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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions Round 8: One of the most important dates on the rugby league calendar, Anzac Round

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19th April, 2023
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Hey Roarers!

We were treated to another epic round of rugby league – mixed in with a lot of talk about hairstyles.

Let’s recap –

It looked like The Dolphins could cause an upset after taking a 14-6 halftime lead against the Rabbitohs on Thursday night, but Latrell and his friends turned it on in the second 40 minutes, scoring five tries to zip for a 36-14 win.

With the scores locked at 12-all on Friday night at Shark Park, Nicho Hynes kicked into gear to guide Cronulla to a 22-12 win over the Roosters. It was a sorry night for the Roosters that saw three of their players in the sin bin – and what a surprise one of them was Victor Radley.

We then headed to the Northern Beaches for the latest edition of The Battle of Brookvale. The Sea Eagles bounced back from a 32-point thrashing by the Panthers the week before, for a gutsy 18-8 win over the Storm. It had everything – three sin bins, the scoreboard tied with just five minutes to go, some big hits the fans would have felt in the lounge rooms and a perfect grubber kick to earn a repeat set by Jake Trbojevic.

The Warriors have kept their 2023 winning record at home intact, after a gutsy 22-14 win over the Cowboys on Saturday. A defensive effort for the ages, the Warriors made a massive 80 more tackles than their opposition and secured third spot on the ladder. But what is going on with the Cowboys?

I am still absolutely gutted about this one. With most people tipping another Panthers’ whitewash, the Knights stuck it to the premiers. After an exciting 80 minutes, a 15-all scoreline sent the game to golden point. Nathan Cleary was of course the hero kicking the winning field goal for a 16-15 victory, breaking the hearts of the Knights and their fans. Oh, and if Pat Carrigan can tie his long hair up for a game, maybe others could start doing that too.

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The Titans were looking the goods on Saturday night, leading the Broncos 14-10 at halftime on Saturday night. But Reece Walsh kicked into gear in the second half, setting up two tries and scoring one himself as the Broncos ran away with a 43-23 win and claim the top spot once more on the ladder.

It was a slow start on Sunday in the nation’s capital between the Raiders and the Dragons with low completion rates and high errors leading to just a 4-0 halftime lead to the Red V. But the teams lifted in the second half, and after a sneaky one-on-one strip followed by a runaway try from Raider Hudson Young, the home side got the job done with a 20-14 win.

And in the last game of the round, it was a tough day out for Reed Mahoney against his old club as the Eels trounced the Bulldogs for a 30-4 win. Clint Gutherson was everywhere in both attack and defence and led his side brilliantly to their third win of the season.

Mary, Mike and you legends in The Crowd had a great round tipping six, Stuart and AJ tipped five, while Paul and I were well off the pace only tipping three. Stuart is still in the lead with 35, and The Crowd is just behind with 34. Mary is third on 33, Mike is now fourth on 30 and Paul is fifth on 27. I am still sixth on 25, and AJ is still out the back on 23.

OK, onto Round 8 – the always special Anzac Round. A time to stop, remember, and thank all of the soldiers past and present who have sacrificed so much to protect us and our beautiful country.

The Rabbitohs and the Panthers get the party started at Accor Stadium tonight at 7.50pm. The Premiers took out their Round 1 clash with a 16-10 win, but the Bunnies will be looking to make amends against one of their biggest rivals.

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The 8pm match between the Eels and the Broncos in Darwin is the only game we have on Friday night. As you are reading this, every available bottle of water in the country is on its way to TIO Stadium, so there is no chance of Brad Arthur dehydrating in the Northern Territory humidity.

On Saturday we make our way over to Accor Stadium, as the injury-ravaged Dogs take on the Sharks at 5.30pm. Matt Burton is set to wear the number seven jersey while Kyle Flanagan moves to six – will this prove to be a stroke of genius that pays off?

Then the Knights travel to Townsville to face the Cowboys at 7.35pm. Jason Taumalolo is a huge out for the home side who are really on struggle street, while Kalyn Ponga is ready to jump back into a Knights’ lineup that has been doing pretty well without him.

Sunday footy begins out at Suncorp Stadium, as the Dolphins host the Titans at 2pm. Both teams are coming off losses and welcome back a truckload of talent – this could turn into another quite exciting Queensland derby.

