THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Roosters v Tigers
Fri 9 May, 7:40pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters: 1.Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Aidan Guerra
Mike’s Casual Bet: None
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Cowboys v Broncos
Fri 9 May, 7:40pm, Townsville Stadium
Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Brent Tate 4. Kane Linnett 5. Curtis Rona 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Ray Thompson 8. Matthew Scott 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Tariq Sims
Mike’s Casual Bet: None
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Warriors v Raiders
Sat 10 May, 3:00pm, Eden Park
Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Ben Henry 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Rapira 9. Nathan Friend 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Simon Mannering 13. Sebastine Ikahihifo
At this point in time some rain is predicted to hit Auckland today, to be followed by thunderstorms on Saturday. But if there are any two teams that would cope best if it does turn out to be wet at Eden Park on Saturday, it’s these two.
The Warriors currently sit 13th on the ladder with Canberra right on their heels in 14th; a true reflection of how the two sides have been performing thus far.
The upside for the Warriors heading into this encounter is that they do so after beating the Storm in Melbourne last round 16-10, and it wasn’t as if the Storm played poorly that day.
That game partly resembled semi-final football and the Warriors played with vigour for the full 80.
On the downside is the fact that the Warriors are still yet to break their duck at Eden Park. There is just something about this venue that the Warriors dislike.
The Raiders’ would love to be coming into Round 9 off a giant killing win but instead they are likely still lamenting the punishment they took from Manly where at one stage they were down 42-0 after 33 minutes. The Raiders would have been lucky to beat an under 18’s side that day. Trying to bounce back from such a confidence shattering defeat would be tough when you have to next travel across the Tasman to take on the Warriors, but at least they had the entire two weeks over the representative fortnight to brush up on defensive deficiencies.
This game is probably a bit tough to pick a handicap confidently in my opinion as I really expect the Raiders to bounce back after a fortnight’s worth of training punishment under Ricky Stuart.
I do however rate this game as being a high scoring one and will be backing the ‘overs’ in total match points betting. PLEASE NOTE, you should monitor the weather and wait until the last minute if you decide to have a bet. If it’s bucketing rain before kickoff then it would be best to leave this game alone.
Mike’s Tip: Warriors
Mike’s Best Bet: Total match points ‘Over’ 40.5 in under/over betting @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Titans v Rabbitohs
Sat 10 May, 5:30pm, Robina Stadium
Titans: 1. David Mead 2. Kevin Gordon 3. William Zillman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Greg Bird 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ashley Harrison
With the Titans hosting one of the top sides in the Rabbitohs, it gives John Cartwright’s men a perfect opportunity to silence those that believe they are not truly worth of their currently acquired, equal 1st position on the ladder. The Titans’ performance at Leichhardt Oval in Round 8 may have been against a weakened Tigers side, but there was no doubting the convincing effort that the Titans applied in less than ideal conditions.
The Rabbitohs’ up and down start to the season in which multiple positional changes had the players failing to grasp their 2013 form, finally looked to have settled itself by about Round 5, but it then appeared a break was necessary after being followed up by some tough games. So the representative season has dropped itself into the calendar at what appears to be a perfect time for the Rabbitohs as they have now had two weeks to rejuvenate and come back to NRL footy having shorn up the defensive cracks that started to show through in their last match against the Broncos.
Head to head, and whilst the Titans have been good enough to win matches, and could also be good enough to beat the Rabbitohs on their day, I’m still more impressed by Souths’ season so far. The Bunnies certainly have more points in them, averaging 21.5 points in their last 4 matches. It would hard to see the Titans putting 22 points on a top side like the Rabbitohs when they are only averaging 18 points per game in attack for the season, whilst also conceding more points all year than the Rabbitohs have.
The $1.56 on offer for the Rabbitohs head to head (Pinnacle) is overs to me, despite plenty of money coming for the Titans at this point in time.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Best Bet: Rabbitohs Head to Head @ $1.56 (Pinnacle)
Storm v Sea Eagles
Sat 10 May, 7:30pm, AAMI Park
Storm: 1.Billy Slater 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Ben Hampton 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
There’s no question that the Storm are suffering under the weight of a form slump and it’s their poor defence that is the source of their grief.
Coach Craig Bellamy said through the week he refuses to concede that the new rules have changed the game so much that he can attribute it to his side’s defensive lapses. He made it clear that he is very aware that the onus is on the players to step up as his side whilst not far off the top sides, are also realistically not far from the bottom teams on the ladder.
Normally a game against the Sea Eagles would be the ultimate test, and although it will be nonetheless, it also looks to be a good opportunity to strike the Manly side that looks to take the field minus some big name players.
