NRL ROUND 22
Cowboys v Broncos
Despite the fact it's been a farewell season to forget for JT he can still salvage some on field joy from it and a final victory here over their Queensland foe would bring a big smile to his face and all of his teammates will be well aware of just how much this game will mean to him.
With Jensen, Lowe and Coote all named in the reserves for the Cowboys (and likely to play) they're as close to full strength as they've been all season and with this being JT's second to last game at home the atmosphere is going to be absolutely electric.
The Broncos were humbled by the Bulldogs last week in a 36-22 upset and having conceded 424 points thus far have the 7th worst defence in the competition which will be severely tested here against a fired up Cowboys who are coming off a solid (but unsuccessful) outing against the Roosters last week.
The Cowboys are the underdog's here but with the enormity of the occasion - JT's second to last home game against the 'big brother' Broncos with a huge crowd expected - it's hard to resist backing them for victory as they certainly have the side on paper to get the job done and won't lack any motivation. Pick - 3 units on Cowboys to win
Warriors v Knights
I’m not sure what it is about this time of the season but it appears that defence has gone out the door with attack being the order of the day with so many high-scoring games and on a clear Auckland night I can see this match being no different.
The Warriors are still without Harris but have a very formidable looking attack that could do some serious damage to the Knights whilst the Knights have looked sharp themselves on attack following the return of Pearce several weeks back.
With Luke dominating the ruck and Johnson taking it to the line the Warriors look the goods on attack and they’ll be eyeing this game as their chance to cement a finals spot. It’s tempting to back the Warriors to cover the start but their defence is somewhat unpredictable and the Knights do have some damaging players and will be looking to end the season well. The smart option here is the total combined line to be covered. Pick – 3 units on total combined points ‘over’ 42.5
Rabbitohs v Roosters
Both these sides look set to go deep into the finals as, along with the Storm, they’ve been the benchmark and this promises to be a very close encounter.
The loss of Inglis earlier in the season didn’t have anywhere near the expected impact on the Rabbitohs as they’ve kicked on, mostly off the back of their forward pack dominance which has seen their backline with plenty of space and momentum. Keary’s absence from the Roosters halves is a big blow and will be felt here as Matterson is still finding his feet but given how well their forwards have been going as well as the likes of Tedesco and Mitchell in the backs then they’re still a very formidable attacking side.
The bookies have the Rabbitohs as slight favourites here but I like the Roosters to edge them as they’ve progressively gotten better and better as the seasons progressed and have looked the form side of the competition this past month and I just feel they have one or two more attacking weapons than the Bunnies do. It’ll be a close one and we’ll take the value in the margins win. Pick – 3 units on Roosters to win by 12 points and under
Titans v Panthers
This is another match that promises plenty of attacking action as the Panthers are choc-full of offensive firepower who will be relishing the chance at carving up the worst defence in the competition, whilst the Titans themselves are capable of racking up a few tries of their own.
There’s a lot of like about these early afternoon games played in bright sunshine and with plenty of ball movement as the players go back to basics in conditions they grew up playing footy in.
There’s not a lot more to say here, you’ve got one very good attacking side, one fairly good attacking side and one defence that’s struggled all year to keep the opposition out – we’ll happily back the combined line to go ‘overs’ here. Pick – 4 units on total combined points ‘over’ 46.5 (BEST BET)
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
The Sea Eagles have looked very good over the past fortnight with Walker at five-eighth making a big impact and taking some of the attacking load off DCE; their forward pack has also notably stepped up after some soft efforts and all and all they’re a dangerous prospect for anyone in the competition when they’re on.
The Bulldogs stunned the Broncos last week as they turned on an attacking masterclass and it would seem, just like with the Sea Eagles, the prospect of the wooden spoon is a big motivating factor behind their late-season form.
It’s the Sea Eagles that have the much stronger of the sides here, especially with Walker in the Halves and they’ll have more to offer on attack as they look to restore the lost faith of their fans. Pick – 3 units on Sea Eagles -5.5 or better point start
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%