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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions Round 25: Red pens ready as teams fight to stay alive in the hunt for finals footy

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16th August, 2023
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Hey Roarers!

Can you remember a more exciting run home to the finals?

The Sea Eagles looked like possibly causing an upset on Thursday night against the Panthers, but an…um… interesting try before halftime levelled the scores and kicked the premiers into gear, who went on to win the game 24-12.

It was a feisty game between the Sharks and the Titans on Friday night at Shark Park, but the home side continue to firmly hold their spot in the Top 8 with a 36-6 win.

If you have been waiting for a repeat of the Broncos’ 2022 downfall, I think that boat has sailed. They were just too good at The Gabba on Friday night, with a huge 54-10 thrashing of the Eels. And if you didn’t love Herbie’s moonwalk to the tryline then we cannot be friends.

Another day, another double for Alex Johnston. The Bunnies’ try-scoring machine was doing what he does best during his side’s 26-14 win over the Dragons on Saturday in Cairns.

Say what you will about the Tigers, but they never give up. They pushed the Warriors until the final whistle on Saturday afternoon in Hamilton, going down 30-22. And everyone was very glad to see that Wayde Egan pulled up well after taking a hit to the throat that saw him end up in hospital.

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The Roosters continue to cling to their finals hopes by the tips of their spurs, with a 30-14 win over the Dolphins on Saturday night. The win keeps them in touch with the Top 8 while the loss all but rules out the dream of September footy for Bennett’s boys in their inaugural season.

Both matches on Sunday afternoon turned out to be landslides where the losing sides each had stints where they played with 11 men. It started out in Melbourne where the Storm smashed the Raiders 48-2 for their first win at home against the Green Machine since 2018. And just in case you hadn’t seen the presser, Ricky Stuart was not happy.

Then it was up to Newcastle where the Knights trounced the Bulldogs 42-6. It’s ok Doggies fans – it wasn’t as bad as the 66-0 thrashing earlier in the year.

Mary, Mike, Paul and Stuart were all absolutely perfect tipping eight, AJ’s Raiders let him down with seven, while you legends in The Crowd and I each tipped six. the rankings remain the same this week with Mike still out in front on 115, and Stuart right behind on 114. Mary is in third on 112, Paul sits in fourth on 112, AJ is fourth in 104 and The Crowd is in fifth on 101. I am still on the golf course, the only one yet to crack triple digits on 98.

Ok, onto Round 25 – three to go!

The Cowboys sitting just outside the Top 8 and fresh off the bye host the 5th-placed Sharks at Queensland Country Bank Stadium tonight at 8pm. The outcome has a significant impact on both teams’ finals chances, it’s Jason Taumalolo’s 250th game, and the man of the match will take home the very special Paul Green Medal, just over a year since his passing.

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The 12th-placed Sea Eagles will fly across to Go Media Stadium – known for this game as the Daniel Anderson Stadium – to take on the Warriors sitting in third on Friday at 6pm. The visitors sit three points out of the Top 8 and need the win for any chance to make the finals, while the Warriors are looking to secure a home semi final.

Then it’s off to Commbank Stadium for the 10th-placed Eels and the 11th-placed Roosters at 8pm. Can you believe there is a chance both these teams could miss the finals?! It’s a must-win for both sides, and the job has been made even harder for the Eels without Mitch Moses

After having a sleepover at Commbank we wait around until 3pm for the last-placed Tigers and the 14th-placed Dolphins to kick off Super Saturday. Who knows what will happen here?

We then make our way up to Cbus Stadium where the 13th-placed Titans host the table-leading Panthers at 5.30pm. Moe Fotuaika is back for the home side, while Jarome Luai and Mitch Kenny return for the Premiers.

Then we head down to WIN Stadium when the 16th-placed Dragons take on the 4th-placed Storm at 7:35pm. Melbourne will be looking to hold onto their Top 4 spot while the Red V will be playing for pride.

And here we go! On Sunday we head up the F3 to see the 7th-placed Knights host the 8th-placed Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium at 2pm. Sold out crowd, Ponga v Mitchell, Young v Johnston – BRING IT ON!

