Round 8 of the NRL boasts eight quality fixtures and we don’t have to wait long until the match of the week – the Melbourne Storm take on the Sydney Roosters in Brisbane on Thursday night!
The Warriors and Broncos have been just awful in 2020, but at least one set of fans will get some respite in Round 8 when the clubs do battle on Saturday afternoon.
I’ve had a look at every game, and you can find my unique take and NRL Round 8 tips below.
What an outstanding way to begin Round 8.
The Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters have contested some classics in recent seasons, both have returned good results in 2020 and both will be eager to get this win – it really is a recipe for a thriller.
The Storm were far too good for the Warriors in Round 7 and while it’s impossible to take that form seriously, everyone knows just how good they are – you don’t need me to reiterate it.
It was a horror show of injuries for the Roosters meanwhile, but they understandably still proved far too good for the Dragons.
It’s not often you see the Storm as $2.95 outsiders in match betting but then again, it’s not often you see a side as good as the Roosters.
Even without a couple of stars, they’ve proven they can do it.
The Raiders are offered a terrific opportunity to bounce back into the winner’s stall when the Dragons arrive in town on Friday evening.
Given how good they were in Round 3 against the Storm, you’d be pretty filthy looking back over their recent record if you were a Raiders fans.
Round 4, loss to the Knights. Round 5, snuck past Wests. Round 6, loss to the Sea Eagles. Round 7, loss to the Eels.
Suddenly, the Raiders are seventh on the ladder and in real danger of dropping out of the eight.
The Dragons are bad, but if last week’s performance was anything to go by, they are still clearly capable of a big performance.
The Roosters got away from them late but also, it was the Roosters. Doing what they managed to do early would have been enough against virtually every other club.
I think that this is a real danger game for the Raiders, and they are under the odds at $1.20.
Friday night’s primetime slot will feature a mismatch between the Eels and Cowboys in Western Sydney.
There is absolutely no denying that Parramatta are a good side, but there’s also no denying that they are lucky to have won a couple of their matches recently, including last week’s Golden Point thriller against the Raiders.
Regardless, they’ll be rightfully confident of recording another in Round 8.
The Cowboys pulled off the upset of the week in Round 7, but their second-half performance left a lot to be desired and a repeat of that would see them absolutely slaughtered here.
These are two completely different classes of side and I don’t think the Eels will be troubled too much.
The Gold Coast Titans (proudly sponsored by Neds) will take winning form into a Saturday afternoon showdown with the Sharks.
Here at Neds we obviously love the Titans, but last weekend’s thrashing win over the Broncos was particularly sweet.
They flew the blocks, kept the pressure on and were rewarded with bragging rights and two competition points. How bloody good.
They line up opposite a Sharks outfit who, to their credit, were excellent against Manly in Round 7.
I just wonder how much weight that win will carry though, because Manly were always going to be flat after their big effort against the Raiders and more importantly, were without Tommy Turbo.
In Queensland, I’m more than happy to be with the Titans at a $2 line again.
I’m really not too sure what else to say about the Warriors and the Broncos ahead of their Round 8 clash.
It has been an absolute s***show for both clubs since the resumption and the result of this game could well and truly decide who avoids the spoon in 2020.
I’m backing the Warriors because they’ve won a couple since the break and because they are (for some reason) noticeable outsiders in the market.
One of the better contests of Round 8 looks like materialising on Saturday night when the Tigers and Panthers renew their rivalry.
The Tigers lack the depth and class of some of their opponents, but I think that it is fair to say that they play with more heart than most other clubs and they enter Round 8 with a 4-3 record, perched sixth on the ladder.
Last week’s performance and win over the Bulldogs was outstanding and while this is obviously a tougher game, they certainly cannot be counted out.
The Panthers are also excellent, and I thought they really announced their Premiership credentials with last weekend’s comfortable win over the Bunnies.
They deserve their favouritism but because I give the Tigers a real chance, I’m staying away from match betting.
Interesting game this one, but you’d have to think the Knights will take beating.
It was a horror first half for the Knights against the Cowboys last week, but with an opportunity to put their chins down, they rallied in the second half and really made a game of it.
They’ll take that momentum into Round 8 and will be confident in their chances against a Manly side who barely fired a shot against Cronulla.
As I mentioned in Cronulla’s preview, Manly were always going to face a task in Round 7 but with the exception of Addin Fonua-Blake, it was a particularly diabolical performance.
They’ll be without Turbo for the foreseeable future and it’s tough imagining them turning it around enough to win this week.
The final game of Round 8 takes us back to the western suburbs with the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs in action.
No one could accuse the Dogs of not trying.
They are young, inexperienced and lack the class of most other clubs at the moment, but they put in for 80 week in, week out, and will improve for what they are doing.
Unfortunately for them, they are charged with facing another quality side in Round 8.
The Bunnies weren’t able to keep up with the Panthers on Thursday night, but they’ve returned some good efforts since the COVID break and this represents a terrific opportunity for them.