THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NRL ROUND 22 PREVIEW
Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons
Allianz Stadium, 7:35pm (local).
ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Joseph ‘BJ’ Leilua, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tautau Moga, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Frank Paul Nuuausala, Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner, Tinirau Arona. Interchange (from): Nafe Seluini, Lama Tasi, Mitchell Aubusson, Martin Kennedy, Brad Takairangi
DRAGONS: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Nathan Green, Daniel Vidot, Nathan Fien, Ben Hornby, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Trent Merrin, Matt Prior, Ben Creagh, Dean Young. Interchange (from): Cameron King, Josh Miller, Will Matthews, Jack de Belin, Jake Marketo
Last week the Roosters were fighting to keep their slim finals hopes alive and while they are now dashed, their fight to remain off the bottom of the ladder is well and truly alive. The Roosters have forgotten how to win and have only managed one win from their last ten starts and the pressure is starting to build on coach Brian Smith.
The Dragon’s form has been somewhat sketchy in recent weeks but they have shown they still know how to win and win well following their defeat of the Melbourne Storm last week in a hard fought match that went right until the end.
There is really no reason for me to tip the Roosters as they hold no appeal in form or betting and their stat of only 1 win against the Dragons in the last 8 encounters only certifies that I’m tipping the Dragons.
Chance of winning: Dragons 70%, Roosters 29%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Dragons
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Dragons Head to Head @ $1.55 (Centrebet)
Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers
AAMI Park, 3:30pm (local).
STORM: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Dane Nielsen, Will Chambers, Anthony Quinn, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Jason Ryles, Sika Manu, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange (from): Bryan Norrie, Rory Kostjasyn, Richie Fa’aoso, Kevin Proctor, Todd Lowrie, Jaiman Lowe
PANTHERS: Michael Gordon, Josh Mansour, Michael Jennings, Brad Tighe, David Simmons, Lachlan Coote, Luke Walsh, Sam Mckendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Clint Newton, Cameron Ciraldo, Nigel Plum. Interchange (from): Shane Shackelton, Mitch Achurch, Ryan Simpkins, Matt Robinson, Danny Galea
Take note: Saturday footy is kicking off at the earlier time of 3:30pm this week and the first game comes to you from down south as the now 3rd placed Storm take on the 15th placed Panthers. I was confident last week that the Storm could ‘stop the rot’ of their losing streak but I was wrong and the losing streak has now blown out to 5 in a row which is almost unheard of by a team that has been as ultra successful as the storm since 2006. This week’s attempt to break the unenviable streak will be against the Panthers who are in their own fight which is to stay off the bottom of the ladder and avoid the wooden spoon. The Panthers haven’t beaten the Storm since 2005 and I don’t expect them to do it this week either. The Panthers are without Travis Burns who copped a well publicised 12 weeks suspension for a high tackle but the biggest loss for Penrith is that of Luke Lewis who has reportedly been ruled out with a neck injury of some sort making things all the more harder for them to win.
Chance of winning: Storm 76%, Panthers 23%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Storm
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Storm 13+ @ $2.15 (Sportsbet)
Newcastle Knights v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
Hunter Stadium, 5:30pm (local).
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, Kevin Naiqama, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Zane Tetevano, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Neville Costigan. Interchange: Robbie Rochow, Zeb Taia, Adam Cuthbertson, Alex McKinnon
BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Sam Perrett, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Jonathan Wright, Josh Reynolds, Joel Romelo, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Frank Pritchard, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange (from): Martin Taupau, Dale Finucane, Corey Payne, David Stagg, Harlan Alaalatoa
The Knights currently sit just outside the top 8 on for and against along with the Dragons and Tigers making a win tonight crucial to the success of their premiership campaign. They have won 5 of their last 6 and now they take on the top of the ladder Bulldogs who themselves are on a current 9 game winning streak and are crushing all who go before them.
Going back to 2008 the Knights hold the better of the going with 5 wins from 7 games but this could be their toughest challenge yet.
My tip is for the Bulldogs but I don’t expect them to have it all their own way with the Knights surely to play hard until the 80th minute.
Chance of winning: Bulldogs 64%, Knights 35%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: 1st Try scorer: Ben Barba @ $7.00 (Centrebet)
1st Try scorer: Josh Morris @ $9.00 (Centrebet)
North Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles
Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7:30pm (local).
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): Anthony Mitchell, Ricky Thorby, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton, Ray Thompson
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Steve Matai, Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams, Glenn Stewart. Interchange (from): George Rose, Joe Galuvao, Darcy Lussick, Jamie Buhrer, Vic Mauro, Daniel Harrison, Dean Whare
This is one of the matches of the round as the 4th placed Cowboys take on the 6th placed Sea Eagles in a bid to grab a top four position on the ladder.
The Cowboys have been impressive on their home turf this year and the Sea Eagles hold a 5-5 record in games away from home this year. In the last 4 games at Dairy Farmers Stadium the Cowboys have won 3 and only lost the 4th by a mere 4 points.
