NRL ROUND 8
Roosters v Dragons
It’s not often a side gets a win after scoring just one try but such was their steely defence last week against the Bulldogs the Roosters managed to pull it off, they will certainly require more offensive production here though against a Dragons side that’s full of points.
Just like the other ANZAC game these two sides are having to back up from Friday night, it’s the Roosters who are likely to have a slight advantage though as the Dragons have had to travel back across the Tasman and were also beaten up pretty bad in Auckland by the energised Warriors pack.
The Roosters have been plagued with inconsistency this season as they’ve been up one week and down the next but this annual fixture always brings the best out in both sides so expect a high-octane encounter with both packs likely to smash each other up. The Roosters will likely take a leaf out of the Warriors book on defending against the Dragons as their rush defence on Hunt and Widdup worked well, limiting the Dragons to an unusually low 12 points.
I like the Roosters to grab the win here as they’ll be slightly fresher and won’t lack motivation as they try and string some wins together as they steady what’s been a up and down start to the season. Pick - 3 units on Roosters to win
Storm v Warriors
Both these sides are faced with the short turn-around here from Friday but it’s the Warriors who will have the heavier legs after beating the Dragons in a match that saw them have only 35% possession which meant a marathon effort on defence.
These ANZAC Day clashes have always been an exciting affair with recent results going more in favour of the Storm but the Warriors are a much tougher nut to crack this season and a blow-out is unlikely.
With their win over the Broncos last week the Storm cemented themselves in the top eight and they are starting to look more like their old selves after a slow start to the season which makes this trip all the more tough for the Warriors who will be without one of their most dominant forwards in Tohu Harris, along with Johnson and Kata -all players they could dearly do with here.
Of the two I can see the Warriors struggling the most to back up from Friday night as they have to make the trip across the Tasman and did tackle themselves to a standstill against the Dragons, sure they’re a very fit unit this season but so too are the Storm who will make the Warriors work just as hard again to stay in the game.
The Storm are favourites here with slightly more than a converted try to cover in the start and I can see them slowly grinding down the Warriors who will be their own worst enemies with another heavy penalty count likely to go against them as fatigue sets in. Pick – 3 units on Storm -6.5 point start
Sea Eagles v Knights
The off field distractions within the Manly camp have derailed the start of what was looking like a promising season but it is not too late to get things back on track and they are presented with a very good opportunity to do so here.
The loss of Mitchell Pearce is a huge blow for the Knights, not only due to his playmaking ability but also his general rugby league IQ and game management and I think the Knights are really going to struggle here for points without him.
The Sea Eagles side are close to full strength and if the last few weeks losses is not motivation enough for them then all they need to do is look at their 13th placing on the ladder which should be a slap in the face for this proud club.
Manly have got all the experience, the playmaking brilliance and the motivation on their side, not to mention homeground advantage so all things considered the small line they have to cover is well worth looking at as they break out of their mini-slump in style. Pack – 4 units on Manly -4.5 point start (BEST BET)
Eels v Tigers
The Eels snapped out of their long losing streak in style last week when they thrashed the Sea Eagles, this match promises to be more difficult though against a Tigers side that have surprised this season but do go into this off the back of a tough loss to Newcastle.
It’s been said all season that this Eels side on paper should not be languishing down the bottom of the table and that win last week should be enough to spark some belief in the side and a confident Eels side will be a very dangerous one.
The halves combination of Norman and Moses has been out of sorts for the early rounds but the signs were very positive last week that they have rediscovered the form from late last season that had the Eels as one of the favourites to make the top for this year.
With the side they have on paper it is fair to say the Tigers have been punching above their weight thus far; over recent weeks they have discovered their attacking game but that has come at the expense of their rock solid defensive game. Sides have worked out how to crack what was a near impregnable Tigers defence in the early rounds and with a bit of confidence following last week’s win I can see the Eels clocking up quite a decent total here.
We will take the underdog Eels for the upset as the Tigers suffer their 2nd loss on the trot. Pack – 3 units on Eels to win
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET 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 +12.07 136 9% 40%