NRL ROUND 19
Dragons v Titans
The Dragons have floated between being very ordinary and slightly above average this season with the highlight reel being pretty scarce when it comes to their attack but the reason they’re still a chance of playing finals footy is because they’ve got some fight in them and have managed to grind out wins here and there.
There’s nobody in the Dragons side under more pressure at the moment than Benji Marshall who is playing for his future in the Red-V and it’s imperative he lifts his game and impresses from here on in – he’s a wily enough veteran though with proven ability and I’d back him to lift and earn himself another season with some big performances, starting here.
The wins the Dragons have had this season have come off the back of very determined defence and they’ve already shown this year the ability to shut down the Titans attack with their round 7 winning effort where they limited the Titans to just 14 points and they’ll be confident of getting the measure of them again here.
On paper the Dragons have the better looking of the two sides, even without the injured Dugan, and they have a propensity to win these types of games when things are looking desperate on the points table so I don’t mind backing them to pull out a big effort and get a win. Pick – 3 units on Dragons to win
Sea Eagles v Warriors
Manly put in arguably their best performance of the season in thrashing the Dragons last time out and given the success they’ve traditionally enjoyed over the Warriors they’ll head into this clash full of confidence. One negative for the Sea Eagles is the loss of Dylan Walker to a self-inflicted injury but one can’t complain too much when you have the very capable pairing of Lyon and DCE in the halves.
There’s no denying the big mid-season turnaround in the Warriors attitude and form but they have had somewhat of an armchair ride with origin selection playing into their hands and home advantage for a good proportion of their ‘tougher’ games.
The venue for this match is quite a hike for both teams but it’s the Warriors who have in the past struggled badly in making the trip to Perth where they’ve never won. The Sea Eagles will be looking to have a renaissance of their own off the back of their latest effort against the Dragons and I expect Lyon to be heavily involved in everything as he has a way of getting the better of the Warriors – we’ll take the good odds on the Manly win. Pick – 2 units on Sea Eagles to win
Rabbitohs v Broncos
Rewind two months and the Broncos were so firmly cemented in the top four it looked a fait accompli they’d finish the regular season either with the minor premiership or not far behind but they’ve since gone completely off the boil losing six of their past eight matches, with their latest outing being the worst of the bunch – a 48-6 thrashing at Suncorp Stadium by the Storm. Wayne Bennett has come out and poo-pooed any idea of friction within the Broncos team, publicly downplaying their dramatic form slump but privately he’ll be stewing at their situation and I can’t help but feel that Storm thrashing will prove to be the catalyst for a huge turnaround.
The Rabbitohs have been the biggest disappointment of any side in the competition with so much promise at the start of the season but they’ve lacked any sort of cohesion and from a casual observers perspective it looks like their attitude stinks so something can’t be quite right in the changing rooms., they’re not helped by Inglis’ absence here either.
The Broncos are proven performers this season and despite their recent woes are a genuine title contender and with a high-octane attitude here will repel the feeble Bunnies attack and post a decent winning margin as they steady the ship. Pick – 4 units on Broncos -6.5 or better point start
Panthers v Eels
The Panthers lack of effort last Sunday at home against an understrength Sharks side was frustrating to say the least as we’d backed them to cover the start, I’ve seen plenty of fight in them this season though and that loss would have hurt so expect some sort of response here as they have a chance to quickly make it up to their fans.
Back in the side for the Panthers are three players who are pivotal to their attack – Moylan, Mansour and Peachey – so we should see a big improvement; meanwhile the Eels get Jennings back from origin duties but have lost their flying Fijian winger Semi Radradra.
Hardly a week goes by now without the Eels making all the wrong headlines and further distractions this week surrounding Norman won’t help the five-eighth concentration for this important clash. The Panthers have the greater attacking breadth in their squad and they’ll certainly turn up to play which should see them get the win but it won’t be a landslide so we’ll take the value in the margins. Pick – 2 units on Panthers to win by 12 points and under
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals