NRL Round 10: Friday Night Previews & Betting Tips
Penrith is almost at rock bottom and a tricky match against the Warriors could see things get even worse Penrith way. Brisbane bounced back with a badly-needed win last start but face the Premier Roosters looking for nine straight wins.
Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors – Panthers Stadium- 6pm
Penrith entered their match against the Tigers knowing a win was needed at all costs – and after 25 minutes, the contest was already over and damage limitation became the Panthers’ goal in became their fifth straight defeat. Their 30-4 loss may not seem a thrashing but make no mistake, Penrith were diabolical in defence in that opening phase and for a side playing for its season, it looked like a white flag was being waved.
Josh Mansour and James Maloney are senior players but they’ll both know their error-riddled performances were far below expectations. Viliame Kikau made a rapid return from what was feared to be a lengthy ankle injury but didn’t look 100% and was powerless to stop the ease his side were torn apart by Luke Brooks in particular. Ivan Cleary was lost for words post-game – it’s hard to see how the Panthers can bounce back from their lowest ebb in recent memory but they’ve got no choice but to – they risk finishing the round in bottom spot if not.
It was an ironic twist of fate for ex-Bronco Kodi Nikorima’s first game as a Warrior to be at Suncorp Stadium, and fortunately for his new side he looked right at home in their 26-18 defeat of St George Illawarra. The Warriors did it the hard way, rallying from an 18-6 halftime deficit to break a four game losing run. Nikorima was a huge positive for the New Zealanders, creating two tries while taking considerable pressure off Blake Green and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Coach Steve Kearney made a bold selection call in dropping hooker Issac Luke for Nat Roache but it paid off with Roache providing spark from dummy-half. It’s only been one match but Nikorima’s recruitment seems to have given the Warriors the attacking balance they’ve missed all season – another win this week and they’ll enter the Origin season with momentum on their side.
Key Stats: Penrith have won their last six home matches against the Warriors by an average margin of 23.5 points and the closest margin by eight points. David Fusitu’a has seven tries in his last six games against the Panthers.
Best bet: Panthers -2 – $2.00*
Value bet: David Fusitu’a anytime tryscorer – $2.00*
Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters – Suncorp Stadium – 7:55pm
Brisbane responded to coach Anthony Seibold’s drastic selection reshuffle with a 26-10 win over an injury-plagued Manly – when you’re as desperate for a win as the Broncos were, they were going to take it any way they could. Whether it was dropping James Roberts and Jamayne Isaako, benching Tevita Pangai Junior or releasing Kodi Nikorima, it was clear Seibold felt a shakeup was needed to kickstart their campaign.
The challenge worked particularly for Anthony Milford who had one of his better games in 2019 while Darius Boyd also would back the clock with an impressive performance at fullback. Payne Haas showed his potential as a future Broncos pack leader with a huge game topped with 191 running metres, while Joe Ofahengaue put his hand up as a Queensland prop bolter with a monster effort off the bench. The Broncos have a strong recent record against the Roosters in Brisbane and despite losing Jack Bird to the season with an ACL injury, there’s at least an air of optimism at Red Hill this week after weeks spent in the doldrums.
It wasn’t their best performance in 2019 but the Roosters still made it eight straight wins in defeating Canberra 30-24. It was a performance more suited to the early phases of their winning streak where they raced to a hugely impressive lead before falling away in the second half meaning a nervier finish than they would have liked. This time there were some circumstances explaining their sluggish finish.
The Roosters favour their lethal left-edge attack of Boyd Cordner, Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou – so imagine their shock when each member left the field before the first half even finished. Fortunately for the Premiers, they continued to rack up points – leading 30-6 at one stage – against an ambushed Raiders. But playing with a one-man bench for a long stretch clearly gassed the side and the Raiders found a second wind to mount an improbable comeback attempt. Mitchell made an unlikely return in the final twenty to double the number of options available on the Roosters bench and, in the end, held on for another crucial win to establish themselves atop the table.
The Roosters face a hugely challenging five-day turnaround in their second consecutive Suncorp trip and their lengthy winning streak has to end sooner or later – will it be against a Broncos side who they’ve had massive issues beating in Brisbane in recent years?
Key stats: The Broncos have won their last five matches against the Roosters at home. The Roosters have won every first half in 2019 by an average margin of nearly 13 points, while Latrell Mitchell is on a rampage with five straight games scoring a try (eight tries overall).
Best bet: Latrell Mitchell anytime try scorer – $1.85*
Value bet: Roosters first half margin 9+ – $3.10*