The 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership is heading towards the pointy end of the season with Round 16 playing out this weekend.
Two teams have a bye this week with the New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla Sharks making for a seven-game round.
Things get underway with two Friday footy features the first a somewhat ‘nothing’ match with the 11th placed Dragons hosting the 12th placed Titans at WIN Stadium.
Round 16 Upset Tip: Bulldogs to beat Melbourne – bet now at bookmaker.com.au!
It is more exciting up in Queensland tonight however with the Brisbane Broncos looking to reclaim their second spot on the ladder by beating the rising Rabbitohs at Suncorp, South Sydney sitting just one below them on the NRL Ladder with eight wins to Brisbane’s nine for the season so far.
The third Queensland team gets another home game on Saturday night with the Cowboys, fresh off a shock victory over the Broncos in which they kept Brisbane scoreless, play the Raiders up at Dairy Farmers.
But the big one to really tune in for is on Sunday arvo with the Canterbury Bulldogs playing the Melbourne Storm, teams number two and one ready to battle it out in a special ‘away’ game up in Mackay.
Check out the complete 2012 NRL Round 16 draw, match previews and our insider footy tips for each game below.
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2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 16
Friday June 22, 2012 (7:35pm) – WIN Stadium
- St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.43) v Gold Coast Titans ($2.85)
The opener of the round isn’t exactly a thriller, the 11th placed Dragons out for a win after showing a bit of grit to go down by only eight after trailing 18-nil at half time to the Bulldogs last Friday night, their fifth loss form their past six games. They get a full week off and the home ground advantage here.
They host the 10th placed Titans who have been frustrating to say the least this season. Last week they enjoyed a 36 – 18 win over the Panthers at Skilled, but Penrith have been rubbish this year and they travel this week.
Which team will win and keep in touch with the semi-finals dream?Dragons by 8
Friday June 22, 2012 (7:35pm) – Suncorp Stadium
- Brisbane Broncos ($1.44) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.81)
After being kept scoreless by the Cowboys last week the Broncos will be ready to get back to the business of posting points and winning matches. They dropped to third on the ladder and will be hell bent on reclaiming second spot.
They have plenty to play for this week in front of the home fans. They get Sammy Thaiday back and Petero Civoniceva celebrates his 300th game so really this is Brisbane’s game to lose.
The Rabbitohs however are firing on all cylinders and this is reflected in their fourth spot in the competition. They took care of the down and out Eels last week but will have a tougher assignment here.
Brisbane got the job done last time they met back in Round 4 and we are predicting the same here so long as they keep those errors that lost them last week’s game to a minimum.Brisbane by 6
Saturday June 23, 2012 (5:30pm) – Dairy Farmers Stadium
- North Queensland Cowboys ($1.26) v Canberra Raiders ($3.90)
The Cowboys are probably still on a high after beating Brisbane 12 – nil here in a surprise result last Friday night. Have had a full seven days to recover and really the Raiders, despite being fresh off a bye, should be easy pickings.
North Queensland get the home stadium advantage again, but don’t be fooled into thinking Canberra can’t handle the heat up there.
They put 32 points on Newcastle back in Round 14 so the Green Machine has points in them, but enough to win this? Probably not if you go back to Round 5 down at Canberra Stadium when JT and crew took care of the Raiders 22 – 6.Cowboys by 14
Saturday June 23, 2012 (7:30pm) – Centrebet Stadium
- Penrith Panthers ($1.68) v Parramatta Eels ($2.19)
Ahh the battle of the wooden spooners. While it is no blockbuster this one will be worth a look at simply for the fact it is the two worst teams of the season facing off and someone has to win.
Penrith have won just four games this year while the Eels have been the disappointment of the lot winning just twice.
Last week the Panthers got a thrashing going down 36 – 18 to the Titans while Parramatta played one of the genuine premiership contenders losing 24 – 6 to the Rabbithos.
Neither are high on confidence or popularity right now so who to tip? Toss a coin.
Panthers won last time, albeit the Eels playing with Hayne, and play at home.Panthers by 2 – or a draw!
Sunday June 24, 2012 (2:00pm) – Virgin Australia Stadium
- Canterbury Bulldogs ($2.18) v Melbourne Storm ($1.69)
Ahh the blockbuster of the round and neither get the home ground advantage!
If there are any Sydneysiders up in Mackay they will be loving this weekend with a special away game up North, at a stadium that holds just 12,000 fans, featuring the two top ranked teams in the competition.
The Bulldogs have been the somewhat silent assassins of 2012 quietly going about their business to all of a sudden find themselves in second spot after last week’s good 28 – 20 win over the Dragons.
The Storm dominated proceedings in the opening nine weeks before suffering their first loss and are still sitting well clear of their closest competitors with 12 wins to the Bulldogs and Broncos’ nine so far.
Melbourne hung on in a bitter battle to beat Manly 26 – 22 at Brookvale last Monday night atoning for their 10 – 6 loss to Wests back in Round 14.
But the premiership favourites are on the short back up and travel, can they stay in the winners’ stall?
Quite a few of the Storm hail from this part of Australia including Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Dane Neilson, as does the out injured Slater, so if you are going to give someone a ‘home ground advantage’ then Melbourne are it.
It was a thriller back in Round 7 when these two last met, the Storm fighting back from a deficit to win 12 – 6 and we are predicting another close one.
Storm are without Slater so if there’s an upset to tip this is it.Bulldogs by 4
Sunday June 24, 2012 (3:00pm) – Allianz Stadium
- Sydney Roosters ($2.49) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.54)
The 13th placed Roosters face a tough one this Sunday playing the Sea Eagles, the latter fighting to retain a spot in the top eight.
Sydney were surprisingly impressive this time last week in a crazy 42 – 28 victory over the Tigers, a game that was meant to be low scoring and go the other way.
Will this work to boost their confidence here or are they going to be tired after posting so many points?
The Sea Eagles are also likely to be feeling a little weary after their narrow 22 – 26 loss to the Storm on Monday night.
Roosters are at juicy odds and while Manly are going to be hard to beat, perhaps Sydney are on a roll?
Manly got the better of the Roosters in a feather ruffling game crowing with controversy back in Roudn 11, and they were without Stewart one and two.
At full strength they should do it again.Manly by 6
Monday June 25, 2012 (7:00pm) – Hunter Stadium
- Newcastle Knights ($2.67) v Wests Tigers ($1.48)
The Tigers have dropped to seventh on the ladder after being tipped as the premiership pick pre-season and they need to regain pride here.
Which Wests outfit turns up will be the key.
Two back they upset the Storm 10 – 6 in an AAMI Park thriller but then something went amiss last week and they loss 42 – 28 in a confusing clash against the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval.
The Knights come into this off a bye before which they lost 32 – 16 to the Raiders.
These two haven’t met since Round 13 last year, and what a beauty it was when the Tigers got home 17 – 16 in a golden-point clash that went down to the wire.
The Tigers should be back to their best, maybe, and they should be able to win this easily, maybe.Tigers by 12
*All odds quoted are provided by bookmaker.com.au and are subject to change