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Andrew Johns and Nine experts pick their winners


Rugby league guru Phil Gould is tipping the Sharks to spring an upset by beating the high-flying Cowboys in Townsville on Friday night.

Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast, Gould predicted that Queensland’s Origin hero Tom Dearden would demand to back up for his club but still picked Cronulla for the win due to North Queensland’s disrupted preparation.

Since the podcast was recorded the Cowboys have made the big call to rest Dearden, bringing utility Ben Hampton into the side to partner Chad Townsend in the halves.

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That decision has the potential to tip the contest between two top eight sides in the visitors’ favour, with Gould saying the Sharks had targeted the period starting with their round 17 win over the Storm as a chance to build their case as premiership contenders.

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“It’ll be interesting, but I think Sharks have had by far the better preparation and look a little bit more settled and if Cowboys are going to lose one at home this is one they could lose,” Gould said.

“They’ve (the Cowboys) been exceptionally good (at home) this year, and I think of the two teams they’re playing better football, but in this game, in this moment, 6 o’clock on Friday night, after all the euphoria of Origin and everything they’ve gone through… The Sharks have gone up there early and I know they’re up there preparing getting ready for this game on Friday night… People have been talking about the Sharks’ draw and who they’ve been beating and what have you, but they’ve sort of targeted this little period here where they’re playing the top sides and I think they’ll be ready to go.

“I’m going to tip the Sharks to beat the Cowboys.”

Scroll below for the current leaderboard and Round 18 tips by Andrew Johns and all Nine’s expert tipsters!

Andrew Johns: Cowboys, Eels, Roosters, Knights, Broncos, Panthers, Raiders, Rabbitohs

Mat Thompson: Sharks, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs

Darren Lockyer: Cowboys, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs

Peter Psaltis: Cowboys, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs

Paul Gallen: Sharks, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Tigers, Storm, Rabbitohs

Dave Middleton: Cowboys, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs

The Mole: Cowboys, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs

Ben Glover: Sharks, Eels, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Tigers, Storm, Rabbitohs

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