NRL Round 8

Brisbane  should have far too much class for the Gold Coast  on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. The Titans provided a major upset with their well-deserved 26-14 win over Manly and if they can repeat that form will test the Broncos. However Brisbane is stamping itself as one of the best teams in the competition and is getting better every week. Will be competitive early but at home Brisbane will not fall into the trap that caught Manly. Brisbane Broncos 1-12  

One of the season’s most anticipated clashes at ANZ Stadium on Friday night when Manly  takes on Des Hasler’s new side Canterbury . With the off season dramas still sizzling as Manly tries to hold on to Kieran Foran and stop him joining the Dogs, this game will be a beauty. The Sea Eagles are hard to follow with a big win over Penrith and a shock loss to the Gold Coast but Geoff Toovey will have them well prepared for this. Likewise Des Hasler knows everything about the Manly players and would love a win. Will be a blockbuster. Canterbury Bulldogs 1-12

South Sydney  would seem to have a problem with playing at night given that they have lost their three matches under lights this season. That should not be a problem for the Cowboys  at ANZ Stadium given that they rarely play daytime games. This match shapes as a throw of the coin with the Bunnies having been soundly beaten last start in Auckland while the Cowboys were no match for the Storm in Townsville but came back with a thumping win over the Roosters in Darwin. Maybe the more consistent Cowboys will get home narrowly. North Queensland Cowboys 1-12

Canberra’s  hopes of making the finals may well have gone with the season- ending knee injury to Terry Campese. His leadership was such a vital part of the Raiders’ overall game plan. The Green Machine has the advantage of a home game against the Sharks  but Canberra’s real plus during the colder months is playing night football so an afternoon game increases the visitors’ chances. Cronulla has done a fine job this year but there are many still to be convinced that they will last the full distance. Still the Sharks should have Canberra’s measure on Sunday. Cronulla Sharks 13+

The battle of the west at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday when the Eels  host the Wests Tigers . Parramatta put in a better effort against Cronulla and will hope that their confidence has been boosted by that win and particularly the victory over Manly. The Jarryd Hayne experiment at five-eighth in City-Country didn’t work and he will be much more comfortable back in the number one jersey. The Tigers broke their run of five straight defeats against the clawless Panthers but they will need to show that form again to prove that they are on the way back. Wests Tigers 1-12

Monday night football is at Newcastle when the Knights  with Willie Mason in their ranks host Penrith . Stats suggest that the Knights are good things given that their form so far reads LWLWLWL so there should be plenty for the Novacastrians to cheer about this week. Mason can be a major plus if he concentrates on football and does what coach Wayne Bennett requires….he should also realise that it’s his last chance. The Panthers have not scored a point since Round 5 with back to back 0-30 defeats. Interest will be in whether or not they can actually get on the scoreboard….but odds are heavily stacked to the home team. Newcastle Knights 13+

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