NRL Round 4 Preview and Tips






Bluetongue Stadium, Thursday 8.05pm (EDT)

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: Jesse Sene-Lefao, Joe Galuvao, David Gower, Tom Symonds.
TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Joel Reddy, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Matt Utai, 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 (one to be omitted).

If you’re a believer in the ‘bounce-back factor’ then I’d advise that you strap yourself in as Manly prepare to bounce back in a big way following their 2 point loss to the Titans. Despite being downed 16-14 on Saturday evening, the Sea Eagles still managed to score 3 tries compared to the Titans 2 and they are proving even at this early stage that they will be as dangerous this year as they have been for the last two seasons.

The Tigers have won two games so far but have managed to leak more points than would be preferred and if they allow a class act like the Sea Eagles to do the same they will soon regret it.

Last week the Tigers out-enthused the Eels at Leichhardt but still left a lot to be desired.

The Eels only had 44% of possession with a completion rate of just 68% however the Tigers allowed them to gain 1209 metres compared to that of their own 1286.

*The Tigers conceded 3 tries last week and Manly have only conceded 3 in their last 200 minutes of footy.

*The Tigers have conceded 13 tries in 2013, and 11 of them were conceded to opposition wingers and centres. Manly have scored 13 tries this year, 10 of them were scored by centres and wingers. For that reason I give Jorge Taufua, who has scored 5 of those tries on his own, a good chance to score here. On the back of basic class and numbers; I can only go with Manly.

Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Jorge Taufua to score a try @ $1.50 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet:



ANZ Stadium, Friday 4.00pm (EDT)

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

I’ll preface this preview by saying that my pick of the Bulldogs will remain whether Ben Barba plays or not. I saw enough from the Dogs last week to convince me they will win this one.

Last week the Bulldogs showed some great fight against a superior team whilst the Rabbitohs decided to lower their sails and shut up shop against the Panthers. This doesn’t automatically equate to a Bulldogs victory this week, but it did show me that the Canterbury side are getting ready to begin their 2013 campaign proper. The additions of Frank Pritchard and Ben Barba would be the icing on the cake if they are to play.

The Rabbitohs have no doubt been one of the better teams in the first 3 weeks of the comp but a trying game in the harsh sun at Centrebet Stadium would no doubt have sapped their strength. Add to that their limited recovery time thanks to a 5 day turnaround and the final equation doesn’t bode too well for Souths in my books.

Good value here.

Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: None

Mike’s Best Bet:



Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7.05pm (EDT)

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, Dunamis Lui, David Stagg, Scott Anderson, Nick Slyney (one to be omitted).
STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Will Chambers, Junior Sa’u, 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, Siosaia Vave (one to be omitted).

It’s only Round 4 but there appears to be some pressure building in and around the Broncos who have only managed to beat the Dragons so far. They have copped some criticism over their 8-0 loss to the Roosters but I can see some silver linings on that cloud. Their defence has been solid, especially in Round 2 when the Dragons continuously peppered their try line and when they looked on the brink of exhaustion, the Broncos troops stood their ground and kept their enemy at bay.

The Storm on the other hand have not surprised many with their 3 and 0 start but are starting to show some signs of their gruelling early season schedule which has included travelling to the UK, Townsville and now to Brisbane. They looked ever so slightly fragile at the end of their win against the Bulldogs and this should help the Broncos get a bit closer than some might expect if the fragility continues, hence I’m taking the Broncos with a hefty start of 10.5 points.

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Brisbane +10.5 @ $1.68 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Sharks Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm (EDT)

SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Jonathan Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Matthew Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (capt). Interchange: Chris Heighington, Jayson Bukuya, Isaac De Gois, Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese (one to be omitted).
DRAGONS: Gerard Beale, Brett Morris, Daniel Vidot, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (capt), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Jack Stockwell, Matt Prior, Cameron King, Leeson Ah Mau, Chase Stanley (two to be omitted).

The Sharks had plenty of opportunities to try out a few things in last weeks’ match against the Warriors and they were very impressive. They constantly rolled forward as a unit earning some well deserved metres and looked like a well oiled machine. The halves combination of Carney and Robson could have been better with their 5th tackle options but it’s a major positive that this side can rack up points without relying on their chosen playmakers. It all bodes well for another victory in front of their home crowd.

The Dragons still have a fair way to go before they look like a team of substance and the solutions can only begin with the halves. Former NSW and Australian halfback Andrew Johns said through the week that the Dragons forwards got in and had a go against the Raiders but its Jamie Soward that needs to fire and I couldn’t agree with him more. Hopefully Soward simply worries about his own game this week as I think it’s going to be hard for him to help his team penetrate the impeccable defence of the Sharks who are currently ranked second in defence in the competition.

Mike’s Tip: Sharks

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sharks -5.5 @ $1.64



Centrebet Stadium, Sunday 3.00pm (EDT)

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

The Panthers host the Titans at Centrebet Stadium where a week earlier they made a good fist of taking the highly fancied Rabbitohs down to the wire with an entertaining display of attacking flare that was unfortunately riddled with some ultimately costly mistakes. Their task of obtaining two competition points doesn’t get a whole lot easier this time around as they take on the side ranked number 1 in defence after 3 rounds.

The Titans are proving to be a team to watch as they made everyone take notice of their 16-14 win against the Sea Eagles. Yes they still have plenty to work on but they are in a better position that other teams with a halves pairing (Sezer and Kelly) who are learning more each week they play together and a forwards pack that boasts a plethora of experience.

