Thursday night: Cronulla v Melbourne, Shark Park
The second grand final replay, this promises to be a cracker! How will Melbourne’s training run against Newcastle prepare them for a rested Sharks infront of a hostile Sydney crowd?
That home advantage – and the confidence from their win in Melbourne in April – should tip Cronulla over the line.
CRONULLA BY TWO
Friday night: Manly v Newcastle, Brookvale Oval
Manly will win this by plenty. The poor old Knights are in all sorts while Manly are coming off a tight Golden Point win against Canberra. Even with the dreaded short turnaround, Manly can be on the cusp of the top four with a big win.
MANLY BY 30
Friday night: Brisbane v Souths, Lang Park
Who will be happier to be back at Lang Park – Brisbane or Channel Nine?
Either way, Brisbane will stop their two-game losing streak against a struggling Souths and will be keen for a huge score to get back in the top four.
BRISBANE BY 20
Saturday afternoon: Gold Coast v NZ Warriors
The Titans should get their fifth win of the year against a woeful Warriors. The Warriors are 0-6 in Australia while the Gold Coast were competitive in Townsville. While the Warriors should have plenty of ex-pat support, the Titans will continue their misery and put themselves in sight of the top eight
GOLD COAST BY 18
Saturday night: Penrith v Canberra, Bathurst
Country fans are in for a treat, with two desperate teams battling to stay in the finals race.
Penrith destroyed Canterbury for their third straight win. Canberra were awful (first half), brilliant (second half) and unlucky (that strip penalty in Golden Point) against Manly.
Canberra have bad memories of last year’s trip to Bathurst, robbed of a win with the controversial “wall” non-penalty. Penrith have form at the moment, while Canberra are still patchy and seeking confidence. Could be another heartbreaker for Raiders fans.
PENRITH BY FOUR
Saturday night: Parramatta v North Qld, Darwin
Another NRL field trip, this time to Darwin. The Eels are in good form with two straight wins, while North Qld had an important win against Gold Coast. Conditions in Darwin will probably favour the Cowboys, which could be enough.
NORTH QLD BY TWO
Sunday afternoon: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters, Campbelltown
Tigers fans love going back to suburban footy, but the familiar surrounds of Campbelltown won’t be enough against a hot Roosters side, with three wins from their last four. Wests’ season is almost over where the Roosters – brimming after the win against Brisbane – want to solidify their top four spot. Neutral fans can guess how many times Gus Gould says “I love Sunday arvo footy at Campbelltown” during Nine’s telecast.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS BY 20
Monday afternoon: Canterbury v St. George-Illawarra, Homebush
It’s the Queen’s Birthday holiday (everywhere except Qld and WA), so let’s enjoy some Monday arvo footy. Will Canterbury fans follow through with their boycott threat? At least the Dogs can’t be any worse than last Sunday (could they)? Expect the third-placed Dragons – with Gareth Widdop back – to romp it in.
ST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA BY 20