NRL Round 22 Preview and Tips





Storm v Rabbitohs

Friday, 09/08, 7:35PM, AAMI Park
Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Maurice Blair, Mahe Fonua, Brett Finch, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Tohu Harris, Jordan McLean, Kenneath Bromwich, Slade Griffin
Rabbitohs: Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Matt King, Luke Keary, Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, George Burgess, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Ben Lowe. Interchange: Nathan Peats, Jeff Lima, Roy Asotasi, Thomas Burgess


The Storm host the Rabbitohs to kick off round 22 in a game where both teams have one goal in their sights; a top 2 position. The Rabbitohs have been firmly entrenched in the top 2 all year but have hit a massive speed hump with the loss of Greg Inglis and John Sutton to injury. Many believe they will struggle big time with these two on the sideline and another loss will see the Storm sitting just 3 points behind them on the ladder. One positive is that halfback Adam Reynolds survived an injury scare in last week’s loss to the Cowboys and will line up against the Storm. Nathan Merritt will play his 200th game at fullback if Greg Inglis is not a late inclusion to the team.

The Storm are coming off their humiliation of Canberra to the tune of 68 points to 4 and look to have begun their run towards a performance peak come finals time.

Maurice Blair will take his place in the side after being stretchered off last week with a neck injury which is seemingly nothing short of a miracle. With the same team to take the field once more, I’m backing the Storm to do away with the Rabbitohs and put more pressure on the mighty Red and Green as the finals draw closer.

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Storm – 7.5 @ $1.80 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Eels v Tigers

Friday, 09/08, 7:35PM, Parramatta Stadium
Eels: Jarryd Hayne, Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Semi Radradra, Ben Roberts, Luke Kelly, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Reni Maitua, Daniel Harrison, Darcy Lussick. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Peni Terepo, Mitch Allgood, Junior Paulo
Tigers: James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Blake Ayshford, Tim Simona, Marika Koroibete, Benji Marshall, Braith Anasta, Keith Galloway, Joel Luani, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Bodene Thompson, Sauaso Sue. Interchange: Ava Seumanufagai, Jack Buchanan, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Curtis Sironen


Here they are; two of the worst teams in the comp face to face for the battle of who-knows-what. Hopefully both sides can at least toss up an entertaining dual for us, no matter what the fashion.

The Eels have had some tough opponents of late and will surely enter this match knowing that they are capable of beating another of the lower ranked teams. The Tigers on the other hand look as if they couldn’t give a damn, particularly Benji Marshall. For a guy who many claim has done ‘so much for the game’, he is certainly doing so little and will ultimately leave many spectators with not so fond memories if he continues to traipse around for the Tigers like he is partaking in touch footy training drills.

I’m taking the Eels who will, in my opinion, have more to play for in avoiding the wooden spoon, and will be desperate to do something for the fans at Parramatta Stadium, the same venue where they have racked up their 3 wins this season.

Did you know that before meeting the Sea Eagles last week, the Eels’ record at Parramatta Stadium this year was 3 wins and 3 losses? The 3 losses were by just 4, 14 and 7 points to the Cowboys, Roosters and Panthers respectively. Not (too) bad.


Mike’s Tip: Eels

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Eels Head to Head @ $1.65 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Roosters v Raiders

Saturday, 10/08, 5:30PM, Allianz Stadium
Roosters: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Daniel Tupou, Mitch Aubusson, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Maloney, Mitch Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Luke O’Donnell, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Sam Moa, Issac Liu, Dylan Napa
Raiders: Anthony Milford, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Terry Campese, Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Joel Edwards, Brett White, Paul Vaughan, Reece Robinson, Bill Tupou


The Roosters may have a chance to move to the outright competition lead if the Bunnies lose their Friday night match. The Roosters had their way with the Panthers last week and put 42 points on them and now turn their attention to the Raiders who were on the end of a thumping of their own. 68 – 4 was the loss the Raiders suffered at the hands of the Storm after a pathetic showing in Canberra. Now they travel to Rooster’s territory and if they submit another lazy performance then I’m sure the Roosters will deal out much of the same nonchalant punishment that the Storm administered.

