NRL ROUND 14
Broncos v Rabbitohs
The Broncos have named a very strong side to play here with Bennett’s dropping of Hunt a great move as he’s been out of touch in the halves and the Nikorima / Milford pairing has been highly effective for them this season, also including Marshall on the bench is just reward for the veteran after two excellent games.
The Rabbitohs looked terrible last match out two weeks ago against the Eels and it was only because of some luck / bad calls that the score line wasn’t blown out; they’ve been a totally mixed bag this season with poor performances mostly littered with the odd good one. There seems to be a lack of leadership coming from the senior Rabbitohs players as they’re going through the motions – Sam Burgess, Farah, Sutton – all players that should be leading the revival but aren’t seen doing much talking when the side gets behind. Leadership is something the Broncos have in spades along with quality and they’ll take the opportunity, with all their origin players on deck, to punish the Bunnies at Suncorp. Pick – 3 units on Broncos -11.5 or better point start
Titans v Warriors
This match has points galore written all over it with two of the worst defences in the competition squaring off and whilst both sides have had struggles at times offensively clashes between these sides tend to bring the best out of their attack. Being a day game with a good/dry forecast the situation is perfect for the ball to be thrown around and throw it around they will as both sides try to make the most of soft opposition defence.
It must frustrate the Warriors to see how well Hurrell is going at the Titans and he’ll again have a point to prove against his old club, there’s every chance he’ll get plenty of chances to cross the line too with Hayne chiming in as first receiver and keeping the Warriors defence guessing. Both sides have plenty of points in them and the attack should flourish in the sunshine here. Pick – 4 units on ‘over’ 42.5 total combined points
Panthers v Raiders
The Raiders season is fast evaporating with every loss from here on putting a major dent in their finals hopes (same for Panthers mind you) and it doesn’t help they’re facing a revived Panthers side here who similarly started the season slowly but are working their way up the ladder with their performance last week against the Bulldogs being one of their best.
Moving Moylan into the halves paid instant dividends for the Panthers and he’s likely to be a permanent feature there for the rest of the season; meanwhile Mitch Rein impressed at Hooker in his club debut and looks like he’ll nicely fill the gap Peter Wallace’s injury has left.
There’s a degree of predictability surrounding the Raiders attack at present, sure they have a big / mobile forward pack but their backline (barring Rapana) has not been as dangerous as last year and they could struggle again in the face of a determined Panthers defence which kept the Bulldogs scoreless last week.
I’m going to take the Panthers in the margins here as they just have a bit more to offer offensively and have some momentum behind them. Pick – 2 units on Panthers to win by 12 points and under
Bulldogs v Dragons
The Bulldogs were dreadful last week in their 38-0 loss to the Panthers and Des Hasler will welcome with open arms the return of Reynolds, Graham, Brett Morris and Stanley in a side that has a very different look and feel to last weeks. The Dragons are unchanged from the side that made tougher work of the Tigers than was expected.
This has all the makings of a big bounce back factor for the Bulldogs - key players returning, huge loss last week, a livid coach and pretty much the season on the line - the script couldn't be written better for a Bulldogs win.
I've no doubt the Bulldogs will be much much better here, sure they're on a lean trot but they've had some big results this year with the side they've named and they will throw everything into this. We'll back the upset. Pick - 4 units on Bulldogs +6.0 point start (BEST BET) and 1 unit on Bulldogs/Bulldogs half/fulltime double