PENRITH PANTHERS vs SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (Friday 24th June 7.50pm)
I keep raving about the fact that I believe the Panthers are decent roughies in this competition but it is now getting to crunch time where they have to string back-to-back wins together to cement their place in the Top 8. They will not get a better chance to do this than tonight against an out of sorts and under-strength Souths outfit.<br/><br/>
They have been active in the transfer market offloading Segayaro in a swap deal with Leeds Rhinos, bringing in Zac Hardaker whom by all accounts is a very good player. He won’t start in this game but it is a positive play by Penrith. Moylan and Mansour are backing up from State Of Origin as is Inglis for Souths. Reynolds is lost for the season after getting hurt on Wednesday night and Souths – whom have a very slim full-time NRL roster – are forced into seeking players from their feeder club – The mighty North Sydney Bears. Tasi makes his debut on the wing for Souths and there is a look of fragility about their side.<br/><br/>
Betting wise you just have to get with Penrith all the way. You can take them straight ($1.37 UNIBET) out as a leg of an all-up if you desire, but the value is definitely in line betting. I think Penrith conceding the -8.5 line ($1.91 Palmerbet) is a really good bet. As for First Try Scorer – let’s roll with the son of Hoss: Bryce Cartwright ($23 Ladbrokes). Relishing the 5/8th role and playing outside the sharp Nathan Cleary should give him a good shot at parting the Souths leaky defence early on. Panthers all the way.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS vs ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (Saturday 25th June 3pm)
The biggest concern here for the Knights supporters is that they just are not good enough at the moment. They have some very good players, but they just aren’t measuring up to the demands of the NRL. The Dragons do have some issues scoring points but I don’t think they will have that problem against a Knights side who allow points through for fun.<br/><br/>
Saints will win ($1.42 Ladbrokes) and will win handsomely. I am tipping them 13+ ($2.60 Ladbrokes) as I believe they will do what so many teams have done this season and just run all over the top of this Knights outfit. Saints to take out the Half-Full double as well ($1.85 William Hill) and for good measure, lets back Kurt Mann ($12 Bet365). He has looked the goods in recent weeks so let’s go with him for First Try Scorer.
CRONULLA SHARKS vs NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (Saturday 25th June 5.30pm)
Last season the Warriors beat the Sharks at home when Shaun Johnson was absolutely sensational, and they seem to be stringing some form and consistency together in recent weeks with some solid wins. I reckon these Warriors will give a yelp here as the Sharks have quite a few backing up from State Of Origin. The Sharks will probably take the game but the line looks very tempting, in fact it is so tempting I want to be on the Warriors getting the generally available 9.5 start ($1.91 Sportsbet). Looks too big to me, that’s for sure.<br/><br/>
The key for the Warriors is to begin strongly, I reckon they will do that here and I am going to go for Solomone Kata ($15 Ladbrokes) to be First Try Scorer. He’s got some real go this kid, and knows his way to the try line.
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS vs BRIBANE BRONCOS (Saturday 25th June 7.30pm)
The betting suggests it’s ‘take your pick’ and as a result the Bulldogs look a great bet ($1.97 UNIBET). Brisbane have a boatload of players backing up from Origin which has to take its toll, they will be without Thaiday, and Gillett, McGuire and Parker spent a lot of petrol the other night. They blood young Tom Opacic in the centres and there is a concern that with some recent poor form, the Broncos are ripe for the picking by a Bulldogs side at home.<br/><br/>
The Dogs haven’t been playing magnificent football but there is some real starch in their pack and I expect them to find the sore points of those boys backing up from Origin. Hunt and Milford have been a notch below their best recently so they are definitely a risk. I can’t see the Dogs romping away with it so back the Dogs 1-12 ($3.25 Palmerbet) as well, in what should be a tough match.<br/><br/>
I am a big fan of Curtis Rona ($9.50 Sportsbet) and I am going to stick with him as First Try Scorer in this cracking match up.
GOLD COAST TITANS vs CANBERRA RAIDERS (Sunday 26th June 2pm)
Gold Coast are really putting it together now and are showing that they are a quality side. Peats has been a great signing, James is playing well, Taylor running the show at half-back. They are taking on a Canberra side who can get the wobblys when on the road, and I expect their task to be too difficult to overcome up on the glitter strip. Can’t believe the Titans are outsiders, get on ($2.20 Bet365).<br/><br/>
This game has OVERS written all over it! It’s a 2pm game, sun shining, fast track, both sides can score points and leak points, this looks a cracking bet at around 45.5 ($1.90 Sportsbet) the line. Points galore, get on overs.<br/><br/>
Anthony Don ($11 Bet365) impresses me as a flyer, take him to score the First Try.
MELBOURNE STORM vs WESTS TIGERS (Sunday 26th June 4pm)
It is amazing what a difference Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk make to the Melbourne outfit when they play. We have seen on many occasions the effect on betting they have, and if they play here the Storm will start prohibitively short, and rightly so. I expect the Tigers to have a good dig here but they aren’t in the same class as the Storm who also welcome back Cameron Munster. I am a big fan of this kid. Great footballer.<br/><br/>
The play here is take the Storm 13+ ($1.91 William Hill). They will just be too good at home and by more than two tries. Suliasi Vunivalu is somewhat of a try scoring machine, back him to be Anytime Tryscorer ($1.55 William Hill) and also First Try Scorer ($7.50 William Hill). 13 tries this season. Wow. That is incredible.
NTH QLD COWBOYS vs MANLY SEA EAGLES (Monday 27th June 7pm)
The Cowboy army that played – and dominated - in the State Of Origin get a really good break before this game for Monday Night football. When you look at the team sheets there isn’t much comparison there, Manly have been woeful and are clearly effected by off field issues. I am tipping the Cowboys to smash them. Take the Cows 13+ ($1.66 Palmerbet). They look good to cover the Hall-Full double as well ($1.42 Bet365) and our trusty friend Gavin Cooper ($13 LuxBet) will be sniffing around for the First Try.<br/><br/>
Thurston and Co will have a field day on Monday against a Manly side that big things were expected from this season, yet they are fizzling out without so much as a wimper if their effort against Gold Coast is anything to go by.