DRAGONS AND WARRIORS
St. George Illawarra and New Zealand are the only two teams that are three for three so far this season.
The Dragons have been big premiership firmers, going from $17 into as low as $8 with some corporates after victories over Brisbane, Cronulla and last weekend’s thumping of the Gold Coast Titans, which incidentally their biggest win since 2004. We’ve seen this from the Red V before though where they have begun the season brilliantly before enduring a second half fade out. Are they the real deal this time around?
New Zealand Warriors are 3-0 for the first time in club history and their new found resilience was on show last week against Canberra where they never led at any stage in the nation’s capital, yet somehow managed to pull two points out of the fire. The Kiwis still represent value at $20 to win the premiership.
Up next: Warriors ($3.30) face their first real acid test when they face premiership favourites Sydney Roosters while the Dragons ($1.35) take on the much improved Newcastle Knights.
PARRAMATTA and CANBERRA
Teams that begin the season 0-3 don’t have a great record in picking up the pieces and making the finals. Since 1998, just nine of 39 teams have managed to finish inside the top eight after losing their first three games with only one of those, North Queensland, going on to win the premiership.
Parramatta looked poor once again in a 14-4 loss to Cronulla and compounding things for them here was the loss of Jarryd Hayne for approximately two weeks.
Canberra once again began quickly and appeared to have the game all wrapped up until they found a way to lose to the Warriors.
Both sides appear a long way off top eight material already.
Up next: Canberra ($2.60) travel to Lottoland to play Manly while Parramatta ($1.86) are a real chance of going 0-4 as they face off against the upstart Wests Tigers.
NATHAN CLEARY INJURED
Penrith are set to struggle in the coming weeks as gun half Nathan Cleary is out injured for up to 10 weeks.
A lot now will rest on the shoulders of James Maloney and this week the team travel to North Queensland where they are $3.55 outsiders against the Cowboys on Thursday night.
The $1.85 about the Panthers to make the Top 8 looks a little shaky now.
Jees weren’t the Tigers terribly unlucky against Brisbane last week?
Wests Tigers defence held up once again and for the third straight game held one of last year’s final four tryless in the first 40 minutes, having done so against Sydney Roosters and Melbourne in rounds 1 and 2.
In fact, Brisbane didn’t score a four-pointer at all against the Tigers at Campbelltown but won the game off the back of a number of penalties, the last of which was a controversial decision in Golden Point.
We like the $3.50 @ Crownbet for the Tigers to make Top 8. Their defence is the best in the league and has conceded 25 points in three games – this time last year they have already leaked over 100 points!