Round eighteen selections

Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Thursday night – CommBank Stadium

These sides met not so long ago in round 12, where the Rabbitohs prevailed 42-26 and haven't lost since. Notably that round 12 Eels line-up didn't include Moses or Gutherson, and they clearly make a difference. They did have Hopgood and Sivo in round 12, and they won't be there on Thursday night. Not as significant, but significant nonetheless. The Rabbitohs didn't have Walker or Murray in round 12, so this round 18 line-up looks stronger too. The Bunnies have conceded just 24 points in their last three games, while the Eels have leaked 84. For the Eels to have any hope of making the finals this year, they need to get their defence in order. Given the short turnaround from their last game they don't have much time to resolve it. To make matters worse, they cop a five-day turnaround and they face a team who had a bye last week.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 8

Result – Rabbitohs 32 defeated Eels 16

Cronulla Sharks vs Gold Coast Titans – Friday night – C.ex Coffs Harbour International Stadium

Technically a Sharks home game, but Coffs Harbour is about as neutral as a venue can get. Curiously, the team that lost last week are a very warm favourite here, against a team that won by 60 (yes...60) in their last outing. That said, the Titans haven't won two games in a row all season, and we just don't know if we'll get the Titans that beat the Warriors by the biggest margin all year, or the Titans that scored just 10 points against the Tigers the week prior. Katoa is out this week for the Sharks, and he's not just a winger that can find a try. Katoa delivers north of 150+ metres with the ball in hand almost every week. The Titans will be without Campbell, but the return of Brimson in the halves is timely. David Fifita has an opportunity to remind the QLD selectors that he can do a job for them. A proper upset this, but here goes:

Verdict – Titans by 4

Result – Titans 20 defeated Sharks 16

Brisbane Broncos vs Penrith Panthers – Friday night – Suncorp Stadium

A grand final rematch for two teams coming off a loss last week. Both sides rested Origin stars (although Yeo backed up for the Panthers) in round seventeen, and while the Broncos loss to the Warriors wasn't a great surprise, the Panthers loss definitely was. The Panthers rarely play two poor games in a row, and the return of Edwards, Luai, Martin and To'o clearly lifts them. So too the Broncos, who welcome back Haas, Carrigan and Walsh. The Broncos have now fallen out of the top ten and I'm hoping that will shock them into action. Hopefully, a near sold-out stadium will do the same.

Verdict – Broncos by 2

Result – Panthers 14 defeated Broncos 6

Canterbury Bulldogs vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday afternoon – Accor Stadium

Since round two this year, only two teams, the Raiders (once) and the Roosters (twice) have managed to score more than 20 points against the Bulldogs in 80 minutes. It's this defensive integrity that will see the Bulldogs playing finals football in 2024, a remarkable turnaround from where they were as a club not so long ago. The only team to beat them since mid-May is the Roosters, and they look like a premiership contender to me. The Warriors bounced back from the horror loss to the Titans and have a very good recent record against the Bulldogs, but many of those wins were in New Zealand, and this Bulldogs side is a different animal to the one they've come up against previously. 

Verdict – Bulldogs by 4

​​​​​​​Result – Bulldogs 13 defeated Warriors 12

Wests Tigers vs Melbourne Storm – Saturday night – Leichhardt Oval

I can't tip the Tigers here, but it's the sort of mad game they could bob up for when you least expect it. The Storm are holding their backline together with masking tape and good intentions but they keep on winning and they're on top of the table. An undeniable force as always, but they're beatable. Paphenhuyzen returns at fullback this week which is a huge inclusion, but they'll be without Coates for at least a month. A game that might be surprisingly closer than most are expecting, but the Storm should do enough to get the job done.

Verdict – Storm by 4

​​​​​​​Result – Storm 40 defeated Tigers 28

North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly Sea Eagles – Saturday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium

The Sea Eagles haven't won a game in Townsville since 2016, but they're pulling out all stops on Saturday night. Six big inclusions for Manly this weekend, including their Origin representatives and Tom Trbojevic and Garrick in the centres. Plenty of changes for the Cowboys too, with their six Origin reps returning after being rested last week. That the Cowboys were able to beat Penrith last week, in Penrith, often with just 12 players on the park, just demonstrates what this side is capable of. It's a shame they can't seem to deliver it each and every week, but I'm crossing everything and hoping they can show us who they should be.

