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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 25

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Expert
1st September, 2021
25
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This is it! The regular season is just about over. Eight games to go, and some monumental contests to decide the minor premiership, the top four and top eight. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tipping panel for Round 25.

Round 24 saw one huge upset with the Storm rolled by the Eels. That cost The Barry a perfect round, and the rest of us… Well, something a lot less perfect.

David tipped six, getting the Titans wrong, while Mary, The Crowd and myself tipped five, also getting the Dragons wrong. AJ actually got the Knights over the Titans, but then tipped the Broncos and Dragons to limit himself to five.

There is a trend there, AJ.

Anyway, the seven for The Barry means he is level with The Crowd again, six clear of David, seven clear of Mary, 18 clear of me and 29 ahead of AJ.

Round 25 gets going with the Raiders taking on the Roosters. A win could see them qualify for the finals, but they will need the Sharks to lose to the Storm on Friday night.

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There is a chance that doesn’t happen given the Storm are resting players, but the minor premiership is still up for grabs. If Melbourne do lose to Cronulla, then the Panthers can swoop the reserve grade-looking Eels team for the regular season prize.

It’s a dead rubber on Saturday with the Broncos playing the Knights, before the Sea Eagles look to wrap up a top four berth against the Cowboys, and the Rabbitohs, who are resting everyone, play the somehow still outsider Dragons on Saturday evening.

The Titans, provided the Sharks and Raiders both lose, have a chance to make the finals on Sunday against the Warriors, before some poor Channel 9 producer begins a hard sell on the final game of the season. The Tigers and the Bulldogs. I’m struggling to fathom who thought that might be a good idea to close the season.

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 25.

The Barry will get us rolling this week.

The Barry

Tips: Roosters, Storm, Panthers, Knights, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Titans, Tigers

Looks like a pretty unpredictable round this week. All it took was 25 weeks and most of the top contenders resting their stars. Should this round even count in footy tipping comps and SuperCoach?

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Raiders are fighting for a semi-final spot while the Roosters probably aren’t too focused on their slim top-four hopes. Nothing would shock here but I think the Roosters will edge them. Unfortunately for my long-range multi I need both to win for the Roosters to finish fourth and the Raiders to make the eight. D’oh!

A ‘spare parts’ Storm team still looks like premiership contenders and should still be good enough to beat the Sharks.

The Eels are going reverse psychology by resting players against the full strength Panthers.

Knights to beat the Broncos. Far be it for me to second guess a pro coach, but I would have thought momentum and mojo would have been more important for the Knights than resting a few non-rep players.

Manly could have a top-four spot sewn up by Friday night and if so Des has threatened to rest a few including Turbo. I guess you can’t really tip on that basis so I’ll stick with the Sea Eagles.

Jason Saab of the Sea Eagles runs the ball

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Souths’ reserve grade side should still be good enough to account for the Dragons’ reserve grade side.

It’d be great to see everyone’s second favourite team finish with a win. This could be the most intriguing game of the round. Or almost completely pointless. If the Sharks or Raiders win, then this game is academic. If they both lose, the Titans will know exactly how many they need to win by to scrape into eighth.

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Tigers to finish off the Bulldogs dismal season. Normally the experimental rules add a bit of excitement to this sort of clash, but we’ve been watching that for the past two seasons.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tips: Raiders, Storm, Panthers, Knights, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Titans and Tigers

This is such an exciting round of footy because most games will have an impact on what the top eight will look like. I’m not sure if it’s an upset, but given the Raiders finals hopes are on the line, I am picking them to beat the Roosters. The Roosters have been brave, but given how many of their key players are out, they really are on their last legs. It’s been a gallant effort by them this year, but with so many key injuries now including the likes of Joey Manu, it’s going to be a real challenge for the Roosters going forward.

It’s always tough being the team that plays Melbourne Storm the week after they’ve lost. The Storm have been off their game ever so slightly in the last couple of weeks and don’t seem to have the combination between Ryan Papenhuyzen and Nicho Hynes worked out. Craig Bellamy may be resting some players but I have no doubt that the Storm will send a message this weekend and blow the Sharks off the park.

The Eels had an impressive win last week, but given how understrength their team is and that the Panthers are full strength, I think Penrith will win and win big.

The Knights are guaranteed to play finals football, but I think this game against the Broncos is a good opportunity for them to make a statement. The Knights have been solid this year without being impressive. This is a good opportunity to beat a team lower on the ladder and head into the finals with momentum.

Kalyn Ponga of the Newcastle Knights scores a try

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

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The Sea Eagles should have no trouble beating the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs will also end the Dragons season.

The Titans will beat the Warriors and I think they will score big. The Titans seem to be a team that disappoint so it would be right in their lane to miss the finals but finish the season with a big win against a team toward the bottom of the ladder.

The last game should be fun with two cellar dwellers trying to finish the season on a high. I’m tipping the Tigers, but the Bulldogs won’t make it easy for them.

David Holden

Tips: Roosters, Storm, Panthers, Broncos, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Titans, Bulldogs

It isn’t easy tipping at this time of year. You’ve got the top teams thinking of the first week of the finals, bottom teams all playing their grand finals this weekend, whilst the majority of middle-ranked teams are slowly realising that it’s all too late for them now.

As a result of all this, there will be upsets this weekend. The difficult bit is working out where these upsets are going to occur. I’ve been burnt before picking wrong upsets and admittedly have a slight phobia about this. But I have to be brave and go with the gut once more.

We start in Mackay on Thursday night where the Raiders need to beat the Roosters to keep their season alive. The Roosters do get a couple of players back but they have lost Joey Manu to a missile strike last weekend. How Latrell Mitchell managed to stay on the field is anyone’s guess.

