CANTERBURY BANKSTOWN V MANLY Thursday night, ANZ Stadium
I believe the Bulldogs haven’t hit their straps all year which might suggest they won’t hit their straps for the remainder of this year – yet they sit in the Top 4. It has been a particularly ugly way to be filling 4th, but they win games and it is all about winning so hard to fault them there. I can’t realistically see them winning the comp, I don’t think they are good enough but they will be good enough to account for Manly tonight.
Manly’s loss by a point to Parramatta all but buried their season, and as such they will struggle tonight despite being desperate for the 2 points. Dogs to win ($1.47 LuxBet) and also take them 1-12 ($3.10 Bet365) as the Eagles won’t let them get away. In fact, let’s also play the Manly / Bulldogs HT/FT Double ($8 UNIBET) as I can see Manly starting well but folding late. Dylan Walker ($17 Ladbrokes) looks good value to open the scoring.
BRISBANE V PARRAMATTA Friday night, Suncorp Stadium
Parramatta just won’t capitulate – I have been waiting for the Eels to drop off but they were gutsy last week and ruined the Eagles season. Brisbane haven’t impressed me but we know they can be so much better. It was a very ugly win against the Dragons last week. They do go back home to Suncorp, they should be winning with a good team on paper. Time for them to produce.
I am going purely on spec here but I suggest a small wager on the Broncos 13+ ($2.10 Bet365). It does go against the grain of the most recent performances of these sides, but Brisbane have it in them as their early season form showed. As such a Broncos boy to score first – Anthony Milford ($13 William Hill). Hasn’t been back to his best early season form but is a fabulous little player who knows there that tryline is.
WESTS TIGERS V GOLD COAST Saturday afternoon, Campbelltown Stadium
This could be the match of the round. Some bookies at Oddschecker are having trouble separating the teams as far as odds go, although a couple to make the Tigers slight favourites. Both sides are playing great footy, the Tigers went back to the spiritual home of Leichhardt Oval and did a number on an out-of-sorts North QLD Cowboys outfit despite Thurston’s inclusion. Jason Taylor has done a great job with his side, sticking to his guns over Farah and they will push the Titans to the edge.
I am going to side with the Titans ($2 Bet365) as I believe they were a bit overawed by the Hayne Plane circus last week, they played well in patches in front of the huge crowd and will be a more settled side this week. Some excellent value to be had in the Titans 1-12 ($3.20 William Hill) as it will be tight. Nene MacDonald ($13 Bet365) is a big lump of a lad with a good motor, so let’s roll with him to score first out at Campbelltown in what will be a cracker of a game.
WARRIORS V RABBITOHS Saturday afternoon, MT Smart Stadium
I always struggle to tip the Warriors but they have played well on average across the last 2 months and toppling a Hayne-led Titans outfit in good form, was no mean feat. As for the Bunnies – what was that all about last week? Stunning form reversal by the Bunnies! From a belting at the hands of Canberra to leading and almost pulling off the upset of the season over the Storm away, maybe they will put in until season end?
I am going to have to tip the Warriors ($1.38 UNIBET) as they are awfully hard to beat at home, and I cannot erase from my mind the previous horrendous form of the Rabbitohs over the last 6-8 weeks, irrespective of their great effort against the Storm. Warriors 1-12 ($3.25 Bet365) looks a play at some value as Johnson and Leuluai take charge, whilst Bodene Thompson ($23 Bet365) is some chunky double-figure odds to score the First Try. He loves floating off the halves close to the line, and 20-1+ is juicy!
STGEORGE ILLAWARRA V CRONULLA Saturday night, Jubilee Oval
This will be a big one! Out at Jubilee Oval for the local derby between the despised rivals, this truly is one of Leagues most bitter rivalries. St George are steeped in a magnificent history of premierships, against a club that hasn’t won a premiership. Cronulla look to have the team to break that drought in 2016.
Could the Dragons upset the applecart and derail the stunning season the Sharks have had? ‘Mary’ MacGregor’s men have had a tough time. Things just haven’t gone their way and they just cannot score points. Given some of the big guns in the backline, this is hard to understand. The Dragons have two massive ins here: Tyson Frizzell and Josh Dugan. Frizzell returns after the ‘Hand-of-Tysongate’ and Dugan back from a busted jaw and they will no doubt pep up the locals against a Sharks outfit whom has gone off the boil somewhat.
The Sharks were beaten fair and square last week by the Raiders, on top of a lucky 20-20 draw with the Titans. Maintaining unbeaten runs is always tough, but this is a key game for the Sharks to get their season back on track. The Dragons inability to score points is a real worry, and it looks likely that the Sharks could cut loose, putting some decent points on the board. Sharks 13+ ($2.15 Bet365) is the way to go and I am going to roll with the NSW 5/8th James Maloney ($23 Sportsbet) as First Try Scorer on the night. A great game awaits!
NEWCASTLE V PENRITH Sunday afternoon, Hunter Stadium
Panthers were fantastic the other night against the Roosters. They square off against a side whom just struggle and whilst they seem competitive in some games, they just do not have the firepower to come up with the win. The Knights just aren’t good enough.
The Panthers will win and will win easily – covering the line of 15.5 ($2.04 LuxBet). Tyrone Peachey has been a model of consistency on the field, and with the expansive game Penrith like to play, he could well be the beneficiary as First Try Scorer ($13 bet365).
This should be a stroll in the park for the Panthers if they want this competition to stand up and take them seriously as we head to semi-final time.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS V COWBOYS Sunday afternoon, Allianz Stadium
What can we say about the Roosters firstly, then the Cowboys? The Roosters are just not up to it this season. Just when you expect them to show some grit and determination given the excellent roster they have, they turn it up. They were ordinary on Monday. Speaking of ordinary – how about the Cowboys? They were poor against the Tigers but surely they have to beat a completely out of sorts Roosters bordering on a rabble?
Cowboys to win ($1.52 LuxBet) and to win 13+ ($2.75 William Hill). Just cannot see any other result. A loss here would be a complete disaster for the Cowboys, and we cannot see that happening. Lachlan Coote ($17 Sportsbet) to score first in a very important game for the defending premiers. As they say in the classics, they need to ‘get back on the horse’.
CANBERRA V MELBOURNE Monday night, GIO Stadium
Monday Night football has been fantastic this season. This promises to be one heck of a game in the nation’s capital as a red hot Raiders side take on the Storm. The Melbourne outfit were very, very lucky not to be on the wrong end of the upset of the season last week when Souths had them baked. As is so typical for the Storm they managed to find a way to win that one, but will have their work cut out against a very impressive Canberra outfit.
As such I am going for a Raiders ($2.18 UNIBET) victory. Whilst you would think the Raiders will be better suited to slippery and damp conditions, we are talking about a Melbourne team here…..Souths got up in the Storms faces last week and I can see Canberra doing the same in this game. I am also thinking the Raiders can do it form Go to whoa, so go Raiders HT/FT Double ($3.10 UNIBET) and B J Leilua to be First Try Scorer ($15 Sportsbet).