Round sixteen selections

Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm – Thursday night – 4 Pines Park

I'm assuming Cameron Munster won't be playing on Thurdsay night - if he's in doubt for game 3 of Origin I can't imagine he's playing in this. Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic are likely to play but they are backing up (and the long flight home from Perth doesn't help). The return of Papenhuyzen will generate plenty of interest, returning from a hamstring issue and a bout of Covid. If he returns in good form it would be hard to leave him out of the NSW origin squad. In round 12 the Storm defeated the Sea Eagles by 20 in Melbourne although that was one of those Munster masterclasses. More tellingly, the Sea Eagles are currently in 10th position and are yet to beat a team above them on the ladder this season. It's hard to force your way into the top eight with a record like that.

Late update: Kaufusi has also been ruled out for the Storm

Verdict – Storm by 7

Result – Sea Eagles 36 defeated Storm 30

Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans – Friday night – McDonald Jones Stadium

The Titans have won just the one game away from the Gold Coast all year. That one win was in Magic Round in Brisbane against the Dragons so I don't think that even counts. Meanwhile the Knights have lost their last five games at home, and all by healthy margins. They'll also be without Kalyn Ponga, and we all know they're a better team when he's there. I'm tipping them anyway, in part due to that woeful away record by the Titans. I expect Mark Hughes, Paul Harrigan and others will be at the game for Beanie for Brain Cancer round, and the presence of those two might be enough to motivate the Knights to a long-awaited victory in front of their very patient supporters.

Verdict – Knights by 4

Result – Knights 38 defeated Titans 12

Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters – Friday night – BlueBet Stadium

Penrith scored 34 of the 44 points in game two of the Origin series, so it's fair to say they're in pretty good form. It's also a lot easier to back up from an Origin game when you win. Clearly we need to keep an eye out for team changes before the game, but given everything we have seen from Penrith this year you just have to tip them again....and again...and

Verdict – Panthers by 10

Result – Panthers 26 defeated Roosters 18

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday afternoon – CommBank Stadium

On recent form the Bulldogs can give this a shake. It's nearly a coin toss as far as I'm concerned, and I've ended up siding with the Sharks because I don't think Tevita Pengai Jnr will play. That evens out the contest in the forwards, and the Sharks backline does look stronger to my eye.

Verdict – Sharks by 2

​​​​​​​Result – Sharks 18 defeated Bulldogs 6

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

I know the Cowboys like playing on a Saturday night, but it's disappointing that league fans won't get to see this game on free-to-air television. A Queensland derby should give the banana-benders something to smile about after a disappointing Sunday night. Adam Reynolds returns for the Broncos to help with their kicking game and general stewardship. He helps...a lot. We wait for news on Payne Haas, who was last seen moon-booting in Perth. I'd say he's very unlikely, but watch this space. Capewell and Carrigan are expected to front up, but both played long minutes on Sunday night. For the Cowboys, Holmes, Taulagi and Nanai are expected to play. In round three the Cowboys beat the Broncos 38-12 at Suncorp, and while a scoreline like that would surprise me, I'm tipping the Cowboys at home in front of a crowd that sold out a month ago. It's the game of the round.

Verdict – Cowboys by 4

​​​​​​​Result – Cowboys 40 defeated Broncos 26

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – Accor Stadium

Latrell Mitchell makes his long-awaited return, but I'm sure he'll need a few weeks before he is anywhere near his best. Perhaps his return can reignite Cody Walker, who looks a shadow of the player he was last year. The Rabbitohs were sub-par against the Dragons in round fifteen while the Eels impressed against the Roosters in what was the highest quality game of the round. The Eels also have just one player backing up from Origin, while the Bunnies have four. Eels it is.

Verdict – Eels by 10

​​​​​​​Result – Rabbitohs 30 defeated Eels 12

New Zealand Warriors vs Wests Tigers – Sunday afternoon – Mt Smart Stadium

Only the most ardent of Tigers fans would be hoping for a Warriors loss as they return to their spiritual home after the longest road trip in the history of sport (although the Pakistan cricket team could have something to say about that). Incredibly, not a single Warriors lined up for the Kiwis in the international against Tonga, so this really is their first game at home in a very long time. They're facing the Tigers so this is a winnable game. In fact, they beat the Tigers in round 3 at Campbelltown. So long as the occasion doesn't get to them, they win this too.

