THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NRL ROUND 17 PREVIEW
Brisbane Broncos v Cronulla Sharks
Suncorp Stadium, 7:35pm (local).
BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Lachlan Maranta, Jack Reed, Gerard Beale, Dale Copley, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Mitchell Dodds, Alex Glenn, Brendon Gibb, Dunamis Lui. Interchange (from): Ben Hunt, Aaron Whitchurch, Jarrod Wallace, Nick Slyney, Kurt Baptiste
SHARKS: Matthew Wright, Isaac Gordon, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Chad Townsend, Jeff Robson, Bryce Gibbs, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Jeremy Smith, Jayson Bukuya, Wade Graham. Interchange (from): Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, John Morris, Mark Taufua, Sam Tagataese
The split round of only 5 games starts off at Suncorp Stadium where the Broncos take on the Sharks minus their respective State of Origin stars. It’s these games when we affectionately refer to the Brisbane side as the ‘baby Broncos’. It should be an interesting fight as both teams have already shown that they are capable of winning without their key players at origin time and both will be keen to do so tonight in a bid to stay in or around the top 4 positions on the ladder.
Brisbane have enjoyed a better win record against the Sharks in recent history having won six of the last seven match ups and the last 5 straight.
The Sharks will suffer more without Carney and Gallen than the Broncos will without their missing players and stand in captain Alex Glenn always does an impressive job up front as the team’s caretaker which sways my vote towards the Broncos in this one.
Chance of winning: Broncos 60%, Sharks 39%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Broncos -3.5
Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights
Parramatta Stadium, 7:30pm (local).
EELS: Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Cheyse Blair, Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Justin Poore, Nathan Hindmarsh, Matthew Ryan, Ben Smith. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Fuifui Moimoi, Mitchell Allgood, Taniela Lasalo, Reni Maitua
KNIGHTS: Peter Mata’utia, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Neville Costigan. Interchange (from): Zane Tetevano, Zeb Taia, Adam Cuthbertson, Alex McKinnon, Kevin Naiqama
It looked like the Knights were in for another loss last week after they were down 14-0 early on against the Tigers when they suddenly turned things around to come back and win in emphatic fashion by 38-20. If they can continue that form on against the lowly Eels this week then they will have no problem collecting another two competition points. I’m expecting them to do so against an Eels side that scraped their way out of another loss last week against the Panther by winning 19-18 in golden point extra time. Despite their win it was another woeful performance and I don’t like Parramatta’s chance of breaking the Newcastle defence too often.
Defence has not been a real issue for the Knights in 2012 but more so their attack. A win here for the Knights could be the catalyst for a mid season change of fortune.
Chance of winning: Eels 40%, Knights 59%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Knights
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Knights Head to Head
New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys
Mt Smart Stadium, 4:00pm (local), 2:00pm AEST
WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Glen Fisiiahi, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Lewis Brown, Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor Interchange (from): Jacob Lillyman, Micheal Luck, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo, Steve Rapira
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Michael Morgan, Ray Thompson, Ashton Sims, Aaron Payne, Ricky Thorby, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): Joel Riethmuller, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Cory Paterson, Mosese Pangai
Sunday footy takes us across the Tasman to chilly New Zealand where the Warriors will be keen to capitalise on an opportunity presented to them in the form of the Cowboys sans Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Brent Tate.
The Warriors have lost three of their last four games and currently sit two wins behind the Wests Tigers in 8th place. The Tigers have a bye this week making a win absolutely vital for the Warriors this week or they will drop 6 points away from the top 8, putting their 2012 campaign in jeopardy.
The Cowboys sit in 4th on the ladder and with the plethora of talent missing from their side they will find it extremely challenging to compete in this game.
It makes it easy for me to tip the Warriors who need to win and will have the home crowd cheering them all the way.
Chance of winning: Warriors 64%, Cowboys 35%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Warriors
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take ‘Over’ in Over/Under betting.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers
ANZ Stadium, 3:00pm (local).
RABBITOHS: Nathan Merritt, Andrew Everingham, Shaune Corrigan, Dylan Farrell, Justin Hunt, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Scott Geddes, Issac Luke, Luke Burgess, Ben Lowe, Chris McQueen, Michael Croker. Interchange: Jason Clark, Dave Tyrrell, George Burgess, Nathan Peats
PANTHERS: Lachlan Coote, Etu Uaisele, Brad Tighe, Geoff Daniela, David Simmons, Blake Austin, Harry Siejka, Dayne Weston, Kevin Kingston, Nigel Plum, Clint Newton, Cameron Ciraldo, Ryan Simpkins. Interchange (from): Matt Robinson, Chris Armit, Mitch Achurch, Arana Taumata, Danny Galea
The Panthers dropped to equal last on the ladder with Parramatta last week and ironically it was at the hands of Parramatta who sit ultimately last by virtue of for and against.
The Panthers have been playing tragically of late having lost their last three games in ordinary fashion and it surely can’t get any better in this match without the likes of Tim Grant, Luke Lewis and Michael Jennings who are playing Origin.
The Rabbitohs are missing a couple of their own in Dave Taylor and Greg Inglis but they have already proven this year that they are capable of winning when short on troops.
These two sides met back in Round 3 when the Bunnies handed out a 40-24 belting but it’s the Panthers that hold the slight upper hand in recent times having won 3 of the last 5.
Regardless of whatever statistic you can throw on to the table, I’m tipping the Rabbitohs to win comfortably.
Chance of winning: Rabbitohs 68%, Panthers 31%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Rabbitohs -5.5
Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons
Canberra Stadium, 7:00pm (local).
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Dimitri Pelo, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Edrick Lee, Josh Mccrone, Sam Williams, Dane Tilse, Travis Waddell, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Bronson Harrison, Sam Mataora, Joe Picker, Mark Nicholls
DRAGONS: Jason Nightingale, Daniel Vidot, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Bronx Goodwin, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Jack de Belin, Jake Marketo, Leeson Ah Mau, Dean Young. Interchange: Nathan Fien, Jeremy Latimore, Matt Prior, Josh Miller
Many are aware now of the so called ‘hoodoo’ surrounding the match ups between the Raiders and the Dragons played out at Canberra stadium. Amazingly the Dragons haven’t beaten the Raiders in Canberra since the turn of the century, a drought of 12 years! And at any venue the Raiders have won 12 of the last 13.
Of course though, what happens in the past generally stays in the past but you have to wonder whether or not this ‘hoodoo’ will play on the minds of the current crop of Dragons players. This is one of their better opportunities as they face a Raiders side that is missing the likes of Terry Campese and Josh Dugan just to name two of about 8 injured players and Dave Shillington off representing QLD in the State of Origin.
However I’m concerned about the Dragon’s lack of attacking prowess and the Raiders don’t mind throwing the ball around when they feel a lot more comfortable than their opponents in potentially sub-zero temperatures I think they can keep the hoodoo alive…….
Chance of winning: Raiders 55%, Dragons 44%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Raiders
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Raiders +2.5