NRL Round 19 Preview and Tips





Brisbane Broncos v Warriors

Suncorp Stadium, 7:35pm (local).

BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Alex Glenn, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Petero Civoniceva, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange (from): Ben Hunt, Ben Teo, Ben Hannant, Mitchell Dodds, Dunamis Lui

WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Lewis Brown, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor. Interchange (from): Omar Slaimankhel, Sione Lousi, Jacob Lillyman, Steve Rapira, Sebastine Ikahihifo

As it seems to most weeks, the round kicks off at the old Lang Park with the Brisbane Broncos returning to the fray fresh off a bye to take on the New Zealand Warriors who you could almost say are fresh off a pretty soft win last week against the Titans.

The Broncos can finally move on with their 2012 season now that State of Origin has come and gone for another year causing its fair amount of disruptions to the Brisbane lineups from week to week.

I’m feeling strongly about a Broncos victory in this one because it’s my firm belief that so far the Warriors have had a fairly cruisy run through the competition and are being made to look a bit better than how they are genuinely travelling.

If you look at the current top 8, the Warriors have only beaten 3 of those teams and the last of those was against a massively depleted Cowboys side and victory was pretty much a given. All three wins were at home for the Warriors and their away record shows only three wins also. The three away wins were against the Titans, Panthers and Eels who sit 13th, 15th and 16th respectively.

Get on!

Chance of winning: Broncos 70%, Warriors 29%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Broncos

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Broncos Head to Head @ $1.50 (Sportingbet)


Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels

ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm (local).

BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Sam Perrett, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Jonathan Wright, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Dene Halatau, Greg Eastwood. Interchange (from): James Graham, Dale Finucane, Corey Payne, David Stagg, Josh Jackson          

EELS: Jake Mullaney, Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Nathan Smith, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Matthew Ryan, Reni Maitua. Interchange: Joseph Paulo,Taulima Tautai, Mitchell Allgood, Taniela Lasalo

As of this moment, the Bulldogs could be classed as the form side of the competition having won 7 of their last 8 games (The loss being to the Titans somehow!) and they are improving by the week. Their biggest opponent this week might only be complacency as they front up to the bottom of the table Eels who, unlike the Bulldogs are showing next to no signs of improvement. Put these basic facts together and you get the Bulldogs at head to head odds of currently $1.11

Last week the Eels took on Manly and found themselves 40-0 down after just 47 minutes of game time before clawing the scoreline back to 40-24 in what some are calling a gallant effort. Personally I call it Manly putting the cue in the rack and not really caring how close the Eels got after that.

Eels Coach Stephen Kearney said his side showed great effort but clearly he was watching a different game to the one I saw.

Chance of winning: Bulldogs 90%, Eels 9.5%, Draw 0.5%

Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Josh Morris to score a try at any time during match @ $1.60 (Sportsbet)




Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys

AAMI Park, 5:30pm (local).

STORM: Gareth Widdop, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Justin O’Neill, Anthony Quinn, Maurice Blair, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Jason Ryles, Sika Manu, Ryan Hoffman, Todd Lowrie. Interchange (from): Ryan Hinchcliffe, Rory Kostjasyn, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Siosaia Vave, Jaiman Lowe, Sisa Waqa

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): Anthony Mitchell, Ricky Thorby, Ashton Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Michael Morgan, Scott Bolton

Whilst the home ground advantage is a huge one for the Melbourne Storm and the Cowboys generally struggling away from Townsville, we could still be in for quite the battle in this game of 1st vs. 7th.

The State of Origin period has really hurt the Storm and they will be glad that they can now focus on the season ahead and try to get their game back on track following 3 losses from their last 4 games. Cameron Smith returns to captain his side after being rested last week and he will be ready to steer the ship up the middle and really hurt the Cowboys on the fringes.

If the Cowboys are to challenge then the forwards are going to have to be water tight in defence and really lay the proverbial platform for the likes of halfback Johnathan Thurston on attack.

Be prepared for some high class footy from a game that will boast 12 State of Origin representatives from past and present.

The Cowboys haven’t won in Melbourne since 2001 and I’m tipping the Storm will make this the game where they begin their hard to stop run towards the finals.

Chance of winning: Storm 61%, Cowboys 38%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Storm 1-12 @ $3.10 (Centrebet)


Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles

Hunter Stadium, 5:30pm (local).

KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Zeb Taia, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Neville Costigan. Interchange: Marvin Filipo, Zane Tetevano, Adam Cuthbertson, Alex McKinnon

SEA EAGLES: Dean Whare, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams, Glenn Stewart. Interchange (from): Jamie Buhrer, Joe Galuvao, Darcy Lussick, George Rose, Vic Mauro, Daniel Harrison

Manly will be as good as fresh going into this rivalry match after smashing the Eels so hard last week they were able to start winding down with 30 minutes still remaining in the match. This could prove the big advantage against a Knights side that like to play defensively although have plenty of shortcomings in attack.

The Knights almost convinced some people that they were turning their season around with two wins on the trot but last week’s 34 – 14 loss against the Rabbitohs brought them crashing back down to earth with the realisation that there is a lot more work to do and that another loss may put the finals out of reach. If they are to have any chance of making the finals they will have to beat some quality opposition and there’s no better time to start than this round against the reigning premiers.

Manly have defeated the Knights 4 times out of the last 5 meetings and I’m backing them to make it 5 from 6.

Chance of winning: Sea Eagles 73%, Roosters 26%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sea Eagles/Sea Eagles in Halftime/Fulltime betting @ $1.75 (Sportsbet)


Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers

Campbelltown Sports Stadium, 7:30pm (local).

TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Beau Ryan, Curtis Sironen, Benji Marshall, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington. Interchange (from): Junior Moors, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Matt Bell, Ray Cashmere, Joel Reddy

PANTHERS: Lachlan Coote, Josh Mansour, Michael Jennings, Brad Tighe, David Simmons, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Sam Mckendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Nigel Plum, Cameron Ciraldo, Luke Lewis. Interchange (from): Shane Shackleton, Mitch Achurch, Ryan Simpkins, Matt Robinson, Dayne Weston 

The Tigers have opened up in betting at approximately $1.28 for this game which seems obvious against a Panthers team that is languishing in 15th place on the ladder but let’s take a closer look at the factors surrounding this game.

The Tigers are sitting 9th on the ladder and have lost some confidence which equates to their current 3 game losing streak.

Curtis Sironen reprises his 5/8th role for another week and whilst I have the utmost respect for all that he has done in the lower grades during his career, I think young Curtis is still finding his way in the top grade and this will hold the Tigers back.

I’m not a fan of the Tiger’s attitude in most games this year and looking at betting statistics we see that in the 12 games that the Tigers have started favourite, they have only covered the line twice.

Finally, the icing on the cake is that during the week, Penrith stalwart Luke Lewis announced that he will be leaving the club at the end of the year but has yet to sign with a new club. Those following the story would have to be of the thinking that Lewis is clearly unhappy with how he has been treated by the club.

Lewis will be out this week to show the Panthers what they will be missing in 2013 and also what other clubs should be bidding for.

Overall the Tigers have too much skill and brawn across the park but they won’t be covering the line.

Chance of winning: Tigers 60%, Panthers 39%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Tigers

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Panthers +10.5 @ $1.91 (Centrebet)




Canberra Raiders v Gold coast Titans

Canberra Stadium, 3:00pm (local).

RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Edrick Lee, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, David Shillington, Travis Waddell, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Mark Nicholls, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Sam Mataora

TITANS: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Jamal Idris, Dominique Peyroux, Steve Michaels, Aidan Sezer, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Luke Douglas, Ben Ridge, Mark Minichiello, Nate Myles. Interchange (from): Matthew White, Michael Henderson, Luke O’Dwyer, Beau Falloon, Ryan James

The Raiders are currently on a 2 match winning streak and have won 3 of their last 4 which sudden;y has them sitting just one win from the top 8. Their recent scalps include that of the Storm last week in Melbourne. The Titans on the contrary have lost 3 of their last 4 and it’s hard to see how they will stop the bleeding when they continually produce error riddled footy in an NRL climate where low completion rates are fatal to a team’s chances of success.