Verdict – Warriors by 8

​​​​​​​Result – Warriors 22 defeated Tigers 2

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Canberra Raiders – Sunday afternoon – WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Not only are the Dragons above the Raiders on the ladder (not a misprint) but the Dragons are also in the top eight (editors note: could someone check The Thinkers prescriptions...sounds like he's self-medicating after the Origin loss). Dally M contender Ben Hunt (editors note: none of this makes any sense) is some chance of sitting this game out, and the Dragons prospects nosedive if he's absent. Jack Wighton, who missed the second Origin game due to Covid, is back for the Raiders. With Hunt possibly out and Wighton definitely in I'll tip the visitors.

Verdict – Raiders by 2

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Result – Dragons 12 defeated Raiders 10

Wally Lewis - round sixteen selections (in bold)

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

  • Sea Eagles vs STORM
  • KNIGHTS vs Titans
  • PANTHERS vs Roosters
  • Bulldogs vs SHARKS
  • COWBOYS vs Broncos
  • Rabbitohs vs EELS
  • WARRIORS vs Tigers
  • Dragons vs RAIDERS


Rocket Ryan's picture

Good news tiger I found the butcher and it's entirely fitting that he now runs an airport if you look down the ladder 30,000ft there he is.

tigerholic's picture


Thank you for finding The Butcher. Just like the player ratings for Queensland from game 2, I didn't think the numbers went that low.

Butcher- seeing as though you are struggling to climb the ladder, if you wait until about 30 seconds before the tipping closes, you will be able to latch on to Rockets tips.


newbie from perth's picture

"Dia duit gach duine" i dteanga ní mo theanga féin,

Running late so no time to ramble. Having the extra week off is no good for my routine 🤪. One thing I will say though … the Roosters have signed Matt Lodge? Whaaaaa? OK, let’s do this thing …

Manly vs. Storm @ Brookvale
Probability @ 35-65
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

"It’s a fair argument that for 72 minutes we were probably the better side, we had the better run of the game. I think we played with a really good temperament and I'll make no excuses but we shouldn't have lost that game. The players are really disappointed about it. We know exactly what our identity is. We probably should have closed that game out. That’s the harsh reality. That’s the real lesson here tonight. But we know that there’s plenty in this footy side," coach Des Hasler said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 47%
Completion Rate - 68% (32/47)
Post Contact Metres - 571
Tackle Breaks - 36
Missed Tackles - 25
Errors - 17
Penalties Conceded - 4

"We just need to make sure we got back into the game and the way to get back into the game is to do the things we know work for us and that’s what the boys did. I think everyone knows what I think of Jahrome. His improvement over the last 18 months has been immense and he is up there with any halfback in the competition, I believe. He has got a great kicking game and a great running game. He has got some confidence in his leadership now, as well. I think I've said before I wouldn't swap him for any halfback in the competition," coach Craig Bellamy said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 51%
Completion Rate - 82% (33/40)
Post Contact Metres - 688
Tackle Breaks - 20
Missed Tackles - 21
Errors - 9
Penalties Conceded - 5

Verdict: Even without Turbo, Manly are travelling OK at the moment except for the quality sides. Mind you, they did well against the Cowboys 2 weeks ago and should’ve won that one but let it slip. The Storm still aren’t at their top but are winning games and should have the edge here in this one. Storm by 12.

Knights vs. Titans @ McDonald Jones
Probability @ 55-45
Ladder Position = Knights
Bookies Favourite = Knights

“Not smart in errors, you know we had the game in control and we needed to be a lot smarter. I’m really proud of the never give in attitude toward the contest. We showed a lot more of the resilience that I think we’ve lacked this year. The game was in our control and then to give away some really cheap penalties all night, we gifted them out of their end of the field. We lacked a lot of energy with our line speed last week and I thought that was much better today. Kalyn has had gastro and I was confident that he was on top of it this morning but he couldn’t eat and wasn’t in a good way. I could tell it was going to be a real ask for him but Kalyn being Kalyn said he needs to be out there,” coach Adam O’Brien said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 46%
Completion Rate - 66% (26/39)
Post Contact Metres - 446
Tackle Breaks - 23
Missed Tackles - 41
Errors - 12
Penalties Conceded - 8

"We tried really hard and competed hard but a couple of near misses and we fell short again. It's a good time to have a week off. It's good to have AJ back and Pauly Turner I thought was really good but had his calf tighten up. That's where we're falling short in our overall game. Conceding that try in the second half made it hard work. There's plenty of fight in the group. If we were two metres short last week we were only one metre today. I'm really feeling for everyone in our club, but I think we've shown how hard we're trying. We're just lacking that bit of class or those couple of moments - we just don't get out of our in-goal and then they just get out of their in-goal. They're just big, big changing points. There's some hard lessons for us at the minute," coach Justin Holbrook said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 44%
Completion Rate - 81% (30/37)
Post Contact Metres - 554
Tackle Breaks - 27
Missed Tackles - 44
Errors - 8
Penalties Conceded - 8

Verdict: Two teams here who are pretty much as bad as each other. The Knights have teased their fans with little bits of promise lately while the Titans are inexplicably self-destructing. Both will be desperate for the win obviously. The Knights are at home which might help. The Titans are known for starting well but need to put in a full 80. I was more impressed with the Knights’ effort against the Raiders and will tip them here. Knights by 4.

