Round twelve selections

St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Thursday night – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Two teams on the cusp of the top eight, and both will be keen to atone after narrow losses in round 11. Post-lockdown, the Rabbitohs have won four and lost five. If you dig a little deeper, you'll notice that the Rabbitohs have lost to the teams that are 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th on the ladder. The teams that they have beaten are currently 9th, 13th, 14th and 16th. This is a fair representation of where the Rabbitohs are this season - just behind the very best teams but clearly in contention for a top eight finish. I would put the Dragons in a similar boat, particularly on recent form, but the return of Ben Hunt to halfback (for the injured Adam Clune) has me concerned. It wasn't working before, and I see no reason to believe it will suddenly start working now.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 4

Wests Tigers vs New Zealand Warriors – Friday night – Sydney Cricket Ground

Departures have commenced for the Warriors with four of their squad returning home for the season (including their two of their best finishers in Maumalo and Fusitu'a. While they were gallant in their last outing against the Chooks, gallantry will become harder and harder from here on in. For the Tigers, the return of Twal and Garner is timely, with Packer suspended and Chee Kam resting a sore head. The Tigers have lost more games than they've won, but they remain in contention for a finals spot and top eight teams need to be winning games like these.

Verdict – Tigers by 8

Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla Sharks – Friday night – Suncorp Stadium

Turpin and Luke return for the Broncos this week, so suddenly they have more hookers than a Hugh Hefner birthday party (although I see there is speculation they could make a bid for the biggest hooker in the game). Corey Paix returns to an extended bench. The injury to Croft means Milford is back in the halves and Boyd puts on the number one jersey for the first time in a long time. Fullback is probably the best position for both Milford and Boyd, but I'm not convinced either of them want to be there or anywhere else at the minute. Hopefully they can prove me wrong. Meanwhile, the Sharks have two players reaching the same milestone on Friday night, with Dugan and Woods celebrating their 200th NRL games. They are up against a team that have scored one try in their last 160 minutes of football. Even worse, they have conceded 17 tries in their last 160 minutes of football. There's been money for the Broncos to win this game, but it's hard to understand why.

Verdict – Sharks by 10

Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans – Saturday afternoon – Sydney Cricket Ground

The ongoing wellness of Roosters captain Boyd Cordnor is a concern for the Chooks, but beyond that things are going relatively smoothly for the defending premiers. Negotiations with one of the biggest acronyms in sport continue swiftly and smoothly, and we can assume SBW will be in donning the red, white and blue any round now. The Titans are actually playing well in patches, but they lack the depth and polish to compete with the very best sides. The Roosters are clearly such an opponent.

Verdict – Roosters by 10

North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders – Saturday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium

Plenty of teams are struggling with injuries and roster management, but few can match the Raiders casualty list of eleven. It does look like they can bring that back to an even ten this weekend, with Bateman likely to lace on the boots in a much-anticipated return. Curtis Scott has also been named, but may need one more week. Despite the injury toll, the Raiders are on the fringe of the top four, and have beaten NRL heavyweights in their last two outings. The only thing that beats the Raiders on Saturday night is complacency, and even that might not be enough. Sadly, the Cowboys season is effectively over.

Verdict – Raiders by 14

Manly Sea Eagles vs Penrith Panthers – Saturday night – Lottoland

The Panthers haven't lost a game since they went down to the Eels in round five, but this will be their most difficult opponent they've faced in some time. While Cherry-Evans (rightly) gets plenty of attention, Cade Cust is gradually emerging as a genuine NRL playmaker. The venue is another big tick for the home team, and I'll back the Manly forwards to win the grind and lay the platform for an upset victory.

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 1

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels – Sunday afternoon – ANZ Stadium

Rugby League is more than just a game of numbers, but the numbers matter. While the Bulldogs came up with an impressive win in torrid conditions last weekend, that was just their second win for the year. They've lost nine games this season, while their opponent on Sunday has won nine games. That doesn't mean the Bulldogs can't win, it's just much more likely that they won't.

Verdict – Eels by 8

Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday afternoon – Sunshine Coast Stadium

The Storm have won five in a row, and haven't lost to the Knights since 2015. The Knights 2020 season is starting to look a little like their 2019 season - starting with such promise but then fizzing out as the season progressed. They now find themselves outside the top eight...and looking fizzy.

Verdict – Storm by 4

Wally Lewis - round twelve selections (in bold)

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

  • Dragons vs RABBITOHS
  • TIGERS vs Warriors
  • Broncos vs SHARKS
  • ROOSTERS vs Titans
  • Cowboys vs RAIDERS
  • Sea Eagles vs PANTHERS
  • Bulldogs vs EELS
  • STORM vs Knights


The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans,

Apologies for the delays updating the tipping comp and the NRL ladder. I will have that updated for you all tonight (Monday).

Kind regards

The Thinker

mark ashford's picture

Hi Thinker
I'm off to Fraser Island in a day or so for the annual fishing trip.
I've entered my tips for round 12 in the usual manner but would be grateful if you could enter the tips below for the following week.
Round 13
Roosters, Manly, Rabbits, Storm, Tigers, Panthers, Cowboys and Eels.
Thank you.

tigerholic's picture

Mark Asford

Have a great trip mate, hope you latch on to a few big ones.


The Thinker's picture

Will do Mark Ashford.

Best of luck at Fraser...enjoy

a's picture

Best of luck Mark have fun

Christine's picture

Enjoy your trip mark make sure you miss us here at the thinkers site

Mary S's picture

Happy/successful fishing Mark, with lots of stories around the campfire - especially about "The one that got away!"


BigPeteBx's picture

Have another great time Mark - hope they are all biting, the fish that is.
We'll catch up with news on your return.
Plenty of rain up towards this way.
Cheers and keep well - Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Yes Tiger - plenty of fish and not big four legged reptiles.
More like a Darwin Stubby, is a better classification.
Cheers and keep well.
Big Pete

Christine's picture

I think sydney is going to saturated for a while due to the massive down pour we have had the last few days the grounds are more than wet & very soggie...

Christine's picture

At least the rain in sydney except for being coastal has stopped we have had alot of rain ...

tigerholic's picture

Big call on the Manly upset, Panthers are closing in on their next loss. You may be right but I think the Panthers have a bit more class and will overcome Manly's tenacity.

Good luck though


Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello Thinker,

Just to let you know, you made a mistake with Newbie's tally, you gave him 6 when he actually got 5. No hard feelings Newbie, just love to be honest.


Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone,

My tips for this week are:

Dragons by 4 – We’ve got the mighty Dragons coming up against the Rabbitohs here. In what is another very important game for the Dragons, this time against a Bunnies side who has it important for them too. Both of these sides are coming off tight losses last week with the Dragons suffering an unlucky loss to the Sharks 28-24 and the Rabbitohs suffering a 18-12 loss to the Raiders in Canberra. Hunt back in the halves in a risk for us. It didn’t work to start the season, then why will it work now? Hunt has been playing so well at hooker that his game may fall off at halfback, I’m worried that the halves won’t be gelling together and that will cost us. Really should’ve went with the Hunt-McInnes combo at 9 and 13, particularly since it’s Cook-Murray pairing we face up against. It’ll be an intriguing forwards battle and the backline for both sides are very good so we may expect plenty of points scored. The Dragons themselves have scored 86 points in the last three games but our defence has been a bit of a problem and that we need to fix if we are going to beat the Bunnies. Going to be a good game and quite a tough game for us, but I’m backing the boys to get it done in a tight one. Mitchell is back for the Bunnies though and that may be a worry for us. Exciting to see how Tristan Sailor will go playing from the bench this week, he has finally been given an opportunity to shine, even if it is only for a little bit of time. C’mon the Dragons!

Tigers by 12 – Tigers should get the win here over the Warriors. The Warriors have some players who’ve gone back to NZ, including the two wingers Maumalo and Fusitu’a. Those are two huge outs for the Warriors but they have a loan player in George Jennings as one replacement with the other being Patrick Herbert. The Tigers on the other hand, welcome back Garner and Twal in the forwards and also Mikaele on the bench. Some good inclusions there for the Tigers. The Tigers will be hosting this game at the SCG which will be interesting. Warriors have a poor record in Sydney so history is well and truly behind the Warriors here. Tigers need to win to get into that top 8 depending on other results and having a winnable game, they need to take those ones with both hands if they are going to be a top 8 team. Tigers definitely have the Warriors covered in both the forwards and backs and they should be too good for the Warriors here in the end, would love to see the Warriors give it a crack and show some fight just like they did last week. Gotta note as well, Alvaro is another loan for the Warriors so the Warriors have been getting some good loan players which helps.

