We put our reputation on the line with predictions for every game in the weekend's NRL action.
Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks @Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7:50pm
Stat Fact: Two of the last three games between these two in Brisbane, the Broncos have won by eight, while two of the past four Cronulla have won by two.
Big Talking Point: Brisbane prop Adam Blair is on the open market after reportedly being told by Brisbane if he could find a secure offer to take it, as they currently have several players on big money contracts and they are trying to free up some cap space. Kiwi international Blair, despite his age, is still an asset to the top four-hunting Brisbane and would be a great player for any side that decides to pick him up. Among the clubs that could use him are Manly with the departure of Brenton Lawrence at the end of the season already confirmed, and Canterbury with rumours swirling about the future of their forward pack.
What Will Happen: A high scoring affair with the likes of James Roberts & Anthony Milford featuring for Brisbane and the likes of Valentine Holmes & James Maloney in for Cronulla.
What Won’t Happen: A repeat 54-0 score line. Last week Brisbane beat their rivals the Gold Coast by the staggering margin. The loss was so bad that the Gold Coast’s owner gave a public criticism of the team. This match will be a lot tougher and Cronulla are a much better team than the Gold Coast. Expect this game to be a hell of a lot closer than Brisbane’s clash last week.
Our Tip: Brisbane by two.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Gold Coast Titans @UOW Jubilee Oval, Saturday 3:00pm
Stat Fact: Cameron McInnes, the St George hooker, has made 963 tackles this season.
Big Talking Point: Reports have recently emerged that Gold Coast head coach Neil Henry is very close to losing the players. One crucial aspect of being a coach is that you have a good relationship with your players so if these reports are true then it is quite damaging to the Gold Coast. Along with this there have been some reports saying that Henry didn’t want the Hayne Plane on the Tourist Strip and strongly disagreed with the club's decision to sign him. Henry reportedly prefers an even balance among his squad in regards to pay. Could this be one of the reasons that his form has been so poor as of late?
What Will Happen: The unpredictable. You can never quite tell what to expect from these sides this season (and not in a good way). But given that all the Gold Coast have recently endured and despite all they are going through at this point in time, expect them to try and to claim an un-expected and much needed win. At the very least they’ll do it for their fans who have stuck by them during the more trying times this season.
What Won’t Happen: St George making the finals. They currently sit a win behind Penrith for eighth spot and a loss here should all but distinguish their finals dreams. The Gold Coast’s season is already over but they won’t let that stop them from doing it to others.
Our Tip: Gold Coast by eight.