NRL ROUND 8
Broncos v Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs are approaching crisis point given they have just three wins and four losses, a record that won’t be sitting well with the club and its owners but it’s still early days, unfortunately though they have another stiff test this week against the competition frontrunners the Broncos.
The return of Reynolds at halfback didn’t have quite the impact I was expecting against the Cowboys, mainly because they were outplayed in the forwards and were swallowed up by the brilliance of the Cowboys but this week with a game under his belt he should be able to stamp his mark. Again it’s the forwards that hold the key to this battle, the Rabbitohs have a solid pack that’s due a big game and sitting at eighth off the back of a heavy defeat should be enough in my mind to spark some much needed aggression which will give Reynolds and Keary a bit more impetus to work with in the halves.
The line is large here simply because the Broncos have been so outstanding at home this season but I’ve got the feeling they’ll be confronted by a very determined Rabbitohs side that will compete all the way, led by a massive effort from their forward pack and a precision kicking game from their halves. Pick – 4 units on Rabbitohs +14.5 point start
Bulldogs v Titans
The Titans are going to be confronted by an angry Bulldogs team here following their below par effort against the Warriors on Saturday night which generally spells trouble for the opposition, particularly one that already has an underwhelming history at ANZ stadium.
The Mbye/Reynolds halves combination has been at times brilliant this season but they were far from that against the Warriors with frustrations spilling over and they’ll have worked hard during the week on their cohesion; meanwhile the Bulldogs pack will be determined to show a bit more mongrel against opposition they should dominate.
With their usual bright start to the season quickly evaporating following another loss to the Dragons last week the Titans are now sitting at ninth and for mine they have a lot further to slide as I don’t see that backline of theirs causing too many concerns for a well organised defence, such as the Bulldogs.
The Titians are going to be in for a long night as the Bulldogs forward pack batter them around making life tough for their halves who will be working mostly with static ball and they’ll really struggle for points. The line is very manageable for the Dogs and they should blow it out. Pick – 3 units on Bulldogs -10.5 or better point start
Raiders v Tigers
The Raiders are clinging onto 7th spot on the ladder following a heavy loss to the Sharks last week, whilst the Tigers suffered their 5th defeat on the trot in narrowly losing to the Storm.
It’s a difficult time for the Tigers right now as they’re having somewhat of an identity crisis, their players are obviously wanting a licence to throw the ball around and play ad-lib footy but their coach rightfully wants structure in their play but it’s not easy going from one style to another in a short space of time. That identity crisis will play into the Raiders hands here as they’ve shown in earlier rounds to have the structure which is built around a big forward pack making serious inroads through the opposition and a simple approach to their backline play capitalising on the good momentum up front.
Malone and Naiqama could be in for a long day here as the Raiders will no doubt target them in the centres and I can see plenty of points being leaked in that area as well as on the edges as they’re caught out of the line by the Raiders clinical attack. The bounce-back will be a big factor for the Raiders as Ricky Stewart will not have been a happy man all week and will have put all his players on notice which spells real danger for the Tigers. Take the Raiders to cover the very manageable line. Pick – 2 units on Raiders -7.5 or better point start
Dragons v Roosters
The Dragons came through for us last week in getting the upset win over the Titans and it’s somewhat interesting they’re again the underdog here against a Roosters team sitting on just one win and who boast a very inexperienced halves pairing and an 18-year old in the pivotal fullback position.
I’m with the Dragons all the way here, they’re a better side than their 13th place suggests and their weight of experience will count in an ANZAC encounter that has become one of the big NRL annual fixtures and the pressure on the young Roosters 1, 6 and 7 will be immense.
Whilst not altogether pretty the Dragons attack looked like it was coming together against the Titans and with their forwards expected to hold their own against the Roosters pack I can see them having the edge in the backs as they use that weight of experience to their advantage. We’ll take the good value on the Dragons to win. Pick - 3 units on Dragons to win
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals