By the time that Round 17 of the NRL gets underway, State of Origin will be over for another year and it’s full steam ahead towards September.
A full complement of eight games awaits and if you’ve read even one of my previews this season, you’ll know what’s coming next. There are eight winners to be found and I reckon I’ve gone close in the NRL Round 17 tips below.
Fresh off a week off and more determined than ever, the pride and glory of the Neds Gold Coast Titans will travel to the foot of the mountains on Friday evening to take on the Penny Panthers.
The Titans couldn’t match it with the in-form Manly in Round 15 and suffered another disappointing loss. Prior to that performance, boy they were competitive and if they can recapture a bit of that, which I think that they can, they’ll be extremely difficult to beat.
To their credit, the Panthers have found a winning vein of form. It hasn’t often been pretty (it largely hasn’t been pretty), but in the immortal words of Dominic Toretto; “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”
I think that the Titans are a live chance of winning this, and they can definitely cover a line that’s currently set at 7.5 points.
Betting suggests that Friday night’s second game will be one of the more on-sided of Round 17 and I personally cannot take Newcastle at the line fast enough.
A thoroughly understrength Knights were unlucky not the get the chocolates against the Warriors last week, and there is no doubt that they face an easier task in the form of the Bulldogs, with a stronger squad in tow. The short back-up from Origin is less than ideal, but some of these players are genuine stars and the class difference between these two sides is enormous.
The Dogs have recorded four wins from fifteen games and remain last, heading into Round 17. They are fresh off a bye and prior to that, a win over the Sharks, but I still can’t have them at all.
In stark contrast to the game prior, betting suggests that game is also a foregone conclusion, but it absolutely is not. I simply do not understand how these two sides can be priced so differently and boy, I’ve taken a bit of what’s available for the Sea Eagles to win.
Souths have done enough to win a lot this season. They’ve won ten and lost five and remain third on the ladder heading into Round 17. They are fresh off a bye but suffered a tough loss to the Tigers prior to that, as resounding favourites.
Manly have also done enough to win a lot this season. They, however, have been forced to do it without several stars, often. They also enter this fresh off a bye and prior to that, a smart win. With Tommy Turbo back in rotation, I genuinely think that they are a Grand Final prospect and they are over the odds to win this game.
An intriguing one will see the last start winning Broncos and Warriors do battle at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The most intriguing part about it being the timeslot; surely this is the first time in franchise history that the Broncos have had to play twilight Saturday.
The baby Broncos produced what was easily the club’s best performance to sink the Sharks in the Shire last week, but I actually think that the return of their big profile players is going to bugger that up this week. I still think that they’re every chance of winning, given how untrustworthy the Warriors are, but I doubt it’ll be attractive.
The Warriors did enough to get past a heavily depleted Knights outfit last week, just, but for some reason I still feel like Brisbane is a tougher away game for them. It’d be great to see Nikorima star, and I think that above everything, they can cover the line.
Typically, the Storm have taken a commanding lead over the competition and they’ll be eager to record another one, for both points and bragging rights, when the Sharks come to town.
Even without half their side at Origin time, Melbourne are still more than capable and yet again, they got the job done against a spirited Dragons side in Round 16.
What is wrong with Cronulla? They have been fielding strong sides (on paper) but have returned several awful performances. Case in point, last week’s extreme low against a heavily depleted Broncos, at home. If they were even a slim chance of fight their way deep into September, surely there is just no hope now.
Cronulla are annoyingly one of those sides who tend to keep their best footy for the best teams though, specifically Melbourne, and I’m eager to have a play at what looks a pretty sizeable line.
In what should be the most one-sided game of the round, a disappointing Cowboys outfit will travel south to face the Roosters on Sunday afternoon.
For a side that is still sitting second on the ladder and who are as good as the Roosters, I’m not sure anyone in the Bondi area would be pleasing with how they’ve been performing, and this does look an excellent opportunity to kick back into gear now that rep footy and other distractions are in the rear-view mirror.
Put simply, the Cows have been plodding along in 2019 and sit thirteenth ahead of this game. They lack spark and have not had the answers against some pretty ordinary sides. This looks a bridge too far.
Wests Tigers, proudly sponsored by Neds, will host Bankwest Stadium rivals Parramatta in Round 17’s penultimate fixture on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers are a competitive side in 2019 and they are unlucky not to be carrying winning form into this game, following a gutsy 24-16 loss to the Roosters. Their win over South Sydney a fortnight ago was tough and a repeat of that performance, against a worst side in the Eels, would see them winning comfortably.
The Eels enter this contest off the bye and prior to that, arguably one of their better wins of the season over the Raiders. I still do not rate them at all and I think that there’s every chance that this will be the week they drop out of the eight. Well, it would have been if they didn’t have a better for-and-against than the Tigers.
The round will conclude in Wollongong when the Dragons, who are definitely under the odds in head-to-head betting, line up opposite the Raiders.
The Dragons are not good. They beat worse sides than them, but there isn’t a whole lot of those and while it wasn’t a bad performance, they still couldn’t beat an understrength Storm at home in Round 16.
The Raiders return from a week off and prior to that a loss, but this does look a terrific opportunity for them to bounce back into form and what a time to do so, given we’re quickly sliding towards the finals.
I simply do no understand why the Dragons have been priced as favourites and I am more than keen to have a play on the Raiders.