Manly will go into the game without five eighth Kieran Foran, centre Jamie Lyon and there’s every chance halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, although Daly has at this stage boarded the plane to Melbourne.
It’s a tough game to pick with so many doubts over final line-ups so I’ll be leaving it alone. If you are going to have a bet, you could do a lot worse than Manly head to head @ $2.70
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $2.70 (Sportingbet)
Knights v Panthers
Sun 11 May, 2:00pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Kade Snowden 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Adam Cuthbertson
The Knights need to get a wriggle on up the ladder so as not to make things difficult for themselves come the end of the season. This game presents them with a good opportunity against a Panthers side that are battling to find any decent form when playing on the road. I’m now of the belief the Panthers will genuinely struggle to make the top 8 with 9 away games left in their remaining 16 of the season. At this stage it’s likely that they would have to win 8 of those 16 to make the finals and every home ground win will be key, (but that’s a story for another day.)
So the point in all that is the Panthers will probably struggle to get on top of the Knights, and if they were facing any other than the Knights or Sharks there’s a good chance I’d recommend a best bet.
Expect a big effort from Akuila Uate on the Knight’s right wing today. Uate missed a couple of games and was replaced by 19 year old Jake Mamo who in my opinion instantly stamped himself as a star of the future. If Uate shares the same opinion, he would no doubt be feeling a teensy weensy bit of pressure to perform.
Knights 5/8th Jarrod Mullen has hit a rich vein of form and his confidence is through the roof.
No best bets here. As I mentioned, I think the Knights can beat the Panthers who struggle away from home, but the Knights have proven to be their own worst enemies at times and aren’t reliable enough to carry my money. Leave this game for fun bets only.
Mike’s Tip: Knights
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Knights 1-12 @ $3.10 (Palmerbet)
Dragons v Bulldogs
Sun 11 May, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Joel Thompson 4. Gerard Beale 5. Nathan Green 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Sam Williams 8. Tyson Frizell 9. Mitch Rein 10. Dan Hunt 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh 13. Trent Merrin
Four losses in their last five matches has put the Dragons suddenly in a slightly desperate position of needing a win and what better way to test your side than against the Bulldogs who currently sit in first place.
I’m sure however Dragons’ coach Steve Price would be accepting of a loss if it came out of a respectable performance that the club can build on throughout the final two-thirds of the year.
I won’t put too much onus on it, but I would love to know what kind of distraction all the Benji Marshall talk has been to the Dragons. Personally, it would annoy the crap out of me if I was a Dragons player.
The Bulldogs have had no such distractions and are seemingly in the zone on the footy field of late and as long as all the headlines are made about teams such as the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles, Des Hasler has his team right where he wants them: under the radar.
It’s not often wise to focus an extra amount of energy on one player, but the Bulldogs would benefit greatly by rag-dolling Josh Dugan at every opportunity they can. Shut down Dugan when he attacks and you will gain your side that extra bit of field position and eventually start to invade the Dragons’ 20 metre zone.
Bulldogs to win this one, but the $1.54 quote head to head is a bit short for my liking. The want was at worst $1.60 for this.
Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Total match points ‘Over’ 39.5 @ $1.95 (Luxbet)
Eels v Sharks
Mon 12 May, 7:00pm, Pirtek Stadium
Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Willie Tonga 5. Ken Sio 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Nathan Peats 10. Darcy Lussick 11. Pauli Pauli 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo
It’s back to Pirtek Stadium for the Parramatta Eels to host the last placed Cronulla Sharks. As I’ve mentioned at previous times through the year, the Eels are one of the best (if not the best) teams at growing a leg when playing at home compared to their score lines in games on the road. Facing the current 16th placed side, I would rate the Eels a $1.55 chance and the current best odds available for them in head to head betting is $1.71.
This isn’t to suggest that the Sharks are going to be pushovers. After all, their season could be in dire straits if they lose another match and the desperation levels amongst the team will be high.
It’s going to be a tough gig for the Sharks without Todd Carney after the half back has yet again succumb to a hamstring injury. His replacement is none other than returning forward Luke Lewis, who Coach Peter Sharp has thrust into the number 6 jersey. Lewis hasn’t played a game of Rugby League since the World Cup last year but he is no stranger to the number 6 jersey. In fact, Luke Lewis has played NRL matches in every single position except for prop forward.
All in all, I believe the Eels will be simply too good and that the two week break would have done some of their players the world of good.
So get moving punters and grab yourself some of that hot Eels action!
Mike’s Tip: Eels
Mike’s Best Bet: Eels Head to Head @ $1.71 (Pinnacle)