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The Roosters rarely drop a game to a side below them. They won’t be resting players as they couldn’t field a side if they did. The Raiders were better last round but the Roosters still offer more in attack. I think they will snuff out the Raiders’ chances.

Ricky Stuart

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Sharks fans were smiling early on Saturday evening after Cronulla had beaten the Broncos and were likely playing a Melbourne side this weekend that would be unrecognisable. Then those spoilsport Eels came along and ruined the party. Craig Bellamy would not have been impressed and that doesn’t bode well for the Sharks. Melbourne to win.

Are the Eels really back or was it just a flash in the pan? It’s kind of a moot point as they have decided to rest half their team. Conversely, the Panthers are going in close to full strength and a belting of the Eels is the only outcome.

The Broncos and Knights match up is the first of the matches which have no bearing on the semis, with the Knights stuck in 7th place regardless. That is setting off the upset alarm bells. Brisbane have been better in recent weeks and Newcastle will have their mind firmly fixed on the semi-finals. Kevvy will be happy with a final-round win.

The Roosters and Eels have played before the Cowboys and Sea Eagles game comes around, so we are playing a bit of tipping dominoes here. I’ve picked the Roosters which means that the Sea Eagles need a win to go top 4. That’s all bad news for the Cowboys who would have been much happier playing a team that didn’t care about the result. Sea Eagles to get home comfortably.

The Rabbits are another team that, barring a miracle, won’t change their position on the ladder this weekend. With that in mind, Benny has rested all his key players. This normally smells like trouble but they are playing the Dragons, who can’t beat anyone at the moment, even a second-string Rabbits outfit. South Sydney to win.

We get the Titans and Warriors first up on Sunday afternoon. Depending on just how annoyed the Storm are (and assuming the Raiders don’t win either), the Gold Coast may just need a win to squeak into the 8. That should be enough to get David Fifita in the mood and I think the Titans will get the last spot in the semis.

There’s building up to a crescendo in the last round, and then there’s the Tigers and Bulldogs playing the last game before the finals. Both teams are undeniably rubbish. Tiger Town has finished filming and the Tigers will be putting their arms in the air like they just don’t care. The Bulldogs are always better when their season is over. They will win.

Scott Pryde

Tips: Roosters, Storm, Panthers, Broncos, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Titans, Tigers

Tipping some of these games this week is an absolute minefield. Who is being rested? How will certain teams respond? Is there the potential for more players to rest as results work themselves out across the early part of the weekend? So many questions and so very few answers.

In saying that, I’ll take the Roosters over the Raiders. They will be desperate to turn around last week’s horror show, and have Angus Crichton, Josh Morris and Matt Ikuvalu back in action. That’s a strong returning list and the Raiders have just been a bit average.

Melbourne could rest their entire team and still beat the Sharks. The Storm is a professional outfit. The Sharks miss more tackles than any other team in the competition – that is a recipe for disaster when Ryan Papenhuyzen, Jahrome Hughes and Nicho Hynes are still running around.

Ryan Papenhuyzen

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Eels, on the other hand, could barely beat the Panthers at full strength. Credit where credit is due, they were phenomenal last week, but it’ll all come crashing back down in a flogging here.

The Broncos – no it’s not a typo. They play better in afternoon games at Suncorp for some unbeknown reason. The Knights attack is dire and I have a sneaky suspicion Kalyn Ponga will be wrapped in cotton wool.

The Sea Eagles over the Cowboys is a no-brainer, while the Rabbitohs are rolling out a reserve grade outfit. The Dragons looked better in attack last week with Talatau Amone, Jayden Sullivan and Tyrrel Sloan on the field together. Could be a lot of points in this one, but give me the Red V.

The Titans simply must beat the Warriors. There are no ifs, buts or otherwise. The Auckland-based club will also be starting to think about more pressing matters, like how they get home.

And in the final game of the season. I mean, who cares? But the rules say I have to tip. Tigers.

AJ Mithen

Tips: Raiders, Storm, Panthers, Broncos, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Titans, Tigers

It’s rest time! Time to gather all the kids who have been playing a bit too hard and sit them down on the couch with some warm milk and Cocomelon so they’re ready to rock when the finals start.

It will all kick off with the mighty Canberra Raiders putting 56 on the board as they plough through the Roosters and steal eighth, just where they want to be for a premiership tilt.

The Storm are resting a bunch of players but are still better than Cronulla. Storm.

Penrith will do over the Parramatta thirds. There’s been some criticism of the Eels but I’d do the same as Brad Arthur. Save your best for the most important.

Ordinarily, I’d tip the Knights over Broncos because they only beat the duds, but Newcastle can’t go any higher or lower and will dial it right in. Broncos to upset.

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Manly Trbojevic over North Queensland. Hopefully Todd Payten can use the offseason to achieve some good.

Dragons over the Bunnies, who are resting so many they might only run out with 11.

Titans over Warriors in a game that might be a bit of fun.

Finally, the Tigers to whup the Bulldogs and give the fans hope for season 2022. Just kidding – Tigers to win and then get ripped by their own fans anyway.

Round 25 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
CAN v SYD CAN CAN SYD SYD SYD SYD
CRO v MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
PAR v PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN PEN
BRI v NEW BRI NEW BRI NEW BRI NEW
NQL v MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN
SOU v STI STI SOU SOU SOU STI SOU
GLD v NZL GLD GLD GLD GLD GLD GLD
WST v CBY WST WST CBY WST WST WST
Last week 5 5 6 7 5 5
Total 111 133 134 140 122 140

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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