NRL ROUND 23
Broncos v Rabbitohs
This shapes as a massive game for the Broncos after two losses on the trot to teams outside the top eight and with the Tigers breathing down their neck for a spot in the finals this is close to an absolute must win for the home side.
The return of Kahu and McGuire for the Broncos will be a big boost as Kahu will be a steadying figure in the centres and McGuire a huge presence up front which will be very welcome against a big and bullying Rabbitohs pack.
There's talk of division in the ranks at the Broncos but this is when Bennett is at his finest as a coach and he will use a 'them versus us' mentality with the outside world and they'll be absolutely primed for the win here.
The Rabbitohs struggled to breach a courageous Roosters defensive line last week and could really do with one or two more attacking weapons in their backline which could cost them again here as the Broncos defence will be up for everything thrown at them.
The Broncos have a very strong side on paper that should be challenging for a top four spot, not fighting to stay in the eight and I believe we'll see them at their best here as they get the victory on home soil at good odds. Pick - 3 units on Broncos to win
Sea Eagles v Titans
This is the Sea Eagles final home game for 2018 and given what a disappointing season it's been they'll be desperate to end things on a high in front of their loyal home fans.
Both sides boast a similarly disgraceful defensive record with over 1000 combined points conceded between them which makes for a potentially high-scoring game but I can see the Sea Eagles really coming to play and if last weeks effort, where they held the Bulldogs to just 6 points, was anything to go by then they'll make the Titans work very hard for every try.
It's a pity the Sea Eagles haven't had DCE and Walker in the halves together all season as they'd have won more games and it's that combination once again that will cause the most damage here as they'll play a big hand in this dangerous Sea Eagles backline carving the Titans to shreds.
The Sea Eagles have been good since they were slapped in the face by the Roosters several weeks back and look set on finishing the season with a wet sail - we'll take them to finish their home campaign of 2018 on a big high and cover the line. Pick - 3 units on Sea Eagles -7.5 point start
Tigers v Dragons
The Tigers are playing like a team on a mission to make the finals whilst the Dragons appear to be a team that’s sinking fast and if not for their fast start to the season would be well outside finals contention given their atrocious second half of the season which reached new lows with their 40-4 thrashing by the Eels last week.
It’s fairly obvious the Dragons, after following a similar pattern in the past couple of seasons, have been poorly conditioned to be at the top of their game for the full season and with the massive loss of Widdup to injury their task of dragging themselves off the floor just got a whole lot harder as he has been pivotal in all of their attack.
As the seasons progressed the Tigers attack has steadily improved and it’s looked even sharper since Farah joined the side and has taken command of the ruck which has kept defences backpedalling and provided Marshall and Brooks with plenty of good ball to work with. Another string added to their bow has been the mid-season acquisition of Mbye at fullback who has been a force at the back and another one of the reasons why the attack is humming along.
There’s a sense of dead-man-walking about the Dragons who look tired and devoid of answers whilst the Tigers are the opposite as they attempt to do what looked several weeks ago to be the impossible and make the finals. Pick – 4 units on Tigers -2.5 point start (BEST BET)
Bulldogs v Warriors
Just two weeks back the Bulldogs put 36 points on the Broncos at this same venue and like a number of other sides down the bottom of the ladder have shown massive improvement as the curtain slowly comes down on their season which makes this anything but an easy win for the Warriors.
Whilst the Warriors away performances this season have been mostly very good they have had a few absolute shockers with the huge loss to the underdog Titans being their most recent so they are very much susceptible to being ambushed.
On their day the Warriors are one of the most difficult sides in the competition to defend against, with Johnsons pace at the line, Luke’s work around the ruck and RTS at the back and I can see plenty of points in them here against a Bulldogs defence that’s been opened up many times this season. On the flip-side I can also see the Bulldogs attack coming to the party as they really have nothing to lose and only have a few opportunities to delight their fans before the season comes to an end.
This is an early afternoon game due to be played in fine conditions and everything points to a high-scoring affair. Pick - 4 units on total combined points 'over' 42.5 or better
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final -6 6 -100% N/A Week Three Finals +6.44 7 92% WON Week Two Finals -7 7 -100% LOST Week One Finals +12.96 12 108% WON Week Twenty-Five -11.27 17 -66% LOST Week Twenty-Four +6.36 15 42% WON Week Twenty-Three +0.54 14 4% LOST 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 +31.53 372 8% 40%