We then head to Campbelltown Stadium for the first time this year, where the Tigers host the Sea Eagles at 4.05pm. The last-placed Tigers are coming off the bye – will that rest help them cause an upset at home?

Monday is a normal day for most – unless you were clever enough to put in an annual leave form – and then it becomes day three of a five-day long weekend.

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Tuesday is Anzac Day. After we have paid our respects at a dawn service, grabbed a bacon and egg roll and played some two up at the local RSL, we make our way over to Allianz Stadium for another classic battle between the Roosters and the Dragons at 4pm. Tell me, Roarers, was Sam Walker the correct player to get dropped?

Then the Storm and the Warriors finish off the round with our second annual Anzac game at AAMI Park at 7pm. Remember Melbourne’s 70-10 inhalation of the Warriors last year? I don’t think this won’t be happening again.

The Raiders have the bye, so Ricky Stuart can relax knowing he won’t cop any fines for a post-match press conference gone bad.

If you would like to have a go against the experts, just remember to get your tips in by 5pm tonight to be counted in The Crowd’s tips.

Happy tipping everyone!

Stuart Thomas

Panthers, Eels, Sharks, Cowboys, Titans, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Storm

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Tipping against the Panthers is not something done lightly and I won’t be doing it here. Souths took advantage at the right moment against the Dolphins in Round 7, yet looked under pressure early. The Penrith machine should win this one.

I’m not sure the Eels are in good form just yet, after bashing up the wounded Dogs in a match that tightened early in the second half. Brisbane keep winning, but this is their toughest test since Round 1. Somehow, the Eels will win a high-scoring affair.

Cronulla have been in every game thus far in 2023 and have flown a little under the radar. The Dogs are busted and need five weeks before we may begin to see them competitive again.

The Cows and Knights could well be a ripper up north as we see Kalyn Ponga back in what is a huge boost for a team that has been gutsy over the last month. North Queensland at home should get this one done.

The Dolphins looked to have Souths on the rack before ill discipline cost them last week. The Titans defended poorly at times against Brisbane. This is a tight one. Titans to win but I’m not really sure why.

I’m tipping the Sea Eagles to beat the Tigers because I shall not be backing Wests in 2023, barring an opposition bereft of at least eight regular starters. Surely they will win at some point, but the Sea Eagles will be desperate to back up their win over the Storm last weekend and won’t let it happen.

The Roosters took a surprise loss last week and will not do the same against a Dragons team that were ordinary at times against the Raiders.

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The Storm are also unlikely to lose a second game on the trot against the Warriors on Anzac Day. Both of Tuesday’s matches will be emotional contests and the home sides should reign.

(Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Mary Konstantopoulos

Panthers, Eels, Sharks, Knights, Dolphins, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Storm

In recent years, this encounter has been dominated by the Panthers and I’m tipping them again this time. It’s a real shame that the Bunnies’ forward pack has been impacted by injury and has not been at its strongest at any point this season. If both teams had been at peak fitness, perhaps I would have changed my tip.

I’m tipping with my heart here and picking the Eels. It’s going to be a tough encounter given the heat and the short turnaround for the Eels. But I’m hoping that they rise to their opposition and finally play well and win a game.

Given the significant number of injuries the Bulldogs are dealing with, I think the Sharks will win.

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The Knights have been my most improved team this year and I expect them to beat the Cowboys who are truly struggling at the moment. I’m not sure what is troubling the Cowboys at the moment, but surely it’s more than just the loss of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Tom Gilbert to the Dolphins?

I don’t think I have tipped the Dolphins correctly this year, so I’m tipping them against the Titans. The Titans are the wackiest team in the NRL though so anything could happen.

The Sea Eagles will beat the Tigers.

Even without Sam Walker the Roosters will beat the Dragons.

The final game of the round will be a cracker and will give us a good indication of where the Warriors are at. I would love to tip them, but the fact that the Storm has the home-ground advantage has me tipping the Storm in a close one.

Kalyn Ponga sprints away from the Cowboys' Tom Dearden.

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Mike Meehall Wood

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Rabbitohs, Eels, Sharks, Cowboys, Titans, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Storm

This is the best two teams in the comp, so naturally hard to call. I wrote a whole column about how I would like Souths to play (and win) so I have to tip them.

