by Warren Boland
With six games to go before the NRL finals, Round 21 begins with the faint hopes of Canberra, Gold Coast, New Zealand and Canterbury hanging by a thread.
Anchored on 18 points after losses last weekend, they have a weak pulse, needing to win the remaining six games straight.
The sputtering Raiders have the best chance of the quartet of making the finals because they have a far superior for and against record to the other three. However Canberra have three players on the suspended list ( Sia Soliola, Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii).
If a Matt Moylan-less Penrith can finish off the Bulldogs, the ninth placed Panthers can keep the heat on the eighth-placed Dragons. St George-Illawarra should beat the Knights though it could well be close in Newcastle.
Meanwhile two top eight match-ups should be keenly contested when the second- placed Roosters meet the fifth-on-the-ladder Cowboys, and when the Storm, top of the pile but without Billy Slater and possibly Cameron Smith, host Manly.
The Sea Eagles are reinforced but underdogs after last week’s depleted line up conceded 52 points when smashed by the Dragons.
Here are my tips (winners in CAPITALS):
- PANTHERS v Bulldogs
- Warriors v SHARKS
- Eels v BRONCOS
- Knights v DRAGONS
- Rabbitohs v RAIDERS
- ROOSTERS v Cowboys
- STORM v Sea Eagles
- TITANS v Wests Tigers
Last week: 8/8 Total= 102/144