South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights – Friday night – ANZ Stadium
Cook, Walker, Gagai and Murray have been named to back up from Wednesday for the Bunnies. Same same for Ponga and Klemmer for the Knights. Keep your eyes peeled for line-up changes but all six appeared to get through Origin game one without injury. Sam Burgess has been scheduled for surgery, but he's playing anyway. He's likely to be out for two weeks after he plays on Friday night. There'll be plenty of interest around the return of James Roberts, who was still a teenager when he last played for the Rabbitohs eight years ago. If his body allows it there's every chance he'll deliver a breakout performance. A top four contest and it's the game of the round – I'm with the Bunnies to bounce back from the loss last week.
Verdict – Rabbitohs by 4
Result – Knights 20 defeated Rabbitohs 12
Wests Tigers vs Canberra Raiders – Friday night – BankWest Stadium
Moses Mbye should be ready to rumble after his brief involvement on Wednesday night. For the Raiders, Papalii, Wighton and Cotric have been named. Cotric could be in some doubt and Papalii could be feeling his feelings a little more than usual after a powerful and bruising performance for Queensland. The Raiders do welcome back a couple of key returns on Friday night in John Bateman and Jordan Rapana. They're a much better side as a result but the Raiders recent form has been a little bit down. They've lost four of their last six and their two wins were over the 14th placed Panthers and 16th placed Bulldogs. I'm leaning ever so slightly to the Tigers, who have the all-important home-ground advantage and fresh legs following the bye last weekend.
Verdict – Tigers by 2
Result – Raiders 28 defeated Tigers 0
New Zealand Warriors vs Melbourne Storm – Saturday afternoon – Mt Smart Stadium
I'll keep this nice and brief – the Warriors have beaten four teams this season, and those four teams are the bottom four teams on the NRL ladder. The Storm are on the top of the ladder.
Verdict – Storm by 4
Result – Storm 32 defeated Warriors 10
Cronulla Sharks vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – PointsBet Stadium
When these sides met in round four the Eels won 24-12 but just about everything went wrong for the Sharks. Gallen and Moylan didn't play, Shaun Johnson was injured in the warm-up, Josh Dugan went off after a head knock in the 7th minute and Aaron Woods broke his foot in the second half. Despite all that the Sharks made it a contest. This time around the Sharks are playing at home, Gallen and Moylan are fit to play, and the Sharks have enough players available to rest Josh Morris after Origin (Dugan in the centres, Gray on the wing). The Eels did well against an under-strength Rabbitohs last weekend but their only win away from home (i.e. ANZ or BankWest) was over the Panthers.
Verdict – Sharks by 4
Result –Sharks 42 defeated Eels 22
North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly Sea Eagles – Saturday night – 1300SMILES Stadium
The Cowboys season looked all but over until Taumalolo returned from injury. Since then they've found some mojo and are in equal seventh (on points at least). They'll be hoping Michael Morgan is fit to play as he's pencilled in to replace Jordan Kahu at fullback. Meanwhile the Sea Eagles welcome back their number one in Turbo Tom. Note that Turbo Jack and Turbo Cherry-Evans have been named on an extended bench so they may or may not play. There must be some doubt about Cherry-Evans given his lack of match fitness. The return of the Turbo has me a little worried, as I'm sure he'd like to let Brad Fittler know he's keen to be named for the next Origin contest, but Manly have lost their last two games in Sydney to teams (Titans and Panthers) they should probably be beating. The Cowboys backline looks like a patchwork quilt, and if Morgan doesn't play I'm probably wrong, but the Cowboys at home.
Verdict – Cowboys by 2
Result – Sea Eagles 22 defeated Cowboys 20
Brisbane Broncos vs Gold Coast Titans – Sunday afternoon – Suncorp Stadium
It was for a time the great Queensland Derby, but it faded in significance with the rise of the North Queensland Cowboys. The Broncos, like the Cowboys, have won three in a row and on recent form you would expect them to win again. The Broncos do have four forwards backing up from Wednesday night which adds a little uncertainty, but the Broncos aren't exactly short of quality forwards, and the ones that didn't play on Wednesday should be nice and fresh after the bye.
Verdict – Broncos by 8
Result – Titans 26 defeated Broncos 18
Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters – Sunday afternoon – Panthers Stadium
The Panthers have won their last two while the Roosters have lost their last two, astonishing really given where these teams are on the ladder. For the Panthers, Cleary has been named on an extended bench, while the Roosters have all four of their Origin players (Tedesco, Mitchell, Cordnor and Crichton) in their starting thirteen. The return of Cooper Cronk is of great importance to the tricolours, and the Chooks have resisted the temptation to start Mitchell in the halves, with Hutchison coming in for the injured Keary. Mitchell is a real query here – not sure if he's carrying an injury or an off-field distraction has become a....distraction. Despite recent results I'm tipping the Roosters, based on my thesis that they are a very good football team, and my other thesis that the Panthers aren't.
Verdict – Roosters by 8
Result – Panthers 19 defeated Roosters 10
Canterbury Bulldogs vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Monday afternoon – ANZ Stadium
Before the Dragons started their usual annual slide down the NRL ladder they were playing some pretty good football. In round five they were playing some very good football, when they beat the Bulldogs by 40-4. Now I don't expect anything like that here, but any semblance of that form should be enough to give them a chance here. The return of Corey Norman and Matt Dufty can't hurt either, and I'm hoping that Frizell and Vaughan are backing up for the Red V.
Verdict – Dragons by 4
Result – Dragons 36 defeated Bulldogs 12
Wally Lewis - round thirteen selections (in bold)
Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
- RABBITOHS vs Knights
- Tigers vs RAIDERS
- Warriors vs STORM
- SHARKS vs Eels
- COWBOYS vs Sea Eagles
- BRONCOS vs Titans
- Panthers vs ROOSTERS
- Bulldogs vs DRAGONS