NRL Predictions – Round 8

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Round 7 of the 2014 NRL season saw some big crowds, some controversial refereeing decisions and some exciting finishes. Rugby league writer Daniel Boss analyses the games for Round 8 in this week’s article.

Well, my tipping is back to true form last round, as I only got 3 tips right. In all the tipping comps that I’m entered in, I’m back down at the bottom of the ladder. Hey, I’d rather be there than in the middle of the pack, as I’m the running to get my money back. Yeah!

Two of the five tips that were unsuccessful were the lock and upset of the week. Pretty poor effort but I really don’t care about it to be honest. Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t my day job and the Tigers are currently in second, following an epic win over the Eels without Tedesco, Farah and Fulton. For those looking to win tipping comps, you might want to tip the opposite of who I have selected this week.

2014 tipping results

  • Lock of the week: 2/7
  • Upset of the week: 2/7
  • Season record: 21/56 (YIKES!)

St George Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters

Tip: Roosters. The Dragons were solid but not great in last week’s win over the Warriors and even less can be said about the Roosters, who escaped Cronulla with two points. I just think that this big occasion will bring the best out in the Roosters. I’m not expecting a big margin, as the Dragons will put up a good fight but at times in attack, the Dragons just looked a little out of sorts. They need to be completely on song if they are to win. Each side has only named one change, with the Dragons welcoming back Joel Thompson to the starting back row, which forces Ah Mau to the five-man bench. The change for the Roosters is the return of Daniel Tupou to one wing, which forces Kenny-Dowall to the centres and Aubusson to the extended bench.

Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors

Tip: Storm. In recent years, the Warriors have beaten Melbourne in some games, most notably in the 2011 Preliminary Finals, but I can’t see this happening on ANZAC Day. While Melbourne certainly are not playing as well as they have done over the past decade, they still have the class to overcome the Warriors. I do think that the Warriors will be much improved in this game, as they usually do play well against the Storm. The Storm have a couple of changes, as Ben Hampton replaces Roberts at five eight and Mitch Garbutt and Tim Glasby have been added to the extended bench. For the Warriors, Chad Townsend replaces the injured Leuluai at five eight, Jayson Bukuya is named to start in the second row in place of Peyroux and Feleti Mateo is named on the bench, replacing Gubb.

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Tip: Broncos (Upset of the week). This tip is off a gut feel, nothing else. I did like what I saw out of the Broncos last week, even though it was against a poor Newcastle side. In particular, I thought that Ben Barba played quite well. As for the Rabbits, they were unlucky to lose last week but I still think that their attack isn’t quite there yet. John Sutton and Greg Inglis were the only main threats and the Dogs handled them well for the most part. Plus, the game is in Brisbane which is an advantage for the Broncos. Brisbane are unchanged from 1 to 17, with Todd Lowrie named as the 18th man. Souths have two big inclusions in George Burgess and Ben Te’o. Burgess is named to start at prop, which forces brother Luke back to the bench and Te’o is named in the starting second row for McQueen who is named on the bench. Joel Reddy has also been added to Souths’ 7-man bench.

Cronulla Sharks v Penrith Panthers

Tip: Sharks. This game is a toss-up and I only went Cronulla as they are playing at home. Still, they are much better with Paul Gallen back in the side. I think that they are due for a win and will start to climb up the ladder in coming weeks. As for Penrith, it was a typical Penrith win last week, as they tackled their way to victory. They are really lacking something in attack and it is really limiting the potential of this team. The only change for Cronulla is on the extended bench with Isaac De Gois and Beau Ryan added and Lichaa omitted. For the Panthers, they are unchanged from 1 to 17 with Tim Robinson named as the 18th man to provide cover for Docker, who is fighting a dangerous throw charge at the judiciary.

North Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels

Tip: Cowboys. I think the Cowboys will win this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. The reason is that they have been quite average so far this season and currently sit in the bottom 4. However, I did see enough out of them last week to suggest that they are starting to find some good form, especially in attack. As for the Eels, they blew last week’s game against the Tigers, controversial obstruction decision aside. Goal kicking was again an issue and two of the Tigers’ tries came from intercepts. The Eels will need to cut down on those mistakes if they are to win this weekend. The Cowboys have a number of changes, with Kane Linnett replacing Feldt in the centres, Thompson moving from the bench to start at halfback for the dropped Lui and the trio of Anthony Mitchell, Joel Riethmuller and Ethan Lowe are all added to the extended bench. There is only one change for the Eels, which is the move of Pauli to the starting second row for the injured Edwards and Peni Terepo is added to the bench.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights

Tip: Bulldogs (Lock of the week). I am very confident in a Bulldog victory this weekend, which means that the Knights will probably win given my form this season. The Dogs are on top of the table on the back of their defence and their ability to squeak out a win, as they have done that over the past three games. As for the Knights, they have been disappointing this season. They performance at home last week was very disappointing. I expect them to bounce back but I don’t think it will be enough to win. The only changes for the Dogs are on the bench, with Moses Mbye and Pat O’Hanlon added to the 6-man bench, while the Knights welcome back Kade Snowden to the starting front row, which forces Cuthbertson to the bench position vacated by the suspended Mason.

Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders

Tip: Manly. The Raiders were very gutsy last weekend and got the reward for that. I think that they will have an effort like that every few weeks or so, but I’m just not seeing enough consistency out of them, especially to win at Brookvale. The Sea Eagles got a bit of luck last week but were still good enough to win without their star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. This week, they will be without Kieran Foran but they should still be too good to win. It helps that the Eagles have won 8 of the last 9 games between these two clubs. As mentioned, Cherry-Evans replaces the injured Foran at halfback for the Sea Eages and Jason King has been added to the bench. However, King and Watmough are both struggling with injuries and may not be fit to play. The only change for the Raiders is the naming of Jake Foster as the 18th man.

Wests Tigers v Gold Coast Titans

Tip: Tigers. Maybe it’s the Tiglosterone flowing through my veins or the fact that the game is at Leichhardt, but I think the Tigers will win this game. While last week’s win over Parra was a great win, it was also lucky as well. The Tigers are lacking in attack without Tedesco and Farah. It helps that the Titans are also struggling in attack as well, as they are lacking some punch. Their defence is quite good but I’m not sure if it will be enough to win this game. For the Tigers, Liam Fulton returns to start in the second row and Akauola moves to the bench, while Gavet is out with a hamstring injury. The only change for the Titans is on the bench, with Mark Ioane replacing the suspended White.

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