NRL Round 26 Preview and Tips – Sunday Fixtures

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders

ANZ Stadium, 2:00pm.

Bulldogs $1.27, Raiders $3.80 (Sportingbet)

Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Jonathan Wright, Joel Romelo, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Josh Reynolds, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan (C), David Stagg. Interchange: Michael Hodgson, Mickey Paea, Gary Warburton, Kris Keating

Raiders: Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker, Danny Galea, Reece Robinson, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, Brett White, Alan Tongue (c), David Shillington, Josh Papalii , Bronson Harrison , Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Michael Picker, Joe Picker, Sam Mataora, Dane Tilse, Jarrad  Kennedy

The Raiders suffered a one-point loss to the Panthers last week and morale will be low. Hopefully they can lift and put in a good performance for their departing club stalwart Alan Tongue. On the other side of the park the Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan is playing his final game and the Dogs will also be looking to send their own retiree out on a winning note. When these two sides met earlier in 2011 it was the Raiders, at home who took the victory by 8 points. Without the home ground advantage they may struggle to beat a Bulldogs team that is coming off the back of an electrifying second half of footy last week when they scored 26 unanswered points. I’m taking the Bulldogs to cover the 7.5 with the help of a few Ben Barba tries.

Mike’s Best Bet: $68 on the Bulldogs -7.5 @ $1.80 (Sportsbet)


Brisbane Broncos v Manly Sea Eagles

Suncorp Stadium, 4:00pm.

Broncos $1.25, Sea Eagles $4.35 (Sportingbet)

Broncos: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed, Ben Te’o, Jharal Yow Yeh, Darren lockyer (c), Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Scott Anderson, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Ben Hannant, Mitchell Dodds

Sea Eagles: Will Hopoate, Michael Robertson, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, Michael Oldfield, Jamie Buhrer, Daly Cherry-Evans, Joe Galuvao, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Shane Rodney, TBC. Interchange (from): Vic Mauro, Daniel Harrison, George Rose, Tony Williams, Terence Seuseu, Tim Robinson

I’LL START BY SAYING that thanks to a plethora of suspensions stemming from last week’s brawl at Brookvale Oval, Manly Coach Des Hasler probably won’t be naming a team until right before kickoff. Manly will play without Glenn Stewart, Brett Stewart, Kieran Foran and Darcey Lussick and as a result the odds on the game exploded seeing Manly fly out to $4.35. Des Hasler may even to decide to rest players making it that much easier for the Broncos.

It’s touted a Darren Lockyer’s final game at Suncorp but in reality the Broncos will likely turn up at this venue again during the finals.

The game will have no bearing on the finals series unless the Broncos somehow win by 43 or more points and move to second place.

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm

Sydney Football Stadium, 7:00pm.

Roosters $3.00, Storm $1.40 (Centrebet)

Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Sam Perrett, Justin  Carney, Joseph ‘BJ’ Leilua, Phil Graham, Braith Anasta (c), Mitchell Pearce, Jason  Ryles, Jake Friend, Lama Tasi, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Frank Paul Nuuausala. Interchange (from): Anthony Mitchell, Mose Masoe, Brad Takairangi, Tinirau Arona, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

Storm: Billy Slater, Matthew Duffie, Dane Nielson, Beau Champion, Anthony Quinn, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Atelea Vea, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe

THE ROOSTERS ARE ARGUABLY the biggest underachievers in 2011 and the Storm, it could be argued, are the biggest overachievers with many predicting they would not be able to bounce back in 2011 from their wooden spoon in 2010 after the NRL stripped them of all their competition points and 2 premierships following salary cap breaches. This game looks likely to be another case of a team with its mind firmly on mad Monday and today it’s the Roosters. Not that the Storm have much to play for having wrapped up the minor premiership, but we know that coach Craig Bellamy is an astute professional and always gets the best out of his players even when there’s nothing to play for.

Cooper Cronk has been named to return to the Storm side but there’s every chance he will get another week’s rest before the finals.

Storm will win this it’s just a question of by how much and I’m confident they can to it by a converted try or more.

Mike’s Best Bet: $68 on the Storm -5.5 @ $1.78 (Centrebet)

Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2744.73

(Team lists sourced from

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