NRL Round 14

Storm v Tigers - The Storm  and Wests Tigers  on Friday night is very much a toss of the coin given the key players missing because of State of Origin duties. Probably though Melbourne are worst affected given that Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith are such vital players no matter what match they are playing in. The Tigers undoubtedly miss Robbie Farrah but they still have a strong side as shown by their crushing win over hapless Canberra. With Benji Marshall leading the way, the Tigers should be too good. Wests Tigers 1-12  


Newcastle v Canberra - Newcastle  and Canberra  on Saturday is the battle of two sides that at the moment look completely rudderless. Newcastle did come back from 0-24 to get within two points of Brisbane but it was more Brisbane relaxing and once they got serious quickly put on a half century. Canberra was lucky to get zero in its showing against the Wests Tigers so trying to pick a winner here is a raffle. Newcastle without Akuila Uate and the Raiders minus David Shillington makes it even harder. At home maybe the Knights. Newcastle Knights 1-12


Cronulla v Gold Coast - Cronulla  and the Gold Coast  at Toyota Stadium on Sunday is another match where player unavailability is going to be crucial. The Sharks rely heavily on Paul Gallen and Todd Carney as shown by the Eels 23-0 second half last Monday night when injury had Gallen off the field. The Titans have shown a resurgence in past weeks and their win over the Cowboys was full of merit but it could be a different story without Ashley Harrison, Nate Myles and Greg Bird. A toss of the coin. Gold Coast Titans 1-12


Roosters v Broncos - If the Roosters  can’t beat the Broncos  at the SFS on Sunday then they never will. Even though the home side is without Mitchell Pearce, the Broncos minus their Origin stars look a completely different side. Some of the Broncos young players have undoubted talent but against a near full strength side away from home it is a big ask. The Broncos have a good record against the Roosters at this ground but it is hard to see anything but a home ground team win. This should be the best bet of the round. Sydney Roosters 13+


Panthers v Warriors - The Panthers  are at home against the New Zealand Warriors  in Monday night football and they have turned around a poor season with wins over St George-Illawarra and Manly but without Luke Lewis, Michael Jennings and the surprise NSW selection Tim Grant, they should be found wanting against a full strength Warriors. One thing the panthers do have going for them is that coach Ivan Cleary knows the Warriors so well from his time in charge at Auckland. Still, the visitors should win and if they don’t, then their premiership hopes will nosedive. Another game that should be a safe bet. New Zealand Warriors 13+


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