Then it’s down the nation’s capital for either the angriest or most depressing press conference of the round, when the 6th-placed Raiders take on the 15th-placed Bulldogs at 4pm.

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The Broncos have the bye and will no doubt be spending their free time sending good vibes to the Titans to beat the Panthers.

If you want to go up against the experts, remember to get your tips in by 5pm tonight to be counted in The Crowd’s tips.

Happy tipping everyone, and get behind the worthy cause to support Daniel Anderson.

Stuart Thomas

Cowboys, Warriors, Roosters, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Knights, Raiders

It looks like a must-win for the Cowboys against the Sharks on Thursday night, however, the visitors also need the two points to edge closer to securing a semi-final spot. North Queensland in a thriller.

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The Warriors will be simply too powerful for the Sea Eagles, with their season threatening to become something quite special as momentum builds.

The Eels and Roosters looks a mighty tricky one on paper, with the sides level on the ladder and out of contention with a loss. The Roosters are in better form. They will win it.

Few will care about the battle between the Wests Tigers and the Dolphins in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, but the Tigers will earn a rare win against an injury-riddled team.

The Panthers’ charge to the minor premiership will continue with a win over the Titans on the Gold Coast on Saturday before the evening will see the Storm rip through the Dragons with ease at a poorly attended WIN Stadium.

If Jackson Hastings does manage to play against the Rabbitohs in the Hunter on Saturday, fans will breathe a sigh of relief. Without him, the match falls the way of the Bunnies. With him, the Knights could well continue their charge.

Will the Raiders put 50 on the Dogs on Sunday afternoon? It is likely, with Phil Gould openly admitting that the Bulldogs have switched off and simply hoping for the season to end

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Mary Konstantopoulos

Cowboys, Warriors, Eels, Wests Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Knights, Raiders

It seems like almost every game will have a big impact on the make-up of the top eight given how many teams are battling it out for the final spots.

I’m really looking forward to this game; the Cowboys have been up and down throughout the season but welcome back a host of players for this game and as for the Sharks, they seem to have found form at the right point in the season. I’m tipping the Cowboys in this one due to their home-ground advantage but think it’s going to be a close one. 

The Warriors will beat the Sea Eagles in front of a wild crowd at Daniel Anderson Stadium.

The Eels seem to really show up when their backs are against the wall. I don’t think the Eels will make the Finals, but I think they will notch up one more win at home this year. Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Maika Sivo should really bolster the Eels and even without Mitchell Moses, I think the Eels will win this one. 

The poor old Dolphins have run out of steam this year so I can’t quite believe that I’m tipping the Tigers. 

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The Panthers will beat the Titans, the only question will be by how much.

The Storm, who also seem to have found form at the right point of the season will beat the Dragons.  

McDonald Jones Stadium has also sold out and I’m tipping the Knights to beat the Bunnies. The Knights halves pairing has been one of the real surprises of the 2023 season and I love how much strike the Knights have out wide. I feel like I’ve been waiting for Souths to announce themselves for the last two months and they have just continued to struggle. Latrell Mitchell cannot be the solution to all of Souths problems.  

The Raiders will beat the Bulldogs, who have been one of my more disappointing teams in 2023.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Hayze Perham of the Eels passes the ball during the round 10 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium, on May 15, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Paul Suttor

Cowboys, Warriors, Roosters, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Knights, Raiders,

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North Qld are rested after the bye and even though the Sharks have pumped the Bunnies and Titans in the past two weeks, they’re still not quite where they need to be. Cowboys by 4.

Manly will give it their all but fall short in Auckland. Warriors by 6.

The Eels are in quicksand and will soon not be visible from above ground. Roosters by 8.

Wests are bests, at last. The Dolphins have that many players out the home side is the favourite to win at CommBank Stadium for the first time in ages. Tigers by 14.

Gold Coast should be renamed Silver Coast for the rest of the year because they’ll run second in every match based on current form. Panthers by 38.

