NRL Round 12

What happens in Round 12 depends so much on how players come through Origin 1,particularly for Melbourne  and Brisbane  at AAMI Park on Friday. Brisbane has named only Matt Gillett to back up from origin, but even at full strength it would be tough to see the Broncos beating the Storm in Melbourne. The home side will want to put the upset loss to Cronulla behind them and with plenty to play for, should win. Melbourne Storm 13+

South Sydney’s task against Canberra  on Friday night at ANZ Stadium has been made easier by Raiders’ coach David Furner dropping star players Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson for disciplinary reasons. South Sydney  would probably have won regardless, even if Greg Inglis and Dave Taylor are in doubt after Origin. South Sydney Rabbitohs 13+

Newcastle  and Gold Coast  at Hunter Stadium on Saturday is anyone’s guess. Maybe at home and with the chance to win back some faltering fans, the Knights might show some much needed steel. With only Akuila Uate to back up from Origin, Newcastle fares better than the lowly Gold Coast, who have Greg Bird, Nate Myles and Ashley Harrison in the rep gam,e but the Titans will be heartened by the well- deserved win over Canterbury. Should be a close game but maybe the home team. Newcastle Knights 1-12

The Dragons  can probably consider themselves unlucky being beaten in golden point in their last two games but truth is they haven’t been in the best of form. Parramatta has been woeful with one win from ten but the Eels  can play better than they have shown so far. Maybe the Origin players Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin for the Dragons and Jarryd Hayne for the Eels will show the benefit of their time with the other stars. At home, the Dragons should win. St George-Illawarra Dragons 1-12

Manly  has a big commitment to Origin but without their rep stars they still had a comfortable victory over the Roosters last weekend and should earn another two points on Sunday at Penrith. The Panthers  were better last week in Townsville even though beaten but it was against a Cowboys side missing several important players. It will be interesting to see how Michael Jennings and Luke Lewis return to club form after Origin. Watch for a big game from Daly Cherry-Evans for Manly, as he knows he is within a whisker of being in the Maroons’ Origin team. Manly Sea Eagles 13+

A big task for the Cowboys  having to travel to Campbelltown on Sunday to meet the Wests Tigers . With a big commitment from Origin and the terrible news of Tariq Sims season ending injury, the Cowboys could struggle. The Tigers still have lots of improvement but their win over the Warriors after giving up a big start had merit. At home, the Tigers must be favoured but the Cowboys will at least take heart from picking up two points last week without their key players and will be hoping for similar luck this week. Wests Tigers 1-12

Monday night football is at the SFS where old rivals the Sydney Roosters  and Canterbury Bulldogs  clash. Could well be a battle of the coaches here with Brian Smith against Des Hasler. How key players Mitchell Pearce (Roosters) and Josh Morris (Dogs) come through after Origin could be a key and Anthony Minichiello will be looking for a big game in the hope of getting back into the Blues’ squad. Hard match to pick but maybe the Bulldogs given their full week to recover from the win over the Sharks. Canterbury Bulldogs 1-12

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