Keen to get this weekend of footy started after Collingwood’s disappointing loss last night. Like really. Really.
SolSat’s predictions from round nine: 5 out of 8 (62.5%)
Friday May 16, 2014
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Melbourne Storm @ ANZ Stadium
Kicking off this week’s footy is the Bunnies and the Storm at ANZ. Both teams are coming off wins last week; the Bunnies soundly defeated the Titans while the Storm won a nailbiter against Manly. The Bunnies side remains unchanged with an extended bench while Joel Romelo starts as five-eighth due to suspension.
SolSat’s prediction: Melbourne Storm
Both of these finals footy teams have been utterly disappointing this season so this prediction was based on the “lesser of two evils” really. The Bunnies have only started to come back into form while the Storm have been up-and-down. Either way, I’ll be in attendance tonight so I hope this one’s phenom.
Brisbane Broncos vs. Gold Coast Titans @ Suncorp Stadium
After the Broncos’ disappointing loss in the Queensland derby last week, they run into the local Queensland derby against the Titans at Suncorp. The Titans were the unfortunate victims of the Bunnies last week and look to regain the form that kept them on the top of the ladder. Ben Hannant returns to the bench for the Bronx while the Titans face several changes, notably Bird’s absence due to suspension.
SolSat’s prediction: Brisbane Broncos
I know the Broncos don’t lack the fire or passion to win so there’s got to be something else hindering them recently. The Titans have just been scraping past with their victories and I think that even though this one will be very close, the Broncos will come out on top.
Saturday May 17, 2014
Parramatta Eels vs. St. George Illawarra Dragons @ Pirtek Stadium
The Eels will look to use their second straight home field advantage against the Dragons on Saturday after a decisive home victory over the Sharkies last week. The Dragons were hammered by the Doggies last week and will hope to turn their luck around. Joe Paulo starts for the Eels while Nightingale starts on the wing for the Dragons. Code hopper Benji Marshall will make his Dragons debut.
SolSat’s prediction: Parramatta Eels
Coming from someone who thought the Eels were a massive joke last season, I have now been turned into a firm believer of the Eels and wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final 8. I predict a solid win for the Eels over the Saints in this one.
Cronulla Sharks vs. West Tigers @ Remondis Stadium
The Sharks are in desperate need of a win if they even want a glimmer of a shot at the finals. The Tigers started off on fire but that fire has simmered after a flogging at the hands of the Chookies last week. Gibbs and Tagataese start in the front row for the Sharks while Anasta and Farah return for the Tigers.
SolSat’s prediction: West Tigers
Anasta and Farah’s returns for the Tigers will definitely be the boost that they need to defeat the Sharks on Saturday. The Sharks need to re-discover what made them special but it might be too little too late for the Shire team.
North Queensland Cowboys vs. Sydney Roosters @ 1300 SMILES Stadium
At my favouritest named stadium ever, the Cowboys host the premiers with both teams coming off wins over the Broncos and the Tigers respectively. Antonio Winterstein, Ray Thompson and Tariq Sims return from injury for the Cowboys while the Roosters face a dramatic change with Maloney shifting to halfback and SBW of all people playing five-eighth.
SolSat’s prediction: Sydney Roosters
Regardless of the interesting dynamic with Maloney and SBW (I’m sure Maloney would love being that close to him), I think the Roosters will have a clean, decisive win over the Cowboys who continue to be the most wroughted team of the league regarding the refs shit calls.
Sunday May 18, 2014
Canberra Raiders vs. Penrith Panthers @ GIO Stadium
The Raiders are having possibly the worst season the Raiders have ever had while the Panthers have proven the doubters wrong with solid victories. Ricky Stuart has made a number of changes to the Raiders side to ensure victory while McKendry starts for the concussed Plum on the Panthers.
SolSat’s prediction: Penrith Panthers
The Panthers are also another favourite to fit comfortably in finals footy this year after having a good headstart. The Raiders haven’t convinced me that they’re in it to win it so I’m going with a comfortable Panthers victory here.
Canterbury Bulldogs vs. New Zealand Warriors @ Waikato Stadium
The Bulldogs have been firing on all cylinders with their definitive winning streak for the past several weeks. The Warriors have had an up-and-down and look to upset the Bulldogs on home turf. Both teams remain unchanged after both were victorious last week.
SolSat’s prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs
I want what the Doggies are drinking. But in all seriousness, they are the team to beat this season. Not the Eagles, not the Storm. The Doggies are the ones to watch and are proving to be serious final contenders. Solid win for the Doggies here.
Monday May 19, 2014
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs. Newcastle Knights
The Eagles are coming off a quite controversial loss to the Storm last week while the Knights were the recipients of a 22-point flogging from the Panthers. The Sea Eagles get an 18th man while Willie Mason and Korbin Sims return for the Knights, giving them a much needed boost in confidence.
SolSat’s prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
I would heavily prefer the Knights to win because I genuinely like the side, however I think Eagles have got this one. After a rough week last week, they will be looking to regain their confidence and will do so at the expense of the Knights.
A couple of hours until the Bunnies-Storm game. Here’s to solid footy!
– by Noah La’ulu