• THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NRL ROUND 12 PREVIEW
BYES: Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, Melbourne Storm, Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles, Canberra Raiders
($1.42) CANTERBURY BULLDOGS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS ($2.95)
Friday 31st May, 7:45pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Drury Low, Mitch Brown, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Tim Browne, James Graham, Dale Finucane, Martin Taupau
Dragons: Josh Dugan, Daniel Vidot, Chase Stanley, Matt Prior, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Bronson Harrison, Ben Creagh (c), Tyson Frizell. Interchange: Cameron King, Leeson Ah Mau, Jack de Belin, Jack Stockwell
I still hold plenty of hope of the Bulldogs resurrecting their season and making the top 8 now that they are on 5 wins from 11 matches. So far they’ve had to play the top 4 sides with weakened line ups and have put up some solid fights including last week’s win against the Broncos. It was a positive sign for Bulldogs fans to see Ben Barba cross for a try as it appears he is still at about 90-95 % of the Ben Barba we saw in 2012.
When it comes to not being 100% the Dragons are the picture married to the meaning. After demolishing the Eels on home soil in round 10 it seemed like the Dragons were heading in the direction of becoming a team that would prove difficult to beat when playing at home. Then came round 11 against the Panthers and the Dragons were taught a lesson as they were kept to nil. They may have been of the belief that one Josh Dugan was going to solve all their problems and took their foot off the accelerator.
Fresh application of attacking structures will be at the top of the Dragons’ ‘to do’ list but they go without Brett Morris and workhorse Trent Merrin which is going to hurt them to the point where I don’t envisage them winning this one.
Were it not for pre season, off field dramas the Bulldogs just might have lost Ben Barba to State of Origin right about now. Instead it’s full steam ahead (minus Josh Morris) for the Doggies and another 2 competition points are imminent.
Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Multi Leg – Bulldogs H2H @ $1.42 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.45) SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS ($2.85)
Saturday 1st June, 7.30pm, ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs: Nathan Merritt, Andrew Everingham, Beau Champion, Dylan Walker, Bryson Goodwin, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Dave Tyrrell, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Ben Lowe, Sam Burgess, Nathan Peats. Interchange: Justin Hunt, Jason Clark, Jeff Lima, George Burgess
Knights: Kevin Naiqama, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Peter Mata’uti, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Travis Waddell, Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Adam Clydsdale, David Fa’alogo, Adam Cuthbertson, Korbin Sims
It was originally thought that the Rabbitohs were going to get off lightly through the State of Origin period when it came to losing players to rep duties. This was always going to be a positive considering that the South Sydney side currently sit atop the ladder. Greg Inglis was always going to be picked for QLD and it looked as if the losses would stop there. But surprisingly to some Chris McQueen landed himself a bench spot for QLD and unfortunately Sam Burgess went and earned himself a 1 week suspension for a crusher tackle he made last week on Andrew Fifita. Since then we have seen Kurt Gidley withdraw from Origin with a foot injury and NSW Coach Laurie Daley has called up the Bulldogs’ Josh Reynolds and Souths’ John Sutton to basically duel for the remaining NSW bench spot which could cost Souths a 4th player.
The Knights have problems of their own and they are generally at a disadvantage from the start when playing away from home. Darius Boyd was picked for QLD and Kurt Gidley was selected for NSW and later withdrew with injury. Fijian flyer Akuila Uate sits out with injury. On the plus side, Jeremy Smith returns to the side from suspension to help his teammates out.
South Sydney may have suffered the most from their absences this week but will still take the field with what I believe is a superior team and one that will bounce back from a surprise defeat last week and get the bikkies on Saturday night.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Multi Leg – Rabbitohs H2H @ $1.45 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.30) GOLD COAST TITANS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS ($3.65)
Sunday 2nd June, 3:00pm, Skilled Park
Titans: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Luke Douglas, David Taylor, Mark Minichiello, Luke O’Dwyer. Interchange: Ryan James, Mark Ioane, Jamie Dowling, Sam Irwin
Cowboys: Clint Greenshields, Ashley Graham, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Michael Morgan, Robert Lui, Ashton Sims, Rory Kostjasyn, Scott Bolton, Tariq Sims, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Joel Riethmuller, Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo, Ethan Lowe, Blake Leary
The Cowboys lose Thurston, Tate, Scott and Tamou to State of Origin call ups and joining them on the sideline is Gavin Cooper plus fullback Matt Bowen with a knee injury. Clint Greenshields slots into the fullback role for the second time this year and if you saw how he played the first time around you would understand why Cowboys fans don’t feel like anything is lost with him as caretaker behind the pack.
The Titans have also suffered losses due to State of Origin in forwards Myles, Bird and Harrison. Coach John Cartwright is hoping that man-mountain Dave Taylor can recover from a calf injury in time for this match to help reduce the damage caused by the loss of the aforementioned rep players.
If this were a normal game I would have tipped the Titans so it’s fairly simple maths that I’ll be tipping them in this split round when they are only losing 3 rep players compared to the Cowboys who lose 4 rep players and 2 more to injury. More importantly is that the Titans keep their halves combination intact which is always a great start to keeping a team grounded.
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Multi Leg – Titans H2H @ $1.30 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
($1.91) BRISBANE BRONCOS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS ($1.91)
Monday 3rd June, 7:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Corey Norman, Denan Kemp, Josh Hoffman, Jordan Kahu, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Scott Anderson, Alex Glenn, Nick Slyney, Dunamis Lui. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Mitchell Dodds, David Hala, Jarrod Wallace, Jake Granville, Aaron Whitchurch
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Pita Godinet, Dominique Peyroux
The Warriors head to Brisbane with their proverbial suitcases packed with inconsistency and who knows what other mysteries. After being given a lesson in League by the Panthers 2 weeks ago to the tune of 62-6, they came out last week to defeat the Knights 28-12. The Knights didn’t play great but I give credit to the Warriors for sticking things out and grinding amply for the full 80 minutes.
The Broncos efforts in Round 11 were unsurprising to me but what I was surprised by was how much money came for them in betting against the Bulldogs in an away game.
Punters might want to have another go at them this week whilst they are at home where they thrive a tad more in both attack and defence. The opposite applies to the Warriors struggle away from home and with Konrad Hurrell returning from injury, they will be quietly thankful they get to face Brisbane sans their State of Origin reps. Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker have been given the call up by QLD Coach Mal Meninga and Jack Reed is out with injury. It’s a fair hit to their first class playing stocks and I can’t tip them. Warriors to scrape home.
Mike’s Tip: Warriors
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Warriors H2H @ $1.91 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Warriors 2.00 @ Bet Victor