Matt Pritchard makes his NRL Predictions for Round 16 of the National Rugby Premiership
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Parramatta Eels (Thursday 7:50pm, WIN)
Last Five Meetings: Eels 5 wins, Dragons 0 wins
Interest in this game is around whether Ben Hunt responds to criticism levelled at him in the second State of Origin. Ashley Taylor and Daly Cherry-Evans are lining up to replace Hunt in the Suncorp Stadium clash. Whilst the Eels showed plenty of spirit in their eighteen point loss to the Rabbitohs a fortnight ago, their defence is a concern. The Dragons found their groove in their last match against Manly after a big loss to Penrith. They should be too good in this one.
PRECITION: Dragons 42 Eels 10
New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla Sharks (Friday 6pm – Syd, 8pm NZ, Mt Smart)
Last Five Meetings: Sharks 3 wins, Warriors 2 wins
This game kicks off a superb night of rugby league on Friday night. New Zealand Warriors unbelievably are just two points from top spot in fourth place while the Sharks are seventh after a hiccup at home against the Broncos in round 15.
Will Stephen Kearney name his Denver test players after stating earlier that he wouldn’t? Will Aaron Woods be a surprise inclusion in the Sharks side after his mid-season transfer from the Bulldogs? Whilst the Warriors are six from seven wins on the road, their home form puts shudders into punters with just four from seven and a points differential of minus nine. They’re either very good, or completely off their game.
PRECITION: Sharks 28 Warriors 8
Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm (Friday 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval)
Last Five Meetings: Storm 4 wins, Roosters 1 win
This surely is the match of the round with the Sydney Roosters aiming for five straight wins against the Melbourne Storm looking for their fourth. In this exact same fixture in Adelaide last year the Roosters stormed home to win 25-24 thanks to Mitchell Pearce’s field goal. Now it’s Cooper Cronk which holds the key to their success against his former club. Some may say this is a Grand Final preview in the waiting. Boyd Cordner may not play but they don’t lose anything with the up-and-coming Nat Butcher. For Melbourne, Billy Slater will be hoping he can survive a full eighty after a horrible run with injury.
PRECITION: Roosters 16 Storm 12