There are just four NRL matches this weekend, but that also means the first Holden State of Origin match is upon us. Read what Steve Turner has to say about each match and also who the NRL.com experts are tipping.
The Sea Eagles were unlucky last weekend after going down to the Raiders by a point and will miss NSW reps Tom and Jake Trbojevic. The Cowboys have been a real disappointment this year and they're a side that looks exhausted. With only one win away from home this year, their season is on the line and Johnathan Thurston not playing in the Origin series, I sense an upset at Brookvale.
Tip: Cowboys by 4
The Rabbitohs were awesome last weekend and it's a real shame they will be minus a host of stars due to Origin commitments for the clash with the Sharks. Their attack has been superb this year and it's an exciting brand of football that has surprised plenty of people. Damien Cook will be a huge loss for the home side. The Sharks are flying under the radar and produced their best performance of the year last weekend. Matt Moylan is getting better and better each week and with only one player selected for the opening game of the Holden State of Origin series, the 2016 premiers are in a good position heading into the representative period.
Tip: Sharks by 8
It's a game that will see the 16th ranked attacking team tackle the 16th ranked defensive team. This season has been a real struggle for Parramatta and with only two wins. They're a side that are down on confidence and in desperate need of a victory. Brad Arthur needs to work his magic to get his side up for this week's clash with the Knights. Newcastle have lost their past four matches and after last weekend's loss to the Sharks are down on confidence. A young side who are lacking consistency and since the injury to Mitchell Pearce, they have struggled in the halves. Nathan Brown needs more from his six and seven, but it won't be good enough this week.
Tip: Eels by 4
The Roosters' second half was impressive last week, but it's about the 80-minute performance that Trent Robinson will be focusing on this weekend against the Wests Tigers. They will be without a number of stars due to Origin commitments, but still have Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk on board. The Tigers clawed their way to a win on the weekend, but they have struggled to find consistency in 2018. It's an important game for both who sit at the bottom of the top eight on the same points.
Tip: Roosters by 8
NSW v Queensland
It's a new era for State of Origin. Thurston, Smith and Cronk have gone, while New South Wales will unleash 11 debutants and a new coach. It's time the Blues turn the tide and make their own history! With so much speed out wide and hardened forwards, Brad Fittler's men will be too good for the Maroons.
Tip: NSW by 12