NRL Round 4 Preview

The Eels  have a chance to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd against the Panthers  on Friday night. Although the club says that coach Stephen Kearney’s position is safe, too many more woeful efforts like the one in Townsville will have him under extreme pressure. Penrith got off to a horror start against South Sydney and never really recovered but unless there is a major turnaround, the Panthers should come away with a win in the western derby. Penrith Panthers 1-12

South Sydney  takes its home game against Brisbane  to Perth on Friday night hoping for a repeat of last season where a torrential downpour just before kick-off made the game a toss-up and the penny fell the right way for the Bunnies. The Broncos were tradesman like in the win over Newcastle with defence the big plus. The Rabbitohs got off to a dream start against Penrith and capitalised on the great form of Dave Taylor and fullback Greg Inglis. If the two Queensland Origin stars fire again this week, Souths could make it back to back wins. South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12

The New Zealand Warriors  will be anxious to get back into the winner’s circle against the troubled Gold Coast  at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday. They had their chance against Canterbury after coming back from a 0-16 deficit but let things slip. They have the size and ability but must play for 80 minutes. The Gold Coast players have to be somewhat worried by the off-field financial dramas and will start as decided underdogs. Plenty of upsets so far this year, but this shouldn’t be another one. New Zealand Warriors 13+

Cronulla  did a sterling job to beat Manly on Monday night in the wet but how much did it take out of them? The Sharks face another heavy track in Townsville against the Cowboys  who have come back from the poor start in the opening round to beat both the Broncos and Eels. With Matt Bowen and Jonathon Thurston again leading the way, the Cowboys will start favourites. It’s been a bad week in Townsville with flooding rains and a mini-tornado ripping through some suburbs, so the fans want some good news and their Cowboys should be the vehicle. North Queensland Cowboys 1-12

St George-Illawarra  has the chance to inflict a second straight defeat on premiers Manly  at Kogarah on Saturday evening. The Dragons were impressive in their 36-12 drubbing of the Wests Tigers and that win will be a real confidence booster given that the Tigers were pre-season premiership favourites. Manly are greatly weakened by the injuries to Steve Matai and Glenn Stewart as well as the lengthy suspension of powerhouse Tony Williams. Manly will still be coming to grips with their defeat at Toyota Stadium last Monday night when they run out against the red and whites. St George-Illawarra Dragons 1-12

Melbourne  will continue on its winning way against the Roosters at home on Sunday. The Roosters  have had two wins from three but few see them as a side capable of finishing near the top of the table. The win over Canberra was scrappy and injuries had the Raiders short of numbers. Melbourne can dazzle and the brilliant Billy Slater is unstoppable with many good judges claiming him the greatest fullback in the game’s history. The Roosters are about to meet some real opposition and will be plucked. Melbourne Storm 13+

The Canterbury Bulldogs  should make it four from four against Newcastle  at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. The Dogs are looking good and are responding to the coaching of Des Hasler. The coach would not have been happy about letting the Warriors back into the game in Auckland but like good sides, the Dogs steadied and won easily. The Knights were poor against Brisbane and they desperately need some on field direction with captain Kurt Gidley sidelined. Maybe the earlier than expected return from injury this week of five-eighth Tyrone Roberts will be a help. Canterbury 13+

Statistics say that the Wests Tigers  will smash the Canberra Raiders  at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday night. Last year the Raiders conceded 83 points in the two games against the Tigers while Benji Marshall has played in ten games against the green machine for ten wins. Canberra was decimated by injury in last week’s loss to the Roosters and without the attacking brilliance of fullback Josh Dugan looked rather pedestrian. The Tigers have been somewhat disappointing so far this year but here is the chance for a big win. Wests Tigers 13+

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