SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Greg Inglis of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Storm v Broncos

Thursday, 7.50pm, AAMI Park

Melbourne will enter 2019 with just one of their once famous big three left, with Cameron Smith set to lead the side into the season once again, following Billy Slater’s retirement.

Jahrome Hughes will get first shot at Slater’s No. 1 jersey after an injury to Scott Drinkwater, with the Storm otherwise named without any surprise selections.

For Brisbane, Anthony Seibold takes charge of his first NRL game with the Broncos, and sprung a selection surprise with Tom Flegler handed the No. 16 jersey for his debut.

After some impressive showings from the Rabbitohs under Seibold last season, the Broncos are looking to impress early this time around, and a win on the road in Melbourne will certainly do that.

Looking at Zero Tackle’s tipping pool on Superbru, 74% of users are tipping the Storm to win, although we believe the loss of Slater might take them more than one game to get over.

Prediction: Broncos by 8

Knights v Sharks

Friday, 6pm, McDonald Jones Stadium

This game pits two stars together in the five-eighth position, although both players are at different stages of their career in the No. 6.

Shaun Johnson joins Cronulla in one of the biggest moves of the off-season, and is one of the game’s most damaging players on his day.

On the other side of the coin, Kalyn Ponga will line up for just his second ever game at five-eighth, although the Knights are high on his potential to light up the position and work well alongside Mitchell Pearce.

Matt Moylan is back at fullback which could be a welcome change for the Sharks, with 58% of the ZT community selecting the visitors.

Prediction: Sharks by 2

Roosters v Rabbitohs

Friday, 7.55pm, Sydney Cricket Ground

The reigning premiers will open their 2019 campaign with a clash against old foes South Sydney.

Despite losing premiership winner Dylan Napa, the introduction of Angus Crichton arguably makes the Chooks better, although the former Bunny will start from the bench.

Greg Inglis has been named but is still under an injury cloud, with Dane Gagai moved to the wing to allow Braidon Burns into the backline.

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77% of tipsters believe the Roosters will start their premiership defence with a home win, and it’s hard to see any other result, given just how powerful Sydney are looking to start the season.

Prediction: Roosters by 10

Warriors v Bulldogs

Saturday, 3pm, Mt Smart Stadium

Life post-Shaun Johnson begins against the Bulldogs on Saturday for the Warriors, with Adam Keighran handed his NRL debut in a bid to replace Johnson at five-eighth.

Isaiah Papali’i was stood down by New Zealand on Tuesday for one match, with Lachlan Burr set to replace him at lock.

Dylan Napa replaces David Klemmer in the front row, while 2018 star youngster Rhyse Martin hasn’t found himself in Dean Pay’s 21-man squad.

The Bulldogs could struggle this season and have been tipped among the bottom clubs, with 71% of the Zero Tackle pool going with the Warriors.

Prediction: Warriors by 8

Tigers v Sea Eagles

Saturday, 5.30pm, Leichhardt Oval

Michael Maguire replaces Ivan Cleary in the hot seat at the Tigers, while Des Hasler has reunited with Manly.

Both sides are missing key players, while Moses Mbye and David Nofoaluma will be absent for the hosts, with Tom Trbojevic missing in action for the Sea Eagles.

The battle of the halves in this fixture could prove important, with new Sea Eagle Kane Elgey named alongside Daly Cherry-Evans to face the experienced Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks.

Brooks was nothing short of a start last season, and the experience of Marshall alongside Brooks could be enough to power the Tigers past the Sea Eagles. At least, that’s what 69% of tipsters believe.

Prediction: Tigers by 10

Cowboys v Dragons

Saturday, 7.35pm, 1300SMILES Stadium

The battle of the new-look fullbacks could be the difference maker here, as Jordan Kahu and Gareth Widdop look set to go head-to-head on Saturday night.

