The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

Opinion

The Roar's NRL expert tips and predictions - Grand final rematch, busted Bunnies, hot-and-cold Dragons, Storm half strength

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
20th March, 2024
25
7482 Reads

Well, NRL tipsters, Round 2 was a whole lot easier than the nightmare of the opening week.

Favourites reigned supreme last week with the Dolphins knocking over the Dragons the only genuine boilover for the round.

Among The Roar’s panel of experts, Stuart Thomas tipped the perfect round when he was the only one to back Manly against the Roosters and then the home side smashed St George Illawarra at Redcliffe in the other Sunday stoush.

Looking ahead to Round 3 and the Grand Final rematch between premiers Penrith and the close but no cigar Broncos from Brisbane is the marquee match-up which kicks off the schedule.

There’s a much longer rivalry in operation the following night on Friday when the Roosters and Rabbitohs restore hostilities which began in 1908.

Possibly the toughest match to pick for the round is Saturday’s Belmore battle between the winless Bulldogs and the toothless Titans coming off a loss and a bye.

Newcastle hosting the Storm on Sunday is another tough one to pick with Melbourne’s star halves in Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster absent.

Advertisement

Here’s how the experts see Round 2 unfolding.

Stuart Thomas

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

I went alright last week but will need to back up again in Round 3.

Penrith will enter as firm favourites against the Broncos on Thursday night and rightfully so. No Adam Reynolds, no Broncos in my view. He is simply far too valuable for the Broncs to be winning consistently without him.

Advertisement

The Warriors showed some real fortitude against the Storm in Round 2 and potentially deserved more. They will embrace Christchurch and the Kiwi fans will get them home against the Raiders.

The Chooks were clunky last weekend, as were the Rabbitohs. There are sweeping changes to both sides but the Bondi boys will get the win off the back of the strength of the bench. This hurts, but I cannot see the Bulldogs winning a game playing the way they are. Canterbury remain impotent in attack, until that clicks, I’ll always side with
the opposition. Although, this could be the one that kick-starts their season.

The real Dragons showed up in Round 2 and were thrashed by the Dolphins. Expect more of the same against the winning Cowboys. Will Benji Marshall win a game in 2024? Well, you would think so, but it is unlikely to be this one at home against the Sharks. Can’t wait for the presser!

I’ve tipped Manly each week and will do so again. They look better than many thought they would and the Daly Cherry-Evans-Luke Brooks combination has worked thus far. Parramatta are decent but Anthony Seibold has his
team firing early.

No Cameron Munster or Jahrome Hughes for the Storm is a concern against the Knights, yet Jack Cogger is not the player to take advantage of that situation. The Storm to win in what could be an upset based on the probable odds.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles runs the ball during the round two NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters at 4 Pines Park, on March 17, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tom Trbojevic. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Nick Wasiliev

Advertisement

Panthers, Warriors, Roosters, Titans, Cowboys, Sharks, Eels, Storm

The rhythm has set in, life is good. Finally, we have the footy to keep us company from Thursday to Sunday every week!

The Panthers are favourites at home, but for some reason, I’m not confident about this call. Maybe it’s that Penrith have had a slower start this season – or maybe Brisbane’s refusal to even mention the GF in camp might have an impact. I dunno, it’s an uneasy tip, and my match of the round. 

Despite the fact Canberra are top of the ladder right now, the Wahs did enough last week to show us their first win isn’t far away, and with the side pretty settled they should be favourites – despite playing away from home in Christchurch.

Both sides will be up for the later Friday game and will be ringing in the changes, but the Chooks should get the job done here. Granted, it’ll be a close one.

How on earth are the Bulldogs favourites for this match? While Gold Coast is missing a lot of firepower, having the bye early might not have been a bad thing for Des Hasler’s men given the new coach and personnel, and Kieran Foran is a very welcome return. Reckon the Titans get home in a close one. 

Hard to go past North Queensland in Kogarah. Shane Flanagan has good reason to rejig his squad the way he has, but the Cowboys are the more settled side with a lot more weapons firing right now.

Advertisement

Ditto the Sharks in Leichhardt. Expectations were at rock bottom last week in Canberra, but at least the Tigers showed a bit of promise before going down. At least Benji Marshall isn’t ringing in the changes yet, which suggests he’s hoping the side he’s got will grow on last week… or that this is the best they can serve up. 

CommBank Stadium will likely have the closest match of the weekend, both sides on paper look pretty solid all around the park. With the Eagles forced into more changes and home-field advantage, Parra should take the win. 

What on earth are the Knights doing dropping Jackson Hastings after just two games? Give the lad a chance guys! We will have a closer game than a fortnight ago, but the Storm have knocked off two of the stronger sides from last year to kick off the season, so they’ve got more than enough to frustrate the Novocastrian faithful. 

Mary Konstantopoulos

Broncos, Warriors, Roosters, Titans, Cowboys, Sharks, Eels, Storm

Even with both teams missing key players like Adam Reynolds and James Fisher-Harris, this one will be a quality contest. Even though the Broncos ‘don’t talk’ about the 2023 Grand Final, the wounds will still be there for many players and they will have a point to prove. No Reynolds is big for the Broncos, but if Payne Haas is on the field, I think the Brisbane forward pack can create enough opportunities for the likes of Reece Walsh, Ezra Mam and Selwyn Cobbo.

