South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Brisbane Broncos
Thursday May 5 | Accor Stadium | 7.50pm AEST
The Broncos pulled off an upset win (11-4) in this clash earlier in the season and if they can repeat the dose it’ll be their third straight victory. But after taking another big scalp last week when beating the Sharks, they have been hit by injuries to key players Payne Haas and Kurt Capewell. It’s hard to see how they can replace those big men and it’ll give the Rabbitohs a serious opportunity to overpower an under-sized Broncos. However, the Rabbitohs are hit-and-miss this season and still searching for some consistency. They won well last week but they had a huge advantage over a Manly side which had to play a man down for the majority. I can’t take the shorts about the Rabbitohs but they should win.
No suggested bet
Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Friday May 6 | GIO Stadium | 6.00pm AEST
It doesn’t get anymore desperate for the Raiders than this clash with Bulldogs. They’ve lost five straight, including last week’s controversial last-gasp one-point loss to the Warriors. The Bulldogs come off an inspired – and unexpected – win over the Roosters and will be further bolstered by skipper Josh Jackson returning. This is a huge opportunity for the Bulldogs to find the winning momentum they’ve been looking for in recent years. Both sides have some key inclusions, particularly the Raiders who will have no excuses and under intense pressure if they drop this clash against a fellow cellar dweller at home. Past clashes between these two have been tight, which suggests the Bulldogs can be hugely competitive.
Suggested bet: 1u Bulldogs win at $1.90
Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels
Friday May 6 | BlueBet Stadium | 7.55pm AEST
The Panthers are gunning for 22 straight wins at home, and nine straight to open the 2022 season. They were far from at their best last week but still overcame the Titans, while the Eels were comprehensively outplayed by the improving Cowboys side. It’s hard to see the Eels troubling the Panthers, especially given they’ve lost their past four of these clashes, averaging just 6.5 points. Having said that, I see this as a danger game as the Eels simply must respond from last week’s loss, and there were signs in the round eight win that the Panthers were perhaps hitting a flat spot in the early-mid part of the season.
No suggested bet
Manly Sea Eagles vs Wests Tigers
Saturday May 7 | 4 Pines Park | 3.00pm AEST
An interesting clash with the Sea Eagles sitting at 4-4 but continuing to struggle against better sides. They were gallant last week as they played a man down for the majority in the loss to the Rabbitohs. There’s been enough signs that the Sea Eagles are capable of playing the quality of footy that would simply put away a side like the Tigers. Manly has dominated this fixture the past two times they’ve met the Tigers and expect that to continue here. Tom Trbojevic also returns for Manly.
Suggested bet: 2u Manly -14.5 at $1.90
Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday May 7 | BB Print Stadium | 5.30pm AEST
After dropping games unexpectedly to the Dragons and Bulldogs, the Roosters are in desperate need of a victory to steady their season. And with the Roosters winning their past eight against the Titans, there’s no better opportunity to land much-needed points. The Titans have lost their past four and will sit 2-7 if they drop another game here. However, it’s interesting to note the Titans have only fell one point short in the past two encounters with the Roosters. It all hinges on how the Roosters respond to the shock defeats – are they a spent force or ready to regain momentum? There’s some key personnel changes for both sides, with the Titans getting David Fifita back, and the Roosters welcoming Daniel Tupou and Paul Momorovski back to the lineup. I expect the Titans to be competitive but perhaps just fall short.
Suggested bet: 1u Titans +10.5 at $1.90
North Queensland Cowboys vs Newcastle Knights
Saturday May 7 | Queensland Country Bank Stadium | 7.35pm AEST
A tale of two sides here with the Cowboys flying and the Knights in a world of pain. The Cowboys now sit in third spot on the ladder after three straight wins, including last week’s dominant 30-point smashing of the Eels. As for the Knights, losing their last six matches and failing to score a single try in their last two losses to the Eels and Storm. The home side has won the last eight matches between these two and with plenty of the changes for the Knights, and the Cowboys going on unchanged, it’s hard to see that wavering. The Cowboys’ sturdy defence should give them a platform to really put the Knights to the sword.
Suggested bet: 1.5u Cowboys -14.5 at $1.90
Melbourne Storm vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Sunday May 8 | AAMI Park | 2.00pm AEST
Interesting clash here with the Storm relentless winning by big margins the past two weeks, while the Dragons have put together three straight wins. The Dragons have only scored 20 points twice this season, and given the Storm’s rampaging form with the ball in recent weeks, that simply won’t cut it. However, the Dragons strength in recent weeks has been getting into a tussle with their opponents. It makes me cautious to back the Storm with such a hefty minus of nearly four converted tries.
No suggested bet
Cronulla Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors
Sunday May 8 | PointsBet Stadium | 4.05pm AEST
Apart from the last time these two met, it’s been the Sharks who have dominated the Warriors. The Sharks are on the improve in season 2022, but last week’s loss to the Broncos has been cause to cool the thoughts on their standing as a premiership contender. They’ll be keen to bounce back and a Sunday afternoon game at home offers the perfect opportunity. However, the Warriors showed again last week they are an unknown quantity, and their best is capable of at least being competitive against sides like the Sharks. Dale Finucane is a big inclusions for the Sharks, and while the Warriors have some handy players returning, they should return to winning form.
Suggested bet: 1u Sharks -13.5 at $1.90