THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NRL ROUND 17 PREVIEW
Penrith Panthers v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
Centrebet Stadium, 7:30pm
Panthers $2.30, Bulldogs $1.65
Panthers: Lachlan Coote, David Simmons, Junior Vai Vai, Brad Tighe, Adrian Purtell, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Trent Waterhouse (c), Nigel Plum, Nathan Smith. Interchange (from): Nafe Seluini, Dayne Weston, Matthew Bell, Sarafu Fatiaki, Ryan Walker, Harry Seijka.
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Jonathan Wright, Kris Keating, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Dene Halatau, Michael Hodgson, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan (C), David Stagg. Interchange: Sam Kasiano, Greg Eastwood, Corey Payne, Ben Roberts.
The Bulldogs worked their way back into the top 8 last week after beating a lacklustre Wests Tigers outfit that was without their star Benji Marshall. So to me it remains to be seen what the Bulldogs true form is really like and we probably won’t get a good indicator out of this match either when they take on the Panthers minus Luke Lewis and Petero Civoneceva. I see the weakened Penrith side as a golden opportunity for young Benjamin Barba, the leading try scorer so far in 2011, to pick up another try or two.
Penrith played pretty effective footy last week stemming from the ruck and Luke Walsh but a lot of the plays were finalised with Luke Lewis who as I mentioned is out due to Origin commitments.
If the Bulldogs are to win it may have to come from the forwards who I have no doubt will be effective carting the ball up the middle of the field, but I have doubts as to how well they will get the ball across the try-line running off the halves Keating and Hodkinson.
If the Panthers are to win then Walsh is going to have to work on a new running combination and i’d like to see Lachlan Coote step up and be that man.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Toyota Stadium, 2pm
Sharks $2.00, Rabbitohs $1.80
Sharks: Nathan Gardner, Matthew Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Wade Graham, Chad Townsend, Kade Snowden, John Morris, Luke Douglas, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Johnny Mannah, Sam Tagataese, Stuart Flanagan, Taulima Tautai.
Rabbitohs: Rhys Wesser, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Shaune Corrigan, James Roberts, John Sutton, Chris Sandow, Ben Ross, Issac Luke, Shannan McPherson, Chris McQueen, Eddy Pettybourne, Michael Crocker (c). Interchange: Luke Burgess, Dave Tyrrell, Jason Clark, Nathan Peats.
I felt sorry for big Dave Taylor when I found out he unsuccessfully contested a dangerous throw charge and was suspended for 5 weeks. I agree he deserved a suspension but 5 weeks seems to be an injustice and I feel for Rabbitohs fans a bit. And despite the fact that Souths are also without Origin representative Greg Inglis, a good opportunity to notch up a win is presented to them in a game against the Sharks without Paul Gallen. Chris Sandow’s form hasn’t left him since securing his future with the Eels and I think he is on for another big game.
Whilst it is very unlikely, it is possible for Souths to move into the Top 8 this week.
Mike’s Best Bet: $63 on Souths Head to Head @ $1.80 (Sportsbet)
St. George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights
WIN Stadium, 3pm
Dragons $1.75, Knights $2.05
Dragons: Jason Nightingale, Peni Tagive, Alex McKinnon, Kyle Stanley, Reece Simmonds, Nathan Fien, Ben Hornby (c), Dan Hunt, Dean Young, Michael Weyman, Adam Cuthbertson, Michael Greenfield, Matt Prior. Interchange (from): Jon Green, Mitch Rein, Jack De Belin, David Gower, Jack Bosden, Jake Marketo.
Knights: Wes Naiqama (c), James McManus, Junior Sa’u, Keith Lulia, Peter Mata’utia, Tyrone Roberts, Ryan Stig, Richie Fa’aoso, Isaac De Gois, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Steve Southern. Interchange (from): Matt Hilder, Antonio Kaufusi, Cameron Ciraldo, Dan Tolar, Marvin Karawana.
This is a tough game to pick based on the two teams but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a close game. You might need a crystal ball to determine whether or not this makeshift Dragons side will commit to the full 80 minutes. If not, we could see the Knights go on a second half points scoring rampage. We saw them do exactly this back in Round 4 and that was against a full strength Dragons side. I suspect the Knights will be peppering the Dragons defence with some solid ball running off their youthful halves combo of Tyrone Roberts and Ryan Stig who have done good jobs so far.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)