The Tipping Insider: Round 7
Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons
The Roosters juggernaut rolled on in Round 6, taking down the Bulldogs 38-0 at Allianz Stadium last start. They enter the ANZAC Day game with a settled line up, with Sonny Bill Williams and Mitchell Pearce overcoming injuries to take on the Dragons in one of the biggest regular season games each season.
The Dragons made it three straight wins with a 13-12 triumph over the Tigers at the SCG two weeks ago, easing the perceived pressure on coach Steve Price. They are also settled coming into this game, welcoming back Michael Weyman on an extended bench in what will be Jamie Soward’s first game since signing with the Panthers for four seasons from 2014.
If you think...the Roosters’ form is too good to ignore and SBW will shine in his first ANZAC Day game, take the Tricolours.
If you think...the Dragons ANZAC Day dominance will continue at Allianz Stadium, tip St George Illawarra.
Melbourne Storm v Warriors
The Storm have been completely unfazed by every challenge so far this year, however a meeting with the Warriors in Melbourne is one which has caused them problems before. Ryan Hinchcliffe is out with a knee injury, replaced at lock by Tohu Harris, while Kevin Proctor starts in the second row and Justin O’Neill returns on a seven man bench.
The Warriors surrendered a big lead against the Raiders in Canberra last start, but have shown enough to say they could cause Melbourne some problems, particularly with a good record of winning big games in Melbourne. Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei and Dane Neilsen are all out injured, presenting opportunities for Ben Henry and Glen Fisiiahi, while Jerome Ropati and Jacob Lillyman are back on the bench.
If you think...the irresistible Storm will be too hot to handle in the second ANZAC Clash at AAMI Park, tip Melbourne.
If you think...a good record in Melbourne and some players looking to impress will inspire an upset, tip the Warriors.
Manly Sea Eagles v South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Sea Eagles return to Fortress Brookvale for the second straight game in a highly anticipated clash with fellow heavyweights South Sydney, with both teams suffering just one loss this year. Joe Galuvao and Peta Hiku are out for the home side, replaced by David Gower on the bench, and a returning David Williams on the wing.
The Rabbitohs pushed the Storm right to the limit in Round 6, but came up short and will need to regroup ahead of this game. Beau Champion retains his centre spot, while once again Michael Crocker, Justin Hunt and Jason Clark are added to the extended bench.
If you think...Fortress Brookvale will remain just that, and the rampant Sea Eagles forward pack will get over the top of Souths, tip the Silvertails.
If you think...Souths can put their poor Brookvale record behind them and go through the middle of Manly, tip the Rabbitohs.
North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders
The Cowboys were pipped at the post last time out by the Broncos in a Queensland derby at Suncorp, but did so without electric fullback Matt Bowen. He returns this week at the back, as does Jason Taumalolo, while Dallas Johnson returns to lock and Tariq Sims retains his starting place in the second row.
The Raiders again came from behind at home against the Warriors in Round 6, with Terry Campese the hero in his return from another knee injury. David Shillington and Josh Papalii are both missing, replaced by Jake Foster in the starting side and Paul Vaughan on the bench.
If you think...a return home to 1300SMILES Stadium will send the Cowboys fans home happy, tip North Queensland.
If you think...the Raiders can buck the trend of their poor record in Townsville and continue their good recent form, tip Canberra.
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Wests Tigers v Brisbane Broncos
The Tigers took their time to get going against the Dragons at the SCG, clawing back a 12-0 deficit only to suffer heartbreak in the final minutes. They have plenty of changes this week, with James Tedesco at fullback, Matt Utai returning on the wing and Curtis Sironen and Tim Moltzen pairing up in the halves.
The Broncos snuck home against North Queensland in a scrappy but entertaining game, and will regroup after having a number of representative players last week. Josh McGuire’s return is the only change to their side, and it is a significant one after he was spoken of as an Origin bolter before injury struck.
If you think...the Tigers can turn Campbelltown into the fortress that they need it to be, tip the Black, Gold and Whites.
If you think...former Tiger Scott Prince can help the Broncos can maintain their unbeaten record at Campbelltown, tip Brisbane.
Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights
The Titans got out of gaol against Parramatta last start, with a late Albert Kelly try winning the game in the final ten minutes. They welcome Matt Srama, Aidan Sezer, Beau Falloon and David Taylor back, with plenty of shuffling in the side forming a formidable bench, which includes Taylor, Falloon, Luke Bailey and Ryan James.
The Knights claimed a very scrappy 8-6 win over Penrith last start, and will need to improve considerably if they are going to match the Gold Coast. Dane Gagai returns in place of Joseph Leilua, while Jeremy Smith is suspended with Alex McKinnon to start and Neville Costigan joining the bench.
If you think...the Titans’ good record at home can continue against an inconsistent Knights side, tip the Gold Coast.
If you think...Wayne Bennett will fire up his troops after the underwhelming win over Panthers last start, tip Newcastle.
Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury Bulldogs
The Cronulla Sharks have struggled under the weight of off-field issues recently, but have a big opportunity to get back on track against the Bulldogs this week after a close loss to Manly. In some welcome news, superstar Todd Carney is back at five-eighth, while there were some promising signs for Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis in the ANZAC Test after they combined on a number of occasions, including for Lewis’s try.
The Bulldogs will have enjoyed the weekend off to regroup after the 38-0 thrashing they received from the Roosters two weeks ago. They have the same squad from that game, with Trent Hodkinson again at halfback and David Klemmer added to the extended bench.
If you think...the return of Todd Carney will be all that the Sharks require to turn their season around and keep Paul Gallen’s clothes on for the rest of the year, take Cronulla.
If you think...the Bulldogs will reignite their season with Hodkinson at halfback, despite losing CEO Todd Greenberg, tip Canterbury.
Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels
The Panthers had a tough trip to Newcastle last start and despite only losing by two points, never got control in the game. They have a raft of changes including Matt Moylan debuting at fullback, Travis Robinson coming onto the wing and Matt Robinson starting in the second row, with Josh Mansour, Wes Naiqama and Cameron Ciraldo all out.
The Eels suffered a tough loss on the Gold Coast last round after leading for a long period before a late Albert Kelly try sealed their fate. Fuifui Moimoi is out suspended this week, with Mitchell Allgood starting, Kelepi Tanginoa in the second row and Matt Ryan returning on the bench, while Jacob Loko retains his spot after returning from illness two weekends ago.
If you think...the home ground advantage will spur the new-look Panthers to a western Sydney win, tip Penrith.
If you think...Ricky Stuart will fire up his charges for the derby game after a close loss, tip the Eels.