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The Roar's NRL expert tips and predictions, Round 2: More upsets on the cards after a bloodbath start?

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13th March, 2024
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Well, NRL tipsters, that was a bloodbath. Anyone who tipped more than 50% of the winners for Round 1 is a genius or a lunatic. Possibly both.

After a string of upsets across the board in the split round to start the season, week two looks much more open and shut. Or is it?

None of The Roar panel of AJ Mithen, Mary Konstantopoulos, Mike Meehall Wood, Paul Suttor and Stuart Thomas covered themselves in glory with four the best score. 

Their collective status as experts is now subject to an HR investigation and if they don’t lift their tipping game soon, heads will proverbially roll.

Although The Roar of the Crowd also struggled, coming up successful just three times.

Here’s how the experts see Round 2 unfolding.

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Stuart Thomas

Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Sea Eagles, Dolphins

Opening round losers Souths and Brisbane do battle up north to start the Round 2 action and both will need to be better. Brisbane in the game of the round. The Sharks will towel up the Bulldogs as I saw nothing new in the Dogs last week and the competition’s new Tony Williams in the form of Viliame Kikau.

Penrith rarely lose two in a row yet face that prospect when they host the Eels. Could be tighter than many will predict and Parramatta always have something for the mountain men. Penrith in a high scoring affair. The Raiders are off to a flyer and everyone is keen to see if the Tigers will be as bad as they usually are. The Green Machine powers home in this one.

The Cowboys surprised me last week and host a grumpy Knights team after the loss to Canberra in Round 1. If the form shown against the Dolphins was real, the Cows will win this easily. The Storm did it again to start the season perfectly for the umpteenth time. Warriors away is not their best identity and Melbourne look good already.

Sea Eagles at home to the Roosters is a fascinating one and the Brookie advantage will play a role. A hot reception for the Bondi boys up north and I’m tipping they cross the bridge on the way home without the two points. The Dolphins must be better and Wayne Bennett is a furious coach after an embarrassing Round 1. The Dragons shocked the league and belted the Titans. A bit of a coin toss this one. Dolphins.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Kyle Flanagan of the Dragons celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and St George Illawarra Dragons at Cbus Super Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Kyle Flanagan celebrates with teammates after scoring. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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Joseph Manu. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Nick Wasiliev

Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Dolphins

Well, couldn’t have had a much worse start than last week! It was a tipsters nightmare that made me question everything I know about rugby league. But that’s the fun of it, and that’s why there is always next week. 26 of them, in fact.

The Broncos are always a different beast at Suncorp, and with Adam Reynolds set to play, that should be enough. The Bunnies are a solid side, but I’m still on the fence for them falling asleep at the wheel last year.

The Sharks surprised a few with their win across the ditch, and with only a few minor movements in the squad, they should be able to ease into their first match back in the Sutherland Shire and give the fans something to cheer. The Bulldogs? Pfft, I’ve got less faith in them than in my own team, and that’s saying something. 

Love a good Western Sydney Derby, and with Mitch Kenny back in the line-up, the Panthers should be favourites in the first game at the foot of the mountains. The Eels were a delightful surprise in Round 1, the side looked composed and put away Canterbury well. They’ll be a settled side, and Mitchell Moses is a welcome return, so I expect them to push Penrith more than most might think. 

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Urgh, here we go. The nervous Tigers fan awaits. Canberra did very well to grab the win in Newcastle and there probably wouldn’t be a safer bet this weekend than them at home. Honestly, the Tigers have nothing to lose, and in fact might hold the element of surprise with a new coach in Benji Marshall plus a flurry of debuts. My heart hopes they deliver a good fight, but the head goes with the more settled team. 

The Cowboys should have a good reason to perform well here, they looked excellent last week. The Knights? I’m very keen to see Kai Pearce-Paul debut in the starting side, but even if they have brushed out the cobwebs exposed in last week’s loss, winning in Townsville is a hard assignment. 

The Storm have a great start to the season with two back-to-back home games and a bye in the opening five rounds, and they should be able to continue that form from last week here. The Wahs look to be in a similar situation to Newcastle – even if they play better, winning away in Melbourne is difficult at the best of times. 

The clash on the Northern Beaches might be the match of the round, and while Manly always are good at home and the Roosters are missing Spencer Leniu, the return of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Dominic Young should cover the gap and give them an edge. This will be a thriller.

If there is anything I know about Wayne Bennett, he won’t rest on his laurels after last week, and he certainly hasn’t with a flurry of changes. Dragons have started well and will have the more settled side, but the Dolphins should get home. 

Mary Konstantopoulos

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Broncos, Sharks, Eels, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Dragons

The less said about my tips last week, the better. Let’s see if I can start fresh this week with a better performance.

Round 1 did not go to plan for either the Broncos or the Rabbitohs and the reality is, one team will be 0-2 after this game. I think that team will be the Bunnies. The Broncos will have a point to prove after disappointing in Las Vegas. With the loss of Jai Arrow, I also think the Broncos have the edge in the forward pack.

