THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NRL ROUND 13 PREVIEW
BYE: Panthers, Roosters
Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys
Skilled Park, 7:35pm (local).
TITANS: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Jamal Idris, Beau Champion, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange (from): Luke Douglas, Matthew White, Ben Ridge, Luke O’Dwyer, Brenton Lawrence
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Ray Thompson, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): James Segeyaro, Ricky Thorby, Ashton Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Cory Paterson
This game is brewing to be an interesting clash between two QLD sides.
We have the Titans who have struggled most of the way through 2012 but have showed some great improvements in the last fortnight and they just may be turning their season around.
The Cowboys, It’s fair to say, are the far better team this year but they do seem to struggle when playing away from Townsville despite having accumulated 4 wins on the road so far this season. They lost in Sydney last week against the Tigers which saw them drop out of the top 4 down to 6th position and the loss will see them determined to bounce back in the best possible way this week.
To help them do so, the Cowboys have been on the Gold Coast all week (Some might say this is a distraction!) in preparation for the game but will this affect Johnathan Thurston in a negative way? Thurston has spent a lot of time away from home lately thanks to his State of Origin duties and now an extended trip to the Coast could prove detrimental to arguably the most important player on the field. Both teams have won 4 from the last 8 encounters.
Chance of winning: Titans 45%, Cowboys 54%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Cowboys
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Cowboys Head to Head.
Manly Sea Eagles v St George Illawarra Dragons
Brookvale Oval, 7:35pm (local).
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Michael Oldfield, Jamie Lyon, Dean Whare, Jorge Taufua, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Daniel Harrison, Glenn Stewart. Interchange (from): Jamie Buhrer, Joe Galuvao, Darcy Lussick, George Rose, Vic Mauro
DRAGONS: Brett Morris, Daniel Vidot, Kyle Stanley, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby (c), Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Trent Merrin, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Dean Young. Interchange (from): Nathan Fien, Jeremy Latimore, Leeson Ah Mau, Jake Marketo, Jack de Belin, Chase Stanley
It’s certain now; The Manly Sea Eagles have an attitude problem. Last week they racked up their 5th loss of the season and means they have now lost games to the teams placed 14th, 15th and 16th on the ladder. It’s an amazing stat considering they went into last week sitting 4th on the ladder. They can win this match if the players decide to get their heads in the right space.
The Dragons got out of jail last week beating the Eels in the dying minutes of their game to narrowly avoid a 4th straight loss.
These two sides met in Round 4 and the Dragons were 17-6 victors on that occasion but they have somewhat fallen by the wayside since then and are struggling to score points. Their defence is the only aspect of the Dragons’ game that is keeping their heads above water and this could prove to be a huge problem against a Sea Eagles side playing at ‘The Fortress’ Brookvale Oval despite the fact they have won the last 4 meetings against the Sea Eagles.
Chance of winning: Sea Eagles 59%, Dragons 40%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Michael Oldfield to score a try at any stage of the match.
Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers
Canberra Stadium, 5:30pm (local).
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Dimitri Pelo, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Edrick Lee, Josh Dugan, Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Travis Waddell, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Bronson Harrison, Dane Tilse, Sam Mataora
TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Beau Ryan, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Blake Ayshford, Benji Marshall, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Curtis Sironen, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Matt Bell, Tom Humble
The temperatures in the nation’s capital have been dropping rapidly and for any side visiting Canberra, the cold conditions can prove to be more uncomfortable than a kiss on the lips from your sister. The Wests Tigers have the unenvied task of braving the elements this week and if it wasn’t for the plethora of injuries the Raiders have suffered, the odds for this match may have been a lot more even.
Of those injuries, the most recent came on Wednesday when up and coming local talent Jack Wighton copped a season ending break to his toe after a jump gone wrong on his family trampoline. Needless to say Coach David Furner was not impressed.
Furner is punting on throwing Fullback Josh Dugan into the 5/8th role this week, and why not? With all the injuries the team has accumulated he doesn’t have much to lose, and even if he did it’s unlikely he’ll ever face the sack what with his brother Don Furner running the club.
Whilst the Raiders were able to put up a small fight in the first half of last week’s game, I put it more down to the Rabbitohs lack of respect towards a weakened opponent and thus I will be tipping the Tigers to take out this one with their superior ball movement in attack.
Chance of winning: Raiders 40%, Tigers 59%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Tigers
Mike’s Suggested Bet: 1st scoring play: Raiders Try/Tigers Head to Head.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs
ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm (local).
BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Krisnan Inu, Josh Morris, Jonathan Wright, Tim Lafai, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Dene Halatau, Greg Eastwood. Interchange (from): James Graham, David Stagg, Corey Payne, Trent Hodkinson, Joel Romelo, Martin Taupau, Dale Finucane
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Matt King, Dylan Farrell, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Luke Burgess, Issac Luke, Dave Tyrrell, Sam Burgess, Dave Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Eddy Pettybourne, Scott Geddes, Chris McQueen, Justin Hunt
This could turn out to be the game of the round played out at ANZ Stadium which is home to both these sides which tossed up a 20-10 victory to the Raibbitohs back on Good Friday of Round 6 this year.
