NRL Round 17

The Broncos  and Sharks  is a toss of the coin game given the commitments of both sides to State of Origin 3. Cronulla without Paul Gallen and Todd Carney don’t have anywhere near the firepower that has made them the most improved side of the season but the Broncos side bears little resemblance to the team that is a premiership contender. The home ground advantage favours Brisbane but most sides lift to play at Suncorp Stadium so the Broncos’ advantage can often be nullified. Anyone’s game, with maybe a slight leaning to the Sharks. Cronulla Sharks 1-12

Newcastle  produced its best win of the season coming from 0-14 down to beat the Wests Tigers last Monday night and a repeat of that showing should see them win against Parramatta  at Parra Stadium on Saturday night. Parra will miss Jarryd Hayne and while the Knights will be without their best player last week, Darius Boyd they still have Akuila Uate in their line up after his axing from the Blues’ side. Neither side has been able to put good showings together on a back to back basis but maybe the Knights will buck that trend. Newcastle Knights 1-12

The New Zealand Warriors  need the two points at home against the Cowboys  on Sunday and if they don’t win then they don’t deserve to break into the top eight. North Queensland is hard hit by Origin selections and a win at Mount Smart Stadium would be a great bonus for Neil Henry’s men but it is hard to see anything but a home victory. The Warriors have the bonus of hooker Nathan Fien returning from injury while centre Konrad Hurrell is in great form with seven tries in his last five games. New Zealand Warriors 1-12

South Sydney  will be without Greg Inglis and David Taylor who are with the Queensland side but still should win against lowly Penrith  at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. Penrith has been hugely disappointing this season but still lose Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis and Tim Grant to the Blues. There has to be trouble at the foot of the Blue Mountains when Michael Jennings is again likely to be back in the NSW Cup after the Origin decider. South Sydney were beaten by Brisbane but not disgraced. This is a game that the Bunnies need to win for their finals’ hopes. South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12

Monday night football is at Canberra Stadium and although cold nights in the national capital normally favour the Raiders , St George-Illawarra  should win. The Raiders have won only two of the six games that they have played at home this year and have been hit by injury to another key player, this time fullback Josh Dugan. The Dragons were far from convincing in their narrow win over the Gold Coast but they desperately need the two points to stay in touch with the top eight. St George-Illawarra 1-12

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