Newcastle Knights vs Brisbane Broncos – Thursday night – Central Coast Stadium
The return of Glenn and Pangai Jnr will see Oates return to the wing after a brief flirtation with pack life. The Broncos will need his bigger body in the backline, with Staggs out for some time with a hamstring issue. Some positive signs for the Broncos as they skipped out to an 18-0 lead last Thursday against a proper team, but that proper team ran them down, and they didn't score another point after the 30 minute mark. The Knights loss to the Storm was more competitive than the scoreline indicates. They should be too strong here, and McCullough will be keen to show his old club a thing or two.
Verdict – Knights by 8
Result – Knights 27 defeated Broncos 6
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs New Zealand Warriors – Friday night – Bankwest Stadium
I'm still not convinced that fullback is the natural habitat for Latrell Mitchell, but he's improving each week. I'm mindful however, that the Bunnies opponent last start wasn't exactly top-notch. This is a sterner test, but as I look through the starting thirteen for the red and greens I keep thinking they'll be winning this. Kodi Nikorima has shown his immense value as a post-Covid playmaker - yet another player the Broncos are wishing they kept in their top pocket. In a round with no easy selections this could be one of the hardest.
Verdict – Rabbitohs by 2
Result – Rabbitohs 40 defeated Warriors 12
Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm – Friday night – Campbelltown Stadium
I tipped the Panthers last start...and I was wrong, and I tipped against the Storm last start...and I was wrong. On top of that, the Panthers have a woeful record against the purple machine, losing 18 of their last 20. I might be stupid, but I'm not an idiot.
Verdict – Storm by 4
Result – Panthers 21 defeated Storm 14
Gold Coast Titans vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Saturday afternoon – Suncorp Stadium
Picking a winner here is like trying to decide whether you'll take your Mum or your sister to the prom. Three team changes last start would give Dragons fans hope that this season isn't over just yet. Dufty at fullback was fantastic, the Norman kicking game in the halves was deft, and Hunt off the bench played with confidence in the dummy half role. I don't want to get carried away here (after all, I am dating my sister), but Dragons.
Verdict – Dragons by 4
Result – Dragons 20 defeated Titans 8
Wests Tigers vs North Queensland Cowboys – Saturday night – Campbelltown Stadium
A couple of sides spluttering along at the minute - they'll both win games here and there but neither of them are looking like top eight candidates right now. I've defaulted to the Tigers with home ground advantage, particularly while the Cowboys have so much experience (Morgan, McLean and Holmes) unavailable.
Verdict – Tigers by 4
Result – Tigers 36 defeated Cowboys 20
Sydney Roosters vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – Bankwest Stadium
You don't need to be the biggest mind in rugby league to know this is the game of the round. The undefeated Eels take on the back-to-back premiers and current favourite to make it three in a row. The Eels last two victories have been narrow but both were against genuine opponents, and I was particularly impressed with the Eels goal line defence against the Panthers. This is a proper side and a premiership threat. Also note that the two teams the Eels defeated in rounds 4 and 5 are the two teams that defeated the Roosters in rounds 1 and 2. Having said that, the Roosters deliberately held themselves back at the start of this season, and since the season was resurrected they have clearly gone to another level. In three games they've scored 129 points and conceded just 18. To give those figures some context, if they maintained that for a regular 26 round season they would end the year with a points differential of +1332 (not a typo). Last year the premiers had a points differential of +264. Have they actually improved? Current figures would suggest they have.
Verdict – Roosters by 8
Result – Roosters 24 defeated Eels 10
Canberra Raiders vs Manly Sea Eagles – Sunday afternoon – Campbelltown Stadium
While it's not the game of the round it's pretty darn good - to my eye these sides look like worthy finalists this year. The Sea Eagles best thirteen are one of the top sides in the NRL, but they are a little short on depth after that. Given the injuries to Taupau and Suli, I'm with the full-strength Raiders.
Verdict – Raiders by 4
Result – Sea Eagles 14 defeated Raiders 6
Cronulla Sharks vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Sunday night – Bankwest Stadium
There's not a lot to get excited about here, but here's something - both sides have a player by the name of Sione Katoa. I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty bloody amazing. Other than that, this looks a bit of a yawnfest between a team who were bad enough to let the Dragons score 30 points, and a team that gots their pants pulled down several times by the Roosters earlier in the week. I'm with the Bulldogs, who conceded a lot less than 30 points to the Dragons not so long ago. But yawn!!!
Verdict – Bulldogs by 2
Result – Sharks 20 defeated Bulldogs 18
Wally Lewis - round six selections (in bold)
Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or Thursday morning
- KNIGHTS vs Broncos
- RABBITOHS vs Warriors
- Panthers vs STORM
- Titans vs DRAGONS
- TIGERS vs Cowboys
- ROOSTERS vs Eels
- RAIDERS vs Sea Eagles
- SHARKS vs Bulldogs