NRL Round 8 Previews and Tips
Bulldogs v Tigers
Fri 24 Apr, 7:45pm, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs will play the Wests Tigers this Friday night to begin the 8th round of NRL in 2015. Bulldogs coach Des Hasler will be happy after his squad snapped a two-game losing streak with a dominant display against the Sea Eagles down on troops. Injury woes look set to continue for Hasler after Josh Morris was ruled out of the match with an ankle injury, but the Bulldogs coach has a resurgent Josh Reynolds and the return of James Graham and David Klemmer to look forward to shortly.
Tigers coach Jason Taylor will be ruing his side’s round seven clash against the Dragons after they jumped to a 22 nil lead before conceding 30 unanswered points. Making worse the Tigers’ predicament is forward Keith Galloway failing to be named as the veteran has succumbed to a shoulder injury.
Despite their missing troops, the Bulldogs look to be back on track as their incumbent NSW halves pairing hopes to step up for re-selection. Expect the ‘Dogs to come away with the points.
Ben’s Tips: Bulldogs Head to Head @ $1.79 (Pinnacle)
Broncos v Eels
Sat 25 Apr, 8:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday night as the Queensland club faces a major reshuffle in the face of injury after a disappointing loss last week.
After a gutsy win over the Knights last week, Eels coach Brad Arthur will play usual fullback Will Hopoate in the centres, while Reece Robinson goes to fullback and John Folau to the wing. Darcy Lussick also returns for the Parramatta club, relegating Danny Wicks to the bench and Richie Fa’aoso to 18th man.
Broncos Coach Wayne Bennett has lost his Captain Justin Hodges and workhorse backrower Alex Glenn to injury, but gained back Lachlan Maranta and Jarrod Wallace from injury and suspension.
Despite a poor showing against the Dragons last week the Broncos have looked sharp this year. Brad Arthur is still looking for consistency from his team while Wayne Bennett will be confident after the return of key players boosts his side. Expect Brisbane to come away with the win.
Ben’s Tips: Total Match Points over 40.5 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Knights v Cowboys
Sat 25 Apr, 2:00pm, Hunter Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will take on the Newcastle Knights this Saturday afternoon in a rematch of the round two clash that saw star halfback Jonathan Thurston leave the field with more than a few bruises as Knights coach Rick Stone looks to re-energise the Knights stuttering season after their third consecutive loss last week.
Both clubs have named unchanged sides from last round as Cowboys coach Paul Green looks to extend the Cowboys winning run by one more after his side’s lucky win over the Warriors last week.
The tables have turned as the Knights look to end the Cowboys very own four game winning streak after the sitting at the top of the table earlier in the season but, now struggling to find form, Rick Stone may be looking to Paul Green for advice on how to break his side’s losing streak. On recent form, the Cowboys look the goods as the Knights unfortunately boast the third worst attack in the competition.
Ben’s Tips: Total Match points over 40.0 @ $1.88 (Luxbet)
Roosters v Dragons
Sat 25 Apr, 4:00pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will play the St George Illawarra Dragons this Saturday evening as the latter surged to the top of the NRL competition with five consecutive wins after getting the better of the Broncos last weekend. Boasting the best defence in the competition, Paul McGregor’s side is unchanged from last round, while the Roosters will swap Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for Sam Moa after the former succumbed to a pectoral strain.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson will be concerned with his side’s form after the Sydney club came to three consecutive losses last week as speculation continues over bias in the Roosters’ penalty count.
Given the Dragons’ position on the top of the table, the Roosters prospects don’t look good, but if any side can break the best defensive line in the competition, it’s the Roosters. Trent Robinson will have his men fired up and eager to restore lost pride after going down to the Storm at the death last week. Expect the Roosters to bring the Dragons back down to earth.
Ben’s Tips: Total Match Points Under 39.5 @ $1.90 (Centrebet)
Storm v Sea Eagles
Sat 25 Apr, 6:00pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm will play the Manly Sea Eagles this Saturday night as the Victorian club has flown under the radar in 2015 to be equal first in the NRL on premiership points (although they have the best points difference in the competition and are 20 points clear of the second placed Dragons).
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has named an unchanged squad for Saturday’s clash, while the Sea Eagles will welcome back much needed reinforcements with the return of Kieran Foran and James Hasson as they look to emulate their two-point, round two victory over the Storm earlier in the season.
As bitter rivals, recent form is rarely relevant in games between the Storm and Sea Eagles, and Manly will benefit from the return of star half Kieran Foran, expect a classy Storm outfit to extend Manly’s horror start to the season.
Ben’s Tips: Manly +10.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Warriors v Titans
Sat 25 Apr, 12:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will play the Gold Coast Titans for the first round of the NRL’s five game ANZAC special on Saturday after a disappointing loss to the Cowboys at the death. Andrew McFadden will be ruing his side’s goal line defence after they conceded two tries from dummy-half on their line as he drops powerful duo Konrad Hurrell and Albert Vete from the squad.
The Titans look to be finally fulfilling their potential after a shaky start to the year with two big wins over the Eels and Panthers. Despite their recent success they should be on alert for a fired up Warriors squad after losing Agnatius Paasi, Ryan Simpkins and David Taylor to injury and suspension.
With both side’s sitting 11th and 12th on the NRL ladder, it’s a hard one to pick, but from recent form the Titans look to be the safer option. Having already put in some tough performances in 2015, the Titans will be hoping to grind out a Warriors side that has had difficulty performing for the full eighty minutes.
Ben’s Tips: Titans +10.0 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)
Panthers v Sharks
Sun 26 Apr, 2:00pm, Sportingbet Stadium
A high flying Cronulla Sharks outfit will take on a struggling Penrith Panthers squad as the Cronulla club will be very confident after beating the Roosters last week minus Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen. After a shaky start to the season, Shane Flanagan will be happy with his squad’s progress as they look to extend their winning streak to four against the Panthers.
Injury woes continue for Panthers coach Ivan Cleary after Josh Mansour and Brent Kite may be joined in the injury ward by James Segeyaro, who is in doubt with an elbow injury. Cleary will be hoping the return of Dean Whare will add some spark to his inexperienced squad that will be hoping to get their win-loss ratio to four even.
While the Panthers have performed admirably in the absence of large parts of their squad, expect a resurgent Sharks outfit to put them in their place with the return of inspirational Captain Paul Gallen. Sharks to come away with the win.
Ben’s Tips: Sharks -2.0 @ $1.95 (Pinnacle Sports)
Rabbitohs v Raiders
Sun 26 Apr, 4:00pm, Cairns
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will play the Canberra Raiders this Sunday night to conclude NRL action for round 8. Despite recent consecutive losses, Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has named the same squad against Canberra, whilst Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has shuffled his forward pack around due to the departure of Dane Tilse with Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Paul Vaughan starting in the front row and Shaun Fensom returning to lock from injury.
The Canberra club displayed their heart with a miraculous comeback win against the Tigers last week after conceding a 22 nil score-line, while the Rabbitohs will be disappointed after a poor performance against the Sharks.
Both clubs have displayed patchy form in recent times as the Rabbitohs turn to Cameron McInnes in the halves in the absence of Adam Reynolds. Despite the Raiders’ inspirational win over the Tigers last week, expect the Rabbitohs to bounce back after consecutive losses.
Ben’s Tips: Alex Johnston to score a try at anytime @ $1.72 (Bet365)