We head back to the Nations’ capital for this battle where it is hard to get too enthusiastic about either side, especially the Warriors who go from world-beaters to chumps in a week. Canberra have won 6 of their last 7 games and only lost once this season in Canberra so the record looks ominous for the Warriors and the Raiders price around $1.50 suggests as much.
Having said that, the Warriors showed some real fight against a Manly side hitting their straps and I expect them to put up a decent fight. I am keen on them with the start of 6.5 and you must have a strong side when you have Lolohea on the bench.
First Try Scorer – I am going to go with Warrior Solomone Kata. He has bagged 10 this season and he will be right in the thick of it to touch down first in Canberra.
GOLD COAST TITANS vs PARRAMATTA EELS
Gee the Gold Coast have been impressing me and I really respect what they have done this season. They have a very balanced squad and keep stepping up. Last week they bashed St George senseless and could well be hitting the right kind of form to make for the Top 8 and the finals series.
On the other hand we have Parramatta. You have to admire these players. Drama after drama, yet they front up and have a crack every week. There is plenty of fight in this Parramatta squad as they showed last week against Penrith and whilst they lose Jennings, I expect them – like they have all season – to show up and put in a good performance. The Titans should win this one but the bet is to take the Eels at the line. The 6.5 start is good and am happy to be on.
I also believe that Parramatta will start strong so will also invest on the Eels / Titans Half-Time-Full-Time Double. I am looking to one of Parramatta’s youngsters - whom has untold potential and could be a very good player - in Tepai Moeroa, to be the First Try Scorer. He is big odds so is worth a nibble.
MELBOURNE STORM vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS
The Storm struggled to get past the much improved Newcastle Knights (who were a shoe-in at the line, weren’t they punters....) on Sunday but they had the entire week off leading up to that so maybe there was an excuse. They front up at home against the poor old Roosters, whom just cannot put it together. Monday night’s match typified the season – The Roosters can’t win and the Sharks can’t lose! As always the Roosters look great on paper but they just aren’t playing with any heart and soul, it is like they are going through the motions and cannot wait for the season to end.
I just cannot tip the Roosters, I have to be on the Storm and am going to go them conceding the line -11.5. They are too strong and will show that here against a side whom despite their issues with Pearce, have been bitterly disappointing in 2016.
I am looking out wide for the First Try Scorer, focusing on the wide runners from the Storm’s backline. It is hard to go past Vunivalu and Koroibete in general as they score so many tries, but I am going to vouch for Cameron Munster to dot down first in this game.
CRONULLA SHARKS vs NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
The Sharks just keep on rolling on, making it 14 in a row against the Roosters on Monday night. The Knights on the other hand sit rooted to the bottom of the table yet their last two starts against Canberra and the Storm suggest they are a team on the up, and will be looking to finish the season with a few more wins. They welcomed back Mullen last week, but just as they put up their best performance of the season against the Storm, injury have savaged them and robbed them of some strike power. The impressive Mamo and Sione Mata’utia are out, as is Robbie Rochow, and whilst Gagai is pencilled in to return, there is talk he won’t be back in this game.
Cronulla venture back to the Shire and I just cannot see anything here other than a comprehensive Cronulla victory. They are in dazzling form, playing with exceptional confidence and I believe they will tear the Knights apart. On paper you look at the 24.5 start and think wow, that’s 4 converted tries to the Knights off the bat. It isn’t enough. Take Cronulla -24.5 as they will blow this game wide open with their style of play.
In a team full of big guns, this lad out wide has been going about his business and despite scoring 12 tries this season, he has been sailing under the radar. I am talking about Sosaia Feki. Let’s have something on him to score first on Sunday afternoon in what will be a very easy victory to the Sharks.
I covered that game last Friday night between the Dragons and Titans and the Dragons were awful. They were dead set absolutely awful. They have made a few changes bringing in Benji Marshall against his old club, but this is the Benji of 2016, not 2006. If the Tigers remain switched on they will win and win easily. They have way too much firepower out wide, their forwards are good against a team who do not know how to score.
I am going to go the Tigers to cover the 5.5 start here and win easily. For First Try Scorer fans – we will go with David Noafaluma who has bagged 9 tries this season and let’s hope he adds a 10th first cab off the rank in this game.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS vs MANLY SEA EAGLES
Manly are a team that have seemed to hit their straps recently, and look like they will continue that momentum here against a South Sydney side whom only know one direction – backwards. An out of sorts Brisbane side thumped them last week and with the sacking of Au’ava and Carter, their depth is depleted. They are playing with no confidence and are ripe for the picking here against a fired up Manly side.
Despite the good team on paper, the Rabbitohs cannot get it together and as such, we just have to be on the Eagles to maintain the rage. I don’t expect the Eagles to put the Bunnies to the sword because surely they have to improve, so let’s go with some Manly 1-12 as well in the margin betting, whilst First Try Scorer – am going to have a small speculator on Jamie Lyon whom is appreciating the move to 5/8th, but also going to have a decent crack at Tom Trbojevic. He is super odds, he slices through defensive lines like a knife through butter, and hopefully either he or Jamie will jag the first four-pointer.