Round fourteen selections

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers – Friday night – WIN Stadium

The Dragons might be without their Origin players (Hunt, Lomax, Su'A) on Friday night, but they were without them last week and they still beat the Panthers in Penrith. Here they face a team on an 8-game losing streak that are struggling to keep a first grade roster on the park. Olam returns on Friday night, but Klemmer and Papali'i won't be. It's rare to feel confident about a Dragons victory, but this game has an inevitable feeling about it.

Verdict – Dragons by 14

Result – Dragons 56 defeated Tigers 14

Gold Coast Titans vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Saturday afternoon – CBus Super Stadium

The Gold Coast are undeniably competitive - they've won three of their last seven and in all seven matches the biggest margin at full time was four points. Four of those games were against top eight sides, so they're a proper team. With Foran, Sami and Jojo Fifita returning to the starting thirteen on Saturday they should improve further. Signs of life for the Bunnies too, notching up their second win of the year in round 12 over a depeleted Parramatta. Getting Wighton more involved in the halves seemed to work, and he's joined by Cody Walker on the weekend. A spine of Mitchell, Wighton, Walker and Cook reads like a premiership contender, but they're a long way from that. They could win this and not surprise me, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the Bunnies are more excited about spend a relaxing weekend on the Gold Coast away from a cold, wet Sydney.

Verdict – Titans by 4 or less

Result – Rabbitohs 46 defeated Titans 12

North Queensland Cowboys vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium

The Cowboys have named all six of their Origin stars on an extended reserves bench, so we will have to watch and wait for team news on that front. They will definitely be missing Jake Granville who, at 35 years of age, played for 72 minutes at hooker with a torn bicep last Sunday. The people of Townsville should name a suburb after the bloke...Granville Heights perhaps. The Warriors have a list of returning first graders as long as your arm. One of them was potentially Shaun Johnson, but it looks like he will miss one more week. They do welcome back Fonua-Blake, Nicoll-Klokstad, Harris, Egan, Berry and Capewell. It's a fair list, and given the uncertainties around the Cowboys line-up I'll be tipping the Warriors in an upset.

Verdict – Warriors by 2

Result – Warriors 42 defeated Cowboys 12

Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday night – Suncorp Stadium

Kevin Walters wasn't pleased with the Broncos loss to the Titans in round 12, and has been reminding them at training ever since. Some of his Origin players may back up for this, but Reece Walsh won't be one of them. Kotoni Staggs returns on Saturday, and I'm expecting Tristan Sailor will end up playing fullback. The Sharks are resting Nicho Hynes but McInnes has been named after a big game on Wednesday. He made 41 tackles in 48 minutes, and only missed one. Fair debut in a losing side. I've been questioning the Sharks credentials all season (some would say a decade) until about 2 weeks ago when I admitted they might actually be a proper football team. Since then, they've been a diabolical train wreck. That's the thanks I get for finally believing in them. A team that has conceded 106 points in their last three games is likely to struggle against a Broncos backline that knows how to find the tryline. Total points overs in this contest I'd recommend.

Verdict – Broncos by 10

Result – Sharks 22 defeated Broncos 12

Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday afternoon – AAMI Park

Many have been predicting the fall of the Melbourne Storm since Greg Inglis left in 2011. They haven't missed a finals series since, they've finished outside the top four twice, and won five minor premierships. This week they quietly slipped into first place on the NRL ladder with next to no fanfare. It's just the Melbourne Storm doing what the Melbourne Storm does. It's worth noting they are the only team in the top eight that have already had both their byes for the year (and some clubs haven't even had one yet). In any case, they're number one, and they're back at home with just one player backing up from Origin duty. Harry Grant only played 38 minutes on Wednesday night, so you'd expect him to back up on Sunday. The Knights really struggled in attack last week - an unusual game where they made 56 tackle breaks but couldn't score a try. This is even harder, so it's not easy to make a case for a Knights victory.

Verdict – Storm by 10

Result – Storm 36 defeated Knights 28

Penrith Panthers vs Manly Sea Eagles – Sunday afternoon – BlueBet Stadium

The Manly Sea Eagles have almost as many players backing up from Origin as the Panthers. Additionally, Manly provide both Origin captains, which is unusual and possibly a first (give me time to delve into that and work it out). All seven Origin players have been named to start. Manly did beat Penrith in round five (32-18) but their record away from home is a concern. Just the two wins away from Brookvale this season - one of those was a neutral ground and the other was a four point win over the Gold Coast. Penrith suffered their first loss at home this season last week, but they were missing most of their best, and I expect them to atone on Sunday.

Verdict – Panthers by 4

Result – Panthers 32 defeated Sea Eagles 22

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels – Monday afternoon – Accor Stadium

Seemingly out of nowhere, this game bobs up and it looks like the game of the round. If Sydney can offer up an hour or two of decent weather they should even get a bumper crowd for the Kings Birthday clash. The Eels, who quickly despatched a much-loved coach a few weeks ago, are playing good footy again. Not so much because the coach has changed, but because two of their most important players in two of the most important positions have returned from injury. Who would have thought it? Moses will be keen to show his hand and impress the NSW selectors (who may have already made that decision), and they need to string some wins together if they want to play finals football this year. They could, and they probably should, but one game at a time. Burton and Crichton return to a Bulldogs side that impressed last week. Addo-Carr scored a pair before succumbing to another unfortunate injury. It was some time ago, but I'll use the round one clash between these sides as my guide, where the Eels won fairly comfortably. The Bulldogs have definitely improved since then, and they won't be far away, but I'm with the Eels in a game that's worthy of your attention.

