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The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions Round 27: Jostling for position, resting the weary, trying to survive, playing for pride

30th August, 2023
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30th August, 2023
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Hey Roarers!

We are down to the pointy end of the season, and I can’t remember another year like this one.

The Eels confused everyone on Thursday night in their last game of the year, knocking over the Panthers 32-18. Eels coach Brad Arthur admitted he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after the performance that came too little too late to save their season. The loss was made even tougher for the Premiers with playmaker Jarome Luai dislocating his shoulder.

On Friday night across the ditch, the Warriors secured their first top-four spot in 16 years after an 18-6 win over the Dragons. What a year they are having – the Red V, not so much.

We then headed up to Townsville where the Cowboys kept their finals chances alive with a 34-10 over the Dolphins. It’s been a mixed bag for both these teams, with the Cows still clinging on making the Top 8. And if not, Kyle Feldt may be able to become a karate instructor.

After what feels like a lifetime, it was wonderful to see Ryan Papenhuyzen back on the field. The Storms’ flying mullet got through his first NRL game on Saturday following a horrific knee injury and was part of his side’s 37-16 win over the Titans.

The Roosters have set up a must-win match against their arch rivals the Rabbitohs following their solid 32-8 win over the Tigers on Saturday night. And JWH just keeps finding new ways to surprise us all after he was cited for two separate incidents that saw him suspended for about 17 years.

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It’s Ricky’s world, we are just all living in it. After a few head-scratching team selections, the King of Diversion resorted to swearing at a cameraman and then blowing up the refs in yet another fun and lighthearted presser following the Raiders’ 29-18 loss to the Broncos. Brisbane did well without Reynolds and Carrigan, but Tapine’s hit on Walsh was *chef’s kiss.

It was a high-scoring affair on Sunday afternoon at Accor Stadium, with the Sea Eagles taking out a 42-24 win over the Bulldogs. DCE continues to show why he could be getting back his number seven Kangaroos jersey at the end of the year, while the Dogs show they may need to spend a bit more training. (Too soon?)

My oh my oh my! What a way to finish the round! The Knights made it eight wins in a row with their 32-6 victory over the Sharks. With the sides 6-all at the break, the Knights kicked into gear scoring five tries in the second half in front of another sold-out Newcastle crowd on Old Boys Day. Beautiful.

Mary and Mike topped the round each getting seven, Stuart and AJ tipped six, Paul and I tipped five while you legends in The Crowd had another tough week with four. Mike is out the front on his own on 128, with Stuart right behind on 127. Mary is a close third on 125, with Paul a few steps behind on 122. AJ sits in fifth on 118, while you legends and yours truly are tied for last on 109.

Ok, onto Round 27 – HERE WE GO!

The U10s Broncos who are the new table leaders host the U9s Storm in fourth spot at Suncorp Stadium tonight at 8pm. If the Broncos get the win it will secure their first minor premiership in 23 years and their first victory over the Storm since 2017.

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In a match with no impact on the finals, the last-placed Tigers travel to 4 Pines Park to face the 12th-placed Sea Eagles on Friday at 6pm. Both teams are playing for pride, but the home side will be out to ensure a win for one of the favourite sons Jake Trbojevic in his 200th NRL game.

Then it’s on. We head to Accor Stadium to see the 8th-placed Rabbitohs and the 10th-placed Roosters in the winner-take-all match at 8pm. How many sin bins? How many stoppages? How long will the game go for? Who won’t finish the game? Who will make it into the Top 8? So many questions.

Super Saturday kicks off at Suncorp Stadium at 3pm when the 14th-placed Dolphins take on the 3rd-placed Warriors. Bennett’s boys will want to take advantage of a Warriors side resting some big names and end their first year on a high.

The second-placed Panthers hosting the ninth-placed Cowboys at BlueBet Stadium at 5.30pm. With a close to full-strength premiers, can the Cows cause the upset and make the finals?

Then it’s off to Kogarah as the 16th-placed Dragons take on the 5th-placed Knights at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium at 7.35pm. Will the Red V end their season with a win, or can the Newy boys get the job done with a few key players out?

