NRL ROUND 5 PREVIEW
($1.90) CANTERBURY BULLDOGS v MANLY SEA EAGLES ($1.90)
Friday, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium
BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, Tim Browne, Frank Pritchard, David Klemmer
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Tom Symonds. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, Joe Galuvao, Jamie Buhrer, Jason King
Would the real Tony Williams please stand up?
The Bulldogs have only two competition points to their name so far but unlike the other seven teams that have only one win, there is no pressure cloud hanging above their heads and they still have plenty to be positive about. Ben Barba and Frank Pritchard will play their second games back from time on the sideline and will have more of an impact with one game already behind them. As for negatives, Krisnan Inu is out; suspended after trying to turn Greg Inglis into a human totem pole leaving the Bulldogs without a class goal kicker. Michael Ennis has kicked before but if I’m not mistaken, the last time he kicked goals Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister. Not having a kicker could cost the Bulldogs 2 or 4 points and it’s not the kind of start you want to be giving a red hot Manly side.
And red hot they are after beating the Tigers 26-0 in wet conditions, 22 of those points coming in the second half alone. Richie Fa’aoso returns to the side from suspension and Tom Symonds has earned himself another run as starting lock following a stunning performance last week.
Expect a battle of defence which should result in close game as the Bulldogs continue to improve by the week and one that Manly should scrape home with on the back of class (and goal kicking).
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.57) GOLD COAST TITANS v BRISBANE BRONCOS ($2.45)
Friday, 7.35pm, Skilled Park
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
BRONCOS: Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, TBA, Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Dunamis Lui, David Hala, Scott Anderson, Nick Slyney, Jordan Kahu, Jarrod Wallace
The Titans host the Brisbane Broncos who are sans Sam Thaiday after the judiciary took only 2 minutes to decide that he should spend a week on the sideline for touching a referee’s shirt. This will obviously hamper their efforts in stopping the Titans who are out to grab a fourth straight win.
The Titans once again showed a gutsy determination in defence last week that saw them defeat the Panthers in Sydney.
Up north, the Broncos were showing a determination of their own as they took the Storm right down to the wire and it will be interesting to see if they can back up such a mighty effort two weeks in a row. The Broncos have an advantage with a 7 day break compared to the Titans who are only getting a 5 day rest but the Titans currently produce a better brand of footy that can grind when necessary and turn on the attacking flare at other times. It’s the Titans for mine in a match to be seen.
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Titans -3.5 @ $1.78 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($2.55) PARRAMATTA EELS v CRONULLA SHARKS ($1.53)
Saturday, 5:30pm, Parramatta Stadium
EELS: Jarryd Hayne (c), Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Vai Toutai, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Mitch Allgood, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Reni Maitua (c), Ben Smith, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Ben Roberts, Darcy Lussick, Fuifui Moimoi, Kelepi Tanginoa
SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Nathan Stapleton, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Chad Townsend, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Chris Heighington, Jayson Bukuya, Isaac De Gois, Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese, Stewart Mills
The Eels head into Round 5 off the back of a 50-0 flogging from the Roosters which has seen their 2013 campaign plunge further into disarray. The team lacked any sort of direction, not that anyone had much chance to lead the side when the Roosters had most of the possession. Once again the Eels umbrella style of defence (if that’s even what they are attempting) is being exposed ad nauseam and I don’t know what it’s going to take to get things sorted.
The Sharks are coming off a loss of their own after a pretty ordinary first half against the Dragons had them scrambling to make up for their mistakes in the last 40 minutes and ultimately made things worse. They will be keen to bounce back this week and have shown in 4 rounds so far that they are more than capable of doing so whilst focusing on their own game rather than their opposition. Todd Carney is missing with an ankle injury but hasn’t exactly been the crux of the team and substitute Chad Townsend will do a sound job. I expect five-eighth turned second rower Wade Graham to offer Townsend plenty of help on the left edge in attack. I’m also expecting Graham to target Chris Sandow and do his best to run straight over him in order to get to the tryline.
Mike’s Tip: Sharks
Mike’s Best Bet: http://www.aussportstipping.com/picks/mike_wilson/36/
($1.22) NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v PENRITH PANTHERS ($4.40)
Saturday, 6:30pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (c), Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott (c), Scott Moore, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Tariq Sims, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo
PANTHERS: Dean Whare, Josh Mansour, Wes Naiqama, Brad Tighe, David Simmons, Tom Humble, Blake Austin, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston (c), Nigel Plum, Sika Manu, Lewis Brown, Cameron Ciraldo. Interchange: Adam Docker, Tim Grant, James Segeyaro, Clint Newton
With respect to the Panthers there are plenty of NRL watchers that wouldn’t be too surprised to see them going into Round 5 after 3 straight losses. But to see the Cowboys head into Round 5 off the back of 3 straight losses will have some people in Townsville on the floor. Some are suggesting that the Cowboys are well off the pace but I choose to disagree. They have all the elements of a solid team but with their completion rate for the first 4 rounds sitting at about 65%, the Cowboys are putting themselves under all sorts of pressure at their own end of the field which is ultimately leading to points conceded.
Poor old Penrith however certainly are off the pace although there could be a silver lining to Lachlan Coote’s season ending injury with replacement five-eighth Tom Humble slotting into his new role exceptionally and still looks to be improving.
