NRL Round 25 Preview and Tips




Broncos v Knights

Friday, 30th August, 7:35pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Josh Hoffman, Corey Oates, Jack Reed, Alex Glenn, Jordan Kahu, 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
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Willie Mason, Danny Buderus, Zane Tetevano, Robbie Rochow, Beau Scott, Alex McKinnon. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, David Fa’alogo

The Broncos can consider themselves lucky in a way that certain results have gone their way over the last two rounds meaning they have a slim, but unlikely chance of making the finals, but only if they win both of their remaining games in the home and away season.

They looked to be tired last week and as I predicted suffered a loss as a result of the build up of pressure from previous weeks. Expect a more alert side this time around.

The Knights sit 7th on the ladder thanks to a draw 5 weeks earlier which was in fact against the Broncos and after their dismal performance in Townsville last week can only improve. They will however have to do it without Kade Snowden who is staring down the barrel of a 7 week suspension but the upside is that his absence will allow Willie Mason back into the side.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it is that the Knights perform so poorly away from home and admittedly I have found them very hard to follow all year. It’s as if I’ve been one step behind them all the way, so I have little choice but to back against them this week as they make another road trip interstate.

Mike’s Tip: Broncos

Mike’s Suggested Bet:

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Tigers v Rabbitohs

Friday, 30th August, 7:35pm, Allianz Stadium
Tigers: James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Bodene Thompson, Tim Simona, Lote Tuqiri, Benji Marshall, Braith Anasta, Keith Galloway, Robbie Farah, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Curtis Sironen, Ben Murdoch-Masila. Interchange: Ava Seumanufagai, Jack Buchanan, Shaun Spence, Matt Bell
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Dylan Farrell, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Luke Burgess, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Luke Keary, Jeff Lima, George Burgess, Tom Burgess, Jason Clark, Matt King

Once again we see a top team take on one of the competition’s cellar dwellers and as a result we get given some predominantly prohibitive odds. The Tigers have been put up at $12 on Wednesday with the Rabbitohs tipped as $1.04 favourites.

The Tigers beat a cellar dweller themselves in the form of the Dragons last week but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m giving them any chance of winning this one. Ok I lie, I give them about a 4% chance of winning which means unless their head to head odds hit $25 or higher then I’m not touching them. The current quote of $14 (Pinnacle) is gross unders.

It’s not a game I’m interested in betting on, but if you must punt, may I suggest the Rabbitohs at the line?

Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Rabbitohs -22.5 @ $1.92 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Warriors v Raiders

Saturday, 31st August, 5:00pm (3pm AEST), Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Jerome Ropati, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Dominique Peyroux, Ngani Laumape

Raiders: Reece Robinson, Bill Tupou, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Sami Sauiluma, Terry Campese, Anthony Milford, David Shillington, Josh McCrone, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Paul Vaughan. Interchange: Glen Buttriss, Jake Foster, Dane Tilse, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Matt McIlwrick

It’s ‘do or die’ for both teams in regards to making the finals but as far as I’m concerned the Raiders’ season finished last week. They have had off field dramas deluxe and it has continued through to this week with the sacking of serial offender Blake Ferguson, although some could argue that by getting rid of Ferguson the remaining players will have fewer distractions to deal with. Sandor Earl has also been suspended after admitting to using and trafficking banned substances.

If the Raiders are going to win they must have Campese playing at his full potential and not mucking around with silly horizontal plays. Go direct Campo!

However I believe the return of Campese will be nullified by the fact that this is a Warriors home game and we know that the Raiders are woeful when playing on the road. They have accumulated just 2 wins away from Canberra this year.

I’m taking the Warriors to officially end the Raiders’ season and keep their own chances at a finals berth alive and kicking.

Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Halftime/Fulltime – Warriors/Warriors @ $1.62 (Sportingbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Bulldogs v Panthers

Saturday, 31st August, 5:30pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: Josh Morris, Mitch Brown, Krisnan Inu, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Lachlan Burr, Tim Browne, Martin Taupau
Panthers: Lachlan Coote, Josh Mansour, Lewis Brown, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Clint Newton, Sika Manu, Ryan Simpkins. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Nathan Smith, Jeremy Latimore, Mose Masoe, Matt Moylan


Although there is a slight chance the Bulldogs could miss out on a finals spot it is very unlikely and I don’t think they are too concerned either. Rather, Coach Des Hasler and his players will be focused on using this game to work on eking out their team’s maximum potential in time for the finals series. However the aforementioned task will be difficult without the likes of Ben Barba, Sam Kasiano and Frank Pritchard.

The Panthers on the contrary have a very serious chance of missing the finals if they don’t win this game and they will no doubt be fighting for their competition lives. They will take a huge confidence boost out of their win over the Broncos last week which again kept their 2013 intact.