In another game that has no hold on anything, the 13th-placed Titans host the 15th-placed Bulldogs at Cbus Stadium on Sunday at 2pm. After the week the Dogs have had, who knows what the scoreline could look like here?

We then make our way to PointsBet Stadium for the game full of finals ramifications. The 6th-placed Sharks take on the 7th-placed Raiders at 4pm. and whatever happens here will lock in the Top 8 for 2023.

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The Eels finish their season off early with the bye, and will no doubt be watching last Thursday night’s game on repeat to know what they have to do next year. And maybe putting something in the contacts to say players must take a fine instead of a suspension?

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.

If this round sees stumps for your team, enjoy your last for the year. If your team has already secured their finals spot, congratulations and see you next week.

If you still have everything to play for and have broken your calculator working out all of the mathematical equations possible for your boys to make the cut, I wish you good luck!

Happy tipping everyone!

Stuart Thomas

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Broncos, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Dolphins, Panthers, Knights, Titans, Sharks

It is a rest-a-thon at Suncorp on Thursday night in an impossible match for tipsters. Good luck.

The Sea Eagles showed a bit against the hapless Dogs last week and should beat the Tigers to end what can only be described as disappointing seasons for both clubs.

The stunning late-season run of the Roosters comes to a head on Friday night against the Bunnies. Suspensions will affect the outcome and the loss of Latrell Mitchell in an underperforming team will be too much for the Rabbitohs to overcome.

The Warriors are resting plenty against the Dolphins and will concede the two points with a spot in the top four already locked away. 

With a near full-strength team, the Panthers will be far too good against a desperate Cowboys team.

The Knights will secure 5th place on the ladder when they whip the Dragons to end a miserable year for the Red V.

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The Bulldogs have officially imploded; the Titans are keen to end the season well and start the build for next season as quickly as they can.

In the final home and away match of the season, Cronulla will take the two points and secure 6th place on the premiership ladder with a tight win against the Raiders

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Mary Konstantopoulos

Broncos, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Warriors, Panthers, Knights, Titans, Sharks

I genuinely have no idea who is going to win the game between the Broncos and the Storm. Both teams are sensibly resting players ahead of the finals with plenty of players getting an opportunity to prove themselves. I’m tipping the Broncos because I tossed a coin and it came up tails.

It’s been a disappointing season for both the Sea Eagles and the Tigers. The Sea Eagles have had some strong wins over average teams in the last couple of weeks, so I think they can do enough to beat the Tigers.  

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Incredibly, given where they were in the middle of the season, I’m tipping the Roosters to beat the Rabbitohs. There is just so much outside noise at the Bunnies right now and given the way they have played over the last two months, the Roosters will win. 

The Warriors will beat the Dolphins and the Panthers will beat the Cowboys (because the Panthers don’t lose two games in a row). 

The Knights will continue their brilliant run to the finals with a win over the Dragons and the Titans will put the Bulldogs out of their misery for the final time this year.

The Sharks struggled last week, but the return of Nicho Hynes should be enough to help them beat the Raiders.

Jason Taumalolo

 (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Paul Suttor

Storm, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Dolphins, Panthers, Dragons, Titans, Sharks

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Q-Cup action kicking off the round. The Sunshine Coast Falcons should have too much for the Broncos reserves. Storm by 4.

Watching Manly versus Tigers on Friday night is punishment for shoplifting in some countries. Sea Eagles by 22.

The Rabbitohs are cooked or in a stew, take your pick. Roosters by 10.

The Warriors are fielding a side missing several first-graders but unfortunately for the Dolphins, so are they. Dolphins by 2.

Penrith will probably rest some of their stars but if the Storm win on Thursday, they will play enough of them to end the Cowboys’ season. Panthers by 8.

St George Illawarra are due to get a morale-boosting win and Newcastle are putting their main players on ice with not much on the line this weekend. Dragons by 6.

Watching Gold Coast versus Canterbury on Sunday should be punishment for shoplifting in every country. Titans by 22.

