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NRL Tipping: Round 12 and Origin - what the experts are saying

How will South Sydney fare without their Origin stars? Can the Raiders overcome a horror injury list and the loss of three representative players and return to the winners' list?

There may be only four NRL matches this weekend, but the combination of injuries and Origin absences will lead to plenty of head-scratching for tipsters.

Before you enter your tips for round 12 and the opening match of the 2019 Holden State of Origin series, read Brett Kimmorley's previews and see who the NRL.com experts are backing.

Round 12 and State of Origin I

Panthers v Sea Eagles, Thursday, 7.50pm, Panthers Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: It was an ugly win for Penrith last week but still a win. It becomes James Maloney's team this week – there is no Nathan Cleary who stood up last week. Maloney needs to be creative on both sides of the park. Des would have been disappointed with the loss last week for Manly. They also lose a couple of stars. I expect this to be back-to-back victories for Penrith. Panthers by 4

Eels v Rabbitohs, Friday, 7.55pm, Bankwest Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: Parramatta have really fallen off. They are faltering when the game is on the line, coming up with mistakes, overplaying their hand and giving penalties away. They are beating themselves at the moment. For South Sydney, Wayne Bennett is a coach that will know how to deal with the rep period. They have a couple of really good kids in the Canterbury Cup who I am looking forward to seeing in the NRL. Rabbitohs by 2

Bulldogs v Raiders, Saturday, 7.35pm, ANZ Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: The Raiders were very good against Souths and the Roosters (despite losing) then just had a day off against the Cowboys which showed that you can't be good forever. I still think they'll have enough football in them to score 16-20 points and if you can do that against Canterbury that is probably going to be enough to beat them. Canterbury are re-building and will also lose their enforcer this week with Napa out. Raiders by 6

Titans v Cowboys, Sunday, 4.05pm, Cbus Super Stadium

Brett Kimmorley says: The Titans lose their best player in Jai Arrow while the Cowboys still have their best in Jason Taumalolo. We saw Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts create some attack last week – they found a spark. Whether that’s enough to turn their season around, I’ll be hesitant to say yes unless I see it consistently. The Cowboys still enough to win the forward battle – and the game. Cowboys by 2

Queensland v NSW, Wednesday, June 5, (8.10pm), Suncorp Stadium 

Brett Kimmorley says: NSW will win. Both sides have picked younger kids with an eye on the future. Cody Walker is someone I’m excited to see – I think he will be great in the game. I can’t wait to see the two fullbacks go head-to-head and just do some things that will have us thinking how lucky we are to be watching them. NSW by 4