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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 17

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7th July, 2021
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The second split round is ahead of us, reducing the weekend to just four games as Round 17 of the NRL arrives ahead of the dead-rubber Origin. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping.

Looking back at last week, it turns out The Barry is human, only tipping five. So are you, the Crowd, also tipping five? AJ managed to get five despite me doing his tips – what was that about tipping against the Raiders being so ludicrous? AJ was the only one to get that game right.

Mary and David both ended up with six, while only tipping the Raiders robbed me of a perfect round.

Anyway, The Barry’s lead over The Crowd remains at one, but his lead to David has shrunk to four. Mary is another three back, and I’m four back from Mary. AJ? Yeah, 13 back from me. Less said the better.

This week’s games, if you could call them that, begin in Manly as the Turbo-less Sea Eagles take on the Raiders. Friday takes us to Newcastle for the age-old Newcastle-based rivalry of the Rabbitohs and Cowboys or something like that.

Anyway, a likely beatdown on Friday night won’t get much better for the neutral observer on Saturday night when the Bulldogs host the Roosters in the day’s only game. Why we need Thursday night footy in a week like this is, frankly, beyond me.

The round wraps up with a game that looks closer but also looks flat out ugly. Warriors-Sharks. That both teams are scrapping for a spot in the eight will make it desperate at the very least.

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’ll lead away this week.

Jordan Rapana of the Raiders scores a try, which was then disallowed by the video referee during the NRL Semi Final

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Scott Pryde

Tips: Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sharks

Let’s start with the two games which are easier to pick than just about any this year, even in an Origin week where stars are missing left, right and centre.

The Cowboys don’t know how to win away from home. It’s about as simple as that. One out of six is the current record. Some might argue they have a point to prove, but then so do two blokes by the name of Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, who missed out on Origin. Rabbitohs. Pick a number between 20 and 40 and that’ll be the margin.

Rinse and repeat on Saturday, except for different reasons. Trent Barrett didn’t even want to recall the COVID isolated players, but he doesn’t have a choice due to injuries and suspensions.

The Bulldogs are an absolute rabble. Don’t worry about a score between 20 and 40 for this one. It’s more like 40 and 60. If James Tedesco were there, you’d probably go higher still.

Thursday night’s game carries a little more interest to it. Canberra will be desperate and, I’d imagine, have ringing ears after the week following their dreadful loss to the Titans last Saturday.


Manly don’t have their Tom Trbojevic, but they handled things all right without him last time, and given the Raiders are missing their only sense of go-forward in Josh Papalii, I can’t go past the home side.

Sunday’s game is another that could be close for all the wrong reasons. The Warriors and Sharks are both a bit of a mess, but the true factor setting them apart in this one is the loss of Tohu Harris.

He is a monumental figure for the Warriors, averaging 40 tackles per game and running the ball excellently. Cronulla should pick holes in them all afternoon and will be out to prove a point after Sunday’s shambolic performance in Brisbane.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Raiders, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sharks


It’s yet another split round and only four games ahead of Origin 3. I guess after the bludger of a season that is 2021 we should be grateful for small mercies that we don’t have to sit through twice as many floggings.

There will be one flogging worth sitting through though: on Thursday, when the beautiful Canberra Raiders, the people’s team, run through Des Hasler’s collection of stragglers. No Tommy T means no Des Hasler. Raiders will put 56 on the Sea Eagles, and if I’m perfectly honest, I’ll be disappointed if Manly score at all.

The Bunnies will just copypasta from last Sunday when they face North Queensland – blow it out early and wander on back home. The Cowboys have straightened out a bit after a pathetic opening, but they’re nowhere near as good as Souths.

Roosters over Bulldogs. God help anyone who sits through that; you’re made of much sterner stuff than me.

Finally, Sharks over Warriors. Only because I have to tip a winner. I actually want to tip a 0-0 draw here, but I’m told I’m not allowed.

Enjoy whatever you’re doing away from the NRL this weekend folks!

Adam Reynolds of the Rabbitohs

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

David Holden


Tips: Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Warriors

The expectations of rugby league fans have reduced a fair bit over the last few years. It wasn’t that long ago that we wanted games with free-flowing attack, jarring defence and an exciting finish. Now we are mostly happy if we get a match margin of less than 30 points.

