Round one selections

Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Thursday night – Bankwest Stadium

Parramatta begin season 2020 with lofty expectations, but this is a team with a history (since 1986 at least) of struggling under the weight of such expectations. Last in 2018 and fifth in 2019, they appear to be heading in the right direction. Were they to miss the top eight this season it would be an epic fail, but failure is one thing this club knows well. They kick off the season at Bankwest, a venue that has become quite a fortress for them (although they did lose to the Bulldogs at this ground late last season). Campbell-Gillard debuts with his new club, and I'm hopeful that the change of scenery will see him return to the sort of form that saw him, albeit fleetingly, as one of the best props in the game. This is a good test first up, as the Bulldogs always turn up with a pack of forwards that will make you earn your keep. I genuinely believe the Bulldogs are a top eight team this season, and I'm expecting a tighter contest than most, but that home ground advantage and the enthusiasm that the first game of the season brings, sees me tipping the Eels.

Verdict – Eels by 2

Result – Eels 8 defeated Bulldogs 2

Canberra Raiders vs Gold Coast Titans – Friday night – GIO Stadium

The Raiders, grand finalists last year and oh so close, take on the 2019 wooden spooners. The Titans won just four games last year, and they've lost one of their most important players in Ryan James in what appears to be a season-ending injury. He's a huge loss, and Friday night could be another huge loss.

Verdict – Raiders by 16

Result – Raiders 24 defeated Titans 6

North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos – Friday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium

The game has come a long way since 1995, and even moreso the Cowboys. In their inaugural season, the first grade team were called in to lay the turf on the ground in the days leading up to the first game. Kerry Boustead, the inaugural CEO, ducked off to the shops before the gates opened to get toilet paper for the portaloos. In 2020, we're all running out of toilet paper, but the Cowboys have a bloody nice stadium in the right part of town. It's a huge boost for the club, the city and the game. Fingers crossed they stocked up on toilet paper before now. You couldn't have them playing any other team for their first game at the new venue, with these two clubs giving us some of the best club rugby league we have seen in recent years. Both sides are coming off disappointing seasons, and both have rosters that are good enough to be playing finals footy in 2020. The Broncos have lost Matt Lodge and will probably lose Alex Glenn, and while they have an extraordinarily brilliant pack of forwards they will be without two of their most senior and sensible figures. It's highly likely that Patrick Carrigan, barely 22 years of age, gets the (c) beside his name on Friday night. He's a tremendous young man, but it's a big ask to expect him to keep all those other big units in check. Plenty of eyes will be on Valentine Holmes, the big ticket signing for the Cowboys. He'll go well...and the Cowboys will christen the new home ground with a win.

Verdict – Cowboys by 4

Result – Broncos 28 defeated Cowboys 21

Newcastle Knights vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday afternoon – McDonald Jones Stadium

It's not easy to make outlandish claims in the first week of a season - this game can make the best of judges look quite the fool. That said, I'm foolish enough to suggest that the Knights are good things on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors are notoriously slow starters, they're away from home, they're short on big forwards, and their best player (Tuivasa-Sheck) is in doubt. Their coach could be updating his linkedin profile early this year. Speaking of coaches, the Knights have handed the clipboard to Adam O'Brien. He's got a good pedigree, spending time in assistant roles with the Storm and the Roosters. The Knights trial form, for what that's worth, has impressed, and there's a feeling around town that O'Brien has this team doing all the right things. With the Warriors down on forwards, the Knights pack can dominate here, and Jayden Brailey has the speed and the hands to give Pearce and Ponga the room they need to deliver.