The Bulldogs appear to have steadied their ship, are playing some solid footy and are getting ready to play some A+ rugby league as we head towards the finals. Coach Des Hasler has most of the team playing just the way he likes and brushed off any injury concerns to his backline by nabbing Krisnan Inu from the Warriors last week and injecting him directly into the side with immediate and beneficial results.
Fullback Ben Barba has been indescribable both in attack and defence and is one of my top 5 players so far in 2012.
The Rabbitohs key men are none other than State of Origin representatives Greg Inglis and rampaging Dave Taylor. Inglis has been virtually untouchable since being moved to the fullback position earlier in the year and every game he manages to leave his opponents second-guessing and one stage or another.
The Souths boys are aiming for a 5th straight win and I’m tipping them to do it.
Chance of winning: Bulldogs 46%, Rabbitohs 53%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Tri-bet: Either team to win by under 6.5 points
Brisbane Broncos v Newcastle Knights
Suncorp Stadium, 3:00pm (local).
BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Petero Civoniceva, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett, Dunamis Lui
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Tafeaga Junior Sa’u, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Neville Costigan. Interchange: Chris Adams, Lisiate Richie Fa’aoso, Adam Cuthbertson, Alex McKinnon
It’s the first day game the Broncos have contested in 2012 and only the second that hasn’t been played on a Friday night though I doubt this will have any bearing on the game.
Coach Wayne Bennett brings his struggling Knights to Suncorp, a ground which he graced as the Broncos Coach for many years but has only won one game at as a rival coach since leaving the club at the end of 2008. He needs to find a way to get the attacking best (or even just an improvement) out of his Knights as they have only logged 168 points in attack all year; the worst of any team.
The Broncos still sit 2nd on the competition ladder despite not having won a game for a month but are clear favourites to win this match starting at $1.20 and look likely to rack up their 4th win in 4 games against the Knights.
Chance of winning: Broncos 63%, Knights 36%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Halftime/Fulltime – Broncos/Broncos
New Zealand Warriors v Melbourne Storm
Mt Smart Stadium, 4:00pm (local).
WARRIORS: Glen Fisiiahi, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering, Feleti Mateo. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Sam Rapira, Sione Lousi, Jacob Lillyman
STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Will Chambers, Justin O’Neill, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Jason Ryles, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hoffman, Todd Lowrie. Interchange (from): Anthony Quinn, Rory Kostjasyn, Michael Greenfield, Jaiman Lowe
Personally I think the Storm are over the odds anywhere over $1.50 and Betfair will likely be the place to go to get the optimum odds on the head to head market.
The Warriors may have won their past 4 games at Mt. Smart Stadium but Melbourne are by far a more complete package and I still don’t see the Warriors as being at their best yet.
In saying all that, the Warriors have been the Storm’s bogey team in the last 4 seasons with their biggest victory happening last year in week 3 of the finals when seemingly against all odds they beat the Storm 20-12 to make their way into the Grand Final.
The Warriors drive and motivation going into this match will be to make their way into the top 8. They currently sit in 9th and a win could see them move into the top 8 whereas a loss could possibly leave them two wins away from the 8 if other results go against them.
Chance of winning: Warriors 40%, Storm 59%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Storm
Mike’s Suggested Bet:
Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks
Parramatta Stadium, 7:00pm (local).
EELS: Jarryd Hayne, Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Cheyse Blair, Ken Sio, Ben Roberts, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Matthew Keating, Justin Poore, Nathan Hindmarsh (c), Matt Ryan, Joseph Paulo. Interchange:Reni Maitua, Fuifui Moimoi, Mitchell Allgood, Taulima Tautai
SHARKS: Matthew Wright, Isaac Gordon, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Bryce Gibbs, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Jeremy Smith, Jayson Bukuya, Paul Gallen. Interchange (from): Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, John Morris, Mark Taufua, Sam Tagataese
Round 13 has rolled around and the Eels are still searching for their second win of the season and the Sharks are in their sights. The Eels met the Sharks in Round 7 and only went down by 6 points in a match where they showed some real signs of quality footy. Perhaps this time the home ground advantage may prove to be of real advantage against a Sharks team coming off the bye.
Parramatta faced up to the Dragons last week and went desperately close to winning before falling at the final hurdle, but at least they showed that things are on the improve at the club.
This is the first time in 3 weeks that the Sharks will play as a team with both Todd Carney and Paul Gallen lining up and it will be interesting to see if the 3 week hiatus has had any effect on them or if they will simply pick up from where they left off. Sharks fans will be hoping it’s the latter after their team has lost two of their last three matches but will take comfort from the fact that the Sharks have beaten the Eels in 6 of the last 8 encounters.
Chance of winning: Eels 43%, Sharks 56%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Sharks
Mike’s Suggested Bet: 1st scoring play: Sharks try.