NRL Round 26 Preview and Tips





Broncos v Bulldogs

Thursday, 05/09, 7:45PM, 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
Bulldogs: Josh Morris, Mitch Brown, Krisnan Inu, Timoteo Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Tim Browne, Sam Kasiano, Martin Taupau, Lachlan Burr

The Broncos’ season ended last Friday at the hands of the Knights and the Bulldogs are guaranteed a home final next week so there’s really not a hell of a lot for either side to play for.

The Bulldogs main motivation will be to get their team performing at a more finetuned level as they head into the first week of finals to contest a sudden death match.

Coach Des Hasler would be happy with the improvements that were made last week when his side came back to beat the Panthers after a slow start. Bulldogs fans would have been happy to see Tony Williams finally pull his finger out and play a spirited game; one which the NRL has waited all year to see.

With little to play for hopefully we will see a bit of carefree footy in attack that will provide some entertainment in the skills department. However it’s a going to be a tough game to follow betting wise and I would suggest that if you are going to have a wager, do so for fun only.

Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Bulldogs Head to Head @ $1.58 (Sportingbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Rabbitohs v Roosters

Friday, 06/09, 7:45PM, ANZ Stadium
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
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Aidan Guerra, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa, Tinirau Arona

What a beauty this has turned out to be! The 1st and 2nd placed sides play each other in the final round of the regular season to decide the minor premiership.

RABBITOHS V ROOSTERS; It has Hollywood written all over it and the build up has been nothing short of comparable to the opening night of a Tom Cruise blockbuster. (Or should I say Russell Crowe?).

In what many believe is to be a Grand Final preview, the Rabbitohs have taken on favouritism for the match against the Roosters and have already received plenty of support in the betting. This would be partly due to the fact that the Roosters are coming off two straight losses.

It will be exciting to see how the halves pairings match up in this one as no doubt those particular players will be the ones feeling the pressure of success. For the Rabbitohs it’s Sutton and Reynolds who have an eclectic mix of running and ball skills, not to mention Reynolds’ precision kicking game that has earned his team multiple repeat sets and ultimately points on the scoreboard throughout the course of the season.

For the Roosters it’s Maloney and Pearce who together can quite easily put the shivers through any defensive line with their ability to play direct or laterally, or if needs be, both players have shown that they are quite capable of barbequing their opposition alone.

So who wins? I’m going to be following the money trail and backing the Rabbitohs in fairly comfortably. If the game goes smoothly for them and they put a margin on the Roosters with 20 minutes remaining, I won’t expect the boys from Bondi to risk any injuries by unnecessarily applying themselves to a lost cause with finals just a week away. If such a scenario plays out, we could see the Rabbitohs win by 13+.

Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Rabbitohs -5.5 @ $1.92 or for something juicier take Rabbitohs 13+ @ $3.00 (Centrebet).

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Dragons v Warriors

Saturday, 07/09, 3:00PM, WIN Stadium
Dragons: 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, Will Matthews
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, Sio Siua Taukeiaho

By all rights this should simply turn out to be the Warriors giving it to the Dragons. The Warriors have to win to have a chance at making the finals, and to further improve their chances, should probably try and win by as many points as possible. Will the Dragons put up much of a fight? Probably not. The St. George Illawarra boys can’t make the finals and will already have their minds set on what costume to wear to mad Monday celebrations and the negative effects that setting a dwarf on fire can have on one’s a team.

So with that simple assessment in mind, I like the look of the Warriors winning by at least 10 points. In last week’s match against the Raiders, the Warriors threw the ball around a lot more in attack which resulted in them notching up a whopping 50 points. There’s really no reason why they couldn’t score at least 30 points against a Dragons side that just lost to the wooden spooners on Monday night.


Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Best Bet:


Storm v Titans

Saturday, 07/09, 5:30PM, AAMI Park
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
Titans: Kevin Gordon, Steve Michaels, Brad Takairangi, Jordan Atkins, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Ryan James, Greg Bird, Ben Ridge, Nate Myles. Interchange: David Taylor, Luke Bailey, Jamie Dowling, Matt Srama, Mark Ioane

I’ll begin this preview by pointing out that by the time the game rolls around the Storm may have decided to rest some players, or they may have not. Either way, I won’t be sure until kickoff and nor will I be sure if the Storm will be trying their hardest to win. ‘Why?’ you ask? Well there is a theory going around that if the Roosters roll the Rabbitohs and sit in first place, then they might be the preferable team for either the Sea Eagles or the Storm to play in the first week of the finals. Therefore the Storm may not be so keen to jump out of 4th place. The other theory is that the Storm simply won’t care at all which side they play in the first week of finals and therefore won’t apply themselves to the maximum. The Titans on the other hand must win to keep their finals hopes alive and hope that other results go their way and of course will be giving their all.

