NRL ROUND 24
Eels v Titans
With everything that’s going on at the Titans it’s hard to see how the players can be fully switched on for this match; they’ve gone downhill at an alarming rate as the seasons progressed and now boast the worst defence in the competition having conceded an eye-watering 562 points.
The Eels go into this off the back of arguably the biggest upset of the season having been soundly beaten by the bottom placed Knights and there is absolutely no way they’ll be complacent here as Brad Arthur will have given them a week of training to forget.
This is a perfect match for the Eels to boost their points differential as they have a quality attack, that’s bolstered by the return at fullback of the dynamic Bevan French, and will slice through this feeble Titans defence with regular ease. The line is large but very manageable for the Eels and I expect them to win by a landslide. Pick – 3 units on Eels -12.5 point start
Eels -12.53 at 1.80+2.4
Rabbitohs v Warriors
The Rabbitohs are finishing the season with a wet sail and go into this off a spirited win over the Bulldogs, meanwhile the Warriors are quite the opposite as they’re going from bad to worse following another lifeless display against the Raiders last week in losing by 20 points.
There is absolutely nothing to like about the Warriors as their all-round defence (particularly close to their line) is terrible, their attack offers very few challenges for the opposition defence and I can see the Rabbitohs easily brushing them aside here.
The return of Foran at five-eighth for the Warriors doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how ineffective he’s been for them and I can’t see much changing in terms of their ability to cross the white line here. The Rabbitohs have a multi-pronged attack and can hurt the Warriors across the park, particularly if the Burgess brothers put in another big effort as they’ll thrive charging into the Warriors soft forward pack.
The bookies have set the line around eight points here but when you consider the Warriors have won just once outside of Auckland all season and how badly they’ve been going of late, along with the fact the Rabbitohs are playing some good footy then that line should be swallowed up early and buried as the match progresses. Pick - 4 units on Rabbitohs -7.5 point start (BEST BET)
Rabbitohs -7.54 at 1.90+3.6
Knights v Storm
Having won three matches on the trot the Knights will go into this with a spring in their step but unfortunately they’re going to hit a brick wall in the form of the best side in the competition. There is so much to like about the Knights consistent effort and heart but this is going to be a big step up from the Dragons, Warriors and Eels with the latter being guilty of taking the Knights too lightly which is something the Storm definitely won’t do.
With Munster returning to start at five-eighth for the Storm they have their very formidable ‘spine’ back in place and as gutsy as the Knights have been there’s still no escaping the fact they boast the second worst defence in the competition which the Storm will ask questions of all game.
The three-win streak of the Knights has served to reduce the line for this clash as the bookies have shown a degree of confidence in them but this is a big step up and the ever consistent Storm should cover it with relative ease. Pick – 3 units on Storm -12.5 point start
Storm -12.53 at 1.90+2.7
Roosters v Tigers
The Roosters were huge last week against the Storm in Melbourne but came up agonisingly short, they’ll have taken plenty of heart out of that effort though and will look to roll up their sleeves again here against a resurgent Tigers side who are coming off a courageous comeback win over the Sea Eagles.
Whilst the Tigers have clearly gotten better as the seasons progressed they’re still a side that’s well outside the top eight and do have some big chinks in their armour which the Roosters will expose. The Tigers appear short on attacking options close to the line with Brooks having to pick up the bulk of the duties as the jury is still out on whether Lolohea is more of an asset or a liability at five-eighth and against a very good defensive side such as the Roosters it’ll come back to bite them as points will be hard to come by.
The bookies have put out a decent line for the Roosters to cover but they’re a side that’s got their eye on finishing second and won’t lack motivation, their forward pack operated a lot better with Friend back at dummy-half last week and they’ll roll on up the middle and give Pearce / Keary plenty of good momentum to launch from. Pick - 3 units on Roosters -12.5 or better point start
Roosters -12.03 at 1.90-3