The Tipping Insider: Round 5
Canterbury Bulldogs v Manly Sea Eagles
The Bulldogs welcomed back Ben Barba last week, with the fullback slotting straight back into the side with ease despite falling to the Rabbitohs. Tim Lafai replaces Krisnan Inu in the centres, but Frank Pritchard remains on the bench with Tony Williams facing his former club for the first time.
The Sea Eagles were far from their best in the first half, but they put away the woeful Tigers 26-0 last Thursday night, and head into this grudge match in good form. Richie Fa’aoso returns on the bench, but it is the form of Brenton Lawrence in the front row that has kept Jason King on the bench.
If you think...Des Hasler will have his Bulldogs fired up and Ben Barba will return to form with a full game under his belt, tip Canterbury.
If you think...Manly will continue their clinical form on the road, tip the Sea Eagles.
Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos
The Titans travelled to Penrith and took down the Panthers last Sunday, continuing their impressive start to 2013. They welcome back Ashley Harrison and Brad Takairangi, who were both late exclusions last weekend.
The Broncos weathered the Storm at Suncorp last week, and got in a winning position before the class of Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater took the game away. Justin Hodges is back, but Sam Thaiday is missing through suspension after touching referee Adam Devcich last Friday night.
If you think...Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly can conjure up another victory for the Titans over big brother, take the Gold Coast at home.
If you think...Scott Prince will remain the king of Skilled Park and deliver victory to the Broncos in his first game against the Titans, tip Brisbane.
Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks
The John Mannah Cup is on the line at Parramatta Stadium in what is sure to be an emotional affair. The Eels were thumped 50-0 last week, but retain the same 17 players as Ricky Stuart attempts to overcome Parramatta’s consistency woes.
The Sharks were disappointing in their home derby loss to the Dragons last Saturday night, and have a couple of forced changes. Todd Carney is out with a foot injury, replaced by Chad Townsend, while Matt Wright has been dropped, with Jonathan Wright moving into the centres and Nathan Stapleton onto the wing.
If you think...the Eels will fire up from their big loss and Paul Gallen will be walking the Kingsway in his birthday suit, tip Parramatta.
If you think...Cronulla’s forward pack will be too tough and skillful for the Eels, and the loss of Todd Carney won’t impact them, tip the Sharks.
North Queensland Cowboys v Penrith Panthers
The Cowboys return home after back-to-back losses on the road, the latter giving the Warriors their first win of 2013. There is talk Rob Lui will return to the side, but aside from that Glenn Hall is back with Tariq Sims and Rory Kostjasyn on the bench.
The Panthers had their chances against the Gold Coast, but weren’t clinical enough and paid the price. Luke Walsh has been dropped for Blake Austin, with coach Ivan Cleary hoping the unheralded combination of Austin and Tom Humble will challenge Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan.
If you think...a return to 1300SMILES Stadium will be the perfect remedy for the Cowboys woes, tip North Queensland.
If you think...Blake Austin can transfer his top NSW Cup form into the NRL and lead the Panthers to victory, take Penrith.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights
The Dragons got their first win of 2013 last Saturday, defeating the Sharks at Sharks Stadium in a tough clash. They’ve lost Cameron King and Michael Weyman, but the form of Trent Merrin has been the talking point for the Red V all year.
The Knights ran the cleaners through the Raiders last Sunday, despite losing Kurt Gidley and James McManus to injury during the game. Both have been named this week, and coach Wayne Bennett will be out to show-up to his former understudy Steve Price.
If you think...the Dragons have found their form following last week’s win with a fired up Jamie Soward, top St George Illawarra.
If you think...the dual hooking duo of Kurt Gidley and Danny Buderus will carve the Dragons up through the middle, tip Newcastle.
Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Warriors grabbed their first victory of the season over the Cowboys last week, with halfback Shaun Johnson leading the way in an inspired performance. They return to Mt Smart Stadium again to face the Rabbitohs with Feleti Mateo back in the starting lineup, and possibly Manu Vatuvei back on the wing.
The Rabbitohs remain undefeated in 2013 after accounting for the Bulldogs in a very entertaining game at ANZ Stadium. David Tyrrell starts at prop with Sam Burgess at lock, while captain Michael Crocker is on an extended bench, as coach Michael Maguire uses all the depth at their disposal.
If you think...the Warriors can use the Mt Smart effect to their advantage and keep their 100% record their this year alive, tip the home side.
If you think...Souths will continue their professionalism and stay undefeated, tip the Rabbitohs.
Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters
The Raiders couldn’t replicate their hoodoo form against the Knights, falling again on the road. Blake Ferguson is out with a broken cheekbone, which means Jack Wighton moves to the centres and Edrick Lee to the wing, while Matt McIllwrick replaces Shaun Berrigan on the bench, but David Furner also has highly rated rookie Anthony Milford up his sleeve.
The Roosters demolished the Eels 50-0 last week, Sonny Bill Williams showing his worth with a magnificent performance. Frank-Paul Nuuausala is out with a knee injury, with Mitch Aubusson entering the back row in a reshuffle, but it is the form of their edges which is impressing most.
If you think...the Raiders can turn their season around at home, tip Canberra.
If you think...the form of SBW and Michael Jennings is simply too good, tip the Roosters on the road.
Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers The Storm produced a typically classy performance against the Broncos on Good Friday, but were in some trouble until Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk sealed the win. The enter this clash unchanged following their longest layoff between games this season, and will want to continue their imposing record against the Tigers in Melbourne.
The Tigers tried everything to score against the Sea Eagles, but it was clear to many that it simply wasn’t their night. Coach Mick Potter made some big changes to the Wests side, with Braith Anasta moving to halfback, Bodene Thompson to the second-row and Jacob Miller dropped to NSW Cup.
If you think...the Storm will produce another professional display and take down the Tigers, tip Melbourne.
If you think...you need a difference maker this week and that the Storm have to lose eventually and the unpredictable Tigers might just be the side to do it, tip Wests.