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Cronulla are in decent form despite their loss to Newcastle, the Raiders are not and haven’t been for a while. Sharks by 16.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Royce Hunt of the Sharks is tackled during the round three NRL match between Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks at GIO Stadium on March 19, 2023 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Mike Meehall Wood

Broncos, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Dolphins, Panthers, Knights, Titans, Sharks

What a nightmare this round is (especially if you have a tight lead to hold on to…) with all the resting and meaningless games…here goes nothing.

Brisbane can secure a first Minor Premiership since 2000, the Storm have nothing to play for. Broncos to take it.

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For one last time, my beautiful Beaches boys will take two points against the Wests Tigers.

An absolute pick’em in rugby league’s greatest rivalry (outside of Hull)…I’ll take the Bunnies because I remain their last true believer.

The Dolphins will want to end on a high, and the Warriors are resting. Phins up for a phinal time in 2023.

The logic of ‘who needs it more’ dictates that the Cowboys will win this, but I’ll always back Penrith in Penrith.

I can’t bring myself to tip the Dragons to do anything at all. Newcastle take it.

The Titans are bad, the Bulldogs are worse. Gold Coast will win.

Canberra are absolutely falling into the finals at the moment. They will enter the post-season face first, having lost to Cronulla.

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WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Kalyn Ponga of the Knights is tackled during the round six NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights at WIN Stadium, on April 17, 2022, in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

AJ Mithen

Storm, Tigers, Roosters, Warriors, Panthers, Dragons, Titans, Raiders

It’s bludger week! Players resting, half-arsed energy from those who are out of it, buries free protection mode for the teams in the top half. Let’s embrace this annual event before the NRL does something like including a bye week…

Melbourne will do over the Broncos in a game that doesn’t mean anything to ladder position. 

Wests Tigers will want a big finish – they’ll get past Manly who are checked out and grizzly. 

The Roosters will take Souths’ spot in the right momentarily after they end the Bunnies season that promised so much but delivered so little. 

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Warriors over Dolphins but Wayne’s men are not without a chance.

Penrith even at half power can beat the disappointing Cowboys.

The Dragons will get the Knights cos Newcastle will be focused on the week after.

Titans over Canterbury to seal a disastrous 2023 for the big spending Bulldogs.

Then Canberra will head to the Shark Park construction site and lay a casual 56 on their hosts, ensuring a finals place for the Raiders and sparing us all the ignominy of a final at said construction site.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Danielle Smith

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Broncos, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Dolphins, Cowboys, Titans, Knights, Sharks

Yes, there are a lot of superstars missing. But there will still be a truckload of talent running onto the field for both sides. I’m going the Broncos in a close one to wrap up the minor premiership.

I would have loved to have seen Luke Brooks play his last game for the Tigers against the side he will be with next year, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m tipping the Sea Eagles to get the win for Jurbo in his 200th.

You couldn’t have scripted this any better. I cannot wait for this one. Even without Latrell and JWH, this game will still have some fireworks. I’ve been struggling with who to tip here, but I’m going the Chooks.

While the Warriors are one of the in-form teams, they are resting a few and the Dolphins will want to end their first season right in front of their home crowd.

I’m all on the Cowboys here. They will be kicking themselves with a few games they should have won and will be doing everything to get the win to make the finals.

The Bulldogs are an absolute basket case. The Titans will take out a solid win.

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The game between the Sharks and the Raiders holds the key to finishing off the Top 8. Both sides can throw up rocks and diamonds, and was the toughest for me to tip. Coin flip time…..hmmmmmmm……Sharks.

Who would have thought with how we were playing earlier in the season that Round 27 would NOT be the last time I say this?! As always, I’m tipping my Knights.

Round 27AJDanielleMaryMikePaulStuartCrowd
BRI V MELMELBRIBRIBRIMELBRI ?
MAN V WSTWSTMANMANMANMANMAN ?
SOU V STISYDSYDSYDSOUSYDSYD ?
DOL V NZLNZLDOLNZLDOLDOLDOL ?
PEN V NQLNQLNQLPENPENPENPEN ?
STI V NEWNEWNSWNEWNEWSTINEW ?
GLD V CBYGLDGLDGLDGLDGLDGLD ?
CRO V CANCANCROCROCROCROCRO ?
Last week 6 5 7 7 5 6 4
Total118109125128122127109

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