NRL ROUND 14
Broncos v Raiders
The Broncos have now lost three on the trot (and four of their past five) which has them sitting at 4th on the ladder so this game shapes as a crucial one to get their season back on track, meanwhile the Raiders keep marching on with another impressive win last week over the Sea Eagles.
A couple of big ‘ins’ for the Broncos here with Gillett and Oates returning which sees the home side at pretty much full strength for this clash, whilst the Raiders are without two regulars in Wighton and Boyd out through suspension so it’s the Broncos that come out on top there. Coming off easily their worst performance of the season one would expect it’s been a week of tough talking from Wayne Bennett and I’d be very surprised if we don’t see a huge lift in intensity and accuracy from them here which will spell trouble for what at times has been a susceptible Raiders defence.
If there’s any side in the competition who can withstand the power and size of the Raiders pack it’s the Broncos with their well organised defence and particularly this week given the added desperation they’ll have. Meanwhile the Broncos attack was just slightly off last week against the Warriors with some marginal calls not going their way and back home after some fine tuning during the week they’ll have plenty of points in them.
We’ll take the Broncos to break out of their slump in style and cover the generous start on offer. Pick – 3 units on Broncos -10.5 or better point start
Tigers v Rabbitohs
The Bunnies have been playing well below themselves of late but despite losing to the Titans last week will take plenty out of their second half scoring blitz, it just wasn’t quite enough to get the win though. Both these sides boast defences that are quite easily opened up which is why they’re on the bottom half of the table and I can see this game being a high scoring affair.
Souths are unchanged from last week which bodes well for a settled attack and the Tigers welcome back both Farah and Grant with Farah’s influence around the rucks likely to cause headaches for the Bunnies defence. Both sides have playmakers capable of ad-lib footy which makes it hard to defend against and on what’s forecast to be a clear night I expect the ball the be thrown around.
We’ll back offence to rule the day here and take the combined points total to go ‘overs’. Pick – 3 units on total combined points ‘over’ 44.5 or better
Eels v Titans
Sure the Titans have been very good of late but I’m still surprised they’re starting as favourites here as apart from a few absences (Foran being the most notable) the Eels are close to full strength and this is not a club that wilts when faced with adversity, quite the opposite.
In Foran’s absence Corey Norman is going to have to shoulder the bulk of the playmaking responsibilities which he’s more than capable of doing and his focus will be on getting the outside backs of Gordon, Jennings and Radradra heavily involved.
The Titans are going to be faced with a very determined Eels side who are fighting to keep their season alive and the value on offer for the win is too hard to pass up when you take all things into account, not least of which is the strength of the side they’ve named on paper. Pick – 4 units on Eels to win
Dragons v Bulldogs
The Dragons have been underwhelming for the most part this season but have managed to scrape together some good performances and I’ve no doubt they’ll lift here against their cross town rivals.
Both sides are settled from their last performance with no changes - the Dragons come into this off the bye having beaten the Cowboys the previous week whilst the Bulldogs were unlucky in losing late to the Sharks on Monday night. The week off would have done the Dragons a world of good given their stuttering season to date and no doubt they’ve used the time to try and address the on-going issues with their attack, on the flip-side their defence has for the most part been impressive.
I can see this being another scrappy encounter with both forward packs dominating proceeding’s and the match-up is fairly even in that department, the key for the Dragons is utilising all that experience in their halves with Marshall/Widdop needing to take control early on and stick to the basics.
The line on offer to the Dragons is generous as I don’t see them giving up too many easy points and they should be in this all the way so I’m liking the look of that start. Pick – 3 units on Dragons +8.5 point start
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals