NRL Round 5 tips and predictionsPosted on 03/04 by Joe Gann
As the pre-season favourites toil, the unbeaten Dragons and Warriors lead the way heading into Round 5
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listRaiders v Bulldogs
The Sea Eagles are the latest team to heap more misery on the Raiders with their 32-16 win at Brookvale. Despite starting the game well, Ricky Stuart’s men were overrun in a devastating first half spell that saw the Silvertails rack up four tries in 12 minutes. ‘Soft’ is a recurring word boss Ricky Stuart used to describe his side’s performances to date; a bleak period that has already dented their play-off hopes. Losing in controversial fashion to the Rabbitohs in the Good Friday clash, the Bulldogs’ woes were multiplied by injuries to Moses M’bye, who was sent for a precautionary scan on a jaw injury following a sickening head clash, and prop Aiden Tolman who is facing a couple of months on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Just the Raiders and Eels, who have both drawn blanks so far, are propping up the Bulldogs at the foot of the ladder.
Prediction - Raiders
Sharks v Roosters
The Sharks’ battling win over the Premiers was achieved without off-season recruits Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan and sees Shane Flanagan’s side climb into eighth spot after a slow start to the year. The Roosters sustained another shock loss to the Warriors last time out, just as it has appeared that their season was gaining traction. On paper, the opening set of fixtures shouldn’t have proved to be too taxing for the Tricolours but a 2-2 record suggests that they are yet to live up to the pre-season hype.
Prediction - Sharks
Dragons v Rabbitohs
In a week in which the Storm, Cowboys and Roosters dropped points, the Dragons’ blistering start to the campaign continued with an impressive victory over the Knights. Opening with four straight wins for the first time in club history, the Red V are showcasing their legitimate title-winning credentials at this early stage – they could be the real deal this year. Back to back wins for the Rabbitohs now, who managed to eek out a win against old foes the Bulldogs in their Good Friday clash, as Anthony Seibold’s men continue their steady progress in 2018.
Prediction - Dragons
Tigers v Storm
The Storm seem to be suffering as much as anyone from the refereeing clampdown, with a high penalty count a contentious talking point in all their games so far. The post-Cronk era has gotten off to a rocky start as the Premiers show no signs of being the dominant outfit of last year. Cameron Smith received a career first sin-binning in the 14-4 loss to the Sharks - encapsulating their current frustrations on the back of a 2-2 start. The Tigers will be looking for a repeat of their round 2 upset here buoyed by another excellent win, this time over the struggling Eels. With Benji Marshall in the form of his life, coach Ivan Cleary has a big decision to make with the imminent return to action of marquee signing Josh Reynolds.
Prediction - Storm
Warriors v Cowboys
A sensational start for the Warriors, particularly given the fact that they have faced three away games in the opening month. Not even the absence of Shaun Johnson was enough to derail Stephen Kearney’s men at the weekend; their convincing victory over the Roosters was all the more impressive by the consistency shown throughout the 80 minutes with Blake Green taking charge of playmaking duties magnificently. Back on home soil this week, they will be a tough nut to crack for an out of sorts Cowboys side who surprisingly preside over a 1-3 record following last week’s home defeat at the hands of the Panthers. The machine is spluttering at present with Paul Green’s side displaying a soft underbelly for the second week in a row following the third round loss in Melbourne. The loss of Jordan McClean for up to 12 weeks with a foot injury has added further problems for North Queenslanders who have a difficult task ahead of them against the high-flying Kiwis this week.
Prediction - Warriors
Knights v Broncos
The luckless Tautau Moga’s season is over having sustained a shattering fourth ACL injury of his short career and coach Nathan Brown has admitted that he may be forced to scour the market for a replacement. Having been outplayed by the Dragons in Round 4, the Knights may fancy their chances here against a Broncos side that were abysmal in their loss to the Titans last time out. Their sluggish start to the match was punished by a fired up Gold Coast outfit who took full advantage of their Queensland neighbours’ lethargy to record a famous victory.
Prediction – Knights
Titans v Sea Eagles
Titans winger Philip Sami was the star of the show in his side’s 26-14 win over the Broncos. Making just his eighth NRL appearance, he notched a hat-trick of tries and one assist as the Titans claimed their first win over local neighbours at the Suncorp for 11 years; a terrific response to the previous week’s calamitous display against the Dragons. Tom Trbojevic was instrumental in Manly’s dominant 32-16 win over the Raiders at the weekend with the full-back setting up four tries before crossing the stripe for one of his own. His outstanding performance drew praise from all quarters, a showing that will only intensify the clamour for him to land the NSW No.1 jersey in the upcoming Origin series. The Sea Eagles’ win over the Raiders came at a cost though, with forwards Kelepi Tanginoa and Curtis Sironen set to miss the rest of 2018 with cruciate ligament injuries.
Prediction – Sea Eagles
Eels v Panthers
Despite invoking the wrath of coach Brad Arthur after their most recent loss at the hands of the Tigers, all is not lost just yet for the Eels. Although only 5 teams have ever made it to the finals stage after suffering an opening of 4 consecutive defeats, the Blue and Golds can look to their 2017 campaign as a source of optimism. 2-4 after six rounds last year, they managed to turn things around to the extent that a top four finish was achieved by the season’s end. Nevertheless, this weekend has the feel of a must-win scenario about it for Arthur’s side, who at present do not look up to the task. James Maloney was the catalyst for a dominant Panthers display last time out, inspiring his side to a superb victory in Townsville. Sweeping aside any negativity surrounding the injury to Nathan Cleary, the Mountain Men trounced the hosts and proved that there is life in this team after the loss of their key playmaker. They will be hoping to repeat their opening round success over the Eels and consolidate what has been a fine start for Anthony Griffin’s men.
Prediction – Panthers
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