NRL ROUND 3
Storm v Broncos
The Storm barely had to raise a sweat as they out-witted the Warriors in terrible Auckland conditions; whilst this match promises to be much tougher they will have an extra spring in their step with this being the first home game of the season.
The much anticipated return of Slater to fullback sees Munster shift into five-eighth in the big backline moves for the Storm whilst Jesse Bromwich has been named on the bench so all and all a stronger side named than that which beat the Warriors. No changes for the Broncos to the side that lost in golden point to the Cowboys.
The Storm have started the season looking at their clinical best and they have the edge here over a strong Broncos side. Both have strong defences and I can’t see it being a blowout but with the formidable threesome of Smith, Cronk and Slater all on deck the Storm get the win for mine; we’ll take the value in the margins. Pick – 2 units on Storm to win by 12 points and under
Bulldogs v Warriors
The Warriors have certainly not set the world on fire in their opening matches, surrendering rather meekly to the Storm last week and it’s somewhat surprising to see them as firm favourites here. The same old problems have reared their head for the Warriors in 2017 – a poor kicking game and average execution, plus some rather soft defence.
Des Hasler will have studied the Warriors opening games and will predictably form a game plan based around the edge they have up front, boasting the larger and more hardened of the two packs. Reynolds and Mbye rival the Warriors halves when it comes to an average kicking game but in guaranteed dry conditions under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium the ball will be thrown around once the forwards have done their job so kicking may be less of a factor.
The value on offer for the Bulldogs is too hard to go past as they’re likely to win the battle up the middle which will make life tough for the Warriors. Pick – 2 units on Bulldogs to win
Knights v Rabbitohs
The return of Reynolds last week certainly made a huge difference to the Rabbitohs attack and with that game under his belt he’ll be a handful against the Knights who looked susceptible on defence last week but still managed to get the win over the Titans.
It’s been a tale of two weeks for the Rabbitohs with an opening round fizzer against the Tigers and a second round blitz of the Sea Eagles so just what attitude they have here will determine the outcome, if they’re on then they win easily and I see no reason why they won’t be primed to build on the momentum from last week’s dominant performance.
The Knights have been gutsy in the opening rounds but will find this their toughest match to date and they just don’t have the same attacking qualities of the Rabbitohs who should run away with this. We’ll take the Rabbitohs to cover the slim line. Pick – 3 units on Rabbitohs -4.5 point start
Panthers v Roosters
The Panthers came through in style for us last week, easily covering the line against the Tigers and suddenly looked every bit the title contenders in doing so, this is their toughest match to date though and the bookies haven’t been able to separate the two.
The absence of Ferguson has left the Roosters centres looking quite green and it has to be an area that the likes of Moylan, Peachey and co target on attack – that is the main difference in the sides named as they’re otherwise fairly evenly matched up.
This is the Panthers first home game of the season and there will be a large and expectant crowd to cheer them on. The packs are fairly even but as mentioned the Panthers have the edge in the backs which should see them to victory here in a close one – we’ll take the value with the home side to win in the margins. Pick – 2 units on Panthers to win by 12 points and under
Raiders v Tigers
Ricky Stuart would have been absolutely livid after his sides limp effort in being thrashed by the Sharks last week and will be adamant they make amends to home fans here. There’s no way the favoured Raiders should have backed up a gutsy golden point loss to the Cowboys with such a performance, there is absolutely no way there will be any complacency this week which is bad news for the Tigers who are still licking their wounds following a drubbing by the Panthers where they couldn’t even manage to score a try.
The huge boost for the Raiders this week is they get their inspirational captain/centre Croker back for the first time this season and I’m expecting he’ll make a big impact on both shoring up the defence and linking with his outside backs. The confidence of Leilua and Rapana would have taken a blow after a very poor defensive effort last week but I’m leaning towards that being more of a one-off rather than a big chink in the Raiders armour.
They were one of the pre-season favourites to take the title so the 0-2 start won’t be sitting well with the Raiders – expect them to vent their anger/frustrations on a hapless Tigers side and cover the line on offer. Pick – 4 units on Canberra -7.5 point start (BEST BET)
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals