NRL Round 3 Preview and Tips







AAMI Park, Thursday 8.05pm (EDST)

STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Will Chambers, Junior Sau, Mahe Fonua, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (capt), Bryan Norrie, Tohu Harris, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Lagi Setu, Slade Griffin, Junior Moors, Maurice Blair (one to be omitted)

BULLDOGS: Drury Low, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (capt), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer, Tim Browne, Tim Lafai (one to be omitted)

No Ben Barba is the latest word but it seems more and more likely the young superstar will return next week. The Bulldogs could have used that boost after a scrappy start to the season not helped by the loss of key players from the forward pack. The replacements in the likes of Martin Tapau and Josh Jackson have been bold in their efforts but most disappointing has been off season signing Tony Williams who has spent much time receiving the ball flat footed. Williams needs to lift.

The Storm have been surprising no one with their 20+ point wins in the first two rounds and have looked exceptional in every facet of their game. Having the home ground advantage provides them with so much more and the Bulldogs might find it too hard to overcome the reigining premiers in the Grand Final replay.

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Melbourne -11.5 @ $1.92 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Leichhardt Oval, Friday 8.05pm (EDST)

TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Joel Reddy, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Marika Koroibete, Benji Marshall, Jacob Miller, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (capt), Jack Buchanan, Braith Anasta, Liam Fulton, Adam Blair. Interchange: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ava Seumanufagai, Matt Bell, Eddy Pettybourne, Masada Iosefa, Suaso Sue (two to be omitted).

EELS: Jarryd Hayne (capt), Vai Toutai, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Cheyse Blair, Ben Roberts, Chris Sandow, Mitchell Allgood, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Ken Edwards, Matthew Ryan, Ben Smith. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Darcy Lussick, Fuifui Moimoi, Kelepi Tanginoa

Both teams sit on one win each heading into this contest and will not only looking to make it two, but to also produce a consistent form line as the season rolls on. Parramatta were exceptional in Round 1 but were a bit off the boil last Thursday against the Bulldogs with some defensive lapses that ultimately cost them victory. Their ‘up and in’ defensive pattern cost them 20 points and will need some adjustment after both Bulldogs wingers were able to notch up a try when they exposed Parramatta’s bunched layout.

The Tigers on the contrary were horrid to watch in Round 1 before making inroads last week against the Panthers. It wasn’t exactly a lesson in first class footy but it was enough to get them the chocolates. This week simple error control and completed sets will go a long way to getting them to the finish line ahead of the Eels along with Robbie Farah’s impressive workload. But it will all be for nothing if Benji Marshall doesn’t make the most of fifth tackle kicks rather than squandering them with stupid passes and kicks. Has Marshall become a victim of his own hype? Stay cool Benji and your team will collect 2 points.

Mike’s Tip: Tigers

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Tigers Head to Head @ $1.76 (Betfair)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Skilled Park, Saturday 5.30pm (EDST)

TITANS: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Ben Ridge, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Dave Taylor, Luke Bailey, Ryan James, Beau Falloon, Luke O’Dwyer (one to be omitted).

SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (capt), Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Jamie Buhrer. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, Joe Galuvao, David Gower, Tom Symonds.

This is one game I’ve been looking forward to (and will be attending) as I’ve been very impressed by both teams so far. Sure the Titans lost in Round 1 but their halves combination of Sezer and Kelly were still coming to grips with each other before turning on some outstanding performances in the Sunday afternoon heat against the Raiders. The Titans overall team package looks solid with the forwards laying down the hard work in attack and defence before the fast running backs get involved with Sezer running the show and Kelly always backing up, much like a good fullback.

The Sea Eagles, much like the Storm, haven’t surprised too many with their electric start to the year. The team has pretty much picked up where they left off in 2013. They look strong, fit and their attacking structures are being executed like that of a team playing in Round 20.

A quality game lies ahead and whilst the home ground advantage will help the Titans stay close to Manly, I can’t go past the big game experience of the Sea Eagles.

Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet:Either team to win by under 6.5 points @ $3.00

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Allianz Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm (EDST)

ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello (capt), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Mitchell Aubusson, Luke O’Donnell, Dylan Napa (one to be omitted)

BRONCOS: Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday (capt), Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Mitchell Dodds, David Stagg, Scott Anderson, Dunamis Lui, Nick Slyney (two to be omitted).

In last week’s preview I referred to the Broncos’ Round 1 performance as a ‘game of two halves’ and they managed to reproduce a similar effort last week against the Dragons; They won their match in the second half after managing to keep the Dragons out which was more because the St George side played poorly as opposed to the Broncos performing well.

The Roosters are far from being the best team currently but they are unlikely to allow the Broncos to get away with playing half a game without punishing them for it. Sonny Bill Williams is winding up to something bigger and the man he forced onto the bench, Mitch Aubusson is playing out of his skin.

I’m not sure how keen the Broncos will be on travelling again and I’m taking the Roosters to win a rather testing grind.

Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Roosters Head to Head @ $1.54 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Shark Stadium, Sunday 2.00pm (EDST)

SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Jonathan Wright, Ricky Leutele, Matthew Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (capt). Interchange: Chris Heighington, Jon Green, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese (one to be omitted).

WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Bill Tupou, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Steve Rapira, Simon Mannering (capt), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry (one to be omitted).

The Sharks gutsed out a 2 point win in Round one and hung in as best as they could on Monday night to fall by a mere 2 points to the Rabbitohs. The Cronulla side definitely has plenty of potential beneath the surface which I don’t think will take too long to come to the fore. The forwards are all chipping in and sharing the workload and they just need Carney and Robson working together to finish the job. Some good signs ahead for Sharks fans.

To NRL punters in 2013, the Warriors have a real funk about them and some would rather use their money as loo paper as opposed to backing the New Zealand side with it. Their attack is almost nonexistent and in defence they are made to look second rate. Sure they are missing some big names such as Manu Vatuvei (ankle), Russell Packer (bicep) and Nathan Friend (shoulder), but they are going to have to improve with what they’ve got or they can forget about finals football. I can’t back them yet.

Mike’s Tip: Sharks

Mike’s Suggested Bet: First to 10 Points: Sharks @ $1.60

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Centrebet Stadium, Sunday 3.00pm (EDST)

PANTHERS: Dean Whare, Josh Mansour, Wes Naiqama, Geoff Daniela, David Simmons, Tom Humble, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston (capt), Tim Grant, Sika Manu, Lewis Brown, Nathan Smith. Interchange: Adam Docker, Nigel Plum, James Segeyaro, Clint Newton, Matt Robinson (one to be omitted).

RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Ben Lowe. Interchange: Nathan Peats, Michael Crocker (capt), Jeff Lima, George Burgess, Dave Tyrrell, Justin Hunt, Jason Clark (three to be omitted).

The Panthers were looking fairly good after their Round 1 win against the Raiders but last week against the Tigers delivered them a horrible blow with the loss of five-eighth Lachlan Coote to a pec tear that will likely see him outed for the remainder of the season. Young Tom Humble replaces Coote and hopefully for Panthers fans he can demonstrate some of the natural abilities he possesses and the same ones that see him get a place in the starting line up.

However, as if the Panthers aren’t struggling enough, they have to try and find their feet against a Rabbitohs side that have won their first 2 games and as of current look to be one of the form sides in the competition.

Fullback Greg Inglis will probably regret missing a few opportunities to run the ball at certain moments in last week’s game and I’m expecting him to capitalise on playing against a weakened opposition this time around.

I’m not going to say that Penrith have no chance here, but there is no way I can tip them.

Mike’s Tip:Rabbitohs

Mike’s Suggested Bet:None

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Canberra Stadium, Sunday 6.30pm (EDST)

RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Josh McCrone (capt), Sam Williams, David Shillington (capt), Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Matt McIlwrick, Shaun Berrigan, Dane Tilse, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Mark Nicholls, Jake Foster, Joe Picker (three to be omitted).