Sharks by 10 – Sharks should be too good for the Broncos here. The Sharks’ attack alone should indicate that they look the goods here. The Broncos have only managed 8 points in the last two games conceding a whopping total of 94 in the process. The Broncos really need to be on in defence coming up against a team who sure love to score points. That will be hard considering how poor their defence have been the Broncos. Seibold just continues to get closer and closer to getting the sack, you’ve gotta feel for Anthony, you really do. He has been under immense pressure for weeks now. Also gotta note, if Broncos lose and Bulldogs win this week, Broncos go down to last which they do deserve to be down the bottom to be fair (no offence Broncos fans). Now the Sharks still can’t take this game lightly because the Broncos did show some life in the first half against the Storm and were only down by 6 at the break. It was that second half that costed the Broncos. They have to be careful again here and can’t be only performing in one half. The Sharks’ style suits a style where they are at least consistent enough for the full 80 and even when they have defensive lapses, they can make up for it in attack but the Sharks do always show some good defence for a certain portion of the game and that alone should definitely be enough if the Broncos keep their form up. The Broncos may show up and actually do something for their fans but I think that it’ll be the Sharks who chalk up another win and will be too good for the Broncos here, particularly in attack. Don’t think Boyd will want to respond at fullback to be honest, Milford didn’t show up at fullback, I don’t think Boyd will. Croft is a big out too for the Broncos because he can play, even though he hasn’t consistently showed up week in, week out. Broncos need to desperately step up, I don’t trust them to do it this week. Sharks will frustrate the Broncos big time.

Roosters by 24 – Next up we’ve got the Roosters up against the Titans. Roosters should win this and I think they’ll win well. The Titans were very brave last week against the Panthers and they were close in the end but the understrength Panthers were too good in the end. The Roosters on the other hand, came away with a tough gritty win over the Warriors. At least the Roosters showed they can win gritty. Even though it was only the Warriors. Yes it isn’t the first time the Roosters grit a win this season but I think this win of theirs was a genuine gritty win, another one I can remember was the win against the Eels, but that one they showed some good attack in the end but they did have to grit it out there. But I did not expect the Roosters to win it in that fashion, I thought they were going to come out and smoke the Warriors but they didn’t. Well their be a repeat this week, the Roosters are expected to win and win big over the Titans only for it to be a tight affair. Either way, I still think the Roosters will be hard to beat here. The Titans may be tough but if the Roosters are in a mood, they will smash the Titans here. And they are playing at SCG, where the Roosters have a really good record at even though they did lose last start there. Roosters to remain in the top 4 with a comfortable win here over the Titans. If Cordner was back, I would be even more confident in the Roosters getting a comfortable win and without B. Morris too makes that task harder, but the Roosters do have some incredible depth as we’ve seen throughput the season.

Raiders by 18 – Raiders should be too good for the Cowboys here. Now we’ve got the North Queensland Cowboys up against the Canberra Raiders. The Cowboys just haven’t had a good season so far. Injuries, loss of coach and a lack of class and potency has really costed the Cowboys this season. The Cowboys don’t have a real chief playmaker with Morgan out injured and although they have some talented youngsters, they don’t have any real strike attacking player like a Tedesco or a Dufty or a Papenhuyzen or a Gutherson in their side. The closest they have is Tubuasi-Fidow, he tries but he just isn’t exactly that genuine strike fullback, he will get there but he isn’t there yet, not experiences enough. The Raiders on the other hand, welcome back Scott, Bateman and welcome Haraweira-Naera in their lineup who is a talented player, great offloader of the ball and always attacks the line, he is a good defender as well. Interesting to see how he fairs in his return from that suspension he copped. Raiders should definitely be too good here. Their defence should be too good here and I just cannot see the Cowboys showing enough in attack to outscore the Raiders. The Raiders will outclass the Cowboys here and I think that the Raiders’ forward pack can beat that Cowboys forward pack. McLean does return though to add some spice to that Cowboy’s forward pack. The only area I can see the Cowboys are better at in the forwards pack is in the hooker role and obviously Taumalolo up against Hudson Young. Although that forwards battle will be good, that Raiders’ backline looks the goods over the Cowboys’ backline and they should most definitely outscore them and even if the Raiders don’t score too many, their defence and the Cowboys’ lack of scoring many points will still be enough for the Raiders. But for me, it’s the Raiders to get a comfortable win here away from home. They have to adapt to that Townsville winter’s weather though, which is a lot warmer than the winter in Canberra.

Manly by 2 – I’m going with Manly for the upset here. Panthers still have Koraisau and Edwards out which has me swaying towards Manly. But Kikau is a huge in for the Panthers and only adds some spice in that forward pack. That forwards battle looks good. Manly’s forward pack is really good and I can see them just winning that forwards battle but they do need to be on their game. That Panther’s forward pack is really good but Koraisau is that missing ingredient, it really showed without him there last week. It’s safe to say that Manly have adjusted without Turbo Tom now and Cade Cust has really improved at Five-Eigth and has combined with DCE well. The game being at Lottoland will help Manly’s cause too. With the crowd strongly behind them, that should be some added motivation for the Manly boys. Panthers have the chance to pick up win number 7 in a row and to remain on top, but I’m going for Manly to hand them their second loss of the season, Penrith are due for a loss after all and I think that it’ll come this week in a thrilling game of footy.

Eels by 16 – The Bulldogs finally got a last start win over the Knights last week. That win was well-deserved. They played really well in the wet those Bulldogs. Things finally paid off for them for competing week in, week out. The Eels on the other hand, got back into the winners circle last week with a win over the Tigers. What’s funny is that even though they won, they dropped down one position on the ladder and are now down to 3rd place. I think they will get a more comfortable win this time around. Yes I know there is always some spice when it comes to the Bulldogs playing the Eels and we finally get a game at ANZ for the first time in a good while. I can see the Eels though being way too good for the Dogs here and to get the Bulldogs back into the losing circle and to keep them down the bottom. The Eels have the Bulldogs covered all over the park and they have way too good attack and defence for the Dogs. Yes Bulldogs showed some good defence against Newcastle but that was only one game and consistency is needed defensively just like the end of last year which the Bulldogs aren’t quite at yet but we’ll see what they go this week and will be a good indication on whether they’ll get there but it will be tough up against the Eels who just suit this fast paced style of footy so well. Eels to get a comfortable win here over the Bulldogs in the return to ANZ.

And finally… Storm by 8 – Storm should be too good here for the Knights. The Knights got struck by injury against the Bulldogs with McCullough and Watson being casualties. This ultimately cost them against the Bulldogs who are the team running last, I highly doubt it’ll change much here coming up against the high-flying Storm. The Storm have just been flying and are now all of a sudden up to 2nd on the ladder. They just do it year in, year out, consistent performances, after consistent performances, after consistent performances and even when they aren’t at their best, they almost everytime find a way. Like seriously! It’s no wonder the Storm are considered one of the best teams in Australian sport. They are always so consistent. They have a phenomenal record against the Knights as they do against most sides. The Knights haven’t beat the Storm since 2015. History says that it will be tough for the Knights and reality says that it is going to be tough for the Knights. The last time these two met last month, the Knights were close to full strength and they were outclassed by the Storm, now they are understrength and they should get outclassed again here. Storm to continue rolling on here. There are some interesting battles, Ponga v Papenhuyzen, the halves battles is looking pretty good, Asofa-Solomona v Klemmer in the battle of the enforcers in the pack. Some good battles here.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone’s teams for this week and with everyone’s tips for this week. Cheers and enjoy the rest of your weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

newbie from perth's picture

No worries Dragons-fanboy, I noticed the Boss had given me one more than he should have and was gonna bring it to his attention but ya beat me to the punch 👍. Yeah, as much as I’d love the extra point, a bloke’s gotta do the right thing eh? Cheers buddy…

And before I post up my comments, have a great fishing trip Mr Ashford (you lucky so-and-so). Make sure you have enough bottles of Red mate 🥂. See ya soon…

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

A bit late this week. Had a few dramas with my teeth and I’ve just this minute got back from an emergency Wednesday late night dentist appointment and I’m about $450.00 poorer 😥. Ah, these things happen and it’s the price you pay for getting old I suppose. Anyway, not to worry, I’m still fit and still devilishly handsome. Boom! 💥 OK, let’s get into it…

Dragons vs. Rabbitohs 40-60 @ Jubilee
Ladder Position = Rabbitohs
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

The Dragons started really well last week against the Sharks and after leading 14-6 with 20 minutes to go in the first half you would’ve been excused for thinking they might go on with it. Unfortunately for them the Sharks ramped it up in the last 20 and scored 3 tries and headed to the sheds 22-14 in front. Things got worse just after the second half started and they were down 28-14. But to the Dragons’ credit, they fought back and got to within 4 points with minutes remaining. Matt Dufty fluffed a chance from a Ben Hunt grubber and then Saab put in a good play only to ground the ball on the dead ball line, only millimetres short 😥. Not sure how they would’ve fared had Jack Williams’ (no) try not been awarded. Hmmm. Stats-wise, nothing really stood out for me other than the Dragons had less possession (44-56), no forced drop outs, they had to make 125 more tackles than the Sharks (408-283) but had less missed tackles (18-28).

The Rabbitohs did well in the first half last week. After finding themselves 10-0 down early on, they scored 2 tries in 5 minutes and hit the lead and led the Raiders 12-10 at the break. They didn’t fare so well in the second half though. The Raiders kept them scoreless while scoring 8 points themselves and the Bunnies went down 18-12. While they did have a good ol’ crack at the Raiders through great efforts from Murray, Reynolds, Gagai and Burgess, they were unable to get the necessary points on the board. Stats-wise the Rabbitohs were somewhat ordinary last week. Less possession (47-53), less kicking metres (439-764), a very poor kick defusal (44%), more missed tackles (28-15) and more ineffective tackles (14-7).

Verdict: As impressed as I am with the Dragons, I just got a feeling the Bunnies will win this.