The Raiders have suffered 8 losses in 10 games away from Canberra Stadium this year and if you average out the losing margins it comes approximately to a substantial 18 points.

I think we could be in for another shellacking here………

Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet: See Best Bet

Mike’s Best Bet:


Sharks v Knights

Saturday, 10/08, 7:30PM, Remondis Stadium
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Nathan Stapleton, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Bryce Gibbs, Jayson Bukuya, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Chris Heighington, Sam Tagataese, Ben Ross
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, Zane Tetevano, Robbie Rochow, Chris Houston, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Craig Gower, David Fa’alogo, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson


This is possibly the game of the round that holds the most importance for both sides involved. The Sharks are currently 6th on the ladder, right in the thick of the congestion between positions 5 and 12. A victory for the Sharks would go a long way to cementing that coveted top 8 position that all teams are vying for.

A victory for the Knights could see them put a 3 point buffer between themselves and 9th place if other results go their way, which is quite possible.

We saw a fortnight ago the Knights putting up a gallant effort against the Roosters in what was a very physical and bruising encounter. They then backed it up with a draw last week against the Broncos in a match that went through the full 10 minutes of extra time. They must surely be tired now and have to travel 3 hours down the highway to Remondis Stadium to face the Sharks who are a team that, whilst not being the best, aren’t afraid of a grind.

I’m taking the Sharks to improve on their 7 out of 9 record at Remondis Stadium.

Mike’s Tip: Sharks

Mike’s Suggested Bet: See Best Bet

Mike’s Best Bet:


Sea Eagles v Warriors

Sunday, 11/08, 2:00PM, Bluetongue Stadium
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, Jamie Buhrer, David Gower, George Rose
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Ngani Laumape, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Suaia Matagi, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominique Peyroux.


The Sea Eagles continue on their hot run following last week’s win over the Eels which saw them score their 5th win in a row by scoring 34 points or more. This is a Manly home game despite being moved to Bluetongue Stadium. With Manly’s great record of 9 wins from 11 games at the ground; they shouldn’t be too concerned by the venue switch.

It’s a big game for the Warriors who will really get to test themselves once more against another of the top 4 sides. A win could see them penetrate the top 8 for the first time this season after a slow start.

I’ll be taking Manly in this match while they are still on such a big roll. Their backs from 1 through 7 are electric at the moment and have become increasingly harder to contain. The Warriors are a long way from home and might find the going too tough.

Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sea Eagles/Sea Eagles – HalfTime/FullTime @ $1.72 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Broncos v Dragons

Sunday, 11/08, 3:00PM, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Josh Hoffman, Corey Oates, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Ben Hunt, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Peter Wallace, David Stagg, Dunamis Lui, Lama Tasi, Scott Anderson, Jarrod Wallace, Nick Slyney
Dragons: Josh Dugan, Brett Morris, Nathan Green, Daniel Vidot, Jason Nightingale, Adam Quinlan, Nathan Fien, Jack de Belin, Mitch Rein, Ben Creagh, Bronson Harrison, Tyson Frizell, Trent Merrin. Interchange: Matt Prior, Leeson Ah Mau, Will Matthews, Jack Stockwell


After managing to hang on for a draw last Friday night, the Broncos are once again playing for NRL life or death. A loss will have them on the ropes big time and if either the Warriors or Newcastle win as well, they can kiss 2013 goodbye.

After starting the game well against the Knights last week, the Broncos ran out of puff in the last 15-20 minutes of the match and were lucky not to lose. When you take a look at the Dragons’ game last week, it was much of the same. This match could turn out to be survival of the fittest. Whichever team hangs in there the longest should win.

I’m tipping the Broncos who have more positives on their side at the moment. As mentioned, they are still in finals contention whilst the Dragons have nothing but pride to play for. The Broncos have the home ground advantage and have been playing much better since Josh Hoffman has been put back to fullback. (Personally I think the Broncos might have been slightly higher up the ladder if he’d been there all year.) Plus Ben Hunt is adding a certain spark to the side from the halfback position. Broncos 1-12 as they might be feeling the pinch after last week’s 90 minute, golden point match.