DRAGONS: Gerard Beale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (capt), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Leeson Ah Mau, Matt Prior, Cameron King, Jack Stockwell (one to be omitted).

So after two rounds of NRL we have ascertained that the Dragons can’t score points and the Raiders are in a bit of a shambles. And after 13 years of Dragons V Raiders matches in Canberra we have ascertained that the Dragons are seemingly the victims of an often referred to ‘hoodoo’ and have failed to win in the nation’s capital in that time.

Hopefully the Raiders will have put the Josh Dugan saga behind them now and have their minds on footy. I don’t think I’d be tipping the Raiders against any team other than the Dragons but I’m expecting the home crowd to get behind them in this one.

Mike’s Tip: Raiders

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Raiders head to head @ $1.60

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Hunter Stadium, Monday 7.00pm (EDST)

KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Anthony Quinn, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Kurt Gidley (capt), Kade Snowden, Matt Hilder, David Fa’alogo, Beau Scott, Chris Houston, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Tyrone Roberts, Neville Costigan, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon.

COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (capt), Michael Morgan, Matt Scott (capt), Scott Moore, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Anthony Mitchell, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Blake Leary (one to be omitted).

Newcastle made the NRL pay attention after their round 1 victory against the Tigers. It was a 32 point shellacking but I doubt many saw them copping their own 32 point shellacking the next week at the hands of the merciless Sea Eagles. It’s time to bounce back for the Knights and there’s no better place for them to do it than at Hunter Stadium in front of the Novocastrian faithful.

Their opponents are the Cowboys who will be looking for a bounce back of their own after they were given a lesson in footy by the reigning premiers on their home turf. One can’t fault the perennial Johnathan Thurston; it’s the players around him that need to lift and avoid any lapses that will cost them dearly. I’m backing them to succeed in this area as long as they can protect halfback Michael Morgan who will no doubt be targeted by the Knights.

Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $1.83

Mike’s Best Bet: None

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14 Responses to "NRL Round 3 Preview and Tips"

      1. Thanks Mike, I hope Manly continue as they started as my Storm bet failed! I couldn’t believe the terrible decisions made by the ref’s
        in that game- truly shocking but I guess they were trying to level the scoreline for some reason.
        Have a good match 🙂

  1. Hi Mike, thanks for the insights and well done on a great start to the season. Will have to respectfully disagree though on Broncos / Roosters. Roosters look good on paper but could only beat the Warriors by 2 points? Also while they are playing away Brisbane have a good record of beating the Roosters at Allianz. Happy to take what I see as the value h2h bet on Broncos in decent form.

    1. Hi Ben,
      First off accept my apologies; after reading your comments I realised my comments on the Bris V Syd game hadn’t been published yet. It’s up there now.
      The Roosters were slightly disappointing not finishing out their game strongly last week against the Warriors. But if there is one team that is worse it’s probably the Broncos who are struggling to string together 20 minutes of consistent footy at one time.
      Sonny Bill Williams is improving and his place in the starting line up has forced Aubusson onto the bench and he is now playing like a man posessed to prove what he is capable of.
      With the poor recent form of both teams it’s definitely a tough game to pick. Good luck with your bets 🙂

      1. Hi Mike – you called this one spot on, well done. I was very wrong – saw the last 20 mins and Bris never looked like getting through despite plenty of chances. Roosters defence did well to keep them to nil.

  2. Hey Mike I have streached my elbows and pushed all my chips in on the Storm – 10.5 then I will put my winnings on More Joyus on Saturday. On the weight she has she is a certainty!!

  3. Hi Mike went with Melbourne -10.5, didn’t work out and even though they won they are beatable and IMO the lines will move on further games.Good win by the tigers but they still don’t maintain intensity for whole of game. Have to agree with Ben the broncos are good value and each week have improved, we shall see

  4. Great perspectives every week here Mike keep it up. Backing roosters tonight .
    Watched dragons v broncos last week and hodges won’t be there to save them tonight both in attack and defence.


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