NRL Round 10: Saturday Previews & Betting Tips
The Titans square off against Canterbury while the Eels face a tricky trip to Townsville to rebuild their campaign and the Raiders battle it out against the Bunnies.
Gold Coast Titans v Canterbury Bulldogs – CBUS Super Stadium – 3:00pm
Gold Coast was left ruing five minutes of madness in their 26-18 defeat against Cronulla. Although the Titans hadn’t built on their impressive first half where they held an 18-10 lead, the game was still an 18-all tossup entering the final minutes when star recruit Tyrone Peachey had a run he’d like to forget.
First he gave away an inexcusable penalty striking Sharks half Kyle Flanagan with the resulting goal edging the Sharks in front. He then kicked dead early in a tackle count to make the Titans’ chances of a comeback even more remote before sealing their fate with another late penalty.
Coach Garth Brennan didn’t name Peachey in a post-match spray but it wasn’t hard to read between the lines at his disappointment of “the Peach.” It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Titans – Jai Arrow had another impressive performance in the middle while AJ Brimson filled in nicely for the unavailable Tyrone Roberts in the halves. But near enough isn’t good enough and the Titans are staring at a potential wooden-spoon battle with the Bulldogs for a reason – they’ve been unable to consistently string together 80-minute performances in 2019.
The Bulldogs had a disappointing first half against Newcastle, trailing 16-0 and seemingly unable to stop Kalyn Ponga. But whatever coach Dean Pay said at halftime worked with the Doggies fighting their way back into the contest through tries to Reimis Smith and Will Hopoate, plus Dylan Napa going on a one-man mission to smash through the Knights pack.
It wasn’t to be though with that man Ponga sealing their Dogs’ seventh loss in nine matches in the final minutes. Kieran Foran was a welcome returnee in the halves – Pay surprisingly favouring Jack Cogger over Lachlan Lewis to pair with the Kiwi international – but Foran was unable to overcome his best mate Mitchell Pearce in a playmaking showdown. The effort once again was there from Canterbury but a lack of points is dooming their 2019 campaign and if they can’t defeat a Titans side on the same competition points total, it shapes as an even bleaker season for the boys from Belmore.
Key stats: In the Titans’ only two wins this year, they’ve led at half-time at CBUS. The Bulldogs have struggled away from ANZ Stadium in 2019 with a 1-5 record. Titans winger Anthony Don has six tries in his last seven games and has scored in both of his last two games against the Dogs.
Best bet: Antony Don anytime try scorer – $2.00*
Value bet: Titans half-time/full-time – $2.40*
North Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels – 1300SMILES Stadium – 5:30pm
North Queensland was always going to be up against it versus the on fire Souths but they did push the Bunnies in a 32-16 defeat. The Cowboys won’t be the last club to fall victim of a Damien Cook masterclass from hooker and with the Burgess boys on rampages, the Cowboys did well to mount a late first-half comeback to draw back within eight points after being dominated early on.
Jordan Kahu may have been alternated between fullback and centre throughout 2019 but the Kiwi looks at home in the number one jersey, and in new centre pairing Justin O’Neill and Tom Opacic they have a genuine try-scoring threat on either edge. John Asiata had another solid outing as the world’s largest five-eighth and Michael Morgan’s extraordinary kick to set up O’Neill’s second try shows the Cowboys are throwing everything at turning around 2019.
If you look up “bad” in your trusty thesaurus, you may find 50 synonyms – if you combine each one, you might get an accurate grasp of just how “dreadful” – one of those 50 synonyms – the Eels were in their 64-10 capitulation to Melbourne. Perhaps the most damning aspect of the Eels “crummy” performance was they were lucky it was only 64 points they conceded. Melbourne left points out on the Suncorp Stadium pitch as Parramatta were at their opponents’ mercy in a belting nobody could have seen coming.
There were no shining lights in the “beastly” outing. No forward ran over 100 metres, the likes of Clint Gutherson, Jaemen Salmon and Mitch Moses missed significantly more tackles combined (23) than they actually made (13), while the benching of hooker Reed Mahoney was a major backfire from coach Brad Arthur as the Eels sorely missed having a genuine dummy-half early on. The Eels are at risk of losing the momentum their promising season start built with the club seemingly unbeatable at Bankwest Stadium but the total opposite away. There is no way the Eels can be so poor two weeks running so expect a sharp increase in their effort, knowing a win away to the Cowboys will go a long way of settling their away woes.