Verdict – Cowboys by 8

​​​​​​​Result – Sea Eagles 21 defeated Cowboys 20

Sydney Roosters vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Sunday afternoon – Allianz Stadium

The Roosters racked up 60 points against the Dragons on ANZAC Day, so this team and this venue might trigger some unpleasant memories for the Red V. They're going pretty well, and are a real chance of making the top eight this year, but the Roosters are a very good side, and they're going at least as well now as they were on ANZAC Day. Granted, the injury to Manu is a loss, and the centre pairing of Jennings and Tupouniua is a little unusual, but there's no doubting the Roosters credentials this year. Their points differential is lengths above all others, they've scored 80 more points than the next best attacking team in the NRL, and only the Panthers and Bulldogs have conceded less. I think they're the team to beat.

Verdict – Roosters by 10

​​​​​​​Result – Roosters 42 defeated Dragons 12

Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday afternoon – GIO Stadium

I've mentioned the weather a few times when it comes to games in Canberra this season, but I don't think it's helped my tipping one bit. The word on the street is that the Knights have salary cap issues for next season and beyond, and they need to find some space to sign some new recruits. Daniel Saifiti has already been advised that he can seek a contract elsewhere, and he's not likely to be the first. It's the sort of thing that just could bring out the best in the Knights roster, knowing they have to sing for their supper if they want to keep getting fed. Ponga is a big return this weekend - he's also one of the reasons they are under salary cap pressure, but it's unlikely they'll be showing him the door. He's some chance of being brought back into the QLD origin side with a strong performance on Sunday. The Knights have been going well without him, and they're likely to improve with him at fullback. The Raiders battled hard last week against the Storm, but their only win since 11 was an extra-time victory over the Dolphins, and they had their fair share of luck there.

Verdict – Knights by 4

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Result – Knights 16 defeated Raiders 12

Wally Lewis - round eighteen selections (in bold)

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

  • Eels vs RABBITOHS
  • SHARKS vs Titans
  • Broncos vs PANTHERS
  • BULLDOGS vs Warriors
  • Tigers vs STORM
  • COWBOYS vs Sea Eagles
  • ROOSTERS vs Dragons
  • Raiders vs KNIGHTS


The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the NRL ladder and the tipping comp after round 17. Right now, my three outsiders I picked as top eight prospects (Bulldogs, Dolphins, Dragons) this season are all in the top eight. It probably won't last, but it's nice to be temporarily right about something for a change.

It was a round for the home teams for the most part - the only home side that lost was the team that all but one of us thought would win (Panthers). Congrats to The Colonel and Markate2021 who top-scored with 6 from 7.

As always, if you notice any issues with the scoring, just let me know.

We are back to a Thursday night kick-off in round 18. I'll have my previews and selections published on Wednesday.

All the best

The Thinker

newbie from perth's picture

Hey Frens,

I see the referee in the Sharks vs. Titans game is Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski. Now there’s a name that rolls off the tongue eh? Speaking of referees, I see my BBB have once again copped Ashley Clown 😱. Sheesh! On a brighter note, Ziggy’s running touch in the same game 😉. OK, let’s do this thing …

Eels vs. Rabbitohs @ CommBank
Probability @ 50-50
Ladder Position = Rabbitohs
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

Both these sides have underperformed so far this year in my opinion. There might not be much in this one but I think the Rabbitohs have a slight edge in attack. Rabbitohs by 4.

Sharks vs. Titans @ Coffs Harbour
Probability @ 70-30
Ladder Position = Sharks
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

The Sharks give me the impression they’re going off the boil a bit. Even after their huge win two weeks ago, I’m still not sure about the Titans though. Surely the Sharks have the class to get this done. Sharks by 8.

