NRL ROUND 7
Bulldogs v Roosters
The Roosters are following a pattern of putting in a solid performance one week then dropping their standards the next so after a disappointing effort against the Rabbitohs last week you’d expect them to be back to their best here, especially given the mounting pressure a number of players now find themselves under.
The Bulldogs go into this off the back of their best performance of the season, easily accounting for the Cowboys in Townsville, with their forward pack in particular stepping up; they’ll be in for a much tougher battle up front here though as I expect the Roosters pack to be well and truly up for this, especially JWH who was publicly called out by coach Trent Robinson.
The halves combination of Cronk and Keary has been up and down, mostly as a result of their forwards being so too; we’ve seen glimpses of how devastating the two of them can be together this season but now’s the time to really make a statement and off the back of a good ride from their forwards they’ll product the goods here.
We’ll take the Roosters to yet again follow up a bad performance with a very good one and easily cover the start on offer. Pick - 3 units on Roosters -6.5 or better point start
Warriors v Dragons
Such is the demand of this competition that it’s inevitable the high-flying teams will have off days as was the case with the Warriors last week against the Broncos but they’ll have learnt a lot from that loss and will be much better here; the Dragons have yet to have an ‘off’ day but it’s coming and I suspect they’ll struggle to match the Warriors intensity here.
In their first five games of the season the Warriors showed they’re a totally different side to that of recent times with key signings such as Blair, Harris, Hiku and Green all slotting in brilliantly and bringing that much needed professionalism and accuracy that’s been lacking for so long. The fact the Warriors were so flat last week yet were still in the game for the most part is another testament to just how far they’ve come and this new lease on life will be on full display here as they return to the level of intensity that we saw in the opening five rounds.
These two forward packs are amongst the more feared in the competition and it’s going to be a match full of very heavy collisions, ultimately though I see the Warriors pack stepping up and providing the Dragons with stiffer resistance to that which they’ve experienced thus far and the Warriors dangerous backline will feed off that.
The bookies have the Dragons as the slight favourites which is good for us as we’ll take the value on the Warriors to get the win and end the Dragons unbeaten run. Pick - 3 units on Warriors to win
Cowboys v Titans
This could be just the match that the Cowboys need to break out of their horrid run; up against a fellow Queensland side who they are familiar with and have had the measure of over recent time. It is just a matter of time before the Cowboys ‘click’ as they simply have too strong of a side to continue in the manner in which they’ve been playing and I can certainly see this match as being a big turnaround for them.
The Titans look stronger and more consistent this year with a forward pack that’s putting their hands up and an exciting halves combination of Elgey and Taylor but they’re still lacking experience across the board which could cost them here taking on a desperate and very experienced Cowboys side.
The bookies have the Cowboys as favourites but the line to cover is less than a converted try and I can see them doing so easily as their forwards find their feet and JT and Morgan rediscover the devastating combination that has terrorised defensive lines over recent times. Pick - 4 units on Cowboys -4.5 point start (best bet) and 1 unit on Cowboys to win by 13+
Eels v Sea Eagles
We’re going to take a punt on the Eels here as like the Cowboys they simply have too much talent in their side to keep putting in abject performances and it feels like the right time to be playing Manly given all the off-field distraction around Hastings, not to mention the revenge factor after they were thumped 54-0 by the men from the Northern Beaches in round three.
The return of Hayne is not quite the head-turner it would have been in past years given his poor stats after returning from the NFL but there is life in those legs yet and even though he’s named on the wing I’ve no doubt he’ll chime in across the park and will play a big role in getting the Eels attack firing.
The value on the Eels win is worth having a look at here as they will certainly not be lacking motivation after only recently being embarrassed by this opposition and I believe now is their time to shine. Pick – 2 units on Eels to win
Sharks v Panthers
The form of the Panthers following Cleary’s injury has been solid as James Maloney has taken the attacking duties by the scruff of the neck and has had a massive influence over each result; whether they deserve the firm favouritism the bookies have given them here though I’m not so sure of.
The Sharks have been hit with injuries, notably to Gallen and Graham (although the later has been named) but they’re still fielding a very strong pack and exciting backline who will be fired up following some soft performances of late.
The value is hard to go past and we’ll continue the underdog trend and back the Sharks for the upset win in the margins. Pick - 2 units on Sharks to win by 12 points and under
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET 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 +4.85 222 2% 35%