Round 12 appears fairly straightforward, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were few upsets on the cards.
These are my tips and predictions. More than just the winning team, I’ll choose whether margin will be small (12 or less) or large (13 or more) for each match just to make it a little more challenging and interesting.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Rabbitohs by 12 or less)
As it was tempting to tip the Dragons this week, but I expect Latrell Mitchell, Dane Gagai and Cody Walker to fire up for the Rabbitohs this Indigenous Round. The Red V have Adam Clune and Trent Merrin out, which means Ben Hunt will go back to No. 7 and Cameron McInnes to No. 9 – not an ideal record when this combination is involved.
For the Rabbitohs, Latrell is back and will be looking to play out of his skin for his family’s heritage. Besides, South Sydney are most certainly due for a win.
Wests Tigers vs New Zealand Warriors
Tigers by 13 or more
The Tigers will need to win this match if they believe they are genuine contenders for a top-eight spot at the business end of the season. Meanwhile, the Warriors will lose some players, including wingers, Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a, which will cost them some strike on those two edges.
In saying all that, Tigers should get the job done in a comfortable fashion.
Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Sharks by 13 or more
Being a Sharks fan, I am well aware of the horrible record the boys have against the Broncos, especially at Suncorp Stadium. However, I’m strongly convinced the Sharkies will come away with the win here, but don’t be surprised if this turns out to be an arm wrestle for the majority of the match.
Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans
Roosters by 13 or more
While the Chooks didn’t win by the margin everyone was expecting them to, it should be set in cement that the Tricolours will absolutely run rings around the Titans in this encounter. Though the Titans showed a lot of heart and showed positive signs against the Panthers last week, they just seemed to lack some of that X factor needed if they are going to come away with the win.
If they can’t defeat the Panthers with four of their strike players out, I can’t see them getting anywhere near the Roosters.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders
Raiders by 12 or less
The nightmare run of injuries continues for the Raiders, but they welcome back English strike player John Bateman, who is a huge gain for the Green Machine. For some reason I tipped the Cowboys last week even with their coach being sacked, and it did not pay dividends whatsoever, so I just cannot tip them again until they start winning games.
They will put up a fight, but the Raiders will have too much class for the struggling Cowboys outfit.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs Penrith Panthers
Sea Eagles by 12 or less
This will be my only upset tip of the round. While the Panthers welcome back Viliame Kikau, the high-flying Panthers are way overdue for their second loss of the season. Manly would want to also back up their last performance against the Cowboys with a win and show some consistency, which they have been lacking all year.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels
Eels by 12 or less
I’ve tipped the Eels in this one but with not much confidence. The Bulldogs unexpectedly provided us with a huge upset against the Knights in Newcastle and showed good signs for a turnaround in their horrid season. The Eels should win this one, but I will not be surprised if there is an upset on the cards as I have still not got over the theory that Parramatta play well only at Bankwest Stadium, as crazy as it sounds.
Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights
Storm by 13 or more
The Storm will prove they are still genuine contenders for the premiership title once again. They look absolutely unbeatable at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Knights lose an additional two hookers, while their run of inconsistency continues for 2020. Melbourne should come away with this one in style.