Verdict – Eels by 2

Result – Bulldogs 22 defeated Eels 18

Wally Lewis - round fourteen selections (in bold)

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

  • DRAGONS vs Tigers
  • TITANS vs Rabbitohs
  • COWBOYS vs Warriors
  • BRONCOS vs Sharks
  • STORM vs Knights
  • PANTHERS vs Sea Eagles
  • Bulldogs vs EELS


a's picture

It won’t be hard for you to update the ladder lol

bradapple's picture

I can't remember a round like that in a while, would have really disrupted the a game 🤔 😳

The Thinker's picture

The NRL ladder is nutso right now. The team with the best points differential is in 8th place, and they've got the best differential by a mile. The team with the third best differential is in 9th.

I should have the tipping comp updated later today, along with my preview of the State of Origin game on Wednesday night.

All the best

The Thinker

The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the tipping comp after round 13. As 'a' has pointed out, it didn't take me as long as it usually does. The good news is that if you got the dreaded 'duck egg' you had plenty of company. Congrats to our three tipsters who managed to do better than 1 from 5 - lillychino, Bronco Legend and Scotty Seahawk who top-scored with two from five. 

I'll have my State of Origin preview published tomorrow and my previews and selections for round 14 after the Origin on Wednesday.

As always, if anyone notices any issues with the scoring just let me know.

All the best

The Thinker

newbie from perth's picture

Hey Frens,

I suppose I should wait to see if there’s any “fallout” from tonight’s Origin game but don’t think whatever it is (or isn’t) will make much difference to my picks so may as well post now before the game starts.

Round 13 (last week) definitely proved “unlucky” for my tipping. I should’ve listened to my mate. Every time there’s a SOO on he goes the “opposite” in his tips. His reasoning is that missing players gives the underdogs a better chance of winning. Well, as it turned out he got 5/5 last week. Me? All I got was an embarrassing 1/5. It’s a funny ol’ game isn’t it?

Have a happy King’s Birthday on Monday peeps. WA and Qld will have to keep the nation running I suppose 😂. OK, let’s do this thing …

Dragons vs. Tigers @ WIN
Probability @ 65-35
Ladder Position = Dragons
Bookies Favourite = Dragons

The Dragons come into this after a great win last week (knocking off the Panthers) and the Tigers come into this rested after the bye. Not a whole lot of confidence between these two but the Dragons are the better side. Dragons by 8

Titans vs. Rabbitohs @ Cbus
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Titans
Bookies Favourite = Titans

The Rabbitohs are a train wreck which is hard to fathom considering the quality players they have. That reason and that reason alone is steering me towards the Titans here. Titans by 6

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

The Cowboys were fantastic last week when they knocked off my Roosters. Never saw that one coming I can tell you. Yeah, they’re at home and head the ratings and are favourites but the Warriors (in my head anyways) are a real chance here. The way the Warriors won their last two shouts toughness and desire. They’ll be fresh whereas the Cowboys may have some tired Origin guys running around. I’m going against the grain here. Warriors by 4

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

The Broncos will be fresh and are at home to a Sharks outfit who seem to have fallen into a heap lately. I know the Broncos got beat by the Titans a fortnight ago but with the class they have, I expect them to bounce back and continue the pain for the Sharks. Broncos by 6

Storm vs. Knights @ AAMI
Probability @ 70-30
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

There’s a definite class difference here in this one. Based on what the Knights dished up last week against the Bulldogs, they have almost zero chance here. Storm by 12

Panthers vs. Manly @ BlueBet
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

This might be an interesting one on Sunday. My head is telling me this could go either way. I suppose it all depends on how the Origin players front up. Not sure but taking into account the Panthers class and being at home, I might “play safe” in this one. Panthers by 4

Bulldogs vs. Eels @ Accor
Probability @ 45-55
Ladder Position = Bulldogs
Bookies Favourite = Eels

What a difference Gutho and Moses made last week eh? One week they’re rabble, and the next they’re world beaters. The Bulldogs I’ve seen lately are certainly capable enough but not sure if they’ll be able to handle a reinvigorated Eels side. Are the Eels ready to make a run half way through the season? Dunno, maybe. What the hell, Eels by 4

Bye: Dolphins, Raiders & Roosters

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

Another beautiful song from the archives. These guys proved they could still do it without Lionel. Classic stuff…

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

Chook_Dan's picture

Hi thinker. Missed my first tip.

Could I tip souths, broncos, cowboys, storm, panthers, bulldogs.

MGM's picture

Justin Olam was a much smarter player when he played for a much smarter team !

MGM's picture

Referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adams sends Townsend and Harris-Tavita to the bin for NOTHING and a few minutes later stops a Cowboys run by accusing Val Holmes of a shoulder charge that WASN'T , in what seems to be an attempt to make a name for himself in the NRL.
I think you have succeeded Ziggy and it will be a much easier name to remember than your given name .... it starts with D and ends with Head!!

MGM's picture

KellysLoot (Eels) has a one game shoot-out with
TRIIPIN_C and angel_eyes_nz (Bulldogs) for a
perfect round this week !

The Thinker's picture


I've added your tips in for you now.

All the best

The Thinker

The Thinker's picture


It wasn't his best.

He definitely means well - I think he's trying too hard.

All the best

The Thinker

MGM's picture

Hmmm , I think you Think I'm being too harsh, so out of respect for you, let's tone down the name he's made for himself ...
Richard Try-Hard ... Dikky instead of Ziggy.
Locked in , as I suspect this is not the last we've heard from him.
(did you notice I left him with a three barrelled moniker ... another tell-tale sign of the category of our species I still Think he belongs to!)

The Thinker's picture


RTH it is :-)

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