NRL ROUND 18
Roosters v Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs looked like a totally different side last week in thrashing the Panthers with Reynolds looking back to his best and a very obvious lift in intensity throughout the whole side in everything they did. It’s clear the Bunnies used the couple of weeks off to reaffirm their commitment to making the top eight and whilst it seems like a tall order if they continue on the same track as last week then they’ll give themselves every chance.
The Roosters were terrible against the Sharks last week and given they’ve lost Ferguson, Napa and Pearce to origin they’ll be up against it here as I can see the Rabbitohs intensity of last week carrying into this game.
The Bunnies forward pack were devastating with their offloads last week and they’ll push it again here and ask plenty of the Roosters defence whilst Reynolds will be a handful now he’s regained some much needed confidence. We’ll back the re invigorated Rabbitohs to cover the line. Pick – 3 units on Rabbitohs -3.5 point start
Panthers v Sea Eagles
The Panthers are one of the more frustrating sides in the competition when you consider the talent they have yet they are just struggling to lift mentally each week, hopefully the slap in the face dealt to them by the Rabbitohs last week is enough to spark them. It’s quite the opposite when talking about the Sea Eagles who continue to surpass expectations and they go into this off the back of an impressive come-from-behind win over the Warriors.
Manly have just Jake Trbojevic (origin) missing from last week’s side and the Panthers have Peachey starting in the centres in place of Whare (injured) so both sides are fairly settled. The big talking point going into this clash has been the omission of DCE from the Queensland side and how he’ll react on the field, the Panthers will be on high alert as he has been the Sea Eagles standout performer and will no doubt cop plenty of traffic his way as they look to limit his influence.
The bookies have struggled to separate these sides which means good value on the Panthers to put in a huge and well overdue performance for their fans, anything less and heads will roll with every one of the players and staff well aware of that – take the Panthers to win. Pick – 4 units on Panthers to win (BEST BET)
Storm v Eels
The resilience of the Storm will be well and truly tested here with six players on rep duties, up against an Eels side that continues to show plenty of grit week in and week out and who are unaffected by origin selection.
The Storm will put up a good fight here but are lacking in experience and proven play-making ability which will be exploited by the Eels who will not pass up such a golden opportunity to grab two points in Melbourne.
It won’t be a walkover as the Storm youngsters have shown they’re no mugs but the Eels simply have more points in them and a defence that continues to front. Pick – 2 units on Eels to win by 12 points and under