4 8 7 6 5 6
Total 64 80 83 88 75 87

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

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