Cronulla Sharks (4th) vs Penrith Panthers (5th) – Friday night – Allianz Stadium
You can't spell Maloney without M-o-y-l-a-n, and last year Maloney was playing for the Sharks while Moylan was playing for the Panthers. They swapped...and now they face each other in their new teams. The Panthers were dominant winners but once again had to claw back an early deficit to do so. All season they've been jumping out of the barriers like Chatauqua and they need to resolve it. No team wins a premiership starting games like that. The Sharks created their fare share of opportunities last week but couldn't capitalise. The Sharks would say they were unlucky, but is that really unlucky? I say the very good teams make the most of their opportunities. No team wins a premiership missing opportunities like that. That said, the Roosters are a difficult defence to break, and the Sharks did it better than most (even if they didn't score many points). They should find the Panthers easier to get through than the tricolours. The Sharks recent record over the Panthers is hard to ignore, and they have already beaten them twice this season.
Verdict – Sharks by 4
Result – Sharks 21 defeated Panthers 20
South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) vs St George Illawarra Dragons (7th) – Saturday night – ANZ Stadium
For the second week in a row the Dragons will be in a finals contest few expect them to win. It didn't stop them against the Broncos but it might stop them now. The Bunnies have had two extra days to prepare for the game and it looks to me like they can start with their very best thirteen (some doubt about Reynolds and Inglis but it's hard to imagine they won't play). The Dragons have lost Widdop while De Belin and Graham have to prove they can play. Again...you would expect that they will. With the extra rest and those big Bunnies fit and raring to go, I expect them to rumble up the middle all night, and let that beautiful left edge attack of the Rabbitohs weave it's magic.
Verdict – Rabbitohs by 10
Result – Rabbitohs 13 defeated Dragons 12
Wally Lewis - finals week two selections (in bold)
Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
- SHARKS vs Panthers
- RABBITOHS vs Dragons