Key stats: In the Eels’ last three matches away from Bankwest Stadium they’ve lost by a combined score of 111-24. Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill is on a tryscoring spree, scoring in every game he’s played in 2019 (seven tries in six appearances). In five home matches this year the Cowboys have won the first half four times.
Best bet: Cowboys half-time – $1.90*
Value bet: Justin O’Neill anytime try scorer – $2.88*
Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs – GIO Stadium – 7:30pm
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart showed signs of frustration over his side’s seeming lack of external respect when they faced the Roosters in Magic round. “Sticky” felt his top-four side wasn’t getting the kudos they deserved – but his side didn’t help him out with their 30-24 defeat. Canberra was blown apart in the first 45 minutes – they trailed 30-6 and were the latest victims of Latrell Mitchell’s one-man demolition work.
The Raiders couldn’t control the Roosters’ slick ball movement nor their defensive aggression and were picked apart by Luke Keary and James Tedesco in particular. By the time Canberra found their groove the match was already over – they did cause some nervous moments Bondi way in the closing minutes getting back to within one score but they had left themselves with too much to do. The Raiders were helped by their opponents having only one fit interchange player for most of the match but weren’t exempt from their own injury worries.
Star winger Jordan Rapana may have feared the worst when he went down untouched clutching a knee so the alternative of an in-comparison minor PCL strain to keep him out for up to a month isn’t a disaster – although clearly unideal with Joey Leilua’s neck injury proving season ending. It may not be a coincidence to see the Raiders pack somewhat struggle as they did without injured John Bateman either – the Englishman has quickly become the heartbeat of the Canberra forwards and with several weeks to go until he’s back from a fractured eye socket, it places even more pressure on Josh Papalii to become his side’s leader. Jack Wighton is a darkhorse for the NSW bench utility spot and the five-eighth was perhaps the Raiders’ best in a losing effort, scoring a try while setting up another in their comeback. It’s impressive to see Wighton’s ease he’s taken in shifting from fullback to the front line – and in Cody Walker, he’ll face NRL’s most in-form pivot. Not a bad way to prove yourself worthy of an Origin call-up. If Stuart wants more respect from outsiders, beating Souths would go a long way – the only top-eight side the Raiders have beaten in 2019 is Parramatta.
Souths continued their impressive 2019 start, their 32-16 win over the Cowboys saw them extend to an 8-1 record and leave them in a great position with Origin fast approaching. The Burgess boys Sam and Tom were once again in devastating form in smashing through a game Cowboys outfit. Tom’s continued improvement has perhaps gone under the radar with the Bunnies boasting higher profile players but under Wayne Bennett’s coaching, the England international is raising his game seemingly by the week.
Two of those higher profile players just happen to be two of the most in-form players in the competition. Cody Walker is a try-scoring excitement machine, bagging his tenth try whilst also registering his tenth try assist of the campaign already – this time last season he had registered seven tries and seven assists. Walker is peaking in the perfect time for a maiden NSW call-up where if so, he’ll see fellow Bunny Damien Cook.
The dynamic hooker shows zero sign of slowing down, meaning the Raiders markers will need to be on neon red alert or else they’ll be pushed aside like the Cowboys were. The biggest praise you can give Cook is his one try and three try assist performance feels par for the course – he’s a special talent and thriving under Bennett’s encouragement. Souths would be disappointed at conceding two tries in the final three minutes of the first half to give the Cowboys a sniff which looked improbable and it may serve as motivation for them to work towards a more complete performance against a Raiders team who will be desperate to atone for their ordinary first half last start.
Key stats: Souths have won three of their last four matches in Canberra. The Bunnies scored the first try and won their last four matches. In Souths’ five wins away from ANZ, their average winning margin is 10 points.
Best bet: Rabbitohs -2 – $1.91*
Value bet: Rabbitohs to score first and win – $2.40*