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NRL 2024

NRL Round 1 Predictions 2024

The Manly Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters shocked the NRL world on Sunday by pulling off two upset wins in Las Vegas, throwing a spanner in the works for all tipsters who had thought the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos might be genuine contenders at a grand final! While it’s well and truly still early days, if those two games are anything to go by, the rest of Round 1 will be just as hard to pick; but never to be deterred by a challenge, let’s give it a go…

Thursday night sees the Australian leg of Round 1 be kicked off at McDonald Jones Stadium, between the Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders. Newcastle are coming off six consecutive home wins last year, and two wins against the Green Machine in 2023. Ricky Stuart and his boys thrive on underdog pressure, and something is due to give in Newcastle. A strong forward pack and eager to prove the off-season critics wrong, I can see Canberra going home with the win this week in an albeit close match. Raiders by 4 points.

The early game on Friday night features a traveling Cronulla Sharks outfit on their way to Auckland to take on the New Zealand Warriors. While the Wahs are unpredictable at times, and on their night have the ability to run home with it, I think the solid defensive line and structured gameplay of Cronulla will ultimately be too strong, with another visitor win this week. Cronulla by 12 points.

Friday’s main event between the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers is set to be a blockbuster opening game. Both powerhouse sides with absolutely stacked rosters. However, coming off a lackluster World Club Challenge performance, and Melbourne’s dominance at home, combined with their 22 year Round 1 winning streak, it’s very hard to see Penrith going over at AAMI Park. Melbourne by 8 points.

One of the oldest rivalries in Australian sport writes its next chapter on Saturday afternoon as the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs travel across town to take on the Parramatta Eels. Most would look at Parra’s strong attack, solid defence and assume an easy win. However some serious off-season recruiting for the Dogs could get them an early season win here. Stephen Crichton feels he has something to prove, and having been handed the reins of leadership in Belmore I can see a close match up here at Commbank Stadium. Bulldogs by 7 points.

The St George Illawarra Dragons take the trip up north to take on the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday evening. The Dragons severely underperformed in 2023, and the Titans have shown some serious potential for mine in the last twelve months. Shane Flannagan has the potential to work wonders in Wollongong, but I’d be very surprised to see it happen this fast. Whereas Des Hasler has taken on a side that did a lot right in the season gone, just battled for consistency. Titans by 13 points.

Year two in Redcliffe kicks off on Sunday arvo as the Dolphins take on interstate rivals the North Queensland Cowboys. The Phins have done some serious off season recruiting and look to be building a powerful side for the season ahead, however a fresher looking North Queensland outfit should see them hold on to close out the round. Cowboys by 18 points.

The Raiders, Sharks, Storm, Dogs, Titans and Cowboys all look to join Manly and Sydney in the winners circle for Round 1. What do you think of our tips? Let us know who you’ve got for round 1. Have the Tigers done enough to secure a win against the Bye this week? Good luck all, and if you haven’t got your gear for 2024 yet- make sure to head on down to Jersey’s Megastore for all things footy!