THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
Fri 6 Jun, 7:40pm, Brookvale Oval
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
The Bulldogs, runners up in 2012 take on the Sea Eagles who claimed the runners up spot in 2013 and both sides are so far making a good run at the 2014 premiership, sitting 1st and 3rd on the ladder respectively.
These two sides haven’t met since Round 14 last year in what was a thrilling game that went down to the wire with the Bulldogs eventually claiming the win by 32 points to 30.
Bulldogs v Sea Eagles match ups have been fantastic contests in recent times and the last 6 games between the two have seen 3 wins for each with an average winning margin of just 5.5 points.
The Bulldogs are coming off a bye and their full strength line up hasn’t played a game together since round 10 because of the added Origin commitments of certain players. It will be interesting to see if the last two weeks will have any negative effects on their match play.
No doubt though, their halves (the newly successful NSW halves) will be brimming with confidence having made their State of Origin debuts. To debut in Origin on enemy territory in the most highly scrutinised positions of the decade and win would almost fill a man with an air of invincibility. As long as it doesn’t go to Reynolds’ and Hodkinson’s heads, they will no doubt play a pivotal part in the game.
Opposite Reynolds and Hodkinson for Manly are Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans. This game also marks a reunification of their own as Foran and Cherry-Evans haven’t played alongside each other for a few weeks now. This has been due to an injury suffered by Foran and Cherry-Evans’ Origin commitments.
It was clear last week that without Cherry-Evans, the Sea Eagles are a lesser side but their 36-10 loss to the Broncos cannot be blamed solely on his absence. It was as if the Sea Eagles took the field already feeling defeated and Coach Geoff Toovey would have been rightly disgusted by the performance of his troops barring a few that continuously put their bodies on the line.
No bets for me here. This match between two of the competition heavy weights comes right in the guts of the much discussed State of Origin period and it leaves form lines scattered all over the floor. I’m tipping Manly to win seeing as the Bulldogs last 5 wins have come against teams outside the top 8 except for the Rabbitohs which they beat by 1 point.
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $1.80 (Sportingbet)
Eels v Cowboys
Fri 6 Jun, 7:40pm, 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. Luke Kelly 10. Junior Paulo 11. Kenny Edwards 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo
Shattering news was given to Eels hooker Nathan Peats throughout the week that his season is likely over thanks to an acl injury. Peats had been struggling for many weeks with a niggle in his knee but it all came crashing down on Friday night against the Panthers when his knee finally packed it in. I was surprised that Coach Brad Arthur decided to leave Peats on the field for another 15 minute of play after the injury occurred, especially when the Eels were already 18-0 down.
Whilst it’s true that Jarryd Hayne plays arguably the most pivotal part of the Eels team, it can’t be denied that Peats is the glue holding the ruck together and producing a lot of forward momentum for guys like Sandow and Hayne to work their magic. The loss of Peats is going to be a major blow to the Eels premiership chances.
The Eels must move forward to their Round 13 clash which sees them return to their home ground Pirtek Stadium, the ground where they have enjoyed plenty of success in 2014 having notched up 5 wins from 5 starts. If they are to make it 6 from 6 they have to best a Cowboys side that has potentially become one of the form sides of the NRL in the last few weeks.
4 wins from their last 5 starts has seen the Cowboys climb from the bottom of the ladder to be just one win outside the top 8 and they appear to be gaining momentum on a weekly basis with the only hiccup being a loss to the Raiders when they were without their four State of Origin representatives.
It’s also worth noting that during their recent run of success that one of the wins came against the Eels in Round 8 by a massive 42-14.
The Eels were favourites for this match before the extent of Peats injury was revealed and now some bookmakers have posted the Cowboys as favourites. I’m keen to back the Cowboys and if you get on early you can still grab yourself a piece of the $1.90 on offer with Bookmaker.com.au who have left the North Queensland side as equal favourites.