In this instance I’ll be taking the Cowboys to correct their poor ball handling skills in front of their home crowd.
Mike’s Tip: Cowboys
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take the ‘Overs’ option in Unders/Overs betting @ $1.90
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($3.10) NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS ($1.38)
Sunday, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
WARRIORS: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Ben Henry, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet, Glen Fisiiahi, Manu Vatuvei, Sebastine Ikahihifo
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, David Tyrrell, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Nathan Peats, Jeff Lima, Ben Lowe, George Burgess, Michael Crocker, Justin Hunt, Jason Clark
Have the Warriors ironically resurrected their season on Easter Monday?
The Warriors have finally broken the drought that had them thirsty for a win since July last year. They took on the Cowboys last week and it took about 20 minutes before something finally clicked and sent them on their way to their maiden win in 2013.
The game started ordinarily for the Warriors after their first two attacking sets ended with 5th tackle kicks that went flying over the dead ball line and a forward pass from Shaun Johnson that saw the Cowboys get out to an early 12-0 lead. Leuluai and Johnson had every right to feel dejected but instead kept their chins up and helped guide their side to victory.
This week they once again have the benefit of playing at home but face a much tougher quest for victory with their opponents being the unbeaten Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs displayed a business like style grind in their defeat of a valiant Bulldogs on Friday and have to be taken seriously from here on in. Greg Inglis continues to provide his team a massive pillar to lean on and the huge forward pack the team boasts are firing white hot with none other than the Burgess brothers leading the charge.
It may prove tough in the coming weeks to pick where the Rabbitohs may or may not suffer their first loss but it would be hard for me to say the Warriors are yet good enough to beat them. They could certainly make it a close one though.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Andrew Everingham to score a try @ $2.00 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($2.25) ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS ($1.67)
Sunday, 3:00pm, WIN Jubilee Oval
DRAGONS: Gerard Beale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Jack Stockwell, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (c), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Matt Prior, Leeson Ah Mau, Daniel Vidot, Jack de Belin, Michael Henderson
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Anthony Quinn, Alex McKinnon, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley (c), Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Chris Houston, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Danny Buderus, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo, Timana Tahu
The Dragons return to their beloved WIN Jubilee Oval with their first win of the season under their arm looking to nab a win in front of their home crowd. Whilst they were faultless in their execution against the Sharks on Saturday they still have improving to do and it’s fair to say that a better playing opposition would have tested them a lot more.
The Knights will provide that test with a new look line up that should see Kurt Gidley slot into the hooking rotation with Danny Buderus for the second time in two weeks now that Tyrone Roberts has put his stamp on the halfback role.
The Knights should prove to be the better team and I hope for Dragons fans that their side doesn’t rest on their laurels and fall asleep this week.
Mike’s Tip: Knights
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Knights -3.5 @ $1.91 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($2.65) CANBERRA RAIDERS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS ($1.50)
Sunday, 6:30pm, Canberra Stadium
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Josh McCrone (c), Sam Williams, David Shillington (c), Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Matt McIlwrick, Joel Edwards, Dane Tilse, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Anthony Milford
ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Mitchell Aubusson, Sonny Bill Williams, Boyd Cordner. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Isaac Liu, Aidan Guerra, Luke O’Donnell
Here we have two sides performing like absolute polar opposites with the Roosters sitting on 3 wins and the Raiders sitting on 3 losses.
The Roosters smashed the living daylights out of the Eels on Monday with a 50-0 victory but what made it more impressive is that it was the side’s second consecutive match played without conceding a single point.
The Raiders looked like they were ready to fight for half of last week’s game against the Knights before capitulating in the second half and copping a 28-16 defeat. This week they have a chance to make amends at home but without centre Blake Ferguson who is out with a fractured cheek. Jack Wighton shifts into Ferguson’s spot with Edrick Lee coming into the side on the left wing.
Whether they improve or not, I can’t have the Raiders just yet. Especially against a side that seems to be relishing their wins and looking for more ways to do it better each week.
Mike’s Tip: Roosters
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Roosters -6.0 @ $1.96 (Luxbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.17) MELBOURNE STORM v WESTS TIGERS ($5.25)
Monday, 7:00pm, AAMI Park
STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Will Chambers, Junior Sa’u, Mahe Fonua, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Tohu Harris, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Lagi Setu, Siosaia Vave, Kevin Proctor, Slade Griffin, Junior Moors
WESTS TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Joel Reddy, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, James Tedesco, Benji Marshall, Braith Anasta, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (c), Jack Buchanan, Bodene Thompson, Liam Fulton, Adam Blair. Interchange: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ava Seumanufagai, Matt Bell, Eddy Pettybourne
Storm by how much?
I’m tipping the Storm which won’t surprise many and it will take a braver man than me to back the Tigers.
To tip the Tigers you would have to have seen some reason for improvement out of last week’s match against Manly. All I saw was team that gave up once they fell behind on the scoreboard, much like they did against the Knights in round 1. On the contrary the Storm showed last week the virtues of persistence when they got up against the Broncos after falling behind midway through the second half.
So I’m taking the Storm at the line. Robbie Farah must play a full game if the Tigers are any hope.
Mike’s Tip: Storm
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Storm -14.0 @ $1.91
Mike’s Best Bet: None