There’s a Dragons upset in the pipeline, they’ve been very close the last few games but Melbourne are too ruthless. Storm by 2.

Souths are not what they’ve been cracked up to be. Newcastle are probably not genuine contenders either but they at least have form on their side. Knights by 4.

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Canberra and Canterbury is the free-to-air Sunday “blockbuster”. Two teams who were dreadful last weekend.  Channel Nine may be asking for a refund on their TV rights deal. Raiders by 2.

 (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Mike Meehal Wood

Cowboys, Warriors, Roosters, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs, Raiders

The Sharks still remain flat-track bullies in my head, so an away trip against a rested Cowboys team will likely be too big an ask. NQ to take the Thursday night opener.

The Warriors are honouring Daniel Anderson and will have a sold-out home crowd. It’ll be too much for my Beaches boys, who will play the part of gallant losers a little too well.

The Chooks and Eels both need to win, but with men out, I’m backing the Roosters to get it done.

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Both the Tigers and the Dolphins are done for the year, but with Wests at home and half a team out for Redcliffe, I’ll take Benji to get off to a winning start.

The Panthers are red hot, the Titans are rubbish. Penrith win.

The Storm aren’t red hot, but the Dragons are so bad it won’t matter. Melbourne to take it.

Newcastle and Souths is probably the game of the round on Sunday…it’s a toughie, but my feeling is that Jackson Hastings won’t be fit, therefore Souths take it. No confidence, though.

The Raiders have been playing awfully but can improve, while the Dogs are just plain awful. Canberra at home to win.

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

AJ Mithen

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Sharks, Warriors, Roosters, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Knights, Raiders,

Not even a month to go but I continue my charge upward, leaving ’The Crowd’ in my dust!

This week’s winning starts with a big upset. I reckon Cronulla have turned half a corner and they’ll knock over the Cowboys.

Warriors over Manly in a reasonably close one.

Roosters over Eels on exposed recent form and nothing else.

Tigers over Dolphins cos Wayne’s playing with a third of a squad.

Panthers over Titans in the most run-of-the-mill effort you’ll see this year.

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Storm over Dragons by enough, maybe double figures.

Knights over Bunnies in what is supposed to be the match of the round.

Before your presumptive champions, the people’s team the Canberra Raiders wander out onto Bruce Stadium and lay a casual 56 on the hapless Bulldogs, securing a well-earned finals place in the process. 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 26: Shaun Johnson of the Warriors celebrates his try during the round four NRL match between New Zealand Warriors and Canterbury Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium on March 26, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Danielle Smith

Cowboys, Warriors, Eels, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Knights, Raiders

So much on the line with this game for both sides, but I can’t go past the Cowboys tonight at home for JT13’s 250th.

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Let’s Gone Warriors! That’s it, that’s all there is to say.

This one is a coin flip and a half. I know Moses is missing but the Eels welcome RCG and Sivo back, and Angus Crichton is back for the Chooks. Neither side has been playing well…….hmmmmmmm…..Eels.

Just too many injuries for the Dolphins, Tigers will get the win here.

I would love to see a win here for Tino, but I just don’t think it will happen.

The Storm are coming home strong and will have no issues beating the Red V.

I should be saying the Raiders easily here but it’s a struggle. I’m tipping them but not as confidently as AJ.

Latrell Mitchell? Never heard of him. As always I’m tipping my Knights.

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Round 25AJDanielleMaryMikePaulStuartCrowd
NQL V CROCRONQLNQLNQLNQLNQL ?
NZL V MANNZLNZLNZLNZLNZLNZL ?
PAR V SYDSYDPARPARSYDSYDSYD ?
WST V DOLWSTWSTWSTWSTWSTWST ?
GLD V PENPENPENPENPENPENPEN ?
STI V MELMELMELMELMELMELMEL ?
NEW V SOUNEWNEWNEWSOUNEWNEW ?
CAN V CBYCANCANCANCANCANCAN ?
Last week 7 6 8 8 8 8 6
Total10498112115110114101
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