NRL ROUND 7 PREVIEW
($1.33) SYDNEY ROOSTERS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS ($3.40)
Thursday 25th April, 4:00pm, Allianz Stadium
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, Mitchell Aubusson, Sonny Bill Williams, Boyd Cordner. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Aidan Guerra, Luke O’Donnell
Dragons: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Daniel Vidot, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Jack Stockwell, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (c), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Matt Prior, Jack de Belin, Damien Cook, Michael Weyman
Lest We Forget…..
After a 2 week break of club footy during the representative round, we return to the NRL action with the traditional ANZAC Day matchup between the Dragons and the Roosters.
The Roosters enter the game having won 4 of their matches so far this year and are proving to be one of the teams to beat as their players proceed to work better together with each passing round. Of notable improvement has been Sonny Bill Williams who took about 3 rounds originally to find his niche playing in his new role in the central passage of the field. Sonny Bill then spent the next 3 rounds improving his attacking prowess which has manifested with him single handed turning fringe plays into tries for his right side winger in the corner.
The Dragons have won only 3 games of the opening 6 rounds, but it has been their last 3 and they will keen to make it 4 in a row. The Dragons’ defensive and attacking structures have both been improved in equal measure and they’re giving the fans plenty to smile about. This will be their best test yet but I have my doubts as to whether they are good enough for victory.
Mike’s Tip: Roosters
Mike’s Suggested Bet: First scoring play – Roosters Try
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.13) MELBOURNE STORM v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS ($6.25)
Thursday 25th April, 7.00pm, AAMI Park
Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Junior Sa’u, Mahe Fonua, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (capt), Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Tohu Harris. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Junior Moors, Kenneath Bromwich, Lagi Setu, Slade Griffin, Maurice Blair, Justin O’Neill
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Glen Fisiiahi, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Ben Henry, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Pita Godinet, Jerome Ropati
It wouldn’t be ANZAC Day without topping the day off with a Storm V Warriors game. The Storm have named a 7-man bench and the Warriors have put club veteran Jerome Ropati down as the 18th man in case he is up to taking the field.
Following their gritty win in Round 6 over the much fancied Rabbitohs, the Storm have risen to the top of the ladder and are now the only unbeaten team in the competition.
The Warriors are languishing in 15th position with just the one win to their name. (By a margin of only 2 points) They had every opportunity to beat a lacklustre Raiders side in Round 6 but couldn’t pack a match winning punch to put their opponents to bed. It is attributes such as these that teams need if they are going to compete against well drilled units like the Storm. The Warriors clearly don’t have that sort of fire power at the moment hence why they have drifted out to $6.25 already (Tues 23/4). Take the Storm -14.5 @ $1.90. The Warriors have a shoddy away record having only won 3 of their last 17 away. You’ve got the Warriors with plenty of holes in defence that a team like the Storm will penetrate easily thanks to a two week break. The Warriors will suffer with the loss of Vatuvei, Mannering and Nielsen.
Mike’s Tip: Storm
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Storm -14.5 @ $1.90
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.70) MANLY SEA EAGLES v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS ($2.20)
Friday 26th April, 7:45pm, Brookvale Oval
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, David Gower, Jamie Buhrer, Jason King (c)
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Beau Champion, 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
Friday night’s a great night for footy and what better way to do it than with the 2nd and 3rd placed teams who are separated only by for and against points.
Both sides have started 2013 with similar playing styles which showcase their massive forward packs and backline plays that can cut to the core of any defensive structure they come up against.
Manly’s offensive raids stem from a halves nucleus of Cherry-Evans and Foran, two youngsters that play with the experience of top class veterans. Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds is built from the same mould and his kicking game in 2013 is second to none.
The home ground advantage will be just that for Manly, an advantage. As their team stands currently, they will be tough to beat, but will be even harder for the Rabbitohs to defeat if Glen Stewart is ruled fit to join the Sea Eagles outfit and partake in his first game of 2013 off the back of his off season knee surgery.
I’m tipping Manly to have the edge and I’m quite happy to shop around and find the best odds on Manly Head to Head betting right up until kick off.
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $1.70 (Sportsbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.33) NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v CANBERRA RAIDERS ($3.35)
Saturday 27th April, 5:30pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (c), Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott (c), Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Gavin Cooper, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims
Raiders: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Matt McIlwrick, Brett White, Joel Edwards, Jake Foster, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Terry Campese, Joel Thompson, Dane Tilse, Paul Vaughan
The Cowboys have won 5 of their last 6 matches against the Raiders and have been particularly ruthless when playing at home. If you match those numbers with the stat that the Raiders are currently the worst defensive side in the league, having conceded 151 points in their 6 matches, and you could be about to witness the green machine have a flogging served up to them.
Compounding their problems is the loss of forwards Dave Shillington and Josh Papalii while the Cowboys will be welcoming back Matt Bowen and Dallas Johnson to the fray.
I don’t feel the need to go into this game too much. If the Cowboys win it should be by a substantial margin. If the Raiders win, then it’s a turn of the corner that could put their season back on track.
