Bulldogs v Cowboys (Thu 25/08)
What a cracking match up this will be, this game should decide who gets fourth spot on the ladder. Both teams will tell the media that they believe you can win the comp from outside the top 4. But inside the camp it will be all about making sure they seal a top 4 placing. The Cowboys combinations looked much better last week and each week passes they are getting back to their 2015 winning form. Morgan and Coote will handle a bigger work load this week. The Bulldogs big plus is returning to Belmore their big minus is missing Kasiano for his ‘indiscretion’ last week against Parker’s face. This game will come down to nothing more than who wants it more. I have to go Cowboys purely because I think Big Sam is a big out. Not only is he massive through the middle he is also an extra playmaker for the dogs. Cowboys by 10.
Storm v Broncos (Fri 26/08)
Another tough one to pick. The Broncos are finding some form and coasting along nicely are the Storm. Mediocre Rhyming aside it’s been a long season for Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and if they keep winning until the end of the season I don’t know if they will have the air in their lungs to go all the way. If the Broncos win they draw level with the Bulldogs, and finishing 5th or 6th gives them a home semi-final. If the weather holds out in Melbourne (although cold) the track will be fast which will suit Milfords running game. I have an upset in this game, I think Gillett and McGuire are back and they will take some stopping. Brisbane in a close one.
Sea Eagles v Raiders (Sat 27/08)
Can the Green machine keep their surge towards September going. A few weeks ago we were talking about them maybe scraping into the top 4. Now they are pushing for top 2. Croker continues to control the game from out wide and with Lyon out of the halves and a very young side Manly won’t have the strike power to beat the Raiders. If Canberra focus their attention on the young Trbojevic boys that should shut the game out as they are the Eagles go to recently.
Titans v Panthers (Sat 27/08)
A massive game for both sides a win guarantees the victor some September action. Although on for and against the Panthers are pretty much a lock. Cleary will continue his work looking for Peachey out wide, and with Hayne shifting out the back expect the bombs to be high, floating and plentiful. For the titans the game plan is simple, and the same every week, fight for every metre, every tackle and every point. If the Titans make it to the finals they will make it hard for other teams to progress. Panthers at the end of the day probably have a bit too much strike power at the moment. Panthers to win.
Sharks v Roosters (Sat 27/08)
The sharks have had their losses that everyone said were vital. They really need to put a win on the board considering their last game is against Melbourne. The issue for the Sharks in the last few weeks is they have gone a lot more lateral in attack. And they seem to missing that defensive press they were putting on sides earlier in the year. The tip for the Sharks is to put the razzle dazzle away and go back to grinding out wins. The Roosters are a completely different side with Pearce in the mix, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go undefeated for the rest of the year. Ferguson is has been explosive at the back and if the Sharks play like they have in recent weeks the Roosters will put 30 on them. Roosters to win.
Warriors v West Tigers (Sun 28/08)
Here is the scenario, if the Titans lose their last two games and Warriors or Tigers win their last two games they can play finals football. This game is all about who stays in the hunt. The Tigers sans Tedesco are at sixes and sevens and Woods really needs to step up and provide plenty of go forward. I wonder if Taylor has considered using Addo- Carr at the back. Although he is a winger, he is a dynamic runner and if he plays in the number one he can then float around the middle in attack searching for offloads. The Warriors game plan is all about feeling. If they are feeling like they want to turn up and blow a side off the park, well that’s exactly what they will do. Isaac Luke still missing helps the Tigers cause. However at home with a lot on the line and Shaun John getting plenty of touches should lead to a Warriors win and the tigers season will be put to bed.
Knights v Rabbitohs (Sun 28/08)
The Rabbitohs have finally decided to start playing NRL. Where has Greg Inglis been also? HI don’t know who or what lit a fire cracker under him but he almost looks like the Inglis of old. Not only do Newcastle field almost a NSW cup side, this week they also lose ‘White Lightning’ Ross. A massive out. If the big Burgess bos get a roll on I hate to think how bad this scoreline will blow out. The Rabbitohs to win easy and with Reynolds named the scoreboard just depends on if he plays or not. If Reynolds plays Rabbitohs by 30, if he doesn’t Rabbitohs by 16.
Eels v Dragons (Mon 29/08)
This is what I don’t understand, with the season over the Dragons have guaranteed Marshall a final game in round 26, and the coach did give him the choice. But with a player looking for a new club if I were Marshall I would have played, he has put the club first (and good on him) but team wont pick him up if they can’t see what he still has to offer. That aside, this game is about blooding players and just finishing off the season with a bit of pride for both sides. French is the game breaker and if he get himself into to some clear turf he might bag a couple meat pies. The Eels buoyed by the resigning of Corey Norman will probably have the strike power to beat the Dragons on Monday night. Eels by 10.