NRL ROUND 12
Rabbitohs v Eels
Neither of these sides have set the competition alight this season so it’s little surprise that they’re unaffected by origin selection; the Eels are however down two key players through injury in Jennings and Norman but still have a decent look to their side.
Trying to pick when the Rabbitohs are going to be up for games has been a challenge this year, they put in a gutsy (albeit losing) effort against the Storm on Sunday but have struggled to put together back to back solid outings this year. The Eels on the other hand have not lacked desire/effort in their performances and I’m sure Brad Arthur will have them up for this, with a lot falling on new recruit Moses to get his game in order and lead the attack.
Big Brad Takairangi steps into the centres in place of Jennings and whilst he’s not got the same pace he’s always a handful to put down and I’m sure both French and Radradra will benefit from his off-loading abilities. Up front the Eels have a pack that’s showed more of a willingness than the Rabbitohs pack to roll their sleeves up and they should lay a decent platform here.
This will be a good old fashioned arm-wrestle between two clubs fighting to keep their seasons afloat and there won’t be much in it but the Eels for mine have the edge and we’ll take them at good value in the margins. Pick – 2 units on Eels to win by 12 points and under
Sharks v Bulldogs
With four players from the Sharks and three from the Bulldogs called up for origin duties the depth of the squads will be tested here and comparing the team sheets it’s fairly clear the Sharks have the upper hand with a handful of players named that could quite easily saddle up for their states.
Despite not having played too well at home this season it’s still hard to go past the Sharks to take this one out as the Bulldogs have lost three of their harder working, more experienced players which will leave them shorthanded against the defending premiers who still have a wealth of experience in their side.
The Bulldogs are going to have a very tough time halting the Sharks up the middle with Gallen leading what is a battle hardened pack; meanwhile I don’t see many points in the Bulldogs up against a rock solid Sharks defence. We’ll take the Sharks to cover the line. Pick – 3 units on Sharks -4.5 point start
Raiders v Roosters
Ricky Stuart has to be rubbing his hands together here as they get to take on the high-flying Roosters who are without five of their frontline players through origin – Guerra, Ferguson, Cordner, Napa and Pearce whilst the Raiders are just missing Papalii.
There’s a good reason the Raiders were one of the pre-season favourites to win the competition this season and with what’s essentially (barring Papalii) the best side they could field up against a severely depleted Roosters this match can really only go one way. The Roosters do still have some players capable of hurting the Raiders but it’s a complete mismatch on paper and should be reflected on the scoreboard as the Raiders have a lot of points in them and no shortage of motivation given their standing on the points table. Pick - 4 units on Raiders -7.5 or better point start (BEST BET)