Verdict – Knights by 10

Result – Knights 20 defeated Warriors 0

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday afternoon – ANZ Stadium

Most eyes will be on Latrell Mitchell in the red and green. The club, and the coach, look a good fit for him. Plenty are questioning him in the fullback role, including me, but having players of the calibre of Cook, Murray and Walker steering you into gaps should make it easier. He will need to stay engaged in defence, but that's up to him really. I expect he will be relieved of kicking duties, at least while new club captain Adam Reynolds is on the paddock. Potentially, this is the best spine in the NRL, so let's see if they deliver. My eyes will also be on a couple of young guns for the Sharks. Cronulla have let Jayden Brailey go and stuck with younger brother Blayke (clearly their parents love the letter 'y') - big wraps. Billy Magoulias looks set to become a regular first grader this season after impressing the Bluebags at Newtown. Promising youngsters both of them, but with doubts over a whole bunch of the Sharks key players (Dugan, Moylan, Xerri, Johnson) I'll tip the Bunnies.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 4

Result – Rabbitohs 22 defeated Sharks 18

Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters – Saturday night – Panthers Stadium

Back-to-back premierships is quite the feat, and the Chooks are the current favourite to win the title again this season. Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell have departed, but they still have a roster that is the envy of just about all others. There are no big-name recruits this season, but they don't need any. Penrith, on the other hand, are spending and losing more money than every other club and have little to show for it. Even Phil Gould has given up, jumping ship to the Dragons this season. They're a frustrating side, and they're not even my side. The Roosters are on the back-up from the World Club Challenge, but they were on light duties during the Nines tournament and I expect they'll be fine. Too much class.

Verdict – Roosters by 8

Result – Panthers 20 defeated Roosters 14

Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm – Sunday afternoon – Lottoland

I've got a peaceful easy feeling that the Eagles can win the premiership this year (did you see what I did there kids? Come on....that's not bad). This is a good early test of their capacities against one of the great Australian sporting clubs of the modern era. Manly are missing a decent chunk of their engine room (and some real spelling challenges for The Thinker) in round one with Jake Trbojevic, Addin Fonua-Blake, Jack Gosiewski and Taniela Paseka all unavailable with injury. The Storm pack will be without Brandon 'waiting for a mate' Smith and Christian Welch but otherwise look strong - my mail is Asofa-Solomona will play despite a hamstring issue and a colourful off-season. While I expect the Sea Eagles will make a game of it (and this is the game of the round), the Storm almost never lose the first game of the season. I can't find enough reasons to tip against them.

Verdict – Storm by 2

Result – Storm 18 defeated Sea Eagles 4

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers – Sunday afternoon – WIN Stadium

Now that The Mole is basically a celebrity, I've stepped up into the role of Australia's most famous anonymous rugby league tipster. With the role comes great responsibility - at times I have to make judgement calls I don't particularly wish to make. Here's one such call:

I don't like the Tigers all.

Now the Tigers aren't my team, but I do have a soft spot for them, and I want them doing well. I hope they prove me wrong, but I fear I'm right. The Dragons, even without McInnes, Korbin Sims and Dufty, will beat this lot on Sunday afternoon. Ouch!

Verdict – Dragons by 4

Result – Tigers 24 defeated Dragons 14

Wally Lewis - round one selections (in bold)

Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or Thursday morning

  • EELS vs Bulldogs
  • RAIDERS vs Titans
  • COWBOYS vs Broncos
  • KNIGHTS vs Warriors
  • RABBITOHS vs Sharks
  • Panthers vs ROOSTERS
  • Sea Eagles vs STORM
  • DRAGONS vs Tigers


Rocket Ryan's picture

Mark get back on the Broncos, we will get over the cowboys first up,you have tipped that early I wonder are you on the grog over there today or just keen to start..

Bronco Legend's picture

There is never a stupid question I am told but how do we actually put our tips in?

ScottySeahawk's picture

Thinker puts the round up for the week & it will have the games for the week in the thread where you can pick & choose before submitting. Just gotta be signed in to put tips in. It's easy as mate.

Mary S's picture

Hi Bronco Legend,
Above the comments already posted, you will see the following-
(show / hide the tipping entry form)
As ScottySeahawk has mentioned, click on the form which takes you to the games for that week.
Make your choices then 'Submit'

Thinker set out the procedure on p4 of the section on the 2020 tipping comp, also indicating you can change your choices, (using the same entry back to your form) until kick off on Thursdays matches.
Hope it helps!!


Rocket Ryan's picture

Be careful what you get tiger he's got three grades carwash airport and hotel hotel is the best I think at this stage

a's picture

Will you open my 3 strike comp Thinker

Buzz105's picture

Morning A,
Your three strike competition was fantastic last year, love to be part of that again this year.

lillychino's picture

Hi a
I would like to be included in the a competition this year!

Hardyards's picture

Big call Rocket, new season, new stadium, duel 9 champs and new fullback, Cowboys are looking great to be first round winners. In fact, it’s going to be a way better year for us. I’ve spent big coin to be there and cheering my butt off. :)

tigerholic's picture

Afternoon All
Welcome to all of the returning tipsters from last year and a big welcome to all of the new members we have.

I know its only Monday but I'll be interested to see who is last to submit their tips, Im betting that Rocket comes in just in front of the Butcher.

I know some will see this as a strategy but I see it as sort of riding on the coat tails of some great tipsters of the past in Footy Chick, Big Pete, Mary S and of course Tigerholic.

Bring on the footy.

Michelle 's picture

Just wondering if Lynne Danvers has joined your contest and if not do you still have a slot free? 😊

The Thinker's picture

Greetings Bronco Legend,

If you are completely stuck you can put your tips in the comments section and I will update them for you, but the tips from the others should help out.

Just make sure you are logged in and have a look for the link called 'show/hide the tipping comp form'. It's just below all the images of other tipsters who have put their tips in already.

Esra Star's picture

Bronco,you have to sign in and then click on this weeks tips. Then scroll down to the "hide/show tipping " and click on that.

christine's picture

I am taking all the favourites for rd 1 the reason i am taking dragons is izzac luke ...

siva's picture

my tipping for nrl round one
sea eagles
west tigers
siva 10.03.20

Christine's picture

I am taking all t&e favourites except for saints i am changing to tigers & if izzac carves them up do be it ...

Christine's picture

That said so be it i hate this mobile of mine ...

a's picture

So you are going to create a page for my 3 strike comp Thinker

ScottySeahawk's picture

Isaac Luke hasn't been on form since he was with Rabbitohs. Needs to retire, his legs have had it & he can barely even play half a game nowadays.

DarK-HorsE's picture

Hello The Thinker, its good to be back
In ur preview u mentioned Jake Trbojevic and Addin Fonua-Blake is out but they both got named for the Round 1
R u still staying with Storm lol
I’m 50-50 still can’t make my mind lol

Anyway mate I would like to join in for the tipping comp,
Thanks in advance

tigerholic's picture

Thanks Thinkers Little Helper, we are all glad to be back, Thanks for doing what you do behind the scenes. Do you have a favourite footy team.


tigerholic's picture

Thinker, Thinker, Thinker

I see you almost had the perfect tips for round 1 until I saw your prediction for the Tigers and Dragons. Mate, the Tigers will come out breathing more fire than the Dragons in their opening match.

If you want to start strong this year, have a think of changing your tip.


Christine's picture

I was under the impression izzac luke carved em up in the 9's according to my father an avid saints supporter & huge fan of izzac luke but each to there owm i changed my tip to tigers bur not for that reason ...

Christine's picture

But not for that reason , yes welcome back tinker's little helper bsck for more scotch are we ???

The Thinker's picture

Greetings DarK HorsE....yes you are back in the tipping comp this season. It's great to have you back.

And thanks for the update on the Sea Eagles...can be tricky writing these previews before the teams are finalised. I have to stick with my pick, but yes, if those two are playing we are in for a real contest there.

All the best

The Thinker

DarK-HorsE's picture

Thanks The Thinker

a's picture

Don’t forget to enter

christine's picture

I rate izzac luke as a payer if he has the right coach to bring out the best in him but if he doesn't forget it ...

Bronco Legend's picture

Thanks all I got it am I am blonde and a bit grey.

twenty20's picture

Here's my tips for the usual wobbly 1st round....
cowboys, because of the new stand, hardly a good reason tho
and with very little confidence, the tigers
good luck.

Thinker's Little Helper's picture

tigerholic asked:

Do you have a favourite footy team.

Certainly do, that'd be the Glebe Dirty Reds.


welcome back tinker's little helper bsck for more scotch are we ???

I'm back because I love it, but the scotch certainly doesn't hurt (The Thinker always makes a wise choice)

Doormatt's picture

ive been sourcing this page for tipping advice for a couple of years now.
love the banter so thought id sign up.
1st week back. i usually run with the bookies. so im going with.


GL, doormatt

Mary S's picture

See Broncos news, that Jack Bird is out for the season with an ACL tear. He is certainly having a run of bad luck with injuries!

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone,

It's great to be back tipping on this great site! My tips for this week are:

Eels by 10 - I'm going for the Eels to start of their campaign in 2020 with a win. The expectation for the Eels is high after their great season last year. Will the Eels live up to it? Maybe! I reckon that the Bulldogs are going to have a good year this year, I don't think they'll start the season very well although I expect them to start better than last year and finish the season well enough to make the 8 this season. But playing at Bankwest in the first game of the season, I'm going with the home side.

Raiders by 16 - Raiders should start their season here with a win and a big win. Titans are going to have another poor year I reckon although it will be interesting to see how they fair this season under their new coach Justin Holbrook. Raiders have a really good side and should be too strong for the Titans here at home.

Cowboys by 2 - It's so good to have Valentine Holmes back in the game! And it's the Cowboys first game at their new stadium, I think they'll get their first win at their new stadium over the Broncos here who are going to have two youngsters are their co-captains.

Knights by 12 - Knights to start their campaign this season with a win. Every season, you never know what Warriors side you'll get week in, week out which makes them a tipster's nightmare. I would love to see the Knights make the 8, and it'll start here with a win at home.

Rabbitohs by 8 - Rabbitohs have an amazing side, one of the best of any team. And with Wayne and their coach, although he isn't in his prime anymore, he's still one of the best in the business! The Sharks on the other hand, have a lot of players out which is not good for them. With that, and the Rabbitohs' class, I'm going with the Rabbitohs for the win here at home.

Roosters by 14 - Roosters too classy for the Panthers here. Although they've lost Cronk to retirement and Latrell, the Roosters still have a great side. The Panthers on the other hand, didn't really recruit well and I think will have yet another disappointing season which'll start here with a big loss at home.

Storm by 4 - Storm to get the win here over Manly but in a close one. I do seriously rate Manly in this one and I think they are a really good chance to get the win here but it's safe to tip the Storm so I'll go with them for the win to start off their campaign.

And finally... Dragons by 6 - The mighty Dragons to start their campaign with a win. I wonder how we'll go with our round 1 team and how we'll perform in the first 10 weeks will be a good indication on how we'll go and whether or not we should keep Mary as coach after 2020. The Tigers on the other hand, I don't know, they have recruited well with Joeseph and Luciano Leilua, Doeuihi to name a few. Although replacing someone like Robbie Farah in the hooker position will be tough sometimes it's big shoes to fill for Billy Walters. But I hope that the Dragons start off their campaign with a win at home and I'm tipping us to do so.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's teams for this week and with everyone's tips for this week. Cheers!!!

tigerholic's picture

Evening All

To all of the Queenslanders and Bronco supporters out there, I do feel for Jack Bird with another season ending injury. Can he come back from this one?
He was a huge signing for Brisbane a few years back but he has hardly been seen on the field, I hope he does recover and is able to make a return to the NRL.
There you go Mark A, I have put aside my passion for some humility.


Dragons-fanboy's picture

And yeah I don't know about the Tigers lineup in this one! It's not great tho I've got to say!


Christine's picture

Sorry broncos supporters jack bird has suffered a acl tear in training this afternoon will miss the opening round he may reqire surgery it is his 2nd acl ...

The Thinker's picture

Jack Bird lives just down the road from me. I give his dog a pat from time to time.