Mike’s Tip: Broncos

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Broncos 1-12 @ $3.10 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Panthers v Cowboys

Sunday, 11/08, 6:30PM, Centrebet Stadium
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Geoff Daniela, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Jeremy Latimore, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Clint Newton, Lewis Brown, Ryan Simpkins. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Cameron Ciraldo, Mose Masoe, Nathan Smith
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Kyle Feldt, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Robert Lui, Matthew Scott, Ray Thompson, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims, Ricky Thorby


It’s not what I’d call an interesting game but I’m sure Panthers fans would disagree with some vigour, knowing that their team has to win to still have a chance of making the finals. I’m sure the same fans’ heads would have dropped last night when they saw the Knights snatch a last grasp win from the Sharks which ultimately widened the gap between the Panthers and the Top 8 to 5 points. A win tonight is crucial.
The Cowboys do have a mathematical chance of making the finals but it’s very unlikey they will. Knowing it’s unlikely may have helped them in a funny sort of way in last week’s match against the Rabbitohs. A lot of players tend to perform better when the pressure is off.

I think the Cowboys will have the class edge over the Panthers but I don’t think they will have it all their own way and I’m happy to suggest a bet of the Panthers with the line.


Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Panthers +6.5 @ $1.92

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Bulldogs v Titans

Monday, 12/08, 7:00PM, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: Sam Perrett, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Timoteo Lafai, Krisnan Inu, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Frank Pritchard, Tony Williams, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Josh Jackson, Sam Kasiano, Dale Finucane, Tim Browne
Titans: David Mead, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamie Dowling, Anthony Don, Ashley Harrison, Aidan Sezer, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles, Ben Ridge, Mark Minichiello, Greg Bird. Interchange: David Taylor, Ryan James, Luke O’Dwyer, Sam Irwin

With the Sharks having lost their Saturday night clash, (and costing me all correct tips so far!) the Bulldogs have a great opportunity to put a gap between themselves and 6th spot on the ladder. They take on the grossly out of form Titans. But the Titans are not to be taken lightly this week as they are motivated by the fact that they are playing for a finals berth. A win will see them displace the Raiders and move into 8th spot on the ladder.

The Dogs pulled off a win against the Dragons last week despite fading in and out of the game before the big men fired and they racked up a pile of points in the final 15 minutes of the game. The focus this week for the Dogs will be to play out the full 80 minutes and play well in preparation for the finals which are a month away.

Play well, I have no doubts they will and can’t bring myself to tip the Titans here.

I don’t want to take this game seriously in the betting department. But if you must have a bet for fun, may I recommend Tony Williams to score a try at anytime? You can currently get $3.60 on Sportsbet. Let’s see if he’s regained his form….


Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Tony Williams to score anytime @ $3.60 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


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7 Responses to "NRL Round 22 Preview and Tips"

  1. You’re a smart man Mike. When you say “(Personally I think the Broncos might have been slightly higher up the ladder if he’d been there all year.)”

    If you actually look at the comparison of when Corey Norman plays 1, Hoffman 2 with Norman out and Hoffman at 1 the stats are damning! And the pro punters know this. Surprise surprise they’re playing much better without having players out of position the last couple of weeks.

    So because you said that, I consider you a pro lol ; )

    1. Are you a Broncos fan Johnny?
      I certainly don’t profess to know the playing squad better than the coach, but I’m a big Josh Hoffman fan and was very frustrated to see him dumped on the wing continuously throughout the season where he has had no room to move.

    1. Hey don,
      Yes it was a tough week indeed with both my best bets going down.
      I suppose when you look at the head to head results there were only 2 upsets with the Knights and the Titans winning. Perhaps their wins came down to the desperation of them both needing to win to stay in the top 8 whilst both their oppponents, the Sharks and Bulldogs, are both 5th and 6th. The Sharks and Dogs needed to win in order to challenge for a top 4 position, but may have been a tad less desperate than the others.
      That’s one possible reason.
      Both upsets were away victories as well which makes them more impressive. The Bulldogs have thrown Tony Williams back into the fray and I thought after last week he may have found his feet. Unfortunately last night the team had to carry him and he only made about 6 runs for the game when he really should be getting a head of steam up and charging in order to utilise his hefty frame. Disappointing.


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