Mike’s Tip: Cowboys
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Cowboys -9.5 @ $1.92 (Luxbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($2.65) WESTS TIGERS v BRISBANE BRONCOS ($1.48)
Saturday 27th April, 7:30pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Wests Tigers: James Tedesco, Joel Reddy, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Matt Utai, Curtis Sironen, Tim Moltzen, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (capt), Jack Buchanan, Bodene Thompson, Adam Blair, Matt Bell. Interchange: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Eddy Pettybourne, Shaun Spence, Liam Fulton, Suaso Sue, Ava Seumanufagai
Broncos: Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday (c), Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Scott Anderson, David Hala, Josh McGuire, Nick Slyney
Apart from their round 1 match, the Broncos have showed positive signs in every match so far this year and seem to now be improving on a weekly basis. Their 12-10 victory in the last round was a herculean defensive effort that barely differed in the 80th minute from their hard hitting tackling in the first 10.
The Wests Tigers have consistently failed to play premier Rugby League for an entire 80 minutes. In Round 6 they went down by a solitary field goal against the Dragons in a score of 13-12 and never scored their tries until the 64th and 67th minutes. The impressive yet late surge would have left the Tigers Coach Mick Potter ruing such a tardy start from his troops, but would have been consistent with the previous 5 matches they have contested in 2013.
Defence will get the Broncos over the line and they should be capable of keeping the Tigers to 12 points or less.
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Brisbane first to 10 points @ $1.70 Centrebet.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.71) GOLD COAST TITANS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS ($2.15)
Sunday 28th April, 2:00pm, Skilled Park
Titans: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Luke O’Dwyer, Jamal Idris, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: David Taylor, Luke Bailey, Ryan James, Beau Falloon, Steve Michaels
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley (c), Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon, Chris Houston. Interchange: Travis Waddell, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo, Korbin Sims
5th plays 6th and both the Knights and Titans will be going all out in a bid to creep into the top 4. Both sides have 4 wins to their names and the Titans will gain a much needed boost with the potential return of halfback Aiden Sezer, lock Ash Harrison and hooker Matt Srama.
On the Knights side Dane Gagai returns to the fray and will add a particular potency to the Knights attack if he can combine well with Darius Boyd who is in great form.
The Titans have done really well to develop a well rounded game after 7 rounds whilst the Knights are still searching for a few more answers to their weaknesses, which include a distinct lack of ability when playing away from home.
The Titans should be too strong and won’t hesitate or play nervous at any stage like the Knights have managed to do at times this season.
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Suggested Bet: See Best Bet
Mike’s Best Bet: http://www.aussportstipping.com/picks/mike_wilson/58/nrl/titans_vs_knights/
($2.00) CRONULLA SHARKS v CANTERBURY BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS ($1.83)
Sunday 28th April, 3:00pm, Bluetongue Stadium
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Nathan Stapleton, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan 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
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (capt), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, Tim Browne, Frank Pritchard, David Klemmer
Back in 2009 the Parramatta Eels (bear with me here) were sitting on just 2 wins after 7 rounds of the competition. They went on to suffer a narrow loss in the Grand Final. My point being that if the Bulldogs, who are being largely written off by the masses, can win this match, they will be in the same position and fans can hold some hope of their team resurrecting season 2013.
They must make this game count but if you ask me they are already at a setback by once again placing Tony Williams in the side. Seriously, this bloke plays like a bogged truck and should probably be dropped to NSW cup until he decides to pull his finger out. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and right now that weak link is perhaps either one of two scenarios: Tony Willams’ loss of form, or a rumoured rift between the likes of Barba, Pritchard and Kasiano. Coach Des Hasler has his work cut out for him but I think a two week break can help them across the line in this one.
Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Bulldogs Head to Head @ $1.83 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($2.00) PENRITH PANTHERS v PARRAMATTA EELS ($1.80)
Monday 29th April, 7:00pm, Centrebet Stadium
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Travis Robinson, Lewis Brown, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Tom Humble, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston (c), Tim Grant, Sika Manu, Matthew Robinson, Nigel Plum. Interchange: Adam Docker, Nathan Smith, James Segeyaro, Clint Newton
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), Kelepi Tanginoa, Ben Smith. Interchange: Ben Roberts, Darcy Lussick, Joseph Paulo, Matthew Ryan
If Jarryd Hayne used his two week break to work on his loss of form and rectify his mysterious absences during games then the Eels could represent value here. But of course it’s a big ‘if’ to be wagering on and I would be wary of this match. Especially now that the Penrith forward pack appears to be driving their team forward with 5/8th Tom Humble at the helm. Could a Panthers form reversal be just around the corner? Luke Walsh needs to play better if they are to do so but then again he has hardly played a good game in his entire NRL career so I can’t see that happening.
I’ll take Parramatta. A small wager head to head should do the trick but I won’t be getting carried away.
Mike’s Tip: Eels
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Eels Head to Head @ $1.80 (Sportsbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None