Origin 2 is in the history books, the series is square, and attention returns to the sixteen clubs chasing a premiership in Round 16 of the NRL!
The action gets underway at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night, when the Sea Eagles reignite their rivalry with the Storm.
There is plenty to look forward through during the weekend fixtures including a Queensland Derby in Townsville and the first Warriors home game in New Zealand for more than two years.
Check out my complete NRL Round 16 Tips below.
A strong start to the week sees a credible Sea Eagles side host the Storm on the Northern Beaches, with a case to be made for both sides.
Their premiership chances almost certainly ended with Turbo’s season-ending injury, but Manly have looked a bit better again of late, recording consecutive wins before only just losing to a good Cowboys side in Round 15.
The Storm’s recent form (for their standards) hasn’t been as strong, but it has still been good enough to beat most sides and hold their position in the Top 2.
Obviously, Origin back-ups will be crucial, but I think that Manly are good enough to compete at home.
Betting suggests that the tightest contest of the round will be played out between the Knights and Titans in Newcastle first-up on Friday.
The Knights have been just awful 2022, but they are facing a team that has somehow been worse, the Titans. Will this be close?
Could be, neither have been trustworthy at all, but one thing that is for sure – it won’t be memorable.
Just because I think they represent slightly better value, I’m tipping the Titans for the upset(?).
Top eight sides the Panthers and Roosters clash at the foot of the mountains on Friday night and understandably, we’ve got a clear market favourite.
The Panthers have been nothing short of outstanding in their title defence to date, and that was underlined again by many of the solo performances mustered by their stars in Sunday night’s Origin.
They do tend to be a little vulnerable at this time of year, but we’re yet to see that in 2022.
The Roosters have mixed their results recently, but their draw has been quite difficult.
It doesn’t get much more difficult than this, but given their ability when they do put it all together, I’m going to stay away from match betting and the line.
This rates as one of, if not the most intriguing game in Round 16, and I’m actually really looking forward to it.
They were terrible under the guidance of Trent Barrett but seemingly, everyone is, and the Bulldogs have really responded to whatever it is that Mick Potter has been doing.
Wins over the Eels and Tigers have lifted them from the bottom of the ladder, but it has been the manner of the victories that have been noteworthy.
The Sharks have flown somewhat under the radar recently and have climbed back into the Top 4 thanks to wins over the Warriors and Titans most recently.
This is a real acid test for the Dogs and I think that they are a live chance of winning, but I am going to hedge my bet a little by taking them at the line.
The Cowboys and Broncos will write the next chapter in their storied rivalry in Townsville on Saturday evening.
At the beginning of the season, this match shaped far more like the Knights/Titans game on Friday, but boy have both clubs exceeded expectations and it should instead be a bit more like the 2015 Grand Final.
The Cowboys nearly suffered a shock defeat to the Sea Eagles in Round 15, but they fought back to get the result and ultimately, that is all that matters.
They take winning form and confidence into this side, and their parochial home crowd won’t hurt their chances either.
The Broncos’ recent form has been a little weaker, but they have had a pretty tough run and were without Adam Reynolds in their loss to the Storm in Melbourne.
This is a flip of a coin in my opinion, and another match betting/line market to steer clear of.
South Sydney will host Parramatta in Saturday night’s primetime slot, and they will be buoyed by the return of star Latrell Mitchell.
The Rabbitohs have done enough to hold a position in the Top 8 for most of the season, but they are a shadow of the side that made the 2021 Grand Final, and they haven’t really looked a premiership threat at all.
They suffered a thumping loss to the Dragons in Round 15, and will need to improve noticeably to challenge the Eels.
The Eels have been extremely frustrating and, for a club of their apparent ability, inconsistent.
Wins over Top 4 clubs have been cancelled out by big losses to bad clubs, and I don’t think that they are any chance of winning a premiership.
That being said, they deserve their favouritism in this contest, and they should be winning.
After so much waiting, the Warriors finally return to New Zealand on Sunday afternoon, and they are offered a great opportunity to win.
It must have been extremely difficult for their players and staff to stay away from their families for so long to compete, and every NRL fan owes this club a debut of gratitude.
They’ve opened $1.48 favourites in Round 16, I will definitely have something on.
The Tigers have returned plenty of tough performances this season, they just lack the class and depth of most other clubs.
The Warriors can win, and they offer a bit of value at the line.
Round 16 of the NRL draws to a close in Wollongong on Sunday afternoon when the Dragons line up opposite the Raiders.
I’ve found this to be one of the tougher matches of the Round to analyse.
The Dragons have been inconsistent at best recently, but they were absolutely outstanding in their big win over the Rabbitohs in Round 15.
The Raiders have continued to improve as the season has progressed, but their win over the Knights at home in Round 15 was anything but convincing, and they were lucky to get there.
I can’t split them, so I am going to have another Same Game Multi.