The Titans defence should prove to be too tight for the Panthers and quick play the balls will have their opposition back pedalling.

Mike’s Tip: Titans

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Titans -3.5 @ $1.90 (Sportingbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Hunter Stadium, Sunday 6.30pm (EDT)

KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Anthony Quinn, Alex McKinnon, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, David Fa’alogo, Robbie Rochow, Chris Houston (capt), Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Timana Tahu, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, Korbin Sims.
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Josh McCrone (capt), Sam Williams, David Shillington (capt), Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Dane Tilse, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Matt McIlwrick (one to be omitted).

The Knights pulled off an excellent win against the Cowboys last week, especially when you consider that some last minute changes were made to the side due to injuries. They took a 32-0 loss in Round 2 and turned it into a 34-6 victory over the betting favourites the Cowboys. Most delightful for Knights fans was the performance of 21-year old Tyrone Roberts who slotted into the number 7 jersey at late notice and played one of the better NRL games of his so far short, yet promising career. Adam Cuthbertson did his usual utility job off the bench providing his team with some second phase chances and young Korbin Sims defended with an urgency you seldom see in a 21-year old forward.

The Raiders produced a turnaround of their own in Round 3 as they put their 36-0 loss in Round 2 behind them to run in 5 tries and take home a 30-17 victory. However this time they will not have the luxury of playing in front of their home crowd and their opponents are always a tougher prospect when playing at Hunter Stadium. As long as the Raiders don’t panic and cause themselves the headache of incomplete sets then they will be able to give themselves the best chance of defeating Newcastle.

Wayne Bennett won’t be letting his team rest on last week’s laurels and certainly won’t be taking the Raiders lightly and I’m backing his Knights to rack up another hometown victory.

Mike’s Tip: Knights

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Halftime/Fulltime – Knights/Knights @ $1.90 (Luxbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Mt Smart Stadium, Monday 6.00pm (EDT)

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

A lack of enthusiasm would have to be one of the main problems besetting the Warriors currently and their game last week against the Sharks really proved this. Sure there were plenty of errors and poor 5th tackle strategies but the overall path to a solution will begin with Coach Matthew Elliot managing his player’s head spaces. The Cowboys have the Warriors covered on paper but are failing to execute any threatening attacking manoeuvres because of high error rates. Stars like Johnathan Thurston have their hands tied when the men around him fail to complete sets and this area should be the target of their efforts.

I’m sure they can rectify this here and perhaps even beat the Warriors with an ‘ABC’ brand of footy if they can silence the local crowd early in the first half.

Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Halftime/Fulltime – Cowboys/Cowboys @ $1.80 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Allianz Stadium, Monday 7.00pm (EDT)

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, Aidan Guerra, Kane Evans (one to be omitted).
EELS: Jarryd Hayne (capt), Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Vai Toutai, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Mitch Allgood, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Reni Maitua (capt), Ben Smith, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Ben Roberts, Darcy Lussick, Fuifui Moimoi, Kelepi Tanginoa.

I mentioned last week that the Roosters were a side slowly improving as a team and they added to that upward trek by beating the Broncos 8-0, obviously a sound effort in defence. Plus all this against a side that managed to score 26 points against competition leaders the Storm earlier this weekend. The Roosters are far from the best side in the comp but it’s been good for them to rack up wins as they develop their game plans in order to keep player confidence at a high level.

The Eels despite having only one win to their name, have shown flashes of brilliance amongst their first three games but Coach Ricky Stuart must be pining for consistency from his troops after they were thoroughly beaten last week by a Tigers team that were far from consistent themselves.

The Eels have lost four of their last 6 outings against the Roosters and I’m tipping the Roosters to make it 5 from 7.

Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet:None

Mike’s Best Bet: None

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9 Responses to "NRL Round 4 Preview and Tips"

  1. Mike, first time caller, long time listener, have warriors got any Jesus hope in hell. There is nothing to suggest that they will win but I just have this feeling they might pull it off . Have they any hope.????? They not that bad on paper?? How long can they keep losing. Home crowd!

    1. Hi Bigbadtippingmachine,
      Mate, there is definitely some hope for the Warriors, there is no doubt about that. The doubt is in when will they pep up? The problem is that the team lacks direction in attack and when the forwards help the side make 40-50 metres in attack, the halves come up with nothing on the last tackle and in turn this really deflates the troops.
      Now, I could make assessments on how well the Warriors may, or may not perform on Monday, but I’m certainly not equipped to pick when the likes of Shaun Johnson are going to mature and help steer his side to success.
      Johnson reminds me a lot of Chris Sandow; Sandow came into the Rabbitohs side late in a season when there was no pressure to perform and he played like he was touted as the next messiah. Then when it came around to playing for keeps in his first full season the pressure to perform was too much. It’s almost the same for Johnson.
      Perhaps the Warriors need a new form of discipline and Matthew Elliott was the wrong choice.

      On the plus side Bigbadtippingmachine,
      In matches between the Warriors and the Cowboys, the away team has not won since 2009.

      It’s not a game I would be placing too much money on and the Cowboys will be so determined to grab a bounce-back win to avoid pi$$ing their coach off.
      If it’s any consolation my second choice suggested bet would have been the Warriors with the +6.5 start.

      Good luck with the Warriors Bigbadtippingmachine!

    1. Hi shady,
      I will try to put out under/over tips where viable but despite being 50/50 bets they can be quite difficult, especially earlier in the season to find two teams with particular styles that point to a definitive over or under result.
      Stay tuned…


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