Happy is something I wasn’t when my side crashed to the hapless Broncos on Sunday afternoon. But thankfully my mood lifted when I heard about Paul Vaughan’s barbecue on Saturday night. Corey Norman’s wallet will be remembered many years from now.

But back to the tipping. With Origin 3 around the corner, we are down to four matches on the weekend, all without their Origin stars. It makes for a difficult tipping round and may edge me closer still to The Barry.

First up, on Thursday night we are off to Lottoland – checks notes… sorry, 4 Pines Park – for the Eagles and Raiders. Manly are missing Turbo and Daly Cherry-Evans, and that would normally be enough to tip against them. However, the Raiders are missing a half of their own and Josh Papalii.

It’s hard to get a read on why the Raiders are so bad at the moment. Has the coach lost the room? Defence is largely about effort, and the lack of that was telling last Saturday afternoon. Even without their stars Thursday night at Brookie sounds daunting, and the Sea Eagles should get the win.

The Rabbits are missing a stack of players to Origin, while the Cowboys are missing part of their backline. There are two important things to remember though: one, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker will rock up for the Rabbits and, two, the Cowboys are rubbish. Rabbits to win easily.

The Bulldogs live for these types of rounds, but I can’t see them beating the Roosters, even with James Tedesco and Angus Crichton absent. Victor Radley returns for the Roosters, and while he is only ever a head-high tackle away from another suspension, he is vital to the Roosters when he is on the field. Sam Walker should create enough chances to win.


And on Sunday afternoon we finish up with the Sharks and Warriors. There were shades of Terry Lamb last weekend when Chad Townsend tried to put the Warriors nine ahead against the Dragons. Suffice to say, it bit him on the backside.

I’ve gone cold on my Sharks. Shaun Johnson may be dreaming of his homecoming and Matt Moylan has got an old man’s injury (I know this from personal experience). I hate to do it, but I’m picking the Warriors in an upset.

Reece Walsh

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sharks

I made the mistake of tipping against the Sea Eagles during the last State of Origin period. I won’t be making that mistake again. Manly are the in-form team in the competition at the moment and even without Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans still have enough strike power to beat a Raiders team who are completely lost in 2021. I have no idea what is going on in Canberra, but it’s clear to me that these are players waiting for September to arrive. Manly to win, the only question being by how much.

The Rabbitohs will beat the Cowboys even without their State of Origin players. While the Cowboys have improved in recent weeks, they are missing some of their most crucial players in Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Valentine Holmes. With Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds leading the Bunnies this week, I have no doubt they will cruise to victory.

The Roosters will beat the poor old Bulldogs, and I’m tipping the Sharks against the Warriors. The Sharks will be looking to bounce back this week after their loss to the Broncos and remain in touch with the top eight. What a competition we have this year when a team sitting on just six wins sits in the top eight.

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The Barry

Tips: Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sharks

O glorious, unpredictable rugby league. I’d forgotten the pain of only tipping five games in a weekend. The normally bitter, acrid taste of defeat was like sweet nectar. I don’t think Mithen, Pryde, Holden and Konstantopoulos realise how lucky they are to experience this exhilarating uncertainty week to week.

No Turbo isn’t the death sentence it would have been earlier in the season. The rise of the Sea Eagles has been the most interesting narrative of the season. Meanwhile, the decline of the Raiders has been its most baffling. I keep expecting Sticky’s men to turn a corner, but each week they lurch to another disaster. Manly.

Brad Fittler’s bromance with Mitchell Moses has had a few flow-on effects, chief among them that an already under-strength Souths haven’t added their halves to their list of Origin absentees. The Rabbitohs weren’t hugely convincing last week but still put 38 on the Tigers, while the Cowboys conceded 38 to the Knights. That probably tells us all we need to know.

How do you factor in the bounce-back factor between two teams coming off combined 112-0 floggings? It’s easy enough when one team is the Bulldogs and the other isn’t. The Dogs have conceded 96 points since they last scored, and that probably tells us all we need to know.

Everyone’s second favourite team looks like they’re desperately trying to shake their nice-guy image. They’ve added Matt Lodge to their underbelly engine room of Addin Fonua-Blake. Rumours they’re chasing the signatures of Paul Vaughan and Corey Norman have been denied by the club. Disappointing loss for the Sharks last week who ran into a surprisingly cohesive Broncos team. They’ll be looking to make up for it this week.

Round 17 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
Last week 5 6 6 5 7 5
Total 69 86 89 93 82 92

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.