Normal services have resumed here on Newysports.com and first up is the preview for Round 8 of the National Rugby League. ANZAC Day weekend sees a stack of games being played over the afternoon on Saturday but it all starts on Friday night at ANZ Stadium when the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs take on the Wests Tigers.
These two teams produced a thriller last time they clashed and the Tigers really showed their physicality in that game. Unfortunately for them though, the Bulldogs got over the line with a Moses Mbye field goal.
The Tigers have scored 22 points in each of their past three games so they're not having any problems in getting points but they are struggling to keep teams out. Leading 22-0 against the Raiders, the Tigers collapsed to a 30-22 loss to one of the competitions' weaker teams.
It's because of last week that I'm tipping the Bulldogs to win this one. They know how to win tight games, they know how to win in golden points and they know that the Tigers defence hasn't been the best in recent weeks.
My Tip: Canterbury-Bankstown 24-16 Wests Tigers
There are five live games in a row on ANZAC Day and it all starts in New Zealand where the Warriors meet the Titans at 11:45am Local time. The Warriors have a very positive record on ANZAC Day but that of course is against their normal ANZAC rivals the Melbourne Storm.
Nonetheless, the Warriors are heavy favourites to win this and after seeing them take it to the Cowboys last week I'm confident they'll do that. They did lose last week but the Kiwis should be too strong for the Gold Coast side on Saturday.
It's not a done deal as the Titans stormed past Penrith last week but winning in Auckland is hard at the best of times and outdoing the Warriors in what will be one of their biggest home games of the season is a tough ask.
My Tip: New Zealand 30-10 Gold Coast
The Cowboys were a bit vocal about not receiving a home game for ANZAC Day but I'm confident the Newcastle crowd will make this game a special one to say the least. Regardless of the crowd and the fact that it's an ANZAC Day clash, this game is a very important one for the out of form Knights.
North Queensland have won four games straight and come into this as the favourites and for good reason, they simply refuse to lose at the moment. A big comeback last week against the Warriors was their second come from behind win at home in a month, following that stunning comeback against the Storm.
Preparation for this game has been hindered for both teams with the Cowboys being kicked out of their stadium due to a scheduled Ricky Martin concert that has now been transferred to the Townsville Entertainment Centre meaning they are travelling to Newcastle a couple of days earlier.
That would normally be a non-issue but most grounds in Newcastle have been damaged by the recent storms. I'm sure the two sides will find alternatives for training and will both be fully prepared for Saturday.
As for my tip, I want to tip the Knights as they'll be playing in front of a vocal home crowd but I can't go past the Cowboys. It'll hopefully be an entertaining clash either way.
My Tip: Newcastle 12-19 NQ Cowboys
With all due respect to the other eight teams playing on ANZAC Day, this is the clash of the day, both on history and on form. It'll be a packed Allianz as the in-form Dragons take on the struggling Sydney Roosters in what is the live game on Channel Nine this Saturday.
I went against the odds last week and backed the Dragons to overcome the Broncos and I'm going to do the same this weekend. The Roosters can't catch a break at the moment and have lost some winnable games but the Dragons are hard to break down lately.
Defence will win this game and I think the Dragons have got it covered. I said in my review last week that this game could make the Dragons serious contenders for the Premiership and I'll stick by that. Beating the Roosters will really be a coup for the Dragons.
My Tip: Sydney Roosters 18-22 St. George-Illawarra
Manly will be up against it for this one. Brett Stewart is rumoured to be back in the side but the Sea Eagles have looked nothing like the side that made the Semi Finals last season so far in seven outings this year. Their only win of the season came against the Storm in Round 2 under somewhat controversial circumstances.
I'm a Manly fan through and through but I have absolutely no confidence in them at the moment. They've never won at AAMI Park, they struggle to win in Melbourne at the best of time and on ANZAC Day in front of what will be a big crowd with extra numbers coming across from the AFL clash across the bridge, it could be a tough night for the Sea Eagles.
My Tip: Melbourne 28-16 Manly-Warringah
Parramatta have had the wood in Brisbane over the last few years but this game is a against a Brisbane side that are in some form. Before last week's loss to the Dragons, the Broncos recorded five straight wins and they didn't look to far off the pace in the 12-10 loss last Friday night.
Parramatta produced a big result on the road in Newcastle last week but in no way can I say I think they'll do the same tonight. Justin Hodges is rumoured to be returning from injury tonight and that'll no doubt add to what is already a strong Broncos line-up.
My Tip: Brisbane 32-10 Parramatta