NRL Tipping: Round 21 - what the experts are saying
The finals are just five 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.
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I'm going with the Broncos here. They're building some really good momentum and when you're getting ready for finals footy it's all about building consistency, so this is a really important game for them to back up last week's effort with another strong all-round performance against a team they'll be expected to beat. Great effort by the Bulldogs last week but two weeks in a row might be a stretch.
Tip: Broncos by 12
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: This is an interesting clash. The Knights were pretty strong last week but they just fell victim to a bit of JT brilliance. The Tigers were disappointing against the Bulldogs, but I'm going to stick with them to win this game in a close one. Ivan Cleary will no doubt make his players realise they let a crucial game slip away and I can see them bouncing back this week. If they're going to sneak into the finals they pretty much have to win every game from here on in.
Tip: Wests Tigers by 6
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: What a cracker this should be - a top of the table clash at this time of the year. The Rabbitohs have stalled a little bit lately compared to how they were playing during their winning streak, but they showed a bit of class to claw their way back and get away with a win last week But they're aren't playing as well as the Storm and that's where I'm leaning. The Storm were clinical in their defeat of the Raiders and look primed for finals football. They've been more consistent than Souths over the last month.
Tip: Storm by 8
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I'll go with the Dragons on this one. The Warriors were very disappointing against the Titans and it almost feels like the wheels have fallen off. After a great win against the Broncos they haven't been able to continue on from that. The Dragons would be disappointed they didn't match it with a red-hot Roosters, but now they understand the kind of football they need to be playing if they're going to have any real chance at the premiership. I expect them to bounce back in a big way.
Tip: Dragons by 12
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: This is a tough one to pick. The Titans will have some confidence after a good win and an extra spring in their step this week. They've certainly got some players that can do some damage. The Eels were good for a large part of that game against the Rabbitohs and even though they lost their way a bit over the final 20 minutes or so, I'm going with them to win this one on the home ground factor. They have some individuals who should be able to get them home.
Tip: Eels by 4
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: It has to be the Roosters in this one. They're at home and they're the form team of the competition alongside the Storm. I can really see their push towards the finals picking up momentum and they're a team full of confidence at the moment and they're defending really well. It was a good bounce back by the Cowboys last week but it's been a nightmare of a season and I don't see them being in the same class as the Roosters.
Tip: Roosters by 12
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I can't go past the Sharks. They've still got a lot of class in that team and have plenty to play for with a top four spot still within reach. They've got so much experience and I rate them as a good chance of making some noise in the finals. The Sea Eagles have been mostly disappointing over the last few weeks and lost a game they really shouldn't have against Penrith.
Tip: Sharks by 14
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I like the Panthers to win this. They showed a bit of ticker last week in a game that looked gone and have more incentive that the Raiders. If the Panthers are going to be a chance in the finals they need to start their push now. They've been disappointing over the last couple of months after showing so much potential and promise earlier on. They should get some players back from injury and that'll be a big boost at this end of the season.
Tip: Panthers by 12