Panthers vs. Roosters @ Panthers Stadium
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

"It was probably really hard for the boys. We had 14 guys knowing that they are going into rep teams next week so you can't underestimate how difficult that would have been, with things on their mind. There was probably a few distractions but I was really happy with how the guys went in the second half. It was just a really committed performance," assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 50%
Completion Rate - 73% (28/38)
Post Contact Metres - 617
Tackle Breaks - 30
Missed Tackles - 15
Errors - 11
Penalties Conceded - 8

"I felt like we dominated that second half. You could see that they were just trying to kick into some positions there to try and hold that lead, and I felt like we were coming after them. From the 47th minute on I felt like we were going to get them but we just didn't have enough quality combination plays in field position. We should have executed much more play-for-play type questions in that second half to at least grab another one and then go into the last 10 minutes with game on, and that was disappointing," coach Trent Robinson said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 46%
Completion Rate - 82% (34/41)
Post Contact Metres - 500
Tackle Breaks - 46
Missed Tackles - 31
Errors - 9
Penalties Conceded - 8

Verdict: The Panthers continue to set the benchmark in the competition this year. Their last two wins were against very average opponents but they did manage to rack up 82 points in those 2 wins. The Roosters have been meeting tough opposition for quite a while now it only gets tougher this week. An obvious understatement if I say they desperately need to win to get back on track and back into the top 8. I just can’t see them upsetting the Panthers in this one and the Roosters’ next 2 points may have to wait until Round 17 when they have the bye 😁. Panthers by 16.

Bulldogs vs. Sharks @ CommBank
Probability @ 35-65
Ladder Position = Sharks
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

"The players are working really hard to make our attack better and every week are coming up with something a little bit different and it’s enjoyable to watch. It’s probably the players themselves I think have realised there’s more in them and they want to play a little bit more and I think they’re just expanding out and they’re trying a few things and it’s working for us. I’m really happy for them and to have that many points in a couple of games and it’s great for everyone. But we’re still down the bottom and we’re not getting carried away with ourselves but winning just solves a lot of problems and makes everyone at the club feel really good,” interim coach Michael Potter said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 60%
Completion Rate - 80% (36/45)
Post Contact Metres - 649
Tackle Breaks - 40
Missed Tackles - 34
Errors - 11
Penalties Conceded - 3

"Ultimately we just needed to win and we got there in the end. It wasn't pretty, there's plenty for us to look at, but we can take our two points. You look at the table and assume it's a given you're just going to win ... footy's too hard. That (Titans side) is a good footy team and it's so hard to get everything right. We've had periods where we've shown our capabilities and then periods of inconsistency, but we've got a lot more left. We think we're hard to defend at times and we let teams off the hook with pressure. And then we defend well at times and we let them off with discipline. So we'll keep working on putting those two elements together and mounting more pressure and we've got more gears," coach Craig Fitzgibbon said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 56%
Completion Rate - 68% (30/44)
Post Contact Metres - 617
Tackle Breaks - 44
Missed Tackles - 27
Errors - 16
Penalties Conceded - 6

Verdict: The Bulldogs have been impressive in their last two wins (against the Eels and Tigers) and are some sort of chance here. Isn’t it funny how a different style (Mick Potter) and some confidence can get results. The Sharks have rediscovered some form, albeit against the Warriors and Titans. The Bulldogs will test them and we’ll see exactly where the Sharks are at this week. While I really fancy the Bulldogs in this one I think the Sharks might have just enough class to get in here. Sharks by 8.

