The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions, Round 14: Tough week to pick as Origin causes havoc with teams


Apparently there was some non-NRL rugby league game played on Wednesday night. Not much happened judging from the post-match coverage.

Now, back to the premiership. Although not quite, there are only six matches on this week because of the State of Origin schedule again getting in the way of the NRL competition.

Last week’s five-game round was a tipster’s nightmare with four upsets and Parramatta ending their losing streak by beating the Sharks.

Our alleged experts are all in the naughty corner studying their research extra harder this week – AJ Mithen was the best of a very bad bunch with two right last round.

The Round 14 schedule kicks off in Wollongong with an extremely tricky Dragons vs Tigers game and there are a few toss of the coin jobs to follow with Gold Coast hosting Souths, the Cowboys at home to the Warriors, Brisbane taking on the Sharks, Penrith and Manly locking horns and the Easter Monday traditional rivalry featuring 1980s adversaries Canterbury and Parramatta.

Here’s how the experts see Round 14 unfolding.

Stuart Thomas

Dragons, Titans, Cowboys, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Bulldogs

Goodness me, with so many players out injured and Origin also weighing upon teams, who knows what happens in Round 14. The Dragons will beat the Tigers on Friday night, as the visitors begin to consistently show their awful side.

In another tough to pick encounter, the Titans host the Rabbitohs in what is a toss-up. My coin fell the way of the improving Gold Coast but let’s be real, no one actually has a clue what will happen here!

The Cowboys and Warriors appears equally troublesome, yet the backing up North Queenslanders might make all the difference.

The Broncos and Sharks looks a belter, yet what the men from the Shire have dished up recently is as fake as their 2016 premiership. Broncs with ease. The Storm will beat the Knights and the Panthers have decent rest to get on top of the Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon at the foot of the mountains.

Monday sees the Dogs and Eels in a mid-table scrap that will depend a lot on who wins the battle in the halves. If Moses fires, the Eels can string consecutive wins together. If the Dogs can keep up the intensity, they could move into the top eight. It stands to be the match of the round and recent form says the Dogs will win it in golden point.

Clint Gutherson charges into the Cronulla line (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Nick Wasiliev

Dragons, Titans, Cowboys, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Eels

A win. A win?! Concord cleaned out for a win! My Tigers, I’m begging you, please give me something to smile about. But my head says Dragons, even though the heart is having an existential crisis. 

While Cody Walker is a nice return for the Bunnies, I see Gold Coast getting the win here. Despite ragging on them earlier in the season, it turns out I was just too impatient on Des and his side – when they are on form, they look really good. Kieran Foran is a valuable return that will lift the whole side.

I feel oddly similar about the Cowboys considering their out-of-nowhere winning streak. However, I’m writing this before Origin I happens and if shit hits the fan for Todd Payten and his side, the Wahs should be a shot in Townsville. 

Similarly, I feel the same about the Broncos. Though I still feel burned by the Sharks after that god-awful loss to Penrith, there is a good side there. But if the Broncos get most of their Origin stars back, they should have enough to win at home. 

Storm – by a bigger margin than some might suggest. Newcastle have not been travelling well on the road, and after last week’s match at home, this is a step too far. Surely they can score more than two points at least?

I’m not doubting Penrith again, even with stars missing. At home against an admittedly improving Sea Eagles side, they should have more than enough to get the job done. 

Hmmm, now this is a tough one. I think Origin will stretch the Doggies despite the extra rest time, which tips the scales in Parramatta’s favour. But then again, Eels have been hit with some serious injuries. I go Eels – but with no confidence at all! 

Mary Konstantopoulos

Dragons, Titans, Cowboys, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Parramatta

The Dragons were extremely impressive against the Panthers, even without several of their key players. The Tigers are struggling for form and with plenty of injuries. Dragons to welcome back Ben Hunt and win this game.

I’ve been impressed with the way the Titans have improved in recent weeks. I’m tipping them to beat a Bunnies team that is still woefully out of form and for David Fifita to have a huge game and show why Billy Slater should have picked him for State of Origin.

Did the Cowboys finally find their groove against the Roosters? Jason Taumololo seemed to turn back the clock and as usual Scott Drinkwater was involved in everything. I’m tipping an upset with the Cowboys to beat the Warriors.

The Broncos will beat a Sharks team who seem to be really down on confidence and the Storm will beat the Knights.

Penrith rarely lose two games in a row and will be back to the winner’s circle when they beat the Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

The Monday afternoon clash is the most fascinating for the week. Will Burton have a blinder reminding Madge why he should have put him on the bench for State of Origin? Will Mitch Moses have a blinder and force his way into conversations about Game II? Was the Eels last game a once off or are they really back? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I am tipping Parra.

Paul Suttor

Dragons, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Eels

Parental advisory warning: My score last week was below one. Take heed.

The Dragons to beat Wests in Wollongong because they always (not always) win at WIN Stadium.

Souths to continue showing signs of life by knocking over the equally unreliable Titans.

The Cowboys have been more dreadful than not and the Warriors are getting some momentum as well as players back from the casualty ward.

Brisbane should be way too strong for a Sharks side in a mini funk and without Nicho Hynes.

Melbourne could put up a big score on Newcastle while the Panthers can overcome Origin fatigue to beat Manly.

Easter Monday shapes up as the match of the round and it wouldn’t surprise to see Canterbury get up but Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson returning last start against Cronulla made the Eels electric again.

(Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

AJ Mithen

Dragons, Titans, Warriors, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Eels

Origin is done for game one, busted players are going to back up where they can and there’s plenty of guesswork in this week’s tips. Fortunately, I happen to be a phenomenal tipper so ride along with these, kids!

St George Illawarra will grind past the Tigers in a bludger. The Gold Coast likewise against Souths. 

I’m on the Wahs to knock over the Cowboys at home because they’re welcoming back a lot of class and they’re almost back on their feet. Nothing against North Queensland, mind you. 

Broncos over Sharks but not by heaps, Storm over Knights even though Newcastle will make it a bludger, Manly over Penrith because they attack really fast, and the Eels over the Bulldogs because to be honest I need an upset. 

Mike Meehall Wood

Dragons, Titans, Warriors, Broncos, Storm, Panthers, Dogs

Even though they’ve had men in Origin and Wests had the week off, I can’t see past the Dragons at home. They’ll win it.

Neither of Souths or the Titans are great but my suspicion is that the Bunnies are slowly improving while the Gold Coast are slightly better than they look. GCT take it.

The Cowboys were slammed with Origin and can’t tackle, the Warriors can tackle and had nobody play at all. Up the Wahs.

Even without a Reece Walsh, the Bronx will be too good. They’ll beat a Sharks side who still have a whiff of fools gold about them.

Storm are good, Knights aren’t, Melbourne in Melbourne. Easy as that. Manly might give a decent account of themselves against an Origin battered Panthers, especially after Magde gave Jurbo an extended rest. In the interests of reverse psychology I’ll tip Penrith but don’t be surprised if the Sea Eagles do it.

Monday’s game is tight as anything … Parra have their big guns back but I’ll back in the Dogs based on cohesion over time and the extended rest. Dogs to take it in a close one.

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