Tigers vs. Warriors 65-35 @ SCG
Ladder Position = Tigers
Bookies Favourite = Tigers

The Tigers started well and raced out to a 12-4 lead but unfortunately for the Tigers, the Eels hit back with a couple of tries and a penalty and led 18-12 at half-time. They were brave in the second half but the Eels’ class was just a touch too good and the Tigers lost it 26-16. They were dominant in the first 15-20 minutes of the match but games are won with 80 minute efforts and the Tigers just couldn’t maintain the effort. Mind you, they were playing with just one bloke on the bench for the last 30 minutes of the game so some latitude should be given for showing such grit I suppose. Another good game from the maestro Benji Marshall. Stats-wise, pretty poor numbers in my mind. They had less possession (46-54), less metres run (1375-1764), less post contact metres (437-645), more ineffective tackles (16-3), more penalties conceded (8-2) but less missed tackles (25-31).

The Warriors were pretty good last week against the Roosters. An impressive first half saw them leading 10-6 going into the sheds. Unlike 2 weeks ago, their defence was first rate and I thought there was an upset on the cards. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. The Warriors failed to score any points in the second half and eventually went down to the Roosters 18-10 in a tight one. It was a fairly tight affair most of the time and the Roosters’ win was never a given until right at the very end. The Roosters just had a little bit more class but the Warriors did a mighty job. If things weren’t bad enough for them, now they have to contend with 4 blokes going home. But at least they will be getting Alvaro and Jennings (George) on loan from the Eels. There’s still some hope 🙏. Nice game from Katoa. Stats-wise the Warriors had a lot less possession (44-56), less post contact metres (556-634), made 92 more tackles (432-340), had more missed tackles (34-25), more errors (14-7) but had less ineffective tackles (2-19). Something interesting I noticed was that the Warriors had more offloads (10-2) and more dummy passes (37-8).

Verdict: Man this is a tough one. The Tigers did well against class opposition but so did the Warriors. Hmmm, might go the Tigers.

Broncos vs. Sharks 40-60 @ Suncorp
Ladder Position = Sharks
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

The Broncos played a very good first half last week against the Storm and were only behind 14-8 at the break. They really took it up to the Storm and it was pleasing to see. The second half however was a disaster for them. While their first-half effort was very competitive, they tired in the second 40 and the Storm ran riot and put 6 tries on them before the Broncos finally went down 46-8. The final score of 46-8 would suggest a flogging (and it was) but, and this is a big but, they had an honest go last week. Unfortunately they were unable to maintain that first half intensity in the second 40. But the signs are good, especially seeing as was against a top tier side like the Storm. Stats-wise, nothing too exciting for me. The Broncos had less possession (47-53), they ran 756 less metres (1193-1949), had less post contact metres (443-570) and made less line breaks (2-11).

The Sharks were trailing the Dragons 14-6 in the first half last week but suddenly woke up and went “wooshka” and ended up going into the sheds 22-14 up. Early in the second half their lead got out to 28-14 and they looked home and hosed. But as they do, the Dragons came back and got to within 4 points but ran out of time and the Sharkies snuck home 28-24. Good games from Graham and Johnson. Stats-wise, nothing really stood out for me other than the Sharks had more possession (56-44), they had more forced drop outs (4-0), more missed tackles (28-18) and they made 125 less tackles than the Dragons.

Verdict: I am seriously considering the Broncos at home in this one but not sure if they can maintain a full 80 minutes. Nah, Sharks for me.

Roosters vs. Titans 75-25 @ SCG
Ladder Position = Roosters
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The Roosters (as well as me) got a scare in the first half last week against the Warriors when they headed into the break 10-6 down. Some seriously staunch defence from the Warriors was making it very difficult for the Roosters. Mind you, the Roosters’ attack was pretty ordinary as well. In the second half the Warriors were kept scoreless while the Roosters put on another 12 points and they scraped home 18-10. It wasn’t pretty but they did enough to get over the line. A great game from Luke Keary it must be said. His kicking game was on point, he scored a try and had a try assist as well. A bloke I don’t rate that highly (Tupouniua) really surprised me with the game he had too. Hey, I don’t mind getting it wrong from time to time 🤪. The win was never in the bag until maybe the 70th minute when Manu scored. Stats-wise the Roosters had more possession (56-44), more post contact metres (634-556), made 92 less tackles (340-432), had less missed tackles (25-34), less errors (7-14) but not surprisingly, had more ineffective tackles (19-2).

In the first half against the Panthers last week it looked like the Titans were in trouble heading into the break but with minutes to go they scored a couple of quick tries and were only down 16-14 as the siren sounded. It all came undone in the second half unfortunately. While they did have a very good defensive effort in the second 40 they weren’t able to score any points and eventually lost it 22-14. Really impressed with the effort from Fogarty. Stats-wise the Titans had less possession (43-57), less post contact metres (420-610), a lot more tackles made (435-309), more errors (12-8), more penalties conceded (6-3) but less missed tackles (21-26).

