NRL ROUND 6
Eels v Raiders
The Raiders pulled off the upset of the round on Monday night in beating the Bulldogs but I don’t see any such ambush happening here against an Eels side who will be hurting following a last minute loss to the Panthers.
It’s obvious that defence has been the main area of focus for the Eels leading into this season as they’ve been absolutely rock solid and they’ll have to lift again here in stopping the big Raiders pack from marching up the middle which other sides have struggled to do but the Eels structure and hunger on defence should see them right.
Whilst they’ve still got some way to go in perfecting their attacking prowess I can see things coming together for the Eels nicely here as they lift the tempo and try to tire out the Raiders who are on a five-day turnaround and facing their second game in a row on the road. The return of Peats at hooker is a decent boost for the Eels as his defensive work rate and control around the ruck will see him slot seamlessly back into the side.
The bookies have reacted predictably to the Raiders win over the Bulldogs and the line here is relatively small for the Eels to cover but cover they will as the Raiders great start to the season will hit a speed-bump in the form of a hungry Eels outfit and general fatigue. Pick – 4 units on Eels -4.5 point start
Warriors v Sea Eagles
As unconvincing as it was the Warriors still managed to come away with their second win on the trot last week against the struggling Roosters and are solid favourites to take this match out at home.
The two Warriors wins have now come against the two bottom teams in the competition and this Manly side should offer stiffer competition. Casting ones eye over the Manly team sheet there are a number of veterans out wide in the form of Stewart, Matai and Lyon who have relished playing the Warriors over the years leading them to a number of smart victories and given the state of the Warriors defence this season they’ll ask serious questions all day, particularly in targeting the fringes on both sides of the park.
The Jury is still out on this Warriors side with two scratchy wins over cellar dwelling sides in the last fortnight, meanwhile Manly are fresh off a narrow loss to the Rabbitohs which will have hardened them for this battle, they are also well rested with a nine day turnaround. I’m happy to take the point start to the Sea Eagles as their wily veterans lead the way in a solid outing for the visitors. 2.5 units on Sea Eagles +8.5 point start
Sharks v Titans
Despite sitting at 9th on the points table the Titans have still been somewhat of a surprise package thus far as they followed up their win in Canberra with a gutsy outing against the Broncos at home, I can’t help but feel they’re about to get taught a lesson here against a comparatively very experienced Sharks side.
The Sharks will target the young and very inexperienced Titans halves pairing of Cullen / Taylor, making life as difficult as possible for them through rushed defence and good old-fashioned banter from the likes of seasoned pro’s Maloney and Ennis. With their halves effectively neutralised points will be at a premium for the Titans who will also be kept busy on defence against what is a very sharp looking Sharks attack which contains numerous game-breakers.
It’s been about this point in previous seasons where the wheels have slowly fallen off for the Titans and I can see history repeating as the Sharks use their weight of experience and skill to overwhelm the visitors and give them a reality check. Pick – 3 units on Sharks to win by 13+ points
Knights v Tigers
Both these sides have given up some big numbers on defence this season and both will have a degree of desperation in them here as the Tigers good start to the season is slowly being derailed whilst the Knights are still seeking their first win but go into this off the back of arguably their best performance of the season in narrowly losing away to the Storm.
The bookies have made the Tigers slight favourites here but we’ll stay away from the result as it really could swing either way, what I am counting on though is for there to be plenty of points in what promises to be good conditions for attacking footy.
The return of Tariq Sims for the Knights gives them a bit more grunt up front and he’ll be up for a big game coming off a five-week suspension, meanwhile the return of Sironen to the Tigers gives them another attacking string to their bow. I can see 50+ points being scored here as the Knights attack looked like it was slowly coming together against a solid Storm defence and the Tigers have shown, led by Brookes, Moses and Tedesco that they’re an attacking force to be reckoned with. Take the combined total to go ‘overs’. Pick – 2.5 units on total combined points 46.0 and over
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Week Three Finals
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Week One Finals