Parra look to be finding form…they’ll get a statement victory here over the Bronx.

Dogs, I love you but you’re battered and bruised beyond belief. Sharks by a few.

The Cowboys can’t keep being this bad, right? I tipped them under that logic last week and they lost, so this is last chance saloon time. NQ with no confidence.

Titans over Dolphins with, again, no confidence.

Josh Schuster is on a Campbelltown streak given his performance in the six jersey last year in this game plus the Pacific Test, he will lead my beautiful Beaches boys (mostly from SW Sydney) to victory.

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The Roosters haven’t been great but the Dragons have been even worse. Chooks it is.

The Storm will bounce back here and take the win, though by fewer than the 70 they put on last year to close Anzac Round.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Paul Suttor

Panthers, Eels, Sharks, Cowboys, Dolphins, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Storm

Rabbitohs are winning but not performing at their peak so beating Penrith looks unlikely. Panthers by 6.

Parra are getting back to their best and the Broncos have been patchy the last fortnight. Eels by 8.

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Bulldogs are banged up big time, and Cronulla are rediscovering their mojo. Sharks by 12.

Nth Qld keep getting the surely they’ll come good rationale and at home against the Knights is their last chance. Cowboys by 2.

The Dolphins and Titans are each good for about 50 minutes a match. Redcliffe by 4.

Tigers are battle weary after a hard-fought clash with the bye so Manly should be fresher. Sea Eagles by 10.

Roosters and Dragons usually is a close one on Anzac Day but this one won’t be. Roosters by 14.

Melbourne scored 70 against the Warriors in the corresponding match last year. Won’t happen this time. Storm by 16.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 19: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Dolphins takes on the defence during the NRL Trial Match between the Dolphins and the Gold Coast Titans at Kayo Stadium on February 19, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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AJ Mithen

Panthers, Eels, Sharks, Cowboys, Titans, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Storm

My relentless charge continues in my quest for back-to-back tipping glory. Here’s what’s what…

Panthers will knock over the Bunnies, who no doubt will do something stupid right when it matters.

Eels are better than the Broncos in defence. Yeah, I said it.

Sharks will make light work of the Bulldogs’ reserve squad.

Cowboys are on their last chance against the Knights, who might be still blowing after a really physical outing.

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Titans in a run-of-the-mill over the Dolphins.

Manly will uncork on the Tigers.

Roosters over Dragons but it’ll be a massive bludger.

Storm over Warriors but with no confidence – I think the Kiwis are a massive chance. 

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Danielle Smith

Rabbitohs, Broncos, Sharks, Knights, Dolphins, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Warriors

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I’m tipping the Bunnies purely because I can’t bring myself to cheer for the Panthers after what happened against Newcastle. I’m very good at holding a grudge!

A good win over a busted Bulldogs does not fill me with enough confidence to tip the Eels of the competition leaders. Broncos will get the job done.

The Sharks will get the job done against the Doggies who are just very broken at the moment.

I actually think this will be an exciting game, and I’m tipping the Dolphins for the win. Phins up!

Even after a week off, the Sea Eagles will still be too strong for the Tigers.

The Roosters vs Dragons game is always a cracker, and I think the tricolours will get the win in another epic game.

This was my coin-flip-tip, because something tells me the Warriors are going to cause an upset. Call me crazy, but I think they will send a huge message to the rest of the competition with a win down in Melbourne.

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My goodness, I was so proud of my boys last week. As always, I’m tipping my Knights.

Round 8AJDanielleMaryMikePaulStuartCrowd
SOU V PENPENSOUPENSOUPENPEN SOU
PAR V BRIPARBRIPARPARPARPAR PAR
BUL V CROCROCROCROCROCROCRO BUL
NQL V NEWNQLNEWNEWNQLNQLNQL NQL
DOL V GLDGLDDOLDOLGLDDOLGLD DOL
WST V MANMANMANMANMANMANMAN WST
SYD V STISYDSYDSYDSYDSYDSYD SYD
MEL V NZLMELNZLMELMELMELMEL MEL
Last week5 3 6 6 3 5 6
Total23253330273534
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