Verdict: Roosters. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Cowboys vs. Raiders 35-65 @ Townsville
Ladder Position = Raiders
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

The Cowboys were still in touch at half-time and were only trailing Manly 12-6 heading into the sheds. They might’ve done a little better had they not let themselves down with some silly errors and poor discipline at times. They were outscored by a try in both halves and finally went down 24-12. They had some good attacking moments here and there but couldn’t convert the opportunities when it mattered. Good games from Feldt and Taumalolo. Stats-wise nothing really stood out for me. The Cowboys and Manly were just as good (and bad) as each other but the Cowboys had less possession (49-51), more missed tackles (33-26) and more errors (12-9).

Even though the Raiders started well last week against the Rabbitohs, they found themselves down 10-12 going into the sheds at half-time. In the second half they managed to score another 8 points while keeping the Bunnies scoreless and got home in a low scoring affair 18-12. By all accounts it was a tough second half struggle where the Raiders once again showed they had more desire than their opposition. It’s amazing how they keep winning even though their injury toll keeps mounting (reminds me of another certain team that is doing the same 🦅). Now they’ve lost CNK but it looks like he’ll only miss 1 or 2 weeks. As much as I (sorta) dislike him, Jack Wighton had another great game and he was ably supported by Dunamis Lui and Josh Papalii. Stats-wise the Raiders did pretty well with more possession (53-47), more kicking metres (764-439), a better kick defusal (79-44), less missed tackles (15-28) and less ineffective tackles (7-14).

Verdict: Raiders for me. They are doing better against quality sides.

Manly vs. Panthers 40-60 @ Brookvale
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

Manly looked like they were going to run over the Cowboys early on last week but the Cowboys scored a late first half try and were only behind 12-6 at the break. A repeat of the first half (two tries to one) saw them get home 24-12. It was a somewhat scrappy game at times and even though the Cowboys threatened at stages, Manly never really looked like losing it to be honest. I’m wondering if the “Manly Mojo” has returned 🤔. Good contributions from Cherry-Evans and Sironen. Stats-wise nothing really stood out for me. The Cowboys and Manly were just as good (and bad) as each other but Manly had more possession (51-49), less missed tackles (26-33) and less errors (9-12).

In the first half last week it looked like the Panthers were going to run away with it but with minutes to go the Titans scored a couple of tries and all of a sudden there was only 2 points in it and the Panthers headed to the break 16-14 in front. They tried hard in the second half but the Titans defence held them out on numerous occasions. Mind you, they did manage another 6 points and keep the Titans scoreless. The Panthers were not at their best it would be safe to say but they did what they had to and came away with a 22-14 win. Stats-wise the Panthers had more possession (57-43), more post contact metres (610-420), they made less tackles (309-435), had less errors (8-12), less penalties conceded (3-6) but had more missed tackles (26-21).

Verdict: Can’t see them turning in an off game two weeks in a row. This might be tough but I’ll stick with the Panthers.

Bulldogs vs. Eels 25-75 @ ANZ
Ladder Position = Eels
Bookies Favourite = Eels

A remarkable effort from the Bulldogs last week against the Knights. There was only one try in the first half and the Bulldogs scored it and went into the break 6-0 ahead. In the second half (in terrible conditions) they got out to an 18-0 lead and you might’ve thought they were home but the Knights came back at them and scored a couple of tries and got within 6 points. Too little, too late and the Doggies went on to win only their second game of the year 18-12. Totally unexpected but totally deserved. The Bulldogs handled the wet conditions much better and their defence was robust enough to keep the Knights at bay. There were some interesting stats for the Bulldogs. They had more possession (51-49), an incredible completion rate of 91% (41/45), a lot more kicking metres (1163-670) and less errors (6-13). On the downside they had more missed tackles (35-15) and more ineffective tackles (18-7).

The Eels were a bit slow off the mark last week against the Tigers and after finding themselves behind 12-4 eventually woke up and got back into the game and led 18-12 at the break. A sound effort in the second half saw them run out 26-16 winners. A nice return from Moses (nice chip’n’chase try from him too) and an incredible try scoring effort from Reagan Campbell Gillard. It would be remiss of me not to mention the “greatest no-try ever scored”. I reckon Ferguson should’ve been given that try just on effort and execution alone 😁. They wouldn’t’ve been too happy with the early handling errors though. Stats-wise, pretty good numbers overall. They had more possession (54-46), more metres run (1764-1375), more post contact metres (645-437), less ineffective tackles (3-16), less penalties conceded (2-8) but more missed tackles (31-25).