Advertisement

The Raiders have had a great start to the season and the Warriors have had their challenges. But the Warriors were good against the Storm and were very close to jagging a win. Back in front of their home crowd, I think the Warriors will get their first win of the season.

The Rabbitohs and Roosters were both extremely disappointing last week and both teams have made some changes this week. I’m excited to see Dean Hawkins get his opportunity for Souths, but I don’t think a change in halfback is enough to fix the discipline issues that the Rabbitohs have had over recent weeks. Roosters to get the win in the next chapter of the ‘book of Feuds’.

The next game is a tough one to tip (I almost don’t want to tip anyone at all). I’m tipping the Titans because they are a stronger team than the Bulldogs, who still are struggling due to a lack of forwards and a lack of established halves.

The Cowboys will beat the Dragons and the Sharks will beat the Tigers.

I’m picking the Eels over Manly. This will be the match of the round. The Sea Eagles have been very impressive to start the year and Parramatta showed plenty of fight against Penrith. The Eels have the advantage in the forwards and I think that is where the Eels will win this one.

The Storm will beat the Knights, who are really struggling to start the season. I’m hoping to see Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best work more effectively together. It’s something that I haven’t seen in the first two rounds and it worked so well last year.

Paul Suttor

Advertisement

Panthers, Warriors, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Sharks, Eels, Knights

Penrith are without one star in Fisher-Harris but Brisbane can’t cope against the premiers with Reynolds and Haas absent.

Canberra’s two-game winning “streak” will end in New Zealand against the Warriors who should/would/could be on two competition points if not for Xavier “Clark Kent” Coates’ Superman impression.

South Sydney have Jack Wighton back and even though they have been playing poorly, they will be primed against the Roosters to silence their growing army of critics.

The Bulldogs showed some promising signs against Cronulla and copped a couple of crucial dud calls which could have changed the game in their favour. The Titans are an unknown quantity and much of what is known about them is unimpressive.

Nobody in their right mind can tip the Dragons, even at Kogarah, against the unbeaten Cowboys and similar sanity checks would be needed for anyone who tipped the Tigers to topple the Sharks, even at Leichhardt.

Manly are humming but the Eels at home should just get the chocolates while Newcastle have an opportunity to upset the Storm with both star halves out of the Melbourne line-up.

Advertisement
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Isaiya Katoa of the Dolphins passes the ball during the round two NRL match between the Dolphins and St George Illawarra Dragons at Kayo Stadium, on March 17, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Isaiya Katoa passes. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

AJ Mithen

Panthers, Raiders, Roosters, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Sharks, Eels, Knights

My tipping skills continue to vault me to the top. Pay attention so you know what to do this week… 

Brisbane have selection queries but Penrith are the better team right now. Panthers to win. Your presumptive champions, the people’s team the Canberra Raiders head to Christchurch to lay a casual 56 on the winless Wahs. 

Roosters over Bunnies but I want to see some excitement or they go to tipping purgatory. I’ve got the Bulldogs opening their account because the Titans showed nothing in their one outing. Cowboys with a run of the mill win over St George Illawarra, same for Sharks over Tigers. 

Parra will get to Manly in an ‘upset’ and a second Sunday upset when the Knights take advantage of a dinged-up Melbourne. 

Advertisement

Mike Meehall Wood

Panthers, Warriors, Roosters, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Sharks, Eels, Knights

Penrith in Penrith against an Adam Reynoldsless Bronx…an easy call for the Panthers.

The Wahs have been very unlucky thus far, the Raiders have been decent but hardly played world-beaters. The Kiwi luck turns on Friday night.

I can’t tip Souths at the moment and I don’t see how taking Lachy Ilias out makes them better. Chooks to win.

The Dogs have been good against tough opposition, the Titans are the opposite of tough opponents. Belmore will see a win on Saturday.

Advertisement

The Dragons were thrashed last week and a bit lucky in week one…the Cows weren’t great either, but should be good enough to win here. NQ to take it.

Nobody can tip the Tigers at the moment, so the Sharks will go 3-0 with a win.

Reverse psychology went great guns for my Beaches Boys last week, so let’s try it again. Go Parra (urgh)

Melbourne got away with it at the weekend, whereas Newcastle chucked it…I reckon they might have a chance against a Storm side lacking their best halves, so I’ll tip the upset. Knights in a Sunday teatime boilover.

TipstersStuart ThomasNick WasilievMary KonstantopoulosPaul SuttorAJ MithenMike Meehall WoodThe Crowd
PEN v BRIPanthersPanthersBroncos Panthers Panthers Panthers ?
WAR v CBAWarriorsWarriorsWarriors Warriors Raiders Warriors ?
SYD v SSYRoosters Roosters Roosters Rabbitohs Roosters Roosters?
CBY v GCTTitans Titans Titans BulldogsBulldogs Bulldogs ?
SGI v NQCCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboysCowboys?
WST v CROSharksSharks Sharks Sharks Sharks Sharks ?
PAR v MANManlyEels Eels Eels Eels Eels ?
NEW v MELStormStormStormKnights Knights Knights ?
Last Round8756677
2024 tally11971091010
Advertisement
close