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NRL Round 2 tips and predictions

Posted on 12/03 by Joe Gann

NRL Round 2 tips and predictions
The Warriors, Titans and Tigers were the big winners in week one, can they build on an excellent start?

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Sharks v Dragons

Luckless debutant Sione Katon sustained a double jaw fracture in Friday night’s loss to the Cowboys and with Gerard Beale and Luke Lewis still on the casualty list, it may be a while before the Sharks are able to call upon a full-strength roster. Ben Hunt made an immediate impact as a marauding Dragons made short work of his former club the Broncos on opening night, running out 34-12 winners. The newly assembled spine of Hunt, Gareth Widdop, Cameron McInnes and Matt Dufty clicked straight away, and the signs are there for a promising campaign for the Red V.

Prediction: Dragons $2.15

Roosters v Bulldogs

Having looked on course to record an opening day win over the Tigers, the title favourites were stunned by a late comeback that saw Ivan Cleary’s men snatch a 10-8 win, courtesy of Corey Thompson’s converted try. They face another stern test this week against old rivals the Bulldogs who looked a team transformed from their mediocre 2017 incarnation in their defeat to the Storm in Perth.

Prediction - Roosters $1.33

Broncos v Cowboys

After finding themselves on the wrong end of an opening day rout, the last team that Wayne Bennett’s men would fancy playing this week would be their Queensland rivals. Throwing up some memorable encounters over recent times, there’s no reason why this clash should be any different. The Cowboys started with a scrappy win over the Sharks, and the Broncos, playing catch-up, will start as outsiders despite the Suncorp advantage. Neutrals will be hoping for a repeat of last year’s Round 2 classic in which the Cowboys sneaked home 20-21.

Prediction – Cowboys $1.55

Warriors v Titans

Having finished 2017 with a miserable run of 9 consecutive defeats, the Warriors opened the new campaign in the best possible manner with a comfortable 20-32 win over the Rabbitohs – their first win in Perth in 10 attempts. They will be confident of securing a second victory in front of their long-suffering fans in Auckland this week. The Titans produced a record-breaking comeback victory over the Raiders on Sunday, triumphing 30-28 in a thriller at Robina Stadium. 18 points down after 11 minutes of play, the Gold Coast mustered up an incredible effort to fight their way back, highlighting a strong sense of self-belief within the squad. The 80 minutes summed up the best and worst of this side, if they can eradicate the inconsistencies, the Titans could be a force this year.

Prediction - $1.35

Panthers v Rabbitohs

After a slow start against Parramatta, the Panthers had looked to be heading towards a hiding in the opening 30 minutes at Pepper Stadium. However, a second-half masterclass that rendered the Eels scoreless provided coach Anthony Griffin with a much needed shot in the arm following speculation about his future. The 22-14 win over their local rivals sets them up nicely for Round 2. The Rabbitohs will be hoping to recreate their 20-21 victory from last season’s Round 6 fixture, but they will need to perform better than they did against the Warriors in Perth where the Bunnies were on the receiving end of one of the more surprising results of the opening round.

Prediction - Panthers $1.45

Storm v Tigers

With Billy Slater on the sidelines, Storm was forced to deploy Cameron Munster to full-back, and the young Queenslander shrugged off his pre-season dramas to inspire his side to a 36-18 victory over the Bulldogs. Despite missing four internationals from last year’s Grand Final-winning squad, the Premiers took up where they left off last season to seal their 14th consecutive win. The Tigers pulled off the shock of week one with their sensational late comeback win against the Roosters, despite Josh Reynolds' late withdrawal after sustaining a hamstring injury on the eve of the game. The new man isn’t expected back in action until Round 5, but Benji Marshall slotted in superbly in his absence to seal a dream return to the club.

Prediction – Storm $1.22

Sea Eagles v Eels

A heartbreaking golden point loss to the Knights will have dampened spirits at Brookvale, in a game saw that the Sea Eagles fail to take the opportunities that came their way. They face a Parramatta side this week who let a 14-point lead slip against the Panthers to fall to a disappointing 22-14 defeat; they will be keen to make amends against a Manly side who are also looking for their first competition points of the year here.

Prediction – Eels $2.15

Raiders v Knights

Ricky Stuart’s men seemed to be cruising on the Gold Coast before a shocking capitulation saw the Vikings throw away an 18 -point lead. Canberra’s habit of losing tight games in 2017 proved to be their downfall, and 2018 has started in the same manner - it is a flaw that needs to be rectified quickly. The first round of the new campaign was dominated by the match-winning exploits of new signings, and the Knights had their star recruit, Mitchell Pearce, to thank as his golden point winner sunk the Sea Eagles. However, it was a man of the match performance from Kalyn Ponga that fuelled the victory with an eye-catching display as the new-look Knights started with a valuable win.

Prediction – Raiders $1.65

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