He will be devastated. Absolutely devastated.

mark ashford's picture

I appreciate your kind words with regard to Jack Bird and I too wish him a good recovery. A big signing for the Broncs but as other clubs have suffered with early injury, well we just have to get on with it.
Last year I was on the Broncs nearly every week, only time I didn't tip them they won. Explains my poor performance last year and I intend to be a little more cautious this time. Cowboys with a good team, a brand new stadium and no doubt a sellout crowd should get home.
Two of the Bulldogs main players suspended for being "naughty" with a couple of "consent age" schoolgirls in Port Macquarie. This will upset the Dogs and maybe put the rest off their game. Do you think there may be a bit of sledging going on?
Just 24 hours to go and I can't wait. Good luck to you all.

mark ashford's picture

Didn't want you to miss out on "thanks" for all the work you do behind the scenes. I'm sure you earn every drop Thinker sends your way.
BUT who the hell are "the Glebe Dirty Reds" perhaps some of the QLD Reds who have been exciled from our great state or maybe a roller derby team that you coach, either way as long as they are "dirty" they should win. Thanks for what you do.

mark ashford's picture

Not so keen on Cheap Trick but do love everything from the Eagles. As Thinker said in his revue of the Manly/Storm game "he has a peaceful easy feeling etc" but tipped Storm. I think there may be a "Hotel California" feel about this game. The Storm may find "you can never leave" without a loss.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Mark, Rocket and other misc Broncos Fans. Sorry to see that you lost a great option in Bird, freak accidents suck and ever since I suffered a freak avulsion fracture of my heel a few years ago, I have a greater appreciation of that players on rehab deal with. Best wishes go out to him, and best of luck against the Cows in Townsville.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Here is the first issue of Baggy's Girls Tip the NRL. This week they are going for:
Eels - Because they are slick and slippery, (and not Naughty Boys)
Titans - Because their mascot has a sword
Broncos - Because my oldest sister is a fan.
Warriors - Because they play well (???????? not sure they have seen them play lately)
Sharks - They are really quick (they are sad because Broson is out)
Panthers - We like black and Panthers are black
Manly - Because they are good at catching balls (we are stretching for a reason)
Tigers - Because they are in a jungle with Panthers

Mary S's picture

Hi Baggy,

Good to see the girls tips again - does bring a smile to one's face!!!

By the way, are you trying to get double points this round, as currently, your pick for this week is showing twice!!


Christine's picture

Welcome back thinker's little helper we really do appreciate what you do & what goes on behind the scenes lets face it where would we all be without you doing the work you do for us week in week out , cheers thinker throw a slab tlh 's way to say thanks ...

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Woo-Hoo! Here we go peeps! Let the fun commence. Wow! Great to see so many “new faces” on here 😁. Hope you all stick around for the fun. Anyway, not having seen much (any) trial games, I have absolutely no idea who the winners might be in Round 1. Just gonna have to go on snippets I’ve read and “gut feeling” with my tips this first week.

As far as my Beautiful Boys from Bondi (hereafter referred to as BBB) are concerned, I have a couple of concerns. As mentioned previously, I just find it hard to believe we can get 3 in a row. The history books would have to be completely rewritten if that was to happen. What will make it hard will be that the Roosters have lost Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell (bet his family are happy now he’s at the Rabbitohs 😉). Tough shoes to fill for sure. On top of that, Billy Smith’s season is kaput (I think)! Just hope Kyle Flanagan does alright this year. He didn’t exactly get me (personally) extra enthused when he was at the Sharks so I’m hoping a new club with new ways will get him more confident and firing.

OK, without further ado, let’s get this thing done…

Eels vs Bulldogs 60-40 @ Bankwest
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Eels

The Eels did well at Bankwest last year but remember they’ve been beaten there before. One of those sides that beat them at the “fortress” was the Bulldogs so this will be an interesting one. The Bulldogs came home with a wet sail at the end of last year and should (in theory) make this a tough one. The addition of Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson should bolster the Eels’ chances here and based on that I’ll be tipping the Eels to win this.

Raiders vs Titans 80-20 @ GIO Stadium
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

On paper this should be a walkover. Last year’s grand finalists versus last year’s wooden spooners. Yeah, the Raiders have lost Rapana and Leilua but at home should prove too strong for the Titans. Raiders for me.

