Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders – Thursday night – Sydney Cricket Ground
With so much going on at the minute, you almost forget that this is a rematch of the 2019 grand final. These sides met three times last season and the Roosters were narrow winners every time. Obviously quite a lot has changed since then. The Raiders form has been down on what we saw from them last year, and they have to find a way to lift (on a short turnaround plus travel) without three of their best in Hodgson, Bateman and Soliola. Meanwhile the Roosters are being challenged by most opponents, but they keep finding a way to win. They seemingly have the capacity to hit the go button and put teams to the sword. Following on from a dominant win over the Cowboys, the Chooks welcome back Boyd Cordnor, Brett Morris and Isaac Liu. I think you just keep tipping them.
Verdict – Roosters by 8
Result – Raiders 24 defeated Roosters 20
Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans – Friday night – Sunshine Coast Stadium
Jesse Bromwich is 194cm tall and 114kg. He's out with a knee injury for a few weeks, and the Melbourne Storm have replaced him with...Brandon Smith. I'm looking forward to that. I'm also keen to see the return of Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi. The Titans have put in some spirited performances of late, but this is hard. They beat the Warriors narrowly, while the Storm beat them by 44. I've always preferred the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, and I prefer them here too.
Verdict – Storm by 22
Result – Storm 42 defeated Titans 6
Wests Tigers vs Brisbane Broncos – Friday night – Leichhardt Oval
As is often the case, the Broncos jagged a win after I sunk the boot into them last week (they should pay me to just stand on the edge of the training paddock and shout abuse). While the win was nice their opponent was so awful their coach has walked...so a little perspective here. The Tigers have won four and lost five, but most of those losses were to teams in the top eight. The Broncos should be a top eight side, but they aren't, and the trip to Sydney won't make it any easier.
Verdict – Tigers by 4
Result – Tigers 48 defeated Broncos 0
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Saturday afternoon – WIN Stadium
Here's the good news for the Bulldogs (and I can be brief) - they're taking on the only team they've beaten this season. Now for the bad news (and I could go on...but I'll be brief) - since the Dragons lost to the Bulldogs (and they were smashed), the only teams to beat the Dragons are the 2019 grand finalists. Last week their attack, which has looked promising for a while, really clicked, and they ran away from Manly late in the game. If they can do that to Manly, they can do it to the Bulldogs.
Verdict – Dragons by 22
Result – Dragons 28 defeated Bulldogs 22
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights – Saturday night – Bankwest Stadium
I was really looking forward to the Knights v Eels clash last weekend, and while the game was close it was a real pooh of a game. The Knights looked utterly lost in attack, but I'm hoping Mitchell Pearce can hit the reset button on the side of his brain and find some better form. With Latrell Mitchell and Campbell Graham unavailable, the Bunnies look easier to contain, so I'm with the Knights in a minor upset.
Verdict – Knights by 2
Result – Knights 20 defeated Rabbitohs 18
Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – Lottoland
These sides met in round four in what was one of the better games of the year, with the Sea Eagles denied a game-winning try with the last play of the game. Since then it feels like Manly have been on a gradual decline, and they fell off a cliff in the last ten minutes against the Dragons last weekend. Cherry-Evans tried, but when he tries too hard his game gets worse. He's one of those players who does more when he does less. I use this argument with Ms Thinker when it comes to housework...but it falls on deaf ears.
Verdict – Eels by 14
Result – Sea Eagles 22 defeated Eels 18
New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla Sharks – Sunday afternoon – Central Coast Stadium
I can get myself excited about most rugby league contests, but this one is going to test me. The Warriors struggled against the Titans last start while the Sharks let the Panthers rack up 50+ in 80 minutes. Nikorima returns which does give the Warriors some extra spark. Fifita joins Moylan in the Hamstring wing of the Cronulla Private Hospital. I note the quality and size of the Warriors bench, and with that extra depth I think they can win this one. The bookies don't like them much, but:
Verdict – Warriors by 4
Result – Sharks 46 defeated Warriors 10
Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys – Sunday afternoon – Panthers Stadium
If you need my help with this game, you clearly haven't been paying attention. This is a cakewalk (whatever that means).
Verdict – Panthers by cakewalk
Result – Panthers 22 defeated Cowboys 10
Wally Lewis - round ten selections (in bold)
Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or Thursday morning
- ROOSTERS vs Raiders
- STORM vs Titans
- TIGERS vs Broncos
- DRAGONS vs Bulldogs
- RABBITOHS vs Knights
- Sea Eagles vs EELS
- Warriors vs SHARKS
- PANTHERS vs Cowboys