The Sharks to beat a Bulldogs team that at the moment, have no go forward and far too many utilities.

Even though the Panthers are searching for their first win and the odds are stacked against the Eels, I’m tipping with my heart and picking them anyway. Parra always match up against the Panthers well (in the regular season) and I like that Brad Arthur has shifted Junior Paulo to the starting side to match the Penrith forwards early.

The Raiders will beat the Tigers, who I think will take a few weeks to find their feet and I’m looking for another strong performance from the Cowboys at home to beat the Knights.

The Warriors always aim up against the Storm, but I picked against the Storm at my own peril this week. They will beat the Warriors who are really missing Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at the back.

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The next game should be a cracker with both teams boosted by wins in Las Vegas. Both teams looked great and I was particularly impressed by the Sea Eagles. I’m tipping the Roosters because I think they have an edge in the forwards with the additions of Angus Crichton and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returning. Domonic Young also makes his debut for the Tricolours and will be a real test for Jaxson Paulo to handle.

The Dragons will make it 2/2 with a win over the Dolphins who continue to be plagued by injury.

Paul Suttor

Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Dragons

South Sydney are off to their usual slow start – Jack Wighton will be a huge boost but the Broncos will get up at home.

Cronulla are a professional outfit, the Bulldogs are in name only.

Penrith won’t play poorly two matches in a row – Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo dropped sitters last week in Melbourne and they will wreak havoc on the Eels.

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Canberra and the Wests Tigers will go nowhere near the top eight this year and Benji Marshall has made a couple of unusual selections first up so the Raiders look like they’ll grind their way to another win.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Josh Curran of the Bulldogs runs the ball during the NRL Pre-season challenge match between Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground on February 23, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Josh Curran runs the ball for the Dogs against Cronulla at Belmore in the trials. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

North Queensland looked like Cowmen against boys in thumping the Dolphins last week and if Newcastle repeat their lacklustre first-up showing against the Raiders, they’ll have a big score put on them.

Melbourne will beat the Warriors at AAMI Park even though plenty of Kiwi expats will be in attendance.

Manly were impressive in Las Vegas but the Roosters have a better side and should win by 10 or so.

The Dolphins surely can’t be worse than last week but the Dragons will be competitive bastards (in the nicest possible way) this year and should get the jump on Wayne Bennett’s team.

AJ Mithen

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Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Dragons 

Time to get serious and begin my ascent to the top of the tipping tree yet again. We begin with Brisbane beating up a slow Rabbitohs side, and the Sharks doing just enough to beat the Bulldogs. 

Penrith will get it done against the Eels but it won’t be convincing. Your presumptive champions, the people’s team the Canberra Raiders will continue to confound “experts” by laying a casual 56 on Wests Tigers to welcome them to season 2024. 

North Queensland should beat the Knights if they’re half serious. Same with Melbourne against the Warriors, but New Zealand are playing angry (hopefully). 

We end with the Roosters squeezing Manly to paste in a low scoring grind, then the Dolphins will give St George Illawarra some opposition, but not enough to win. 

Mike Meehall Wood

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Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Raiders, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Dolphins

The Broncos in Brisbane will be on a tear, and Souths are still fielding a right edge that mostly played in the NSW Cup last year. Many points to be had down that side for Reece Walsh and co.

The Sharks are good, the Bulldogs are not. Easy tip for Cronulla.

Much as the Eels have it over their nearest and dearest, I’ll not be tipping against the Panthers at home. Penrith to take it in a tight one.

Canberra rarely inspire confidence but I have even less in the Tigers. It won’t be a happy start for Benji in the coaches’ box.

The Cowboys looked great at the weekend … the Knights aren’t a bad side but also weren’t great in R1. NQ to take it on home advantage.

Both the Storm and Wahs are likely to be there at the end of the year, but on home turf, there’s only one option. Melbourne to win.

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All logic goes out of the window with Manly, especially as I’ll be making the most of 4 Pines Park’s signature by the time this gets going. Reverse psychology tells me that if I tip the Roosters, they’ll lose, so Go Chooks (I suppose).

The Phins and Dragons doesn’t not inspire confidence, but I think Wayne Bennett has picked a better team this time around and thus will take them to win.

TipstersStuart ThomasNick WasilievMary KonstantopoulosPaul SuttorAJ MithenMike Meehall WoodThe Crowd
BRI v SOUBroncosBroncosBroncosBroncosBroncosBroncos?
CRO v CANSharksSharksSharksSharksSharksSharks?
PEN v PARPanthersPanthersEelsPanthersPanthersPanthers?
CAN v WESRaidersRaidersRaidersRaidersRaidersRaiders?
NQC v NEWCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboys?
MEL v NZWStormStormStormStormStormStorm?
MAN v SYDManlyRoostersRoostersRoostersRoostersRoosters?
DOL v STIDolphinsDolphinsDragonsDragonsDragonsDolphins?
Last Round3224333
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