Verdict: As impressive as they were last week I just can’t see a repeat from the Bulldogs. Eels for me.

Storm vs. Knights 70-30 @ Sunshine Coast
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

I reckon the Storm got a fright in the first half last week against the Broncos. They must’ve been scratching their collective heads wondering why they were only 14-8 ahead. Maybe it was due to all the dropped balls in the rain 😁. Whatever Bellyache said to them at half-time worked a treat. They ran in 6 second half tries and kept the Broncos scoreless and cantered to a 46-8 win. The class of the two Camerons (Smith & Munster) shone through yet again. So too did the effort from Jahrome Hughes. Stats-wise, nothing too exciting for me. The Storm had more possession (53-47), they ran 756 more metres (1949-1193), had more post contact metres (570-443) and made more line breaks (11-2).

With no disrespect to the Bulldogs, I’m still trying to work out how the Knights lost that one last week to be honest. Too many errors and a stout Bulldogs defence saw the Knights head into the sheds 6-0 down. At least they scored 2 tries in the second half but so did the Bulldogs and in the end the Knights got rolled in a close one 18-12. It sounds a bit cliché but the Knights weren’t at their best last week. They had opportunities but didn't convert enough of them to get over the line. Yeah, the weather was pretty bad but both sides had to play in the same conditions 🤔. Ignoring the fact they lost McCullough and Watson, they had enough strike power to win that but didn’t. Stats were a bit mixed. They had less possession (49-51), an inferior completion rate (79-91), less kicking metres (670-1163) and more errors (13-6). On the positive side they had less missed tackles (15-35) and less ineffective tackles (7-18).

Verdict: Seriously, what happened to the Knights last week? End of season form slump happening as it does with them? No brainer here. Storm to win.

Let’s finish off with another “Song of the Week”…

It was a toss-up between 2 songs from this female artist but I’ve gone with this one. Most probably not everyone’s cup of tea and suspect it’ll “freak” a few people out 😁. Enjoy…

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

NuL1F3's picture

Hmm Newbie, I can't tell which is stranger, the song or the video!

Sanickson Asyal's picture

Hi Thinker how can i put my tipping for this round. It haven't show where to write,so direct me how and where.

newbie from perth's picture

@ NuL1F3
Ha-Ha! I knew it might have an effect on someone bro 😁. See, this is where taste comes in. I reckon the song is a ripper. Close the eyes, lay down on the lounge and drift away to another land/reality. Now as far as the video goes, I don’t think it strange. But then again I just like looking at Bjork with her shaved head. Dunno, just find the way she looks extremely “exciting”. Takes all kinds eh? Cheers.

@ The Boss
Alright if I quickly jump in here on your behalf mate and reply to Sanickson?

@ Sanickson Asyal
Sorry mate but if I understand properly, you want to get into the tipping competition. If so, you’re out of luck unfortunately. Invitations to the tipping competition closed just before the season started and I notice you’ve only been a member for 4 days. Best you can do is post your tips up here in the comments section. If not then make sure you come back early next year when the Thinker asks who wants to be in the tipping competition. Sorry for the bad news. Have a good one.

The Thinker's picture


Thank you sir....appreciate it.


See the response from Newbie. Feel free to come back before the start of next season if you want to get involved then.

tigerholic's picture


I've put my tips in for this week, have a look and see what you think. Hope you are well.


Dragons-fanboy's picture


No worries mate! Yes it is very true indeed.


Sanickson Asyal's picture

Round 12,
Dragons, Tigers,Sharks,Roosters,Raiders,Panthers,Eels,Storm


Christine's picture

Tiger I just got home i am taking the same as you this week & yes i am doing ok how about you tiger how are things going for you with work ? At least you know your job is safe they can't really replace you or say due to covid 19 we are closing the prison to all workers & inmates like they have with other jobs but im saying that if you did get covid 19 in the prison you would be in trouble i would think tiger anyway lets hope it doesn't happen at all & may the nrl gods be good to us all this weekend ...

Guru Craig's picture

Rabbits 1-12
The Guru thinks the Bunnies will be good enough and Latrell looks good for a try.

Tigers 13+
The Tigers should be too good for the Warriors, Guru thinks its asking too much of the Kiwi Bro's to have two good games in a row.

Sharks 13+
The Guru picked the first half last week, then.....Brisbane looked ok for awhile, but bumbling Mr bean errors by several big $$$ players and the rest is history. Brisbane couldn't beat themselves, Tip of the round, Sharks are massive specials, 30+

Roosters 13+
Chooks are good things here, The Coast will put up a struggle for 30 mins or so.

