THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Bulldogs v Roosters
Fri 23 May, 7:45pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Mitch Brown 3. Chase Stanley 4. Tim Lafai 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Reni Maitua 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aidan Tolman 9. Michael Ennis 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Dale Finucane 13. Greg Eastwood
Clearly some of the bookies that posted early markets for Round 11 didn’t foresee the selection of the Bulldogs halves for the NSW Origin side coming. Now that it has become a reality, the Roosters halves will be remaining in Bondi for the week and suddenly their side has been majorly strengthened.
Now just by chance, the Bulldogs are facing the Roosters on Friday night and suddenly those bookies have had to do a major backflip on their odds. Just look at how Sportsbet’s odds have changed dramatically since the announcement that the Bulldogs’ halves would replace the Roosters’ halves in Origin:
Sportsbet Monday: Dogs $1.65 | Roosters $2.20
Sportsbet Tuesday: Dogs $3.30 | Roosters $1.38
Personally I can’t say I’ve seen such a dramatic turnaround in my whole life.
It’s not just the Bulldogs’ halves away on Origin duties with Josh Morris retaining his spot in the centres and second rower Tony Williams getting a recall to the side having not played Origin since his first two games in 2012.
The Roosters may have had their halves returned to them by Laurie Daley but they aren’t without losses of their own now that Michael Jennings retains his place in the centres next to Morris and Origin rookies Aiden Guerra and Daniel Tupou making their debuts for QLD and NSW respectively.
The plethora of changes to both sides obviously turns this game on its head form wise but with the Roosters heading into the game with key names like Pearce, Maloney and Williams still in their side, I’m certainly of the belief that they will out-muscle the Bulldogs.
I’m never a fan of saying a team is ‘due’ to lose a match but the facts are that in the Bulldogs last six games they have won by small margins except for the game against the Dragons.
The margins have been 4, 32, 4, 1, 1 and 1 point and history shows us that luck can certainly even itself out. This might prove to be the game when that luck does even itself out, especially when some Bulldogs players will no doubt take the field already feeling beaten by the fact that they are missing so many team mates.
Roosters to win this but I’m not taking any line bets as it’s the Dogs attack that will suffer, not their defence on what is a neutral venue for both sides.
Mike’s Tip: Roosters
Mike’s Best Bet: Roosters Head to Head @ $1.48 (Pinnacle)
Titans v Warriors
Sat 24 May, 5:30pm, Robina Stadium
Titans: 1. David Mead 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa 3. William Zillman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Beau Henry 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Luke Bailey 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Dave Taylor 13. Paul Carter
It’s still early days in the Telstra Premiership as demonstrated by the Warriors’ position on the ladder: 12th place yet only one win outside the top 8 with this week’s match presenting them with a great opportunity to move a step closer to the tops teams.
But that reward won’t simply fall into their lap and they must first defeat the Titans on the Gold Coast.
The Warriors are strong favourites to reap said rewards and are currently at $1.40 (Pinnacle) to do so thanks to the Titans being without Nate Myles who is on Origin duty, Greg Bird on suspension, and Aiden Sezer, Ash Harrison and Kevin Gordon to injury.
Luckily for the Titans Albert Kelly returns to the side to take his place at halfback alongside Beau Henry who will replace Sezer at five-eighth. Kelly could be the key man if the Titans are to snatch an unlikely victory before heading into a bye weekend.
Beau Henry plays his second game of the year and I was impressed by his competitiveness in last week’s match against the Broncos and I expect him to try and get under the skin of the Warriors.
The Titans might be weakened but they still have an ability to defend their line with vigour and will no doubt make the Warriors work hard to win.
Again I’m prepared to take a side head to head at the short quote as it still seems the Warriors’ price is about 10c over the odds in my opinon. And again, as in the previous match, I’m not touching line betting as I don’t have full confidence in the Warriors winning without going to sleep at the back end of the match and ultimately lowering their winning margin.
Plus there is a good chance of rain on the Gold Coast the previous day and the preceding NYC match could leave the surface a bit cloddy as players tend to kick up divots on the carpet like surface even when it’s dry.
Mike’s Tip: Warriors
Mike’s Best Bet: Warriors Head to Head @ $1.40 (Pinnacle)
Tigers v Broncos
Sat 24 May, 7:30pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Tigers: 1. Kurtis Rowe 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Braith Anasta 7. Luke Brooks 8. Martin Taupau 9. Joel Luani 10. Keith Galloway 11. Sitaleki Akauola 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair
The Tigers take this home game to Campbelltown where they are usually fairly strong in front of their home crowd, but I’ll say it off the bat, this is not a game I expect them to win.
Simply because the Tigers have suffered too much when playing without key players, particularly hooker and captain Robbie Farah. The others include Aaron Woods who received an Origin callup, plus Liam Fulton and James Tedesco who are out with injury.
