NRL Tipping: Round 20 - what the experts are saying
The finals are just six weeks away. As the closing stretch of the season begins, tipsters everywhere are gearing up for a strong finish. Read Hall of Famer Petero Civoniceva's match previews and see who the NRL.com experts are backing this weekend.
Broncos v Sharks
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: It was a really good reply from Brisbane after a disastrous result the previous week against the Warriors and it was good to see some of the positional changes work as well as they did. This is a tough one to pick because Cronulla are in good form and they play tough, grinding footy. But the Broncos looked very sharp against Penrith and being at home might be the difference in a close game.
Tip: Broncos by 6
Cowboys v Knights
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: Great effort and a fightback by Newcastle to win after being down by 14 last week and it's obvious Mitchell Pearce has added leadership and direction over the past two weeks. But I'm thinking that it's all about pride now for the Cowboys and they'd be filthy with the position they're in at the moment. They're a proud team and they're running out of opportunities to send Johnathan Thurston out on a high note.
Tip: Cowboys by 8
Bulldogs v Wests Tigers
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Bulldogs tried hard but couldn't get over the Eels last week. The Tigers, on the other hand, were tremendous in the way they went about upsetting a red-hot South Sydney outfit, backing up the previous week's impressive win over the Dragons. They look like they're getting back to that good form they were in early in the season, especially with Robbie Farah and Moses Mbye adding energy and spark to the attack.
Tip: Tigers by 10
Sea Eagles v Panthers
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Sea Eagles were very disappointing against the Roosters and it would have to go down as their worst performance of the year. That score could've been anything if the Roosters hadn't eased their foot off the pedal. The Panthers were awful against Brisbane but they're not a team to put in a similar effort two weeks in a row. We're coming into the big games of the year and the Panthers have more to play for.
Tip: Panthers by 8
Rabbitohs v Eels
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Rabbitohs would've been disappointed that they weren't able to make John Sutton's 300th game a winning occasion last week against the Wests Tigers. They'll also be hurting that their winning streak came to an end and I can see them bouncing back in a big way this week. The Eels finally got another win last week but it's hard to see them causing an upset.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 14
Storm v Raiders
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Raiders have been a bit of a bogey side for Melbourne at times but I'm not sure if that will be the case this week. The Storm went over to New Zealand and got a gritty win in a tough place to play. They defended like a premiership side defends and look like they're warming up for the finals. The Raiders were disappointing in the first half against Cronulla and showed a lot of spirit to fight back, but it's a tough ask this week.
Tip: Storm by 12
Titans v Warriors
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I think the Warriors win this one. They weren't too far off the mark against the Storm and they've got a lot to play for, so I see them competing strongly through to the end of the year. The other factor is that the Warriors have been one of the best teams on the road, even though they haven't been as successful at home. The Titans had a good lead last week against Newcastle and couldn't finish the job and I just don't see them winning this game given what's at stake for the Warriors.
Tip: Warriors by 8
Roosters v Dragons
Peter Civoniceva's prediction: This game of the round between two of the competition's top teams should be a cracker. They're both playing good footy and it's tough to separate them and pick a winner. The Dragons had a good win over the Cowboys and look like they're playing with confidence, but I'm leaning towards the Roosters in a very close game. Latrell Mitchell has taken his game to another level after playing Origin footy and they just look like a side that is getting better each week at the right end of the season.
Tip: Roosters by 4