NRL Predictions – Round 6

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NRL tipping is not easy this year, just ask rugby league writer Daniel Boss. He only successfully tipped 2 of 8 games last round. Will he finally turn around his poor form or will he continue to flounder? Read who he thinks (guesses) will win in Round 6 in this week’s edition of NRL Predictions.

All I can say after the first 5 rounds of the NRL season is that I am glad that NRL tipping is not my day job. Otherwise, I would have been given the sack by now. This has been such an unpredictable start to the season, much more unpredictable than any other season that I can remember.

In addition to being highly unpredictable, it is quite even. After Round 5, there are no winless teams and no unbeaten teams and two points splits the 2nd placed Bulldogs to the 14th placed Warriors.

Again, my lock and upset of the week were both unsuccessful. As a result, I am unable to match last year’s success for the lock of the week. I can’t add any more to that, it’s just woeful.

2014 tipping results

  • Lock of the week: 1/5
  • Upset of the week: 1/5
  • Season record: If I didn’t want to put it up last week, why would I do it this week?

Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Tip: Souths. The Rabbits were much better last week and went back to basics in their big win over the Dragons (dubious refereeing aside). Penrith were again strong defensively in their win over Canberra in horrible conditions, which was their third win at home from three games in 2014. I see this streak coming to an end as the win for Souths last week would have given them confidence and I still think that Penrith’s attack is a work in progress. In addition to this, the Rabbits have won the last three encounters between these sides. Both sides are unchanged from 1 to 17, with Penrith adding Isaah Yeo as the 18th man and Souths adding Alex Johnston, Ben Lowe and Joe Picker to their extended bench.

Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos

Tip: Broncos. There are three interesting stats leading into this game. The first is that the Broncos have won 8 of the last 9 games against the Titans, the second is that the Broncos have conceded 25 points per game in the last three weeks and the third is that the Titans are the only side on 8 points and are on top of the ladder. I do think that the Titans are a good, solid team but lack a little bit of spark which will cost them later in the season. I just think that Brisbane will have a little bit more class but only if they improve defensively. The only change for the Titans is the return of Aidan Sezer, who moves into five eight. This means that Blair moves from five eight to centre, at the expense of Tighe. For the Broncos, Hodges has again been named to start in the centres and Copley is again named on one wing. Maranta has been left out of the squad, while Corey Oates and Jarrod Wallace have been added to the five man bench.

Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights

Tip: Raiders. This game could go either way, but if the Knights play like they did on Monday night then Canberra will win comfortably. It all starts with defence for the Knights, as in their 4 losses they conceded 26 points or more and in their one win, they kept the Sharks scoreless. As for the Raiders, they have lost their last 5 home games. However, I expect this game to be like their Round 2 match earlier this season, with Anthony Milford the difference. I think that the Raiders will have too much in attack and last week was an anomaly as it was played in torrential rain. Canberra has a few changes, with Bill Tupou replacing Sauiluma on one wing, Josh Papalii and Jarrad Kennedy replacing the omitted Foster and Edwards in the starting second row and Shannon Boyd replacing O’Donnell on the bench. Conversely, the Knights have the same 17 as last round.

Parramatta Eels v Sydney Roosters

Tip: Roosters. I’m giving the Roosters one more chance. I am very tempted to tip the Eels, as they have played very well in the past 3 games. However, the Roosters do have the Eels’ number as they have won 6 of the last 7 clashes between the two sides. An interesting stat is that in their two wins, the Roosters have scored 86 points and in their three losses they have scored only 16. The Roosters will need to score points if they are to beat the Eels, who are a vastly improved attacking team this year, especially with the addition of Will Hopoate and the rise of Semi Radradra. This game will be a lot closer than the Round 2 meeting of these sides. Fuifui Moimoi returns for the Eels to start at prop, which forces Terepo to the bench in place of Junior Paulo. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns from suspension to start at prop for the Roosters, which forces Nuuausala back to lock and Guerra to an extended bench, which also contains the addition of Kane Evans.