Cowboys vs Broncos 60-40 @ Qld Country Bank Stadium
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Cowboys

Firstly, “Queensland Country Bank Stadium” is too much of a mouthful for me so from here on in I’ll be calling it “Townsville” OK? Anyway, the Cowboys get to play their first game of the season at their new (Townsville) stadium so I’m sure the fans will turn out in droves. The signing of Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters should improve their chances immensely here, especially seeing as the Broncos will be without Jordan Kahu, Alex Glenn and Matt Lodge. Matt Gillett’s retirement doesn’t help either. I reckon the Cowboys should get up here in this one but the Broncos won’t make it easy for them.

Knights vs Warriors 55-45 @ McDonald Jones
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Knights

The Knights belted my BBB in a trial match a couple of weeks ago so that’s gotta count for something I suppose. It’ll be interesting to see if the new coach can make a lasting impression with his troops this year. The Warriors will be missing Agnatius Paasi and Josh Curran but at least Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has overcome his injury concerns and will play. I think Newcastle at home should prove too strong.

Rabbitohs vs Sharks 65-35 @ ANZ
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

I suppose the big talking point with this match will be how ex-Rooster Latrell Mitchell goes in his first game with the Bunnies. Might take him a while to get into the swing of things but Souths will definitely be better having him there. No Sam Burgess or John Sutton anymore but I reckon Souths should be able to get things covered even so. The Sharks have lost the Cry Baby (retirement) and Matt Prior (Super League) and I think I read somewhere they’ll be without Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan and Bronson Xerri. Things aren’t looking too good in this one for them I’m afraid. The Bunnies should be too good here.

Panthers vs Roosters 30-70 @ Panthers Stadium
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

As mentioned above, my BBB have lost Cooper Cronk, Latrell Mitchell and now Billy Smith. Not concerned in the slightest with getting slapped by the Knights a couple of weeks ago. This weekend is when the “real footy” starts 💪. Only (slight) concern is having Boyd Cordner missing. Hoping Flanagan does well and feel sorry that Sam Verrills will start on the interchange (most probably all year). I really rate that guy 👍. The Panthers have lost Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Eels) and James Maloney (Super League) which won’t help. Against one of the best defensive sides in the competition, I can’t see where the Panthers can win this. Roosters for me (obviously) Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Manly vs Storm 40-60 @ Brookvale
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Storm

Ooh, I see Manly will have the Trbojevic boys playing after all. The word was they wouldn’t be but now that they are, it’ll improve their chances in this one. Only ones missing will be Jack Gosiewski (some sort of infection) and Taniela Paseka (ankle). Manly are more than capable of keeping the Storm honest in this one. The Storm have lost Nelson Asofa-Solomona (maybe) and Brandon Smith so interesting to see how they’re covered for. In theory you’d have to lean towards the Storm but remember this is at Brookvale and it is the first game of the year. You know what, I’m gonna tip Manly even though my ratings and the bookies say otherwise. Manly for me.

Dragons vs Tigers 40-60 @ WIN
Ladder Position = NA
Bookies Favourite = Dragons

The Dragons have some big names out through injury in Josh Kerr (although named at 21), Matt Dufty, Cameron McInnes and Korbin Sims and the season hasn’t even started yet. Yikes! Not exactly sure how they’re the favourites in this one but hey, what do I know 🤪. With no Gareth Widdop, Ben Hunt will have to step up. To be honest, I’m not sure if he has it in him. More than capable but there’s something going on (mysterious) between his ears. Having said that though, I’d love to see him go up another level and prove me wrong 😁. Looking forward to seeing how Adam Doueihi goes at centre with the Tigers. Yeah, the Tigers will be without Moses Mbye but I still reckon they’re a chance here. On paper they look the goods. I’d love to tip the Dragons but just need to see if Mary can get them motivated and winning first. Nah, Tigers for me here.

Let’s finish off with our first “Song of the Week” for 2020…

Depending on what sort of mood I’m in, sometimes this song makes me “almost” cry. Love it. One of the best tunes of all time in my ever so humble opinion. Each to their own…

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and may your team win by 40 points! Until next week people. Cheers.


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