A big boost for Manly is the return of Brett Stewart to the fullback position and for one of the few occasions in 2012 Manly will field a full strength team.
My tip though, remains with the Cowboys who have shown some attacking brilliance in recent weeks to make their way back into 4th on the ladder.
Chance of winning: Cowboys 55%, Sea Eagles 44%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Cowboys
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $1.77 (Centrebet)
New Zealand Warriors v Cronulla Sharks
Mt Smart Stadium, 2:00pm (local), 12:00pm AEST.
WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Lewis Brown, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Elijah Taylor, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange (from): Carlos Tuimavave, Sione Lousi, Jacob Lillyman, Steve Rapira, Ukuma Ta’Ai
SHARKS: Matthew Wright, John Williams, Ricky Leutele, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Mark Taufua, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Jeremy Smith, Anthony Tupou, Paul Gallen. Interchange (from): Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, John Morris, Jayson Bukuya, Jon Green, Sam Tagataese
NOTE: This game looks like it could suffer player and positional changes right up until minutes before kickoff. Because this preview will not be updated I think it’s best not to make a suggested bet as the starting line ups remain a mystery.
What a shocking two weeks the Warriors have had. They currently sit in 12th on the ladder one win outside the Top 8 on the back of two losses. In both losses they at one stage lead the game 18-0 before being run down. This is the first time in NRL history that a side has lead by 18 and lost two weeks in a row.
The Sharks have been a victim of player injury for the last month and have racked up 3 losses and a draw. I think they are at great odds to break the drought this week provided Paul Gallen and Todd Carney play. I highly recommend waiting until the last minute to place any bets to see if Gallen and Carney will indeed take the field.
If they do, then the Sharks at $2.65 (Sportsbet) are juicy prospects and one worth taking.
The Warriors haven’t been without injury hassles themselves and prolific try scorer Konrad Hurrell will be missing this week with an ankle injury.
The Warriors have won 3 of the last 4 matches against the Sharks with the loss coming back in Round 15 when the Warriors seemingly had the match in the bag before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos
Canberra Stadium, 2:00pm (local).
RAIDERS: Josh Dugan, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Reece Robinson, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, David Shillington, Travis Waddell, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Mark Nicholls, Sam Mataora
BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Alex Glenn, Ben Te’o, Lachlan Maranta, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Petero Civoniceva, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Aaron Whitchurch, Mitchell Dodds, Dunamis Lui
What will the Raiders present to the NRL world this week? Taking a layman’s look at their form in the last 4 weeks it reads something like this: Get flogged by the Knights, flog the Sharks, get flogged by the Titans, and flog the Storm.
This week they face the Broncos, whose form in layman’s terms can be described as: ‘slump’.
The Broncos dropped to a new low for 2012 as they were easily dispatched by the Eels on Monday night making it 3 losses from their last four games. Despite this they still hold 5th spot on the ladder and will be keen for victory and a possible spot in the top 4. The Raiders posess their own hunger for victory as a loss will see them slip another step further from finals contention.
The Broncos have won the last 3 clashes against the Raiders including a in against them at Suncorp Stadium this year and have my backing to break their 2 game losing streak.
Chance of winning: Broncos 72%, Raiders 27%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Broncos Head to Head @ $1.70 (Centrebet)
Gold Coast Titans v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Skilled Park, 3:00pm (local).
TITANS: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Jamal Idris, Steve Michaels, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Luke Douglas, Nate Myles, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange (from): Matt White, Ben Ridge, Luke O’Dwyer, Beau Falloon
RABBITOHS: Nathan Merritt, Justin Hunt, Matt King, Dylan Farrell, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Eddy Pettybourne, Nathan Peats, Sam Burgess, Chris McQueen, Dave Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Jason Clark, Dave Tyrrell, Luke Burgess, Ben Lowe, Scott Geddes, Shaune Corrigan
For the first time in 2012 the Gold Coast Titans have found their way into the top 8 thanks to a more than convincing win over the Roosters and recent 3 game winning streak.
A first for the Rabbitohs is their advance to 2nd on the ladder but I’m not overlooking their cruisy run of Sydney games recently
Interesting stats to note is that the last time Souths beat a team in the current top 8 was way back in Round 9. Souths have not won a single game against a top 8 team when playing away from home. Of all those games, Greg Inglis was present in the side but remains out this week as he serves week 2 of his 3 week suspension.
The Titans represent the value bet of the round and will give this one a real shake.
Chance of winning: Titans 54%, Rabbitohs 45%, Draw 1%
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Titans +3.5 @ $1.91 (Centrebet)
Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, 7:00pm (local).
TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Blake Ayshford, Beau Ryan, Marika Koroibete, Liam Fulton, Benji Marshall, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Adam Blair, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Junior Moors, Ray Cashmere, Matt Bell, Tim Simona
EELS: Jake Mullaney, Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Cheyse Blair, Ken Sio, Ben Roberts, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Nathan Smith, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben Smith, Reni Maitua. Interchange (from): Joseph Paulo, Taulima Tautai, Justin Poore, Matthew Ryan, Justin Horo
PREVIEW COMING SOON………