NRL Round 12 Previews and Tips


Panthers v Eels

Fri 30 May, 7:45pm, Centrebet Stadium

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. David Simmons 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Brent Kite 11. Sika Manu 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Adam Docker
Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Lewis Brown 18. Matt Robinson
Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Ryan Morgan 5. Ken Sio 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Nathan Peats 10. Darcy Lussick 11. David Gower 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo
Interchange: 14. Pauli Pauli 15. Peni Terepo 16. Junior Paulo 17. Mitch Allgood 18. Lee Mossop


What a fantastic week it was for the Panthers who went and put their feet up during a bye weekend to return in Round 12 suddenly in 3rd place on the competition ladder.

They also make their return to their home ground at Sportingbet Stadium where they have only suffered one loss this year which was at the hands of the Rabbitohs 18-2.

The Panthers definitely grow a leg so to speak when playing at home and even though they find it tough to put a large amount of points on the scoreboard, they continue to keep their opposition at bay with a grinding style of footy.

The Eels are a similar team in regards to performances at home as opposed to when playing on the road. If you look at their season so far you’ll see that out of 10 games played, the Eels are 5 from 5 at home (Pirtek Stadium) and 1 from 5 away.

This particular run of form in 2014 for the Eels can basically be summed up in two games. The first being their Round 2 clash against the reigning premiers the Roosters in which the Eels were thumped 56 – 4 at Allianz Stadium. (albeit without hooker Nathan Peats.) When the two sides met again in Round 6 at Pirtek Stadium, the Eels played like a top 4 side to down the Roosters 14-12.

These two sides met in Round 4 at Pirtek where the Eels ran away as eventual winners 32-16 but you can expect that to turn around in favour of the Panthers this time around, especially when one of the Eels’ key players Jarryd Hayne will take the field just two days after the State of Origin clash on Wednesday night assuming Coach Brad Arthur elects to play him at all.

Support for the Panthers has been fairly strong early in the week and I have them rated at $1.65 but the current price is around $1.60.
I would recommend exercising some patience and suggest you leave the game alone altogether. If however you want to bet, you might as well take the $1.60 as I can’t see much value elsewhere in this game’s markets.


Mike’s Tip: Panthers

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Panthers head to head @ $1.60 (Pinnacle Sports)



Roosters v Raiders

Sat 31 May, 5:30pm, 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. Aidan Guerra 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Frank-Paul Nu’uausala
Interchange: 14. Dylan Napa 15. Isaac Liu 16. Mitch Aubusson 17. Remi Casty
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. Josh Papalii 12. Jarrad Kennedy 13. Shaun Fensom
Interchange: 14. Mitch Cornish 15. Joel Edwards 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Dane Tilse 18. Shannon Boyd


Neither side had the luxury of a bye last week but both were able to walk away from Round 11 with 2 competition points after facing teams decimated by State of Origin selections.

The Roosters went from outsiders to strong favourites against the Bulldogs when neither of their halves were selected for Origin duties. They came out and dispensed with the Bulldogs accordingly and promptly moved on to preparing for this week’s match.

The Raiders’ fortunes were similar as they shut down a Cowboys side sans Johnathan Thurston in chilly Canberra. Without bursting the green machine’s bubble it wasn’t exactly a game that the Raiders can take a whole lot out of and this week’s match up with the Roosters will prove to be a far more realistic test of where the Raiders are at.

The Raiders had previously suffered two massive losses before fronting up to the depleted Cowboys and in my books they are a team with tonnes of room for improvement that needs to be filled before getting my endorsement.

Raiders’ Coach Ricky Stuart could do a whole lot worse than injecting young Mitch Cornish into the game a lot earlier and shifting Josh McCrone to hooker. Whilst I was once a fan of Glen Buttriss, I think his performances at dummy half this year have been sub standard and it might be time to go.

The obvious tip here is the Roosters but I have no intention of backing them at $1.18 when I only had them rated at the slightly shorter quote of $1.15. The -13.5 line also seems pretty hefty for the Roosters to cover when they tend to be a side that can leave a lot of their work for late in the game.


Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Roosters/Roosters in HalfTime/FullTime betting @ $1.45 (



Cowboys v Storm

Sat 31 May, 7:30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Brent Tate 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Ray Thompson 8. Matthew Scott 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Ethan Lowe 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Scott Bolton
Interchange: 14. Robert Lui 15. Glenn Hall 16. Ashton Sims 17. Joel Riethmuller 18. Anthony Mitchell
Storm: 1.TBA 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Ben Roberts 7. TBA 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. TBA 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tohu Harris 16. Dayne Weston 17. George Rose 18. Mitch Garbutt


Well what a disaster State of Origin game one turned out to be for the Melbourne Storm club! Their ‘big 3’ all went down with injuries and suddenly the club’s season looks to be headed towards turmoil.

Coach Craig Bellamy must have had paramedics trying to resuscitate him at some stage during Origin when he witnessed Cronk, Smith and Slater all suffer injuries. Cronk could be out for 8-12 weeks with a broken arm and at this early stage Smith and Slater could be out for 2 weeks give or take.

With those players missing for the trip to Townsville, I’ll say it straight up that I can’t see the Storm winning this match. Even if it happens, I’ll still be stating that I never saw it coming.

The Cowboys have named their Origin reps in Thurston, Scott, Tamou and Tate but of course anytime a post Origin side is named you have to be prepared for potential late changes.

Since Round 5 the Cowboys have been domineering at home posting attacking scores of 28, 42, 27 and 42 points respectively and have really come into their own after a slow start to the season. Expect them to post another large score here.

Traditionally when the Storm are without Smith, Cronk and Slater at Origin time, the side goes down by rather large margins and for them to face a potentially full strength Cowboys side tells me the -14.5 point line will get covered.


Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Best Bet: Cowboys -14.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)



Warriors v Knights

Sun 1 Jun, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. David Fusi’tua 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Ngani Laumape 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Suaia Matagi 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Ben Matulino 13. Simon Mannering
Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Sam Rapira 16. Feleti Mateo 17. Sebastine Ikahihifo 18. Tuimoala Lolohea 20. Agnatius Paasi
Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Willie Mason 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Jeremy Smith
Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Korbin Sims 17. Adam Cuthbertson 18. Chris Houston 19. David Fa’alogo

If you’re a Warriors fan you’re probably well aware that this is your team’s first match of 2014 at Mt. Smart stadium, the true home venue where they have won 6 of their last 8 matches.

If you’re a Knights fan you’re probably well aware that your team needs to win 10 of their remaining 14 games this year if they are to be any hope of making the finals.

So are the Knights ready to claim a much needed win on foreign soil against a Warriors side that has won 3 of their last 4 matches? Probably not.

It’s been a hectic few weeks for Knights players amidst stories that players weren’t being paid thanks to Nathan Tinkler.
Perhaps one positive for the side is that Darius Boyd had a great game on Wednesday night during State of Origin and hopefully for Knights fans it was the confidence booster Boyd needed to bring his best footy to the table this week.

Another positive for the Knights is the return of lock Jeremy Smith and juggernaut Joey Leilua to the centres.

I’m sure the Knights don’t wish any opposition players any harm but they might be hoping that Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson spends Sunday afternoon on the sidelines as he battles to overcome an ankle injury. If Johnson is to be omitted from the starting line up then the Warriors’ chances of victory would certainly take a bit of a hit.

Nothing in betting really grabs my interest here as I have doubts as to whether or not the Warriors can cover the line, plus one simply has no idea how the Knights will perform.

Probably best to steer clear of this one.

If you’re a diehard punter that can’t steer away from this match, try the Warriors 1-12.


Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Warriors 1-12 @ $3.10 (Sportingbet)



Broncos v Sea Eagles

Sun 1 Jun, 3:00pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos:1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Corey Parker 11. Alex Glenn 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Matt Gillett
Interchange: 14. Lachlan Maranta 15. Todd Lowrie 16. Corey Oates 17.  Ben Hannant 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. David Hala 20. David Stagg 21. Francis Molo
Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Justin Horo 13. Jamie Buhrer
Interchange: 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Tom Symonds 17. Jason King 18. Jack Littlejohn


Suncorp Stadium has already hosted a game for the ages this week, are we in for another on Sunday afternoon when the Broncos take on the Sea Eagles?

