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Good luck splitting teams and treat others with respect

You can only stand back and admire the achievements of the Storm.
 
They were ripe for the picking in Townsville last Saturday night, but the Cowboys – a genuine threat this season – had no answer to the premiers.
 
Even after losing a host of key players at the end of last year, the Storm continue to thrive under coach Bellamy and at the moment Cronk is clearly the best player in the world.
 
Despite a short week, the Storm will take some stopping when they play host to the Bulldogs in the grand final replay.
 
Yes, the Bulldogs toppled the Eels a week ago in an entertaining contest, but it’s hard to get a handle on the 2012 minor premiers minus Barba.
 
The Tigers-Eels clash is an even money bet.
 
It would have been interesting to see how the Tigers would have fared had the Panthers not lost Coote early to injury, and playing against a full-strength Bulldogs outfit would have made it easier to assess if the Eels are in fact the real deal.
 
Hosting the Eels at Leichhardt Oval may just get the Tigers over the line, especially with Farah re-signing with the club.
 
The Sea Eagles will start as deserved favourites when they arrive at the Gold Coast, however the Titans have made an impressive start to the year and with arguably the best pack in the NRL at their disposal they can’t be dismissed so easily.
 
The Roosters and Broncos normally square off in Sydney over the Easter period and it’s usually a high quality match.
 
Both teams had solid wins on the road last weekend, but are the Warriors and Dragons among the best teams in the competition at this stage?
 
The Broncos blew it against the Sea Eagles in Round 1 when they switched off for seven minutes, while the Roosters made an excellent start against the Rabbitohs before losing the plot after 15 minutes.
 
The Broncos can win, but it would be wise to consider the Roosters as the visitors are likely to lose Hodges with injury after having already lost McGuire.
 
With a bit more luck, the Sharks could have rolled the Rabbitohs last weekend and with that in mind it would come as a shock if they were to succumb at home at the hands of the frustrating and unpredictable Warriors.
 
Defence got the Rabbitohs home against the Sharks and the return of Sam Burgess can only help their cause when they make the trip to Penrith.
 
The Panthers have given an early indication that although they may not make the finals they could provide plenty of cheek in 2013 – the loss of Coote though is monumental.
 
The Dragons haven’t won in Canberra since 2000 and they haven’t beaten the Raiders anywhere since 2007.
 
The Raiders will be buoyed by the fact that they will debut at home for the first time and you would expect them to life following the Dugan dramas and two poor defeats at the expense of the Panthers and Titans.
 
The Dragons will have no better chance to end their hoodoo against the Raiders, but they will have to improve immeasurably.
 
One of a numerous 50/50 games this weekend.
 
And good luck splitting the Knights and Cowboys.
 
The Knights were shocking last weekend, but if there is a defence it would be that the Sea Eagles were red hot.
 
The Cowboys didn’t perform all that badly last weekend, it’s just that the Storm were too good.
 
Gidley will have to produce a big game because you know Thurston will turn up to play, especially after a loss where he played second fiddle to Cronk.
 
The Knights were ruthless at home in Round 1, however the Tigers had other things on their mind following the passing of a teammate.
 
The bottom line is that this could be the pick of the games this weekend, but in the end it’s the Cowboys by the narrowest of margins.   
 
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