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FOOTY TIPPING: Tony Durko gives the GT the low down

TONIGHT

 

Broncos v Storm

Suncorp Stadium, 7.45pm

History: Played 37; Storm 24, Broncos 12, drawn 1

Last met: Broncos 14-12, round 15, 2015

ASSURED of second place, the Broncos don't need a stutter against the Storm tonight. But they have been greatly weakened by the loss of Ben Hunt, Alex Glenn and Jordan Kahu and will need to produce the kind of defence from round 15 to maintain their recent momentum. The Storm, with eight wins from their past nine against the Broncos, are still a chance to finish top four if results go their way, and on last week's form, combined with the Broncos' withdrawals, they should win. The clash of the master and the pupil - Cooper Cronk and debutant Ash Taylor - creates an interesting sidelight.

 

TIP - Storm

TOMORROW

 

Roosters v Rabbitohs

Allianz Stadium, 7.45pm

History: Played 211; Rabbitohs 111, Roosters 95, drawn 5

Last met: Rabbitohs 34-26, round 2, 2015

WITHOUT Greg Inglis, John Sutton and Isaac Luke, the premiers are no hope. In fact the Rabbitohs' chances of back-to-back premierships evaporated when they lost Inglis two weeks ago and were thrashed by the Bulldogs, and unless they show more urgency in defence they face the prospect of being bundled out in the first week of the finals. Minus Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Mitchell Pearce last week, the Roosters proved beyond any doubt they are the real deal - this might well be embarrassing for Rabbitohs fans.

 

TIP - Roosters

SATURDAY

 

Panthers v Knights

Pepper Stadium 3.00pm

History: Played 41; Knights 23, Panthers 15, drawn 3

Last met: Knights 26-14, round 4, 2015

WHLE the result has no influence on the finals standings, the winner will at least be buoyed by the fact they have avoided the wooden spoon. But the loser will have to wait two hours for the result of the Dragons-Tigers clash before they know if they have secured sports' most unwanted trophy. On the back of six losses from seven outings, and further ravaged by injury, the Panthers will hope their winning run at home continues against the much-improved Knights, who they have beaten in 12 of their past 15 meetings. But a winning farewell to Knights caretaker coach Danny Buderus looms as the most likely outcome.

 

TIP - Knights

 

Dragons v Tigers

ANZ Stadium, 5.30pm

History: Played 30; Dragons 16, Tigers 14

Last met: Tigers 22-4, round 2, 2015

MATHEMATICALLY at least, the Dragons can still be ousted from the top eight, but the probability of that happening is near zilch. However, after last week's debacle against the Titans they need the resuscitation of a win otherwise they will be cannon fodder in the finals. A scary statistic is their night record in 2015 - they have lost seven on the trot under lights. After an eventful week the Tigers were stunning against the Warriors, but whether that was a one-off remains to be seen. Surely the Dragons will re-boot for this.

 

TIP - Dragons

 

Cowboys v Titans

1300SMILES Stadium 7.30pm

History: Played 15; Titans 8, Cowboys 7

Last met: Cowboys 28-8, round 21, 2014

AS courageous as the Titans have been against insurmountable odds in 2015, this challenge is a bridge too far. Not only will the Cowboys be on the rebound following their very ordinary form in Melbourne last weekend, but their record against the Titans at home is excellent - four from five. The Cowboys have also won seven of their past nine at home, while the Titans have lost five on the trot on the road. The return of James Tamou is a plus for the Cowboys, but Michael Morgan's absence is massive.

 

TIP - Cowboys

SUNDAY

 

Eels v Raiders

Pirtek Stadium 2.00pm

History: Played 50; Eels 25, Raiders 25

Last met: Raiders 33-20, round 26, 2014

BOTH sides have been carefree in recent weeks, and with only pride at stake this could be a real entertainer. Each team is on 22 points and have at times during the season looked finals-bound. Co-incidentally, both have averaged 23.8 points scored against them in 2015, so defence has not been a strong point. Despite having a better record at home than on the road, and five wins from their past six clashes with the Eels, the Raiders should be favourites, but without Blake Austin and Jack Wighton they are vulnerable. The clash of Fijian flyers Semi Radradra and Sisa Waqa shapes as a beauty.

 

TIP - Eels

 

Sharks v Sea Eagles

Remondis Stadium 4.00pm

History: Played 85; Sea Eagles 60, Sharks 23, drawn 2

Last met: Sea Eagles 28-16, round 17, 2015

IF THE Sharks are nervous facing a Sea Eagles side wanting to send their legendary coach out a winner, they should not look at their recent record against their northern cousins. The Sea Eagles have won 11 of their past 12 against Cronulla, and six of seven at Shark Park. But down on troops and on the back of two successive losses that have cost them a finals berth, Manly limps into this clash against a team that can finish top four with a win. Playing too well to be beaten in this, the Sharks deserve their $1.60 favouritism.

 

TIP - Sharks

 

Bulldogs v Warriors

ANZ Stadium, 6.30pm

History: Played 32; Bulldogs 18, Warriors 12, drawn 2

Last met: Bulldogs 16-12, round 10, 2014

WHY the Warriors bothered to fly home after last weekend's debacle against the Tigers is a mystery. Their option was to save the airfare, remain in Sydney and continue the holiday they have been enjoying since Shaun Johnson was injured in round 20. Admittedly they have been hit hard with injury, but their season average of 22 points conceded is a joke considering their star-studded roster. And the Bulldogs - minus Trent Hodkinson - remain an outside chance of a top-four finish, so will show no mercy.

 

TIP - Bulldogs

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