Wests Tigers v North Queensland Cowboys

Tip: Tigers. In this rematch of the 2005 Grand Final (yes, I had to mention that), I’m leaning towards the home team. The Tigers seem to have the Cowboys’ measure, as they have won 6 of the last 8 clashes between the two sides and they have not lost to the Cowboys in Sydney since 2004. For the Tigers, their attitude in defence will dictate how successful they are, as they have conceded more than 40 points in their two losses and less than 20 points in their three wins. I’m not too confident however, as the Tigers aren’t as strong without James Tedesco and the Cowboys found some attacking form against the Knights. This game should be close and go right down to the final minutes. Debutant Kurtis Rowe starts at fullback for the Tigers, in place of Tedesco, Blake Austin replaces the suspended Anasta at five eight and Keith Lulia has been named the 18th man. The Cowboys have named the same side that defeated the Knights last round.

New Zealand Warriors v Canterbury Bulldogs

Tip: Bulldogs. This time last week, Matt Elliott was coaching the Warriors and they were coming off back-to-back wins. This week, following a heavy defeat at Cronulla, Andrew McFadden is now coaching the New Zealand side. There always seems to be a positive impact following a coaching change but I don’t think that this will be enough to beat a Bulldogs side that is disciplined and strong defensively. In fact, the Dogs have conceded less than 20 points in all games in 2014. The Warriors have some changes, with Ngani Laumape relacing Fisiiahi on one wing, Leuluai replacing the omitted Townsend at five eight and Ikahihifo replacing Mateo at lock. Added to the extended bench are Dominique Peyroux, Charlie Gubb, Siliva Havili and David Bhana. For the Dogs, Mitch Brown replaces Stanley on one wing, while Moses Mbye and Frank Pritchard are added to the extended bench.

Manly Sea Eagles v Cronulla Sharks

Tip: Manly (Lock of the week). Manly have the wood on the Sharks, as they have won 8 of the last 9 clashes between these two sides. In addition to this, the Sea Eagles will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing performance last week against the Tigers. I expect them to bounce back strongly. Last week showed how much the Sharks missed Jeff Robson’s direction, as they scored more points last round than they had in the previous 4 games combined. However, that was against the very disappointing Warriors and Cronulla will face a much tougher task this weekend. Glenn Stewart is named to return for the Sea Eagles at lock, with Buhrer forced back to the bench. Also on the Manly bench, James Hasson is added while Symonds has been omitted. The Sharks have named the same 17 that beat the Warriors, with Heighington named to start at lock again this week, despite starting from the bench last round.

Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra Dragons

Tip: Storm. I think it’s safe to say that Melbourne has been disappointing to start the season, despite winning three games so far. They just haven’t been overly impressive but I think that they will be too good for a Dragons side that is coming back to the pack. While most people associate the Dragons’ hoodoo being their ability (or the lack-there-of) to defeat Canberra, they have another hoodoo against the Storm. This hoodoo is that they have yet to beat Melbourne, in Melbourne, since 1999. That was 15 years ago! The only change for the Storm is on the bench, with Tim Glasby replacing the suspended Weston. For the Dragons, Michael Witt is named to start at halfback for Quinlan, who is on the extended bench. Also, Stockwell moves to the starting front row for the suspended de Belin, while Bronson Harrison and Josh Ailaomai are added to the 6-man bench.

Upset of the week

Yes, I’ve tipped all the favourites this week. I just have a feeling that the season will start to become somewhat more ‘normal’ this weekend. With that said, if there is one team that is likely to pull off an upset this weekend, it is the Gold Coast Titans. They are on top of the table for a reason and are difficult to score points against. At the moment, they have a better defence than the Broncos and if this continues, then they will win. Another upset that may occur is the Parramatta Eels winning. The Roosters just seem out of sorts at th

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