The Titans have a poor record in their 5 year history of games at Canberra stadium and they only managed to bag their first win in the nation’s capital last year in a golden point decider. Take that win out and the Titans are averaging 24 point losses at Canberra Stadium.

The Raiders are my tip on the back of a heavy work rate from Shaun Fensom and the fast finishing backs which now include Sandor Earl. Earl joined the club just two weeks ago from Penrith and is proving to be a real bargain buy for the club having scored two tries and making plenty of metres, not just down the right flank but also mid field when taking the weight of work off his side’s forwards.

Chance of winning: Raiders 62%, Titans 37%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Raiders

Mike’s Suggested Bet: 1st scoring play – Raiders Try @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)


St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks

WIN Stadium, 3:00pm (local).

DRAGONS: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Daniel Vidot, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Trent Merrin, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Dean Young. Interchange (from): Nathan Fien, Jeremy Latimore, Josh Miller, Matt Prior, Jake Marketo

SHARKS: Matthew Wright, Isaac Gordon, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Bryce Gibbs, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Andrew Fifita, Jayson Bukuya, Wade Graham. Interchange (from): Jon Green, Mark Taufua, John Morris, Tyson Frizell, Anthony Tupou

The Sunday afternoon match takes us to Wollongong for another classic matchup in rivalry round between the Dragons and the Sharks.

The Sharks are coming off the first draw of the season in a game which they should have won but failed to deliver the killer blow to the Roosters.  Their captain Paul Gallen was missing last week and is unlikely to play this week. It’s a massive loss to the side and will see them start the game as $2.35 outsiders.

The Dragons are coming off a bye and have only managed 2 wins from their last 8 games which leaves them planted firmly in the bottom 8 of the competition. This game is a great opportunity to salvage some points with the aforementioned Paul Gallen missing from the action.

Whilst the Sharks are clearly the form side of the two, I’m just leaning towards the Dragons here but overall I see the match as a non betting prospect and will be keeping my wallet firmly in my pocket for this one.

Chance of winning: Dragons 56%, Sharks 43%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Dragons

Mike’s Suggested Bet: None




Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Aliianz Stadium, 7:00pm (local).

ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello, Joseph ‘BJ’Leilua, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tautau Moga, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Martin Kennedy, Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner, Frank Paul Nuuausala. Interchange (from): Daniel Mortimer, Tinirau Arona, Lama Tasi, Mose Masoe           

RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Matt King, Dylan Farrell, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam  Reynolds, Luke Burgess, Isaac Luke, Sam Burgess, Chris McQueen, Dave Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Justin Clark, Nathan Peats, Eddy Pettybourne, George Burgess, Dane Tyrell, Ben Lowe

Round 19 concludes with one of the longest standing rivalries in the NRL between two teams that have been battling it out since 1908.

The matches between Souths and the Roosters are always enthralling, close and unpredictable as was shown back in Round 1 this year when the Roosters were seemingly down and out before quite miraculously scoring two tries in the last 3 minutes.

The overall record shows a total of 204 matches with the Roosters having won 93 and the Rabbitohs winning 106 plus 5 draws.

The Roosters have had the better of it in the last 3 years having won 4 of the last 5 but the Rabbitohs are looking like the team to beat on this occasion thanks to the Roosters losing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to suspension. Away from that the Roosters are struggling to complete sets and hardly look menacing to opponents and the Rabbitohs have shown all year that they don’t suffer fools and are a real chance to post a big winning margin in Monday night footy.


Chance of winning: Roosters 35%, Rabbitohs 64%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Rabbitohs 13+ @ $2.25 (Sportingbet)

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