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Lift off! How your NRL team will fare in round 3

BRONCOS V EELS

Suncorp Stadium, Thursday 7.50pm

Riccio says: This will be tight with Parra's back five the difference. The Eels will need to better given they are up in class compared to their first two rounds against the Dogs and Titans, where they were OK without being special.

Carayannis says: I've got the Eels as my premiership winners so I have to back them. They've been gifted an easier draw than most but have a real test against the Broncos. It's a huge game for Parramatta because they'll spend the next five games at home. It is their first genuine test of the season after beating Gold Coast and Canterbury.

 

This will be a huge test for Parramatta’s determination. Photo: Scott Davis/NRL Photos
This will be a huge test for Parramatta’s determination. Photo: Scott Davis/NRL Photos

 

COWBOYS V TITANS

Qld Country Bank Stadium, Friday 6pm

Riccio says: Cowboys will win by 10-plus even without injured skipper Michael Morgan. Their superior forward pack and talent on the edges will be too much for a Titans side that clocked off after 55 minutes in the opening two rounds.

Carayannis says: The break would've done Val Holmes wonders. He showed glimpses of quality in the opening two games. Even without Morgan, they'll have too much class for the hapless Titans, who will battle the Warriors for the spoon.

 

ROOSTERS V RABBITOHS

Bankwest Stadium, Friday 7.55pm

Riccio says: Leaning towards the Roosters - just. Souths could easily be winless like their rivals here are after scraping home against the Sharks in round one and losing to Brisbane. The battle of the halves is where this will be won and I'm going with Luke Keary to land the points.

Carayannis says: Ridiculous to think any round-three match is a "must-win" but it shapes as a very important game for the Roosters' top-four aspirations. They haven't won a game yet, the season is shorter and they have one of the toughest draws. I think the Roosters will win but I cannot wait for this one.

 

The Roosters face a serious test of their three-peat hopes. Photo: AAP Image/Craig Golding
The Roosters face a serious test of their three-peat hopes. Photo: AAP Image/Craig Golding

 

 

WARRIORS V DRAGONS

Central Coast Stadium, Saturday 3pm

Riccio says: I have the Dragons in my bottom four, so I'll tip them with little confidence. Anything less than a win for the Dragons won't be acceptable given they tackle a Warriors side that have been tested like no other.

Carayannis says: It shows how far the Dragons have fallen that while other teams are locked in blockbuster returns, they get the Warriors. Surely the Dragons can't lose against a homeless and injury ravaged Warriors team?

 

SHARKS V TIGERS

Bankwest Stadium, Saturday 5.30pm

Riccio says: In a shortened season, this is virtually a must-win game for the winless Sharks. I'll tip them given they could also easily be unbeaten after going down narrowly to Souths and Melbourne. Matt Moylan's anticipated return also makes them a six-point better side.

Carayannis says: Cronulla's winless start is not a reflection of their opening two performances, yet they're still bottom of the ladder. They haven't played at Bankwest yet and will be banking on the return of a few key players to their backline. I'm backing the Sharks.

 

 

A win here would be a big statement for Canberra. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images
A win here would be a big statement for Canberra. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

 

STORM V RAIDERS

AAMI Park, Saturday 7.30pm

Riccio says: I expect the Raiders to win the title and so this is a game I'm happy to tip they will win. Styles make fights and these two teams know how to bring out the best in each other. Raiders by 4.

Carayannis says: Potential for the game of the round. How good was last year's finals match between the two sides? I can't wait to see how both hookers respond to the single ref and new ruck rules. That in itself is worth watching.

 

PANTHERS V KNIGHTS

Campbelltown Stadium, Sunday 4.05pm

Riccio says: No Nathan Cleary, rookie halves and a rookie fullback - I can't tip Penrith. If Newcastle manage a high completion rate and Mitchell Pearce can kick well, they'll win by 10-plus.

Carayannis says: Missing some star power with Kalyn Ponga and Nathan Cleary suspended. Both teams are undefeated but I've really liked what I've seen from the Knights under new coach Adam O'Brien - they are a side destined for a top eight finish.

 

 

 

SEA EAGLES V BULLDOGS

Central Coast Stadium, Sunday 6.30pm

Riccio says: Best bet of the round, Manly will win and present coach Des Hasler with the chance to treat us all with his flamboyant hair flick which we've been so desperately craving for the past 10 weeks.

Carayannis says: Tommy Turbo could put on a clinic. Expect points to flow for the Sea Eagles and I don't see Canterbury causing them too much grief at all. There'll be lots of interest in Kieran Foran and if he returns.

 

 

Originally published as Lift off! How your NRL team will fare in round 3



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