Mike’s Tip: Cowboys
Mike’s Best Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $1.90 (Bookmaker.com.au)
Titans v Panthers
Sat 7 Jun, 5:30pm, Robina Stadium
Titans: 1. William Zillman 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Brad Tighe 4. Brad Takairangi 5. David Mead 6. Maurice Blair 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Matt Srama 10. Nate Myles 11. Greg Bird 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ben Ridge
The Titans had many people in NRL circles talking aplenty throughout the opening rounds of the season as they steadily progressed to first position on the ladder. Many were confused as to how their seemingly ordinary style of play and lack of positive statistics made it possible for them to scale such heights.
But suddenly the rep season has struck and the Titans have taken a spill all the way down to 10th on the ladder thanks to three straight losses.
The injury toll hasn’t helped either with starting five-eighth Aiden Sezer being ruled out for the season with injury and not to mention Greg Bird’s suspension, but Coach John Cartwright would be feeling a lot more confident this week now that his Origin representatives return to the fray.
With the likes of Myles and Bird back in the forward pack next to the rampaging Dave Taylor who scored a hat trick of tries in the Titans’ last outing, the Titans will be a much tougher force to be reckoned with, especially at home.
Interesting to note is that this will be Panthers’ reserve Bryce Cartwright’s second game in the NRL against his uncle and Titans coach John Cartwright.
The Panthers have made their way to second on the ladder in recent weeks and backing up my statements a few weeks ago, I still think they are getting set for a tumble although my earlier thoughts on them missing the finals may have to be upgraded to a 7th or 8th place finish on the ladder.
Their last 6 wins have come against teams outside the top 8 except for the Eels last week who were without Jarryd Hayne for the entire game and Nathan Peats for half of it.
The Panthers have generally struggled away from home this year and again have been lucky to face poor opposition when on the road, although they still managed to fail when facing the Sharks in Round 8. So far the only wins the Panthers have salvaged on the road have been against the Knights (15th) and the Raiders (14th).
These records lead me to a best bet in the Titans with the start of +2.5 on Luxbet.
This is another bet I would suggest jumping on early because even if the Titans drift in betting, the line may only get out to +3.5 which will be of little benefit to us punters and barring any drastic team changes at the Titans, I can’t see them getting out to what would be a more beneficial +4.5 start.
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Best Bet: Titans +2.5 @ $1.92 (Luxbet)
Dragons v Sharks
Sat 7 Jun, 7:30pm, WIN Stadium
Dragons: 1.Adam Quinlan 2. Peter Mata’utia 3. Josh Dugan 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
Not a game that gathers a lot of my interest in the betting department thanks to indifferent form by both sides in recent times. But for some reason I get the feeling that this game is going to go right down to the wire.
Both sides have struggled for wins with the Dragons having lost 7 of their last 8 and the Sharks only winning 2 matches all year.
Paul McGregor taking over the reins at the Dragons seems to have done little to improve the players’ attitudes and Benji Marshall’s addition to the side has been underwhelming so far and it looks as if he needs at least a month yet to find his feet.
The craziest thing about the Dragons last week was their defensive line and how at times the players seemingly refused to run off their 10 metre line. At stages Ben Creagh seemed to be the only one running up out of the line to tackle and it was little wonder the Rabbitohs steam rolled the Dragons so easily.
The Sharks’ last opponent was also the Rabbitohs and they were also brought to their knees by the South Sydney side. They have since had a bye to think things over but the fact remains that the side is still without 10 of their first grade players and even facing an underperforming side like the Dragons will prove difficult.
So as I mentioned at the start, no betting here, but I’ve provided a few fun bets below if you desire a furthered interest in the match.
Mike’s Tip: Dragons
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet:
1. Either team to win by less than 6.5 points @ $3.00 (Centrebet)
2. Any other result in halftime/fulltime @ $9.00 (Sportingbet)
Rabbitohs v Warriors
Sat 7 Jun, 9:30pm, NIB Stadium, Perth
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. Issac Luke 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Ben Te’o 13. Sam Burgess
East meets west as the Rabbitohs and Warriors head across Australia to Perth for a special visit to NIB Stadium.