Broncos vs. Panthers @ Suncorp
Probability @ 35-75
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

The Broncos were pretty poor last week it must be said. Then again, they had players missing which must account for something. Both sides will get their Origin stars back so no excuses this week. The Panthers definitely missed their big guns and I expect them to bounce back here. Panthers by 4.

Bulldogs vs. Warriors @ Accor
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Bulldogs
Bookies Favourite = Bulldogs

I wasn’t all that surprised with the Bulldogs’ win last week. They’re starting to get it together, and about time too. Playing the Warriors won’t be easy but it should give an indication of where they’re at. The Warriors dusted off that horrendous loss from two weeks ago and got back to some sort of form. Te Maire Martin in the 7 should help. This could be a very entertaining affair and could go either way. Warriors by 4.

Tigers vs. Storm @ Leichhardt Oval
Probability @ 25-75
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

After last week’s spanking, the Tigers will find this week just as hard. I just can’t see an upset here but you never know. I’m interested to see if John Bateman returns to his “niggling” best. Yeah, the Storm are top of the table but they haven’t been “outstanding” as such. They should be too good in this one though. Storm by 12.

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

The Cowboys are humming along nicely and their defence last week was absolutely rock solid. I just cannot get a handle on Manly at the moment so tipping them is proving difficult. Manly will be fresh and will have some big names returning, especially Turbo. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that Manly could get up here but the Cowboys have the momentum and I’ll play it safe. Cowboys by 4.

Roosters vs. Dragons @ Allianz
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Roosters
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The Roosters won easily last week but this game should test them. I never know what will happen when we play the Dragons. As I said last week, it depends on what Dragons side runs out. The Roosters are very short in the markets and the ratings have them romping in but I’m not that sure. The Dragons’ attack last week wasn’t all that flash so I’m hoping it’s the same this week. Roosters by 8. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Raiders vs. Knights @ GIO Stadium
Probability @ 40-60
Ladder Position = Knights
Bookies Favourite = Knights

Both sides are struggling a bit. Looking at last week, I notice the Raiders lost by 10 to the top side whereas the Knights won by 8 against the bottom side. The Knights do have KP coming back which will be a huge (?) boost you would think. This could be a close one but I have a feeling the home crowd may help. Raiders by 4.

Bye: Dolphins.

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

You’ll recognize the voice instantly. It all started here for him. Still a great song, even after 53 years!

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

manyana's picture

Hi Thinker, I had some problems logging into your site today. Possibly the settings on my computer. (Will check). After my performance last week, it probably wouldn't have mattered too much anyway!!
I think that my licence to tip might be taken away if I'm that bad again this week 🤔 . Anyway, keep on keeping on is my motto. Good luck to everyone this week. Cheers, manyana. 😃😃

The Thinker's picture

Hi Manyana

Thanks for letting me know.

I can see your tips are sitting there - so you must have found a way through the chaos somehow.

Best of luck this round.

The Thinker

MGM's picture

Hi Newbie,
I like "Ashley Clown" ... I'll adopt that one if you don't mind .

Back in round 14 Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski had a bit of a howler and Thinker and I agreed that Richard (Dikky) Try-Hard was a better (and easier to remember) name for him... RTH for short.
He definitely earned that one!

So good luck on Sunday mate :)

Where Eagles Dare's picture

Hi Thinker

I missed the first game, but you please add my tips from here?

Wally Lewis's picture

Titans, and he even got the margin right.
Nice tipping The Thinker.

MGM's picture

@ Newbie & Thinker
Just watched Cowboys v Eagles
Let's not forget "Tosser" Smith !
Forward passes , off-sides , in front of the kickers and sooo much more!

MGM's picture

What's the point of putting numbers on jersies ?!!
Turbo was assigned No.3 which tells us he's playing inside No.2 (Jason Saab). ... but he plays the No.4 position inside Tommy Talau on the left.
This happens ALL the TIME with Nos 2 3 4 & 5 and REALLY stuffs up my bets and multis just as it did tonight !!
Anyone else upset by this sh!t ?

The Thinker's picture


The ruling of a forward pass to Nanai certainly cost me. Wasn't happy with that one bit.

And I don't think Turbo did enough to get a Blues call-up.

All the best 

The Thinker

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