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NRL 2024 Round-2 Predictions

NRL Predictions & Tips - Round 2 2024

It was a week for the underdog over the weekend that was Round One- for everyone except the Dogs! Ricky got his Raiders to fire up, Cronulla climbed to the top of the old Mount Smart to conquer the Wahs, a Munster-less Melbourne kept the reigning premiers to nil and a new look Dragons side blazed through the Gold Coast. However, with Vegas and the rest of the split round firmly in the rear view mirror, it’s time to turn our attention to this weekend; Round Two. In what is shaping up to be, in theory, a much more clear cut weekend of Rugby League, let’s dive in and have a look at our tips!

Fresh off their trips to Loss-Vegas, Thursday night sees our prediction for the grand final go head to head with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the South Sydney Rabbitohs. One of these two will start the season 0-2 against what are very likely to be Top Eight teams. It won’t be panic stations just yet in the losing camp, but will provide a early indicator as to where they stand with the rest of the competition. Usually, it would go without saying that “one does not simply walk into Suncorp and win”, but South Sydney enjoyed quite a back-back run at the Queensland fortress in 2023, beating the Broncs 6-32 in Round Nine, before making light work of Melbourne the following week in Magic Round (12-28). After a somewhat distracting week or so since returning from Vegas, the Broncos will want to come out all guns blazing, but of the two sides, the Bunnies looked the better outfit for mine. Brisbane are still learning to play without their powerhouse off-season departures, and Latrell looks like he is ready to make a statement. Early doors, I can see the Rabbits walking away with the two points. South Sydney by 12.

Friday night’s curtain raiser will see a pre-season rematch between the Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Two weeks ago saw just six points separate the sides, but in season 2023 Cronulla made very light work of the kennel with Sharks taking home 13, and 38 point wins in their two matchups. When you look at the key stats for last weekend, the Dogs put up a much better fight than the scoreboard suggests. Parramatta controlled possession for 60% of the game, and in that time the Dogs made 400 tackles, and looked like a new defensive outfit. Realistically, Parramatta should have put 40 points on the Dogs with how much ball they had in that game. Handling errors cost Canterbury dearly in the end, which if repeated will be their let down against a very strong looking Sharks outfit. Cronulla did very well to stay in the fight against the Warriors last week, after going down a couple of tries early in the game. Relentless defence and a simple but positive game plan in attack kept them in the game. It should be a much easier week for Cronulla, and for that reason I think they’ll get the win here. Sharks by 16 points.

Friday’s main event between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels could shape up to be an ugly game for Eels faithful. Coming off a World Club Challenge loss, and a scoreless Round One, it would be naive to think the three-peat Premiers will not be coming out with a point to prove. A lot of pundits have predicted the Panthers to “fall back with the pack” and end their run of dominance; however a young, confident side will be eager to prove they’re still here in front of a home crowd. Parramatta could be set for an ambush after not putting more points on a Dogs outfit that struggled to hold onto the ball for more than three consecutive tackles. Penrith by 18 points.

Super Saturday will kick off with the Wests Tigers making the drive down to Canberra to take on the Raiders. Ricky had his side up and about last week, looking fitter than ever. Jamal Fogarty was landing his kicks on a 20c piece and the choice of signage in the Green Machine locker room made it very clear that this season the Raiders have an “us against the world” mentality. The Tigers looked ordinary at best in their pre-season challenge games, and coming off an opening round bye, I think the Raiders will just be too strong at home. If the Milk can reproduce last week's efforts, it's very hard to not see the Raiders winning by 20+ points.

This year could be a very different season to how we all expected it to go for the Newcastle Knights. Fresh off their surprising loss to Canberra, and coming up against a barn-storming North Queensland Cowboys attack in Townsville, this game could see two consecutive big-margin wins on Saturday. The Cowboys seemed to run in tries at will last weekend, and completed their sets with ease. Whereas Newcastle completed just 68% of their sets, missed 23 tackles, made 30 ineffective tackles, and 15 errors. It's very clear which side came ready to play last week, and which side is still riding the coattails of last season’s success. For those reasons especially, I’ve got the Cowboys by 18 points.

Closing out Super Saturday will be the Melbourne Storm taking on the New Zealand Warriors. Melbourne boast a strong record against the Wahs, and displayed a flawless defensive effort last week against Penrith. New Zealand on the other hand, may have started well last week but went missing in attack after the 13th minute. Melbourne have always traditionally started the year strongly, and it’s very difficult to imagine that changing any time soon. With Munster being hopeful of a return this weekend too, that will only strengthen an already stacked Melbourne line-up. The Warriors will have to work hard to find their feet this season, after Shaun Johnson played one of his worst games in recent memory against Cronulla. I’ve got Melbourne by 14 points.

Viva Las Vegas! The big winners of the Vegas experiment, the Manly Sea-Eagles and Sydney Roosters battle it out on Sunday, coming off a small break and impressive performances to start the year. I’d expect this one to be very close, with the star-studded back lines of both teams really showcasing their skills. Whichever side can find a way to dominate in the forward pack, will provide their marquee players the best chance of taking control of this game. After Round One, it seems pretty clear that Victor Radley wants to really take charge of the Roosters pack and lead from the front. Teddy looked remarkably fit, and on top of his game. I’d expect to see the Roosters win by 6 points.

Closing out the round in Redcliffe will be the Dolphins and the St George Illawarra Dragons. The Red V shocked the Rugby League world last weekend, by running through an impressive looking Gold Coast outfit. Whereas the Dolphins had a lackluster start against the Cowboys. I would not at all be surprised to see the Dragons really drive the nail into the coffin of their doubters and walk away with another win here. Zac Lomax is coming off a career-best game, and Ben Hunt almost looks to have a new lease on life. Wayne Bennett and the Phins look to still have some cobwebs to blow out before they really come into their own. For that reason, I’ve got the Dragons by 10 points.

If we’re to be believed, Souths, Sharks, Penrith, Canberra, Cowboys, Melbourne, Roosters and Dragons will walk away with two points each this week and the Gold Coast will take on the Bye. What do you think of our tips? Let us know, and remember if you haven’t got your gear for the season yet, better head into Jersey’s Megastore for All Things Footy!