Kahu steps into the No. 1 jersey after the release of Ben Barba, while Widdop moves to fullback with Corey Norman introduced to partner Ben Hunt in the halves.

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The Cowboys added to their strong pack with rep forward Josh McGuire, who’s only good enough for the bench – his first appearance off the bench in six years.

St George Illawarra have dropped young gun Zac Lomax in favour of debutant Mikaele Ravalawa, with the young Fijian named on the wing.

This match is tough to split according to the tippers, although we may need to side with 55% of our community.

Prediction: Cowboys by 4

Panthers v Eels

Sunday, 4.05pm, Panthers Stadium 

Ivan Cleary and son Nathan have finally linked up at the Panthers, with onlookers around the nation interested in how far the pair can take Penrith this season.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returns on the wing and takes the spot of his brother Malakai, while Dylan Edwards will line up at No. 1.

For the Eels, rookies Maika Sivo (wing) and Dylan Brown (five-eighth) will line up in the back, with Junior Paulo only fit enough for the No. 21 jersey with a hamstring injury.

The Eels were poor in 2018 to say the least, and this match-up looks like the most one-sided of the round according to Superbru, with 83% of our pool backing a home win.

Prediction: Panthers by 12

Titans v Raiders

Sunday, 6.10pm, Cbus Super Stadium

Both sides will be looking for September action after some years outside of the finals, with the Titans and the Raiders hoping to start their season in the best possible fashion.

Michael Gordon will line up at fullback for the hosts, while new recruit Tyrone Peachey starting in the centres with Shannon Boyd at prop.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will debut for the Raiders in the No. 1 jersey, while Jordan Rapana’s injury will see Bailey Simonsson replace him on the wing.

This contest is set to be the toughest to call of the round, with just 51% of tippers backing the Raiders, as the tipping pool is almost split down the middle.

Prediction: Raiders by 1

16 COMMENTS

  1. Melbourne by 7, Cronulla by 18, Roosters by 18, Bulldogs by 6, Tigers by 12, Cowboys by 12, Titans by 12, Penrith by 12✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔

      • That should read righto World Club Champ, Premiership champ and Minor Premiership champ. 🏆🏆🏆 OK Redv13, get it right please mate and don’t be so disrespectful to us magnificent Sydney Rooster human beings in future.

        Hey Redv13, don’t tell anybody I will give you a inside tip for the Anzac Day clash. Roosters by 30💪😁👍🐓🐓🐓

  2. Storm by 8, Knights by 2, Bunnies by 6, warriors by 12, Tigers by 12, Cowboys by 16, Panthers by 42 Titans by 18

    • Your a clown Shadow🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡 “souffffths by 5points” What❕❗❕❗🤡 your still living in 1908 when a converted try was 5 points. WAKE UP❕❗❕❗ IT’S 2019 rugby league is a 6 tackle game not that ancient garbage when souffs won 20 premierships under the unlimited tackle rule😂🤣😆😁

      • Hey Woodchip,
        Tell us about 2000-2019 Roosters unlimited salary cap rule that has the whole rugby league world curious.

        • Soufffths have been cheating the cap for quite a while Stevie/Sid💪🤣👍.
          I can tell you the Roosters have had minor discreations as most clubs do over a 20 year period but SOUFFTHS RABBIT have run amok.

          Rabbitohs WERE FINED FOR CHEATING AS DISCLOSED BELOW.
          2003 Playing an Unregistered Player. NSWRL Contract – no NRL Rego or contract. $10,000
          2003Exceeding the 2nd Tier SC. $5,252Rabbitohs
          2006 Exceed Top 25 SC $28,573
          2007 Undisclosed payments – Guarantee of TPA to player. $70,135
          2008 Overpayments for 2nd Tier $12,500
          SteveSyd is that a same type marriage❓❓❓❓❓❔ There are to many to list I shall stop at this point because my typing finger is getting an attack of Arthuritus💪🐔👍😆🤣😂

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