NRL Round 12 Previews and Tips
Panthers v Eels
Fri 29 May, 7:45pm, Sportingbet Stadium
NRL football for the 2015 season will resume for round 12 in the aftermath of the State of Origin opener with the Penrith Panthers taking on the Parramatta Eels on Friday night. The Eels are once again embroiled in off-field controversy following a $500,000 fine for salary cap breaches and the potential loss of competition points in 2016 as the club now sits outright last on the competition ladder.
Conversely, the Panthers should be on the rise as they slowly welcome back a number of injured stars, and have named their first-choice spine with the return of Halfback Peter Wallace alongside powerhouse Winger Josh Mansour. For the Eels, Chris Sandow moves to Halfback, while Reece Robinson goes back to Fullback and Will Hopoate returns to centre after Origin I.
With clubs playing 24 games a season, the Eels face the debilitating prospect of winning only a quarter of their games at the halfway point in their season. Expect the Panthers to benefit from the return of Peter Wallace and Josh Mansour as the Eels continue to struggle for consistency. Panthers to come away with the points.
Ben’s Tips: Panthers -8.5 @ $1.92 (Luxbet)
Cowboys v Sea Eagles
Sat 30 May, 7:30pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will play the Manly Sea Eagles this Saturday night with the Queensland club set to welcome back its Origin quartet for the clash, despite coach Paul Green naming a 20 man squad. The Cowboys have won eight straight since their three consecutive losses to start the season to break the club record and now sit at equal 1st on the competition ladder.
The return of the Sea Eagles’ first-choice back five has brought some much needed stability to the club as the only defeat in their last three games came from a Matt Moylan field goal last round. The injury to Daly Cherry Evans relegates Kieran Foran to an unfamiliar Halfback role in the only change for the club.
Good performances from the Cowboys’ Origin stars will hold them in good stead for this game, although expect the work-rate of Props James Tamou and Matt Scott to be down. The Sea Eagles still lack experience and grunt in the forwards, which will be a weakness against a strong Cowboys pack led by Jason Taumalolo, but Manly will look to their back five for their creative spark. Expect the Cowboys to come away with the win.
Ben’s Tips: Cowboys -10.0 @ $1.97 (Pinnacle Sports)
Raiders v Broncos
Sat 30 May, 5:30pm, GIO Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will travel to Australia’s capital to play the Canberra Raiders after the Brisbane club named all six of their Origin players to take the field against a Canberra side with no state representatives. It will be a short turnaround for the Broncos rep players, but don’t be surprised if any combination of Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges didn’t take the field after Coach Wayne Bennett named a 20 man squad on Tuesday.
The Raiders will welcome back Sam Williams at Halfback at the expense of youngster Mitch Cornish as Jack Wighton returns to Fullback, with Kyle O’Donnell coming onto the bench.
Despite their massive Origin representation, expect Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire to be certain starters after limited involvement in Origin I. It’s a different story with Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Justin Hodges as the three are all on the wrong side of 30, but Hodges is likely to be the only omission after a big performance on Wednesday night. With a majority of their representative stars likely to play, expect the Broncos to have the Raiders’ measure.
Ben’s Tips: Broncos H2H @ 1.94 (Pinnacle Sports)
Titans v Rabbitohs
Sat 30 May, 3:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will play the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday afternoon as the Sydney club looks to shake off their inconsistent form and defend their NRL premiership. Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has cracked the whip of late, sending a message that poor form will not be tolerated as George Burgess joins Issac Luke on the list of recently benched stars as his brother Thomas takes his starting spot.
Conversely, the Titans remain settled after their bye last week as they come off two consecutive losses, with an injury to David Mead bringing Kevin Gordon back into the team on the wing.
The Rabbitohs’ form has been on an upward trend since the return of John Sutton, and expect captain Greg Inglis’ quiet Origin performance to bring the best out of the superstar as the defending premiers will also benefit from Issac Luke’s extra game time. The Titans will be looking for a win as their season hasn’t looked promising so far, but expect the Rabbitohs to come away with the points.
Ben’s Tips: Souths -4.0 @ $1.96 (Pinnacle Sports)
Dragons v Sharks
Sun 31 May, 4:00pm, Jubilee Oval
The St George Illawarra Dragons will play the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday evening looking to establish themselves as the premiership heavyweights their equal 1st position on the competition ladder indicates. The Sharks have seemingly recovered from their early season slump, though narrow losses against the Warriors and Penrith have robbed the club of a higher ladder position after their win over the Titans in round 11.
The Dragons only change comes with Jake Marketo on an extended bench, while the Sharks have included Tinirau Arona on their interchange.
While the Dragons’ recent defeat at the hands of the Rabbitohs snapped their six game winning streak a few weeks ago, Paul McGregor’s men bounced back with a comfortable win over the Raiders. Expect them to out-discipline the Cronulla as Sharks’ coach Shane Flanagan still looks uncertain about his long term spine.
Ben’s Tips: Total Match Points Under 37.5 @ $1.90 (Centrebet)
Warriors v Knights
Sun 31 May, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will play the Newcastle Knights this Sunday afternoon as the former welcomes back star fullback Sam Tomkins in a major boost for the New Zealand club slowly find their feet in 2015. Tomkins’ return will push Tuimoala Lolohea to the centres while Nathan Friend will start at Hooker for the injured Thomas Leuluai.
The Knights will welcome back a wealth of experience to their squad in Beau Scott and Jeremy Smith as well as Adam Clydsdale after their disappointing loss against the Broncos last week as the Newcastle club looks to be desperate after only one win from their last five games.
Despite Tomkins’ return, expect the return of Beau Scott and Jeremy Smith to gives the Knights the sharp edge that they sorely lacked against the Broncos last week. Despite the Warriors recent success, their latest wins came against the poorly performing Eels and Sharks, so expect the Knights’ desperation to get them home in the Kiwi’s backyard.
Ben’s Tips: Knights +12.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Roosters v Storm
Mon 1 Jun, 7:00pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will play the Melbourne Storm as the Victorian club named all their Origin stars to back up after the first game of the interstate series. Big performances from the Storm’s victorious Origin quartet of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Will Chambers may lead to a quiet performance from the Queensland stars, but don’t be surprised if they carry on their fantastic Origin form into club-land.
The Roosters’ Origin players in Mitchell Pearce, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Boyd Cordner and Aiden Guerra will likely come out firing against the Queensland heavy Storm after all but Guerra were apart of New South Wales’ losing team.
Both teams are unchanged from their last game, with Storm coach Craig Bellamy naming an extended bench on Tuesday to cover any potential Origin injuries. Expect the Roosters to be out for blood against the Storm’s Origin representatives, but if Melbourne field their full-strength squad, they are likely to come away with the points.
Ben’s Tips: Total Match Points Under 37.5 @ $1.90 (Luxbet)