Raiders 13+
Canberra are going well and NQ are not. The Cows will go ok for 50mins then Canberra should stretch out to 13+

Manly 1-12
The Guru agrees with The Thinker here, Manly are playing good football and this will be a good game, perhaps the game that breaks the Panthers momentum.

Eels 13+
Para will be motivated by the Doggies win last week and wont be ambushed. Its a shame the Doggies dont have a couple of stars because on effort they should be top 4.

Storm 13+
Melbourne to dominate, Newcastle are injured and overrated, The Guru predicts they struggle to make the 8.

TigerGirl's picture

Dam forgot my tips again

a's picture

Hey thinker the spammers have got my comp page again you may need to block them for good

Johnee's picture

G’day Thinker.
Great job you do.
I’m not a Guest Tipster on your site but like to see what your guest tipsters are thinking, but was wondering how Is it that some Guest Tipsters tips don’t appear until well after the start of the of the first game of the week.



Baggy_Gee's picture

Had a comment waiting on full time last night Rocket, but it is now deleted and filed away. It was good to see the Broncos get up for most of the game, and they played quite well for most of it. But she's a bit quiet on here atm.

Mary S's picture

Agree with Baggy, it was great to see Broncos "get up" & look more like the team of old, and I enjoyed the match.

Although I had tipped Sharks, I was disappointed the Broncos had a win taken from them in the last few minutes of play.
Another lesson to take on board - the game isn't over until the final siren goes!!


The Thinker's picture

Hi Johnee

Thanks for following the tips. I really appreciate it.

Regarding the guest tipsters, all tips need to be submitted before the kick off for the first game, so their picks are definitely done beforehand.

What is happening in your case is called web caching. Without getting too technical, when you visit a page you have visited previously, your PC/laptop/tablet/phone can display the same version of the website you saw before (ie not the latest version). You can refresh the web page when you revisit to make sure you are seeing the latest version (with all the tips), but theres different ways to do that depending on what device/browser you are using.

There I was trying not to get technical.

Manly boo!!!

The Thinker's picture

Thanks a....I have deleted those. It's hard to ban them, because new ones just keep turning up. The battle continues :-)

a's picture

Thanks thinker I’m glad their gone the battle never ends

BigPeteBx's picture

Evenin Thinker - I know the damn feeling Bro.
Bloody atrocious, letting Penrith get in at them, boots and all.
I picked them to win by four, because I really felt they had it in them, to really rattle this game. Injuries fell upon them, but no reason, when the step-ups and bench warmers, couldn't make a show of it.
They've had a couple of top wins this season and then hit back letting themselves be annihilated, the following week.

Oh well - footy life goes on and we supporters/fans, are left to think, what might have been.

Cheers mate and have a good week, whilst keeping well.
Big Pete from The Frosty/Icy Climes.

The Thinker's picture


I gave Cade Cust a wrap because I think he has real potential, so my head dropped a little when I noticed he was a late withdrawal for Dylan Walker.

It dropped even further when Walker went down early.

I did have a quick look through the draw, and the Sea Eagles have a pretty good run home to the finals. I still think they make the top eight and will give the better teams a few headaches.

The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the NRL ladder and tipping comp after round 12. A whole bunch of you got 7 from 8 this round, but not a single person found the Warriors.

I will have the round 13 page published as soon as I can (I have to get some updates done in the engine room to get things humming), and I will have my previews and tips published on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

If anyone sees any errors in the tipping ladder, just let me know and I will amend.

All the best

Mary S's picture

Hi Boss,
Tigergirl added her pick for R12 in the comments, which I have copied & pasted below -

Submitted by TigerGirl on Thu 30/7/20 - 11:04pm AEST

Dam forgot my tips again

NuL1F3's picture

Just noticed my tips didn't register for the last round :(

I will have to make sure I post from now on.

The Thinker's picture

Thanks Mary S


If you miss the cut-off you can always put your tips in the comments for that round. You wont get a point for the game/games that have already started, but I will give you points for any games that haven't started.

All the best

The Thinker

NuL1F3's picture

Thanks Mr Thinker. I fill the form every Thursday morning (If not Wednesday night) and I'm sure I received the confirmation message that the tips were registered but, unfortunately I waited till today to check on the page with everyone's tips and noticed mine weren't there. At least if I post as well as lodge the form I'm covered.

I was climbing that tipping ladder too!! haha

The Thinker's picture


That's frustrating if that happened. I'm sorry about that.

I have had a dig around behind all the couches on the website, and I can't find your tips for round 12 in there anywhere.

And were getting close to the leaders. Argh!

NuL1F3's picture

No apology necessary Thinker, thank you for having a look for me! I must have clicked the wrong button? Or could be I'm remembering the previous weeks submission. All good, I wasn't expecting to win (too many switched on tipsters here) but was happy to have some bragging rights being near the pointy end lol.

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