It’s a Rabbitohs home game that has been taken to Perth and historically a lot of matches played at neutral venues end in high scoring affairs and I’m expecting the same here.
The Rabbitohs have enjoyed a recent resurgence that has seen them move into the top 4 and they can thank their hulking forwards for a lot of that success.
The way they roll up the middle has had many an opposition player left out on their feet but I doubt they will have it all their own way against the Warriors forward pack.
The Warriors had better not be expecting an easy contest like the one they were delivered by the Knights a week ago, and the same team has been named to take the field this week.
Their outside backs have improved immensely in recent weeks and although I’ve been critical of Sam Tomkins recently it was good to see him getting his hands on plenty of ball last week and looking much more dangerous.
Centre Konrad Hurrell has been playing like a man possessed of late and his earlier season sacking has really motivated him into playing with scintillating form and the Bunnies will do well to send some added focus in his direction.
I’ll be tipping the Bunnies to win this match. Yes it’s a neutral venue for both sides but the Rabbitohs form which has seen them win 6 of their last 8 has been top notch and they aren’t missing many tackles along the way. I just think they’ll prove too classy but I’m more confident about the match going over the total match point line of 41.5.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
Mike’s Best Bet: Total match points over 41.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Knights v Tigers
Sun 8 Jun, 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. Kade Snowden 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Willie Mason 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Jeremy Smith
Knights coach Wayne Bennett pulled no punches delivering comments about his side and in particular his five-eighth Jarrod Mullen during last week’s post match press conference following their match against the Warriors.
Bennett accused his side of showing no patience and having little willingness to work hard through the tough periods of matches when they would rather take the easier option and attempt the fancy plays.
Bennett is always very selective as to what words he chooses to articulate with the media and there’s no doubt in my mind he felt that public criticism of his team is what was needed to get more out of his men.
James Tedesco returns to the Tigers side for the first time since Round 5 and it will be interesting to see what effect recent talk of his future will have on his game (if any).
More importantly the Tigers have Robbie Farah back in the side. Generally that means a 6-12 point improvement for the Tigers and in the four games the team have played without Farah they have only managed one win which was a lucky win over the Eels.
The Tigers’ seeming reliance on Farah isn’t very healthy, particularly when he is the first choice NSW hooker which means he will always miss games. I can’t see the Tigers’ next game against the Rabbitohs being pretty when Farah heads into Origin camp once more.
The Tigers have won four of the last six against the Knights but it’s the Novocastrians that have the momentum having won the last two.
This seems to be a tough game to pick and I can barely decide which team I think will win let alone entertain the thought of any betting options. If you’re having a fun bet then this is another game where I would have a throw at the stumps with the long odds choice of there being a draw at either half time or full time.
Mike’s Tip: Knights
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Any other result in Halftime/Fulltime betting @ $9.00 (Centrebet)
Storm v Roosters
Sun 8 Jun, 3:00pm, AAMI Park
Storm: 1.Cameron Munster 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Tohu Harris 7. Ben Roberts 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
By now you’re probably well aware that the Storm’s Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk won’t be taking part in this game due to injuries sustained in State of Origin. Cameron Munster will play his second game as Slater’s replacement at fullback and will no doubt play better having gotten the nerves out of his system last week against the Cowboys.
Ben Roberts replaces Cooper Cronk at halfback but more interestingly, Tohu Harris gets asked by Coach Craig Bellamy to move from the second row into the five-eighth role once more.
Their opponents the Roosters are at full strength except for Boyd Cordner who remains on the sideline with an ongoing ankle issue.
The Roosters are coming off a victory over the Raiders by 26-12 in a game where they never looked in trouble although they were guilty of perhaps taking it easy against a Canberra side that were so underwhelming in their own performance.
The home ground advantage is obviously great for the Storm to have and I wouldn’t be overly surprised if they are capable of making a close game out of this, despite their $3.70 outsider status.