So a word of warning, take it easy if you’re going to bet and all I can suggest at this stage is Titans to play hard and hopefully cover the start.


Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Titans +18.0 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Cowboys v Tigers

Saturday, 07/09, 7:30PM, 1300SMILES Stadium
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Wayne Ulugia, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Robert Lui, Scott Bolton, Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall. Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Jayden Hodges, Tariq Sims, Ashton Sims, Ricky Thorby
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, Sauaso Sue, Matt Bell

The Cowboys have continued their winning streak into the last round of the regular comp and I can’t see them stopping it against the Tigers. When this game starts it will be very likely that the Nth QLD side will still have to win in order to hold onto their 8th position on the ladder and of course will literally be playing for their competition lives.

The Tigers are a team that have only beaten the Dragons in their last 8 matches and I can’t see them getting themselves geared up enough to challenge the Cowboys so far away from Sydney. The Tigers I’m sure, will be happy to see the end of 2013.

Again though, the odds look tilted and I wouldn’t be wagering heavy amounts on this game.

Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Cowboys -15.5 @ $1.92 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Sea Eagles v Panthers

Sunday, 08/09, 2:00PM, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: Peta Hiku, Tom Symonds, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, David Gower, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, James Hasson, Jesse Sene-Lefao, George Rose
Panthers: Lachlan Coote, Josh Mansour, Brad Tighe, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Nigel Plum, Lewis Brown, Sika Manu, Ryan Simpkins. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Clint Newton, Jeremy Latimore, Mose Masoe, Nathan Smith

Sorry to say it but this is another game of Round 26 that will be tough to bet on if the Sea Eagles decide that there is nothing to play for. They have already chosen to rest Brett Stewart and Anthony Watmough so who knows what the team’s outlook on this game will be like.

If they decide to play hard then the Panthers might be in trouble judging by Manly’s 28-8 thrashing of the Storm last week. But it remains to be seen if the Storm were giving their all on that night.

The Panthers’ season came crashing to a halt last week when the Bulldogs stormed home late to win and ultimately crush Panthers’ fans hopes of seeing their boys play in the finals series.

I’m tipping the Sea Eagles but once again, if you’re going to bet, do so with caution!


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: None

Mike’s Best Bet: None



Knights v Eels

Sunday, 08/09, 3:00PM, Hunter Stadium
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Joey Leilua, Dane Gagai, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Zane Tetevano, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Beau Scott, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Alex McKinnon, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, David Fa’alogo
Eels: Ken Sio, Vai Toutai, Ryan Morgan, Ben Roberts, Semi Radradra, Reni Maitua, Luke Kelly, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Pat O’Hanlon, Mitch Allgood, Darcy Lussick. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Peni Terepo, Daniel Harrison, Junior Paulo

It’s a Novocastrian tradition to hold ‘Old Boys’ day for the final home game of the season and it’s an occasion that often brings out the best in the Knights players as they play in front of their club legends of past Newcastle teams. It’s turned out however, that in the overall scheme of the NRL finals that this game will have little bearing. The Knights sit 8th and can’t fall any lower but a win would move them to 7th and see them taking on the Sharks in week one of the finals whereas a loss would keep them 8th and send them to meet the Bulldogs in week one of the finals.

I’ll be tipping the Knights to win as I’m sure they won’t want to let the ‘Old Boys’ down and they would also like to send club stalwart Danny Buderus out with a win in his final game at Hunter Stadium after 250+ games of service in Newcastle. The Eels may have scrounged up a win last week but they have an abysmal record on the road and probably won’t be able to get motivated to beat a side which thrives on their home soil.

Mike’s Tip:

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Total game points over 48.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Raiders v Sharks

Sunday, 08/09, 7:00PM, Canberra Stadium
Raiders: Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Sami Sauiluma, Bill Tupou, Terry Campese, Mitch Cornish, David Shillington, Josh McCrone, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Dane Tilse, Paul Vaughan
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Sam Tagataese, Luke Lewis, Anthony Tupou, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Tyrone Peachey, Ben Ross, Bryce Gibbs

There’s not much to play for if you’re a Cronulla Shark as the team is guaranteed 6th place on the ladder and appropriately a few players have been rested. Wade Graham and Jayson Bukuya have been given the week off and Paul Gallen joins them on the sideline after copping a one week suspension.

The Raiders have a good chance to go out of 2013 with a win and are $1.45 favourites to do so.

I know I’ve seemingly said this all week but this is another game that I would probably avoid betting on for any reason other than a bit of fun. Nothing but pride is on the line for the Raiders and we just don’t know what they will throw up once they run onto Canberra Stadium. I’d like to think they’ll have a solid dig and walk away with one more victory in 2013.

Mike’s Tip:Raiders

Mike’s Suggested Bet: None

Mike’s Best Bet: None

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