Cowboys vs. Broncos @ Townsville
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Cowboys
Bookies Favourite = Cowboys

"We played tough and hung in there, and we got tested at different stages. We lost Reubs [Cotter] in the warm-up, both back rowers from last week weren't playing, we lost Hammer halfway through but we just kept turning up for each other. Across the team, everyone just kept moving and we played some good footy. I thought it was a pretty high quality match with some decent footy being played between two pretty good teams have a crack at it," coach Todd Payten said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 53%
Completion Rate - 82% (33/40)
Post Contact Metres - 549
Tackle Breaks - 25
Missed Tackles - 36
Errors - 10
Penalties Conceded - 5

"The Storm have been good for a long time so you have got to be really good to beat them and we were good tonight but we weren't great. We just fell short. I am not sure the last time Tyrone played in the NRL but it's probably two or three years so for him to come up with a performance like that from him was very good. He has been on a train and trial contract with us for the year. I thought he did a good job," coach Kevin Walters said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 49%
Completion Rate - 78% (30/38)
Post Contact Metres - 586
Tackle Breaks - 21
Missed Tackles - 20
Errors - 9
Penalties Conceded – 6

Verdict: The Cowboys have looked impressive against most teams (except the Panthers 😁) and while they should’ve lost to Manly 2 weeks ago, the Cowboys showed their class and determination in fighting back and snatching the win. The Broncos weren’t disgraced in their loss to the Storm two weeks ago and with Reynolds back, this will (or should be) a close encounter. The Broncos have a lot to play for but with some confidence behind them and the home crowd cheering them on, I think the Cowboys will get this done. Cowboys by 12.

Rabbitohs vs. Eels @ Stadium Aust
Probability @ 40-60
Ladder Position = Eels
Bookies Favourite = Eels

"It's not on him, it's about trying to get a response for the team. Blake [Taaffe] gives us some energy and I was trying to get a response out there. Kodi Nikorima's got experience in that position, probably needed some experience out there, and that was the thinking. That first half wasn't on Lachlan Ilias, no doubt. It's part of his learning. I don't think he's the first bloke who's had a bad day at the office, he wasn't on his own. He's got great resilience, he's got good temperament, he'll learn from it no doubt," coach Jason Demetriou said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 49%
Completion Rate - 70% (28/40)
Post Contact Metres - 499
Tackle Breaks - 30
Missed Tackles - 31
Errors - 12
Penalties Conceded - 9

"It was only a couple of weeks ago we went out and played like that against Penrith, who are the best team in the comp, so it is there, it is in us. We have got to have that killer instinct and that drive to want to do it every week. I though the Roosters played really well, they came at us hard - especially in that second half. We were close to the best version of ourselves and we have got to show that every week, and then the talent will come off the back of that. I liked our second half better than our first half because they came at us extremely hard. They were carrying off the back fence in the second half and they had a real red hot crack. We showed plenty of grit," coach Brad Arthur said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 54%
Completion Rate - 85% (34/40)
Post Contact Metres - 644
Tackle Breaks - 31
Missed Tackles - 46
Errors - 5
Penalties Conceded - 8

Verdict: As we all know, the Rabbitohs have been consistently inconsistent this year. The big news is that Latrell Mitchell returns this week but I’m not sure how much impact that will have for Souths. The Eels are performing to their usual script insofar as they start well and then drop off mid-season. They’re losing against sides they shouldn’t lose to which is a worry. I’m thinking they might be over the worst of it now though and in a close one (maybe) they should get the win. Eels by 6.

Warriors vs. Tigers @ Mt Smart
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Tigers
Bookies Favourite = Warriors

“We know that being away has been tough but we have had some wonderful support here from the Redcliffe locals. It is going to be very exciting for the group and where we are at the moment it gives us an opportunity to re-set ourselves. We're not in a good way at the moment with how we're playing, but this gives us a good opportunity to get back home and try and play some good footy. We want to make people proud of what we do, and going home gives us the chance to do it," coach Stacey Jones said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 50%
Completion Rate - 80% (32/40)
Post Contact Metres - 502
Tackle Breaks - 15
Missed Tackles - 30
Errors - 9
Penalties Conceded - 3

"We certainly need to stay united. It’s a difficult time for the club at the moment. As I said to the men, I thought we tried reasonably hard but trying in this competition sometimes doesn’t allow you to be good enough. Trying your best and having a crack gets you in to the competition but you need to be able to add more to that and do it for better and longer than the opposition in some regard. It’s about trying to get that weight of position back to 50-50 if we can. We need to learn how to be a really tough, defensive team," interim coach Brett Kimmorley said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 40%
Completion Rate - 71% (23/32)
Post Contact Metres - 510
Tackle Breaks - 34
Missed Tackles - 40
Errors - 13
Penalties Conceded - 4

Verdict: Thankfully, the Warriors get to play their first home game in roughly two and a half years. I for one am so pleased for them. It will be an emotional game for sure and with a sell-out crowd behind them I’m thinking they should get this done, not only for themselves but also for their long suffering fans. Mind you, the Tigers won’t lie down for this one. They’re definitely up for the challenge and are more than capable of spoiling the party, even though they’re pretty poor at the moment. Based purely on emotion and feeling we owe them a huge amount of gratitude for their “sacrifices” these past couple of years, I’m tipping the Warriors by 6.

