NRL ROUND 5
Sharks v Roosters
The pre-season favouritism tag for the Roosters is looking shaky after being humbled by the Warriors last week in a truly one-sided affair; things don’t get any easier for them here either taking on a Sharks side that’s fresh off a scrappy win over the Storm.
The Sharks have named both Moylan and Dugan to start here, two very experienced players returning at a crucial time against a Roosters side who despite looking like All-Stars on paper have been far off playing as such.
The seasoned forward pack of the Sharks were at their best last week in muscling up on the Storm and will look to replicate that effort against a much-hyped Roosters pack who were somewhat bullied by the Warriors last week. Both sides are boasting star-studded backlines but just how much room they have to move will depend on the battle up front where the Sharks have the edge for mine however the Roosters will have an extra spring in their step after being humiliated by the Warriors last week – these sides can’t be separated and the smart money is on a photo-finish. Pick – 2 units on either side to win by 6 points and under
Dragons v Rabbitohs
The Dragons made it four from four last week as they steamrolled the Knights 30-12; they will be tested here against a Rabbitohs side who have won two on the trot and only recently beat the Dragons in the Charity Shield match.
What’s really stood out in the Dragons performances to date is how big and mobile their forward pack is, almost bullying their way to the advantage line each time they have the ball and how well Ben Hunt has slotted into the halves along with Widdup as the two look like they’ve been playing together for years.
The loss of Sam Burgess (suspension) is a huge blow for the Bunnies as they really needed his power and aggression against this Dragons pack however the return of Reynolds at halfback does somewhat offset the loss as his kicking game has been missed.
I can’t see the Dragons losing this at Jubilee Oval in front of a huge crowd in what will be Jason Nightingales 250th NRL match, I can however see the Rabbitohs making a game of it and a win in the margins to the Dragons is definitely on the cards. Pick – 2 units on Dragons to win by 12 points and under
Warriors v Cowboys
There’s something not right with the Cowboys thus far as they look flat, almost disinterested at times, they had all the motivation last Thursday to put in a huge game against the Panthers but were out-passioned and out-played.
The Warriors announced to all and sundry that they are the read-deal this year in thrashing the Roosters, they completely dominated in every aspect of the match and looked like a very well-drilled, hungry and fit unit as they have in all four games now. The return of both Mannering and Johnson to the side will only add to their confidence here and unless the Cowboys have managed to have an attitude transplant during the week then they’re up for a very tough day at the office in front of what will be a huge Warriors home crowd as fans return in droves.
The bookies have not been able to separate these sides which is purely based on reputation and not current form; we’ll back on current form however and will take the Warriors to win and go 5 – 0 to start the season. Pick – 3 units on Warriors to win
Broncos v Knights
Whatever was up with the Broncos in their thrashing at the hands of the Titans last week you can be sure Wayne Bennett will have subsequently addressed it and they’ll be a much more focused and energised side here which is not great news for the Knights.
Both sides have similar records with two wins a piece and points differentials deep in the negatives but of the two it’s the Broncos that have been the most underwhelming when you consider the side they have on paper, being particularly poor on attack having scored just 59 points. Even though he’s out wide on the wing the inclusion this week of Corey Oates is big for the Broncos as he’s a large unit that chimes in all over the field and is always a handful to put down, his energy will be welcomed by the Broncos here.
The Broncos are due a break-out performance this season and have the side to really do some damage to the Knights; a lot of pressure is on the forward pack to lay a good foundation for their halves Milford and Nikorima but after the serving Bennett has likely given them this week they should be primed for the challenge.
The bookies have put these sides at even odds and we’ll take the good value on the Broncos to get a much needed confidence boosting win. Pick - 4 units on Broncos to win (BEST BET)
Eels v Panthers
Being without their key playmaker Nathan Cleary last week wasn't a problem in the end for the Panthers as they ran riot over a woeful Cowboys side; this week will be a different story though against what will be a very fired up Eels side desperate to avoid a fifth straight loss and further embarrasment for the club.
The Eels did show some life in the second half last week against the Tigers, outscoring them three tries to two in a losing effort, and they'll be buoyed by that considering how poor their attack has been in the opening rounds.
Eels fans are losing patience quickly as expectations were rightfully high that they could kick on from their good 2017 season and this match simply has to be the one where they turn things around.
Sure the Panthers did surprise last week but a lot of that result can be attributed to a very poor Cowboys showing on the night and they'll feel the loss of Cleary a lot more here in the face of a determined Eels wall of defence. Moses and Norman should get some decent momentum from their forwards who will rip into everything and I can see them lighting up the Eels backline. We'll take the Eels to get their first win of the season in style. Pick - 4 units on Eels to win
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Week Twenty-Two +6.11 16 38% LOST Week Twenty-One +10.12 11 92% WON Week Twenty -0.6 14 -4% LOST Week Nineteen +9.02 15 60% WON Week Eighteen -6.32 13 -49% LOST SOO 3 +5.25 4 130% N/A Week Seventeen -7 7 -100% LOST Week Sixteen -1.7 11 -15% LOST Week Fifteen -3.87 17 -23% LOST Week Fourteen +3.44 10 34% WON SOO 1 +3.64 4 91% N/A Week Thirteen -7 7 -100% LOST Week Twelve +6.34 13 49% WON Week Eleven +1.24 15 8% WON Week Ten +3.96 12 33% WON Week Nine +9.67 10 97% WON Week Eight -1.09 13 8% LOST Week Seven +18.27 15 123% WON Week Six -3.51 15 -23% LOST Week Five -3.3 15 -22% LOST Week Four +3.6 11 33% N/A Week Three -7 7 -100% LOST Week Two -4.5 12 -38% LOST Week One -5.27 11 -48% LOST Total +29.5 294 10% 38%