If the game does become a tight affair, the goal kickers could prove the difference and you’d rather be on the side of the Roosters with James Maloney kicking at 84% this year compared to Cam Smith’s lowly 71% success rate.
As a best bet we are going to target the goal kicking abilities and Centrebet are offering $1.45 for the Roosters to convert more tries than the Storm. $1.45 is plenty especially considering that it’s a realistic possibility that the Roosters could lose this match yet still convert more tries than the Storm.
Mike’s Tip: Roosters
Mike’s Best Bet: Roosters to convert more tries @ $1.45 (Centrebet)
Raiders v Broncos
Mon 9 Jun, 7:00pm, 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. Josh Papalii 12. Jarrad Kennedy 13. Shaun Fensom
Rug up folks! Monday night footy takes a trip to the nation’s capital for what’s predicted to be the coldest game of the NRL season so far.
Temperatures are expected to get near 5 degrees during the game and those chilly conditions are going to be vastly different to the warm Sunday arvo conditions the Broncos had the pleasure of playing in last week.
The Raiders no doubt gain a bit more of an advantage than they normally would thanks to cold weather, but it certainly doesn’t mean they are unbeatable, especially if they continue to play the way they have so far in 2014.
They have been marked as outsiders by the bookies for this match and rightly so, but the Raiders will be desperate to make the most of their home ground advantage and acquire two competition points before enjoying a bye next week.
Things have been looking very dire for the Raiders in 2014 but a win here would see them sitting just two points off the top 8 heading into the back half of the season meaning they still have plenty of time to regather their season and make a run at the finals.
The Broncos have played quite strongly in the last three weeks and have picked up three wins accordingly; a streak that has escalated them to 6th on the ladder.
Their victory over the Sea Eagles last week was full of spirit and all facets of their game were delivered with a thorough intensity for the full 80 minutes.
If the Broncos can bring that sort of effort to the table again, they shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching the Raiders and picking up their 4th straight win before heading to a well earned bye.
Halfback Ben Hunt has been improving a little more with each passing week for the Broncos which thankfully has covered up the fact that five-eighth Josh Hoffman has been playing more like a third centre on the left hand side of the field. This isn’t to criticise Josh Hoffman rather Coach Anthony Griffin selecting him has the stand off half. If it quacks like a centre, it’s probably a centre.
In betting the money has come steadily for the Broncos throughout the week which has seen their price drop from $1.70 to $1.65. $1.65 seems about spot on in my opinion for a team that has lost their last two matches at GIO Stadium and is ultimately travelling some 1200kms from home.
I’ll sit this one out but if you’re going to have a bet for some interest, I’d probably suggest simply backing the Broncos head to head.
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Mike’s Casual Bet: Broncos Head to Head @ $1.65 (Bet365)
thinking manly could struggle again if daley doesnt get the go tonight.
leaning with eels tonight at home, 1-12. cowboys have been horrible away from home, last few wins werent really by strengthen teams.
Yes ken and any of Cherry-Evans’ advantage may be somewhat nullified by wet weather. I’ve been advised on good authority to perhaps take the Bulldogs +2.5
any update if dce is playing tonight?
money been coming in on cowboys, is this because of peats?
Sorry ken, I didn’t catch your comment until this morning.
how do you think the raiders will go?
thinking they can win it although raiders have been reccently showing some positive signs, and they will be motivated to win 2 in a row – at home too.
although last week broncos had the best game of the season and will be motivated to keep on track, they havent been consistent.
all signs says raiders win this but im feelin the broncos will just take it. what are your thoughts?
This game is a big no bet. Too many question marks/unknowns
Yeah ken, as mentioned in the preview, I’m with johnny. Far too many random factors to produce any value and it’s a no bet for me.
Broncos should just win, but you never know when the Raiders will decide to pull their fingers out and play hard.
Campese needs to run the ball more be it at 6 or 7. He’s a bloody statue and it’s no help to a side when your halfback is like that.