Dragons vs. Raiders @ WIN
Probability @ 50-50
Ladder Position = Dragons
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

"Last week was one of our worst performances of the season so it showed a lot of character to bounce back like that. I was really happy that they played like that for Macca, that's part of the night, sort of encapsulated everything Macca has done in his career - they played for each other and they were all good team-mates tonight. It's great for him and it also points to what's possible for our guys. In the NRL you don't ever expect to lead 32-0 at half-time but you could feel it all week the way we prepared, it was important we responded to a disappointing performance last week," coach Anthony Griffin said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 51%
Completion Rate - 80% (32/40)
Post Contact Metres - 458
Tackle Breaks - 31
Missed Tackles - 30
Errors - 14
Penalties Conceded - 5

“We played lethargic and played ugly today. It was so slow and ugly on the ground. But we’ll be able to have a nicer spell now that we’ve got two points. We’re lacking cohesion but I still think our game is moving in the right direction. I love coaching Hudson. The one thing about him is if he’s playing well or not, he’s giving one hundred percent every game and every training session, he’s a really good guy to have around the club,” coach Ricky Stuart said. Some stats possibly worth a mention:

Possession - 54%
Completion Rate - 72% (31/43)
Post Contact Metres - 594
Tackle Breaks - 41
Missed Tackles - 23
Errors - 14
Penalties Conceded - 4

Verdict: Two weeks ago the Dragons were outstanding in their big win over the Rabbitohs and based on that showing they’re a genuine chance this week. I’m wondering however, can they replicate their effort from a fortnight ago or has the break interrupted the momentum? Now, you could argue that the Raiders were “lucky” to get the win over the Knights last time out but they have been playing some pretty decent footy lately. As unimpressed as I was with the Raiders’ previous effort, I still think they just might sneak in here. Raiders by 6.

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

One of those bands people either love or hate. Me? Love the band, love the clip. Spoiler: “sometimes they do.”

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

tigerholic's picture


I now have a blister on my finger from scrolling to the bottom of your post, I have to applaud your effort and details that go into your posts.

Once again the fans are waiting for your words of wisdom, didn't you read the Thinker's post about ratings and who checks out who for tips. Get your tips in soon, the fans are waiting.

I have set an alarm for any tips that are entered inside 15 minutes to the cutoff time, I'll broadcast any that I catch.


Steel Panther's picture


Loved this week's song. Always been a fan of the Cure. My favourite song is A Forest.

Like u too, disappointed to see the Chooks pick up Matt Lodge. After the fiasco at the Warriors, why would any club entertain this idiot. It's not as if he's that good either.

Christine's picture

My tips are
I am going with the Cowboys because I feel they are playing with a point too prove this year ...

Christine's picture

As much as I don't like going against Adam Reynolds, Cowboys seem to want it more this season ...

a's picture

What a great game that was

Mary S's picture

Agreed 'a'.
The Sea Eagles certainly looked the better side, but for the last 10 mins!


The Thinker's picture


Nice song choice - I managed to get down to Sydney to see them perform at the Opera House the last time they were in Australia. Just before Covid I think it was.

TigerGirl's picture

Forgot my tips last night
North QLD

Mary S's picture

Hi Newbie,
Enjoyed the SOW
It was interesting listening to (and comparing it with) the following version, several years down the track - possible the concert you may have gone to Thinker.

Steel Panther's picture

Loved it!! Thank you for posting Mary

The Thinker's picture

Samoa could end up with an interesting team at the World Cup.

With To'o committing and suggestions Luai will join him, the Samoan backline could be made up of six Penrith players plus Milford at halfback.

The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the NRL ladder and the tipping comp after round sixteen. A big shout out to MarKate2021 who has impressed me with 8 from 8. Most of us scored scored around 5, and only three other tipsters got 7...a mighty effort.

If anyone notices any issues with the scores just let me know and I will sort it out.

I will have the Round seventeen tipping page up and running as soon as we can. Note the page for game three of the Origin series has been published. Feel free to share your thoughts there too.

All the best

The Thinker

Markate2021's picture

Thanks for the accolade. Thought I needed some upsets to make my way up the ladder, and they came through.

NRL tipping is easier if you follow the NRL news