With Origin players unavailable it's once again a chance for lower placed teams to make some moves on the competition ladder. And like last week the tipping sheet proves difficult.
Lets get into it:
Rabbitohs v Eels (Friday 17/06, 7.50pm)
The Rabbitohs have the type of list that should see them firmly entrenched in the top 8. This year there just seems to be something missing. It all started earlier in the year when Napa went on a one man wrecking mission and the Rabbitohs have looked sub-par ever since. Eels, even without Foran, are still a strong side and their season is not lost on them yet. Gordon's experience should guide them well around the park. And when you take Inglis and Reynolds out of an already under performing side it's hard to see how they get home. Eels to win.
Dragons v Storm (Saturday 18/06, 7.30pm)
This should be a close game, the dragons haven't had a lot of points in them this year. However it is their defence that has kept them in many a close contest. Considering the attacking sting of the Storm has been taken away (with Cronk and Smith out), I would expect the Storm to keep the game in the middle third as much as possible. With Harris again named in the halves throwing the ball wide wont be in their game plan much. Bellamy will be looking for a professional tight contest. The Dragons lack a bit of purpose and style in their game, and if it is one thing Melbourne do so well it is play a Melbourne style of NRL. Even with Cronk and Smith out I have the Storm in a close one, maybe by 4 or 6.
Warriors v Roosters (Sunday 19/06, 4.00pm)
What else is there to say about the Warriors at the moment. It has been excitement plus as they have put on 86 points in their last two games and they don't look like a side that is slowing down any time soon. At the opposite end of the scale, even though the Roosters have a good list I look at them much like the Rabbitohs this year. A good outfit of players, plenty of size, plenty of talent, but just something missing from their game. If Johnson can play anywhere near as good as he has int he last fortnight and if the discipline remains and the passes stick, expect another cricket score. Warriors by plus 20.
Titans V Sea Eagles (Monday 20/06, 7.00pm)
Just when Manly get Lyon back and there may be light at the end of the tunnel, Walker goes away to Origin duty. And for all the Walker hate lately, he was one of their best in a losing team last week. Whenever Walker ran with the ball he looked devastating and certainly solidified why Daley has selected him for Origin. The titans continue to squeeze every last inch of talent from their list. The fear for Titans supporters in this game is just how much they will miss Greg Bird. He is so important to their side and their structure they just look a bit different when he isn't on the park. The toughest game of the round to pick. If the titans can contain Stewart and Trbojevic I think they can get the win.
QLD v NSW (Wednesday 22/06, 8.15pm)
I will be providing a full write up and match preview of Origin II in the coming days. However at a high level, all I can say is that QLD continue to field a team of champions and should they play to their potential at home with 50 000 screaming QLD fans behind them, I can't see them getting beaten. QLD to win.