NRL ROUND 21
Roosters v Broncos
The Broncos have now put in a few performances that nobody saw coming, especially at Suncorp where last week they were thrashed by the Panthers leaving many scratching heads as to why this fantastic team on paper is seemingly capitulating having lost six of their past eight matches now.
Luck is seemingly on the side of the Broncos this week though given they’re up against a Roosters side who has forgotten how to win having lost their lost six matches on the trot with the clinical attack and uncompromising defence of previous years a distant memory.
Whilst neither side can draw too many positives from recent performances at least the Broncos can cling to the very realistic hope of making the finals and know that anything short of a win here could well have them skating on very thin ice for the remainder of the regular season. I’m sure Wayne Bennett will have dug deep into his man-management bag of tricks this week with honesty sessions and soul-searching on the cards and we should see a dramatic lift from this champion side who man for man have it all over the Roosters.
The Broncos are rightfully favourites but the line is a tad skinny for mine and we’ll take them to cover. Pick - 4 units on Broncos to win
Warriors v Panthers
Having lost their last two encounters in golden point there’ll be more than just a bead of sweat on the brow of all Warriors fans should extra time look a possibility late in this match, I’m backing them to have a comfortable lead after 80 minutes though having now backed themselves into a position where this is a must-win match. To come up agonisingly short to two top four sides away from home is not all doom and gloom for the Warriors as their defence has definitely been a positive, as has their attack with the settled halves pairing of Leuluai and Johnson growing in confidence, peaking at the business end of the season.
The Panthers go into this off one of their best efforts of the season in thrashing the Broncos in Brisbane so it’s fair to say they’ll have their tails up here, especially given they’ve already made the trip across the ditch this season and come away with the win.
Something tells me we are about to see a special performance from the Warriors here, they’ve addressed a lot of the issues that had fans calling for the axe to be swung earlier in the season and look much more of a cohesive unit. There are a few young stars in this Panthers team they’ll need to be very watchful of – Peachey, Moylan and Cleary to name a few but they have a number themselves with Lolohea in particular no doubt itching to dust off the cobwebs and have a blinder at fullback.
If the Warriors are on as I expect they will be then they should easily be able to cover the narrow line on offer from the bookies. Pick – 3 units on Warriors -3.5 or better point start
Eels v Tigers
With all the adversity they’ve faced in 2016 nobody can accuse the Eels of waving the white flag, a lot of the credit for that must come down to Brad Arthur who has gotten them up week in and week out and there’s no way they’re about to end the season with a whimper on his watch.
At the beginning of the season nobody would have predicted an Eels halves pairing of Robson and Gutherson but that’s been the reality of the Eels season with so much off-field drama and they’ve rolled with the blows which I expect them to do here. On paper alone you’d rate the Eels as very long shots to win here due to their lack of game-breakers on attack but they’ve a tough forward pack led brilliantly by Beau Scott who will get in the face of the Tigers and a well drilled backline.
I still have questions around the attitudinal impact the treatment of Robbie Farah will have on the Tigers as he’s been a rock in that side for so long, it feels like the issue should be a festering sore but the Tigers dominant performance in beating the Dragons last week sais otherwise…….we’ll see this week though.
The Eels have grown another leg when written off this season and the decent start on offer is too hard to pass up. Pick – 2 units on Eels +7.5 or better point start
Rabbitohs v Raiders
The Rabbitohs are another side that has seemingly forgotten how to win with seven losses in a row now but they can’t be accused of giving up even though their finals hopes are well and truly over; they gave themselves a chance Monday night against the Sea Eagles with a spirited second half comeback which was eventually stopped in its tracks by the bunker.
One can’t help but feel it’s Reynolds who is going to have to grab the game by the scruff of the neck if the Rabbitohs are to have a chance here and well let’s be honest he is overdue a quality performance as are a number of the Bunnies stars. This is a proud club and to fall so badly from grace after their past few seasons of high performance will not be sitting well with them so the very least they can offer their fans is to finish the season with a wet sail.
I can’t argue with the Raiders favouritism here but on the Bunnies home turf and with plenty of fight left in them a very spirited performance is on the cards which should see them at the very least come close. Pick – 3 units on Rabbitohs +8.5 point start and 1 unit on Rabbitohs half/fulltime double
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals