The following are previews and betting tips for the Sunday NRL Round 2 fixtures: St George Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers
WIN Jubilee Oval, 7:30pm local time.
DRAGONS: Kyle Stanley, Brett Morris, Beau Scott, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Jeremy Latimore, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Matt Prior, Ben Creagh, Dean Young. Interchange: Nathan Fien, Leeson Ah Mau, Trent Merrin, Jack De Belin
TIGERS: Tom Humble, Beau Ryan, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Joel Reddy, Benji Marshall, Tim Moltzen, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (c), Matt Groat, Adam Blair, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange (from): Liam Fulton, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Matt Bell, Sean Meaney, Junior Moors
IT’S A CRACKING START TO THE ROUND on Friday night football with two teams that have enjoyed a mini rivalry in the last 2 years that have kept spectators on the edge of their seats. In their last 4 encounters, the average margin between the Dragons and the Tigers is less than 5 points and both teams have won 2 of those matches each. The Tigers hold the momentum having won the last two match-ups but the most potent point is that both teams lost their Round 2 matches last week. Despite that fact, there’s no doubting which side played better last week and that’s the Tigers. They went down by four points to a scintillating Manly side and will have walked away from the loss with plenty of positives to build on. The Dragons however were murdered at the hands (or paws if you like) of the Bulldogs by 26 points and need to find plenty of motivation if they are to outwit Benji Marshall and his enthusiastic looking troops.
Tigers for mine in another close one.
Chance of winning: Dragons 49%, Tigers 50%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Tigers
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos
Hunter Stadium, 8:30pm Local time
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Timana Tahu, Wes Naiqama, Akuila Uate, Ryan Stig, Jarrod Mullen, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, Adam Cuthbertson, Chris Houston, Zeb Taia, Neville Costigan. Interchange: Matt Hilder, Lisiate Richie Fa’aoso, Joel Edwards, Alex McKinnon, Evarn Tuimavave, Marvin Filipo
BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yeh, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Petero Civoniceva, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday (c), Ben Te’o. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett, Scott Anderson
BASED ON WHAT I’VE SEEN IN THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS this game could be won or lost in the first 40 minutes of play. To get on top of the opposition early will be the key to victory here and not because the Knights or Broncos play bad second halves, on the contrary, I’m expecting them both to play hard in the second half but they really need to work on finding their grooves early in the piece. The job has been made harder for the Broncos having lost veteran warhorse Corey Parker to injury in last week’s narrow loss to the Cowboys on home turf. This week they head south to Newcastle to meet the Knights in front of an always vocal Novocastrian crowd at Hunter Stadium.
The Knights may have been lucky last week that their opposition in the Sharks seemed to be doing their best to bomb tries. The Knight’s stats suggested that despite winning, a loss could have been very possible thanks to 7 line breaks conceded, the most by any team in Round 2. Along with that the Knights racked up a massive 49 missed tackles which is not common for a Wayne Bennett coached team of any standard.
The team that can fix their flaws from last week the best will win this one, but I’d hate to be putting my house on it. I’m just leaning towards the Knights to get home on the back of the home crowd…..just.
Chance of winning: Knights 50%, Broncos 49%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Knights
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2078.44
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)