Matt Trodden, NRL.com
Canterbury Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters
The Bulldogs return to ANZ Stadium after a thrilling win at Fortress Brookvale last week, surrendering a 30-12 lead before claiming the win in golden point extra time. They meet the Roosters for the 162nd time, and will look at their handy 10-2 record at ANZ Stadium for confidence, despite a 38-0 thrashing at Allianz in Round 6.
The Roosters have reshuffled their side after falling to the Warriors at home last week, with an inkling that SBW will be playing at five-eighth. They’ve only won three of the last eight against the Dogs, and haven’t won at ANZ Stadium since 2008 (when ironically SBW was on the other side), but haven’t lost back-to-back games all year and last responded to a Sunday night loss with the aforementioned 38-0 smashing of Canterbury.
If you think...the Bulldogs have gained some momentum and are relatively unscathed by Origin selections, tip Canterbury for four in a row.
If you think...SBW will have the Bulldogs fans wishing he’d never left them with a dynamic display at five-eighth, tip the Roosters.
Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders
Wests were soundly beaten in the middle of the park by the Broncos last Monday night, and again couldn’t come out unscathed with Braith Anasta missing. They’ve got a handy record against Canberra, winning eight of the last nine clashes, and scored a crushing 40-0 victory in Canberra last time these sides met in 2012.
The Raiders never looked really troubled by the Panthers at home last week, recording their 10th straight victory at Canberra Stadium. Their away form however, isn’t so pretty. They’ve won just once away from Canberra Stadium this season, and just twice at Campbelltown Stadium in their last seven attempts, one of those being in Round 4 last year.
If you think...Benji Marshall can lift in front of a home crowd and help them rebound without Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods, tip the Tigers.
If you think...the Raiders can finally sort out their away woes and correct a poor recent record against the joint venture club, tip Canberra.
Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Eels were clinical and disciplined for the first 40 minutes against Cronulla last week, before the Sharks turned it on and Parramatta dropped off. The Eels and have also lost their last 11 games at ANZ Stadium, but every time Chris Sandow has kicked a goal in games between these two sides he’s been on the winning side.
The Rabbitohs will again trot out with their Origin stars absent, but on the back of six wins in their last seven games, including a tight 30-24 win against the Gold Coast last Sunday. The Bunnies have won their last five against the Eels, keeping them to just six points in each of the last three encounters.
If you think...it’s about time the Eels won one at ANZ Stadium and are looking for the upset of the round, tip Parra.
If you think...Souths won’t be worried by the loss of four Origin players (for the first time in the club’s history), and will down the Eels in an ‘away’ game, tip the Rabbitohs.
Gold Coast Titans v Melbourne Storm
The Titans, despite losing to Souths last Sunday, continue to impress in 2013 and sit just a point outside the top four. They haven’t beaten the Storm in their last four encounters and prop Luke Douglas has defeated the Storm just once in 10 clashes, but they have got a 2-2 record against them at Skilled Park.
The Storm had a minor scare against the Knights, trailing 14-4 for long periods in the game before scoring twice late in the game to seal three straight wins. They haven’t lost at Skilled Park since 2010, and prop Jason Ryles has lost just once to the Titans in nine games, surely a good omen for Melbourne on the road.
If you think...the form of Albert Kelly and Dave Taylor will be too much for the weakened Storm outfit to handle at Skilled Park, tip the Titans.
If you think...the new Storm halves combination of Ben Hampton and Brett Finch will work wonders and conjure up the underdog victory which could be your difference maker, tip Melbourne.