It could be a closer game than the odds suggest (Bulldogs $1.41, Panthers $3.00) but I’ll be leaning towards the Bulldogs to win the game with bit more defensive nous on the flanks which is where the Panthers like to score a lot of their tries. But if they have been doing their homework, the Bulldogs will also be keeping a seriously close eye on James Segyaro who last week carved the Broncos’ defence to pieces at will.

Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Halftime/Fulltime – Bulldogs/Bulldogs @ $1.78 (Sportingbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Sea Eagles v Storm

Saturday, 31st August, 7:30pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, TBA, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, George Rose, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, James Hasson, Tom Symonds, David Gower
Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Maurice Blair, Justin O’Neill, 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, Tim Glasby


It’s always a classic encounter when these two sides go face to face, particularly for some reason when they play at Brookvale Oval.

Both the Storm and Sea Eagles, who sit in 3rd and 4th on the ladder respectively, are in solid form and clearly outplaying the 12 teams below them. But which team out of the two have the players that are performing better? If I was asked to pick now, I would go with the Storm. So when I look at this week’s line ups and see the Sea Eagles without Anthony Watmough and Jorge Taufua, I can’t go past the Storm. Sure the Sea Eagles have a big advantage playing at home but I think they will be slowly ground out of the game by the Storm’s superior depth amongst the interchange players.

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Best Bet:


Sharks v Cowboys

Sunday, 1st September, 2:00pm, Remondis Stadium
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Sam Tagataese, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Chris Heighington, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Bryce Gibbs
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Wayne Ulugia, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Robert Lui, Matthew Scott, Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Jayden Hodges, Tariq Sims, Scott Bolton, Ricky Thorby, Ashton Sims

There’s value in this game folks, as the Sharks take on the Cowboys in Cronulla on a Sunday afternoon. I like the fact that it’s a day game as I don’t really have a high opinion of the Cowboys playing in the daylight hours, nor when playing away from home.

Those of you who saw the Sharks play last Monday night would have to agree they produced a fast, aggressive brand of football which could be a preview of things to come during finals time now that they have sewn up their ticket to the top 8.

Putting last week’s game aside, I would still expect the Sharks to come out of the blocks fast as they quite often like to in their home games and I have confidence they will go on to win well and cover the line.

Mike’s Tip: Sharks

Mike’s Best Bet:


Roosters v Titans

Sunday, 1st September, 3:00pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, 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, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Aidan Guerra, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa
Titans: David Mead, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamie Dowling, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Ryan James, Greg Bird, Ben Ridge, Nate Myles. Interchange: David Taylor, Luke Bailey, TBC, Matt Srama

As of game day the current odds stand at: Roosters $1.03, Titans $14. The line is at -24.5 for the Roosters to cover and I’d suggest that they will be out to cover it after they were shocked last week by the Sharks. Their goal will be to go into the finals in top form and a big win will be what they’re after here as they know they’re expected to win.

The Titans will be happy that they are welcoming Greg Bird back to the side and he will have his work cut out trying to spur his troops on to victory. If the Titans saw the Sharks defeat the Roosters on Monday night, they’ll know that a hard and fast start to the match could be the best strategy to execute. However I would doubt their players have the experience and intensity to defeat the top of the table Roosters. Also however, this isn’t a game I’m interested in punting on.


Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Roosters -23.5 @ $1.87 (Centrebet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Eels v Dragons

Monday, 2nd September, 7:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Eels: Jarryd Hayne, Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Vai Toutai, Semi Radradra, Ben Roberts, Luke Kelly, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Reni Maitua, Mitch Allgood, Darcy Lussick. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Peni Terepo, Pat O’Hanlon, Junior Paulo
Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Charly Runciman, Daniel Vidot, Adam Quinlan, Nathan Fien, Jack Stockwell, Mitch Rein, Ben Creagh, Tyson Frizell, Leeson Ah Mau, Jack de Belin. Interchange: Matt Prior, Michael Weyman, Bronson Harrison, Josh Drinkwater

Another battle of teams that won’t have a bearing on this year’s finals series takes place in Monday night football.

The Eels, who are about to collect their 2nd wooden spoon are coming off a 60 point loss and will be looking to salvage some sort of respect and win back their fans. The Parramatta side know that the Dragons aren’t faring much better than themselves and will probably lift a bit more knowing that this could be their best chance for a win.

I’ll be tipping the Dragons though who have added Josh Drinkwater to their bench in the only change to the team that were surprised by the Wests Tigers last week. I’m sure they would feel humiliated if they were beaten by the wooden spooners and will do what they have to in order to hold them out.

Mike’s Tip: Dragons

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Dragons Head to Head @ $1.82 (Betfair)

Mike’s Best Bet: None

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