It’s a game strongly affected by State of Origin as we may not know until the last minute which players will take the field.

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has named his Origin reps in Parker, Hodges and Gillett plus Sam Thaiday, who sat out Origin one with a calf complaint, looks set to make his return.

In the Sea Eagles camp, things were looking rosy earlier in the week when captain Jamie Lyon and five-eighth Kieran Foran were named to return to the side after stints on the sidelines with injuries. But then came the mini war that was State of Origin and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and second rower Anthony Watmough copped injuries. Cherry-Evans has been ruled out of this match and Watmough has been given right up until kick off before a decision is made on whether he will play or not.

We know how tough the Sea Eagles play their footy, and the Broncos have shown in patches throughout the year that they are capable of breaking line defence of some of the better teams in the comp so I’m expecting a close game here.

The stats that raise my interest are the following: Sea Eagles have won 9 from the past 11 matches against the Broncos and 6 of the last 7 at Suncorp Stadium meaning this clearly isn’t a venue or crowd that fazes them.

I had suggested to readers earlier in the week to jump on Manly at the $1.79 available but the aforementioned injury to Daly Cherry-Evans has seen the Broncos firm into favouritism at present. I’m still happy to take the Sea Eagles and if you hadn’t got on them early in the week, you can now get odds of $2.02 on them at Pinnacle.


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Best Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $2.02 (Pinnacle)



Rabbitohs v Dragons

Mon 2 Jun, 7:00pm, ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Joel Reddy 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Ben Te’o13. Sam Burgess
Interchange: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Jason Clark 16. Chris McQueen 17. Tom Burgess
Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Peter Mata’utia 4. Gerard Beale 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Ben Creagh 9. Mitch Rein 10. Dan Hunt 11. Leeson Ah Mau 12. Joel Thompson 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Tyson Frizell 15. Jack De Belin 16. Mike Cooper 17. Bronson Harrison 18. Shane Pumipi 20. Will Matthews


The Rabbitohs host the Dragons in their second consecutive Monday night game as they look to keep their spot in the top 8 which they have acquired with the aid of 5 wins from their past 7 games.

The Rabbitohs’ ship seems to have steadied following a less than auspicious start to the season and thanks to some tough footy played by their hulking forward pack up the middle of the field, the wins look set to continue.

The Dragons’ fortunes have been quite contrary to those of the Rabbitohs and they have dropped to 13th on the ladder after what had looked to be a promising start to the season that saw them take down 3 wins in the first 3 rounds.

Mid-season coaching changes are not normally ideal for any team but the sacking of Steve Price from the Dragons’ head coaching role in my eyes is a positive. Price had been grossly underperforming as a coach and for the club to move forward, his position at the Dragons seemed far from tenable.

Former St.George and Illawarra player Paul ‘Mary’ McGregor takes over the role in the meantime in his first role as a first grade coach and he certainly knows what it takes to succeed thanks to 14 State of Origin appearances for NSW and 3 Australian test caps.

Probably more critically, this game marks five-eighth Benji Marshall’s second game since returning to the NRL from Super Rugby.

The Dragons were thumped by the Eels in their last outing by 36 points but I hardly think Marshall was to blame and rather some pathetic arms and grabbing tackles were more the problem.

Since the 36 point drubbing Marshall has had 2 weeks to work on combinations with halves partner Gareth Widdop and I have no doubt the side will have progressed in that area, so it’s left to the forwards to put their bodies on the line and build the attacking foundations for their halves.

But progression in the halves doesn’t automatically equate to wins and I’ll still find it hard to go past the Rabbitohs here but I won’t be suggesting any best bets for the match.

If you’re looking for any sort of betting option however I would probably recommend backing the Dragons with the +13.5 start @ $1.93 (Palmerbet). The Dragons and Rabbitohs are playing fairly similar styles of footy to what they were in 2013 when the Dragons were rather handy at covering lines.


Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Dragons +13.5 @ $1.93 (Palmerbet)



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