Braith Anasta has been moved into 5/8th and if my memory serves me correctly he played there against the Titans in round 8 when the Tigers were also without Farah, and he had a shocker. I’ll even go as far as to say that if Anasta doesn’t perform well in this game he should consider an early retirement.
The Broncos go to Campbelltown without Matt Gillett and Corey Parker who has joined the Maroons camp and Sam Thaiday who is still suffering from a calf injury. But looking at the bigger picture we see that the Broncos will still start the game with key men such as Hunt, Barba and McCullough and I’m positive these combinations will hold the team together, unlike the Tigers without Farah.
Let’s make it 3 from 3 this round and take the Broncos head to head. I have the Broncos rated at about $1.65 and I assume the bookmakers might be putting a bit too much into the home ground advantage that they assume will make the Tigers more of a force to be reckoned with.
A good indicator of confidence amongst punters can usually be gauged by looking at the movement of odds on pinnacle.com. As I write this preview, you can get $1.76 for the Broncos on Centrebet and Sportingbet whilst Pinnacle punters have backed the Broncos right in to $1.72.
The reason I won’t take the Broncos at the line, which seems like a measly -1.5 to -2.0 depending where you bet, is because the home ground factor and defence could be what keeps the Tigers in the game, and if the Broncos turn out to be only one try better in a high scoring game, I’d hate to think that it’s Pat Richards’ goal kicking that helps the Tigers to golden point, or a one point loss in regular time, costing us some $$$.
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Best Bet: Broncos Head to Head @ $1.76 (Sportingbet)
Raiders v Cowboys
Sun 25 May, 3:00pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jack Wighton 5. Sami Sauiluma 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Jarrad Kennedy 12. Joel Edwards 13. Shaun Fensom
As is always the case this time of year I preview a Cowboys match in a weekend preceding a State of Origin match and the glaring factor of the game, regardless of who their opponents are, is that Johnathan Thurston is missing from the side. Thurston’s absence would hurt any side but once again he was not the only Cowboy receiving the Origin call up with Scott, Tate and Tamou also heading off to their respective camps.
The Cowboys had made their way into the Top 8 for the first time this year but there’s a good chance they could finish this round in the bottom half of the 8 once more, but if they can salvage an unlikely win in the nation’s capital, they could end up as high as 6th with two byes still in hand.
The challenge that lies before them are a Canberra Raiders side who are simply having no fun at the moment.
The Raiders have suffered 3 straight losses now and Ricky Stuart felt the need to blame the referees after last week’s performance against the Panthers in a game I believe they were good enough to win. Referees aside and the Raiders once again will need to play with the same commitment they showed against the Panthers in order to win. The 6 point loss would have seemed like a decent result following two previous losses where they conceded 54 points in each and the Raiders can put a lot of that down to the fact that Jack Wighton was finally moved from the halves back into the centres with Josh McCrone replacing him.
Josh Papalii is the only Raider taking part in Origin and otherwise it’s basically a full complement of players for the Canberra side and at home against a weakened Cowboys, I think they can just scrape home against the Cowboys.
Mike’s Tip: Raiders
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Total match points under 45.5 @ $1.90 (Luxbet)
Sharks v Rabbitohs
Mon 26 May, 7:00pm, Remondis Stadium
Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Jonathan Wright 6. Daniel Holdsworth 7. Jeff Robson 8. Siosaia Vave 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Tinirau Arona 12. Wade Graham 13. Chris Heighington
We’ll start the preview of the final game in round 11 by looking at the player line ups that have changed considerably due to State of Origin selections and injuries.
The Sharks have lost two big names to the NSW side in Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis and their injury list compounds those losses even further. Carney, Fifita and Tupou are all out injured meaning the halfback and entire back row have been wiped out.
The last placed Cronulla side have struggled all year with player outs and this mass of losses can only mean a Rabbitohs victory 99 times out of 100.
The Rabbitohs have two players missing for Origin in fullback Greg Inglis and Chris McQueen. Whilst the Rabbitohs have struggled without Inglis, a side like the Sharks shouldn’t cause them too much grief if they just keep it simple and follow their halves.
The Rabbitohs will have a bit of extra incentive to win this week as they won’t want to let down Coach Michael Maguire two weeks in a row, especially in the fashion they did against Melbourne last week.
Dropped balls and an overall failure to complete sets in the first half made the Bunnies their own worst enemy and its unlikely Maguire will allow such a poor showing to occur two weeks running.
This is another game where I’m happy to take a short priced favourite head to head. The Rabbitohs have been absolutely hammered by punters in betting which has seen the price drop dramatically from $1.38 into $1.28 on Sportsbet.
Get moving to Pinnacle sports now to pick up the $1.31 that is still on offer.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Best Bet: Rabbitohs Head to Head @ $1.31 (Pinnacle)