2016 NRL Round 12 Preview


Brisbane Broncos v Wests Tigers

The Tigers would be excited by the fact that they are fortunate to meet the Broncos right before Origin 1. This has meant that the Broncos lose 6 players to Origin duty, the most of any team. Fortunately, they still have 3/4 of their spine present, while still having a presence of experienced representative players that have featured for NZ. The talent is still there for the Broncos and the Tigers cannot get caught up thinking that this will be an easy contest. The Broncos will be egger to bounce back from their 1-point loss to the Cowboys last week in another thrilling encounter between the two sides. It is difficult to read them following that game, as many players will not feature; although you can be assured that those youngsters included for this match will be out to make a name for themselves. The Tigers had a win in their contest; albeit a lot closer than they would’ve preferred against the Knights. They always appeared to have the game in control and the improving effort of the Knights ensured that it was tough for the Tigers to pile on a large amount of points. They too are impacted by Origin and again, their young halves will have to take responsibility for their performance. That hasn’t worked well for them in the past and it will be interesting to see how they handle it this time around.

Team News
Broncos = Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire have all been called into the Queensland Origin team. Jordan Kahu shifts to fullback, Greg Eden and Lachlan Maranta fill the vacant wing positions. Jarrod Wallace starts at lock, Alex Glenn and Jaydn Su’a (NRL Debut) second row and Joe Ofahengaue prop. This allows Jai Arrow, Herman Ese’ese and Tevita Pangai Jnr (NRL Debut) to come onto the bench.
Tigers = Tim Grant will start at prop for Aaron Woods (Origin), while Sauso Sue (injury) comes onto the bench. Kevin Naiqama (injury) also returns in the centres.

Overall = Broncos 19 Draw 1 Tigers 4
Last 5 matches = Broncos 5 Tigers 0
At Suncorp Stadium = Broncos 61% Tigers 33%
Form = Broncos 1 loss – Tigers 1 win

Even with their stars missing, the Broncos will head into this game as favorites, with some offering ridiculous odds. Problem is, the players that are out for the Tigers will have a limiting affect on their performance as a team; perhaps more than the missing players for the Broncos will. It has been a long time since the Tigers have beaten the Broncos as well and you have to go back to Round 17 in 2010 to find that. The inclusion of the halves for the Broncos will mean that their structure in attack should be ready to fire, while they will rely on their rugged defence to keep them competitive. The Tigers are conceding too many points in this area of the game in 2016 and until they learn how to limit their opponents scoring opportunities, they will even struggle to overcome an understrength Broncos team. This game will be closer than suggested and punters should aim to invest in the line markets. The Broncos will have plenty of points in them, but without the usual attacking weapons on the edges and the same platform created in the middle of the field, they will have to work harder to pull away from their opponents. Nevertheless, at the end of 80 minutes, they should prevail by less than 2 converted tries.

Suggested Bet
Tigers +12.5 @ $1.90

Bucking Broncos = Broncos 1-12 @ $2.80 – As stated above, the Broncos will have to work harder for points. Even with the Tigers poor defensive record, they will still find it tough; thus, keeping the game closer than expected.

Forgotten Man = James Roberts FTS and/or LTS @ $8 – Roberts can consider himself somewhat unlucky for missing out on Origin selection. Don’t worry, he will be out to make a statement in this game and show the Blues what they’ve missed out on by not selecting him.

St George-Illawarra Dragons v North Queensland Cowboys

The Dragons were unable to make it consecutive victories last week, going down to the Rabbitohs by 10-points in a scrappy affair. While the Rabbitohs were not at their best, the Dragons failed to capitalize and allowed their opponents to take greater control the longer the match went on. While their attack was questionable, it appeared to be an area of improvement for them in this match. The loss of Dugan will limit them in this encounter, but it is something they can overcome with the return of Marshall. They will also breath a sigh of relief that the Cowboys are without 5 of their Origin stars, most notably their halves. The disruption among the Cowboys team overshadows what was a great performance last week in beaten the Broncos by 1-point in the dying stages. The fight they showed to overcome their opponent’s lead in the match and grab the win was great and now the players stepping in to fill the void will need to maintain the same level of motivation. This will be difficult for them, but players always relish the challenge.

Team News
Dragons = Josh Dugan (Origin) has been replaced by Jason Nightingale, while Kurt Mann comes onto the wing. Joel Thompson (suspension) returns will start in the second row, but this could change with Tyson Frizell being released from Origin camp. Benji Marshall (injury) is named to return at halfback.
Cowboys = Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Matt Scott, Justin O’Neill and James Tamou are away on Origin duty. Jahrome Hughes (5/8) and Ray Thompson (halfback) are the new halves pairing, while Javid Bowen is named in the centres. Ben Hannant and Scott Bolton are the new props, with Coen Hess and Rory Kostjasyn coming onto the bench.

Overall = Dragons 12 Cowboys 15
Last 5 matches = Dragons 1 Cowboys 4
At WIN Stadium = Dragons 63% Cowboys 46%
Form = Dragons 1 loss – Cowboys 1 win

Normally, when so many players are missing, the momentum swings towards their opponents. The Dragons will head into this game as favorites but there is hesitation from many in backing them given their dwindling attacking record. Even with this, they should still be too strong for the Cowboys given what they lose with the players that are absent. This means a loss of direction (JT & Morgan), speed (O’Neill) and power (Scott & Tamou); all of which generally contribute to the Cowboys success. They still have several players capable of producing a very strong performance but ultimately, this will mean that the game is close rather than the visitors prevailing. The Dragons need to focus on what is needed to win, rather than who is absent from this game. They took some steps forward last week to increasing their chances at success but it is still a work in progress. The injection of Marshall into this team with increasing confidence, should have an overall positive affect on the team. There is also the Dragons record at WIN Stadium to consider; it is a ground that they enjoy playing at and can be difficult for visiting teams to come down and succeed. With poor conditions expected, invest around this match being close, with the home team eventually prevailing.

Suggested Bet
Either Team Under 6.5 points @ $2.90

Close encounter = Dragons 1-12 @ $2.80 – This game will be close because of the limitations of the two sides. The Dragons will need plenty of possession to bring back their confidence and the Cowboys can be a difficult team to crack. In the end, the Dragons may just scrape home.

Canberra Raiders v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 

The Raiders return back home on the back of an impressive win over the Warriors in New Plymouth. It was a game that they headed into as underdogs and played to a level that surprised most, perhaps a sign towards what they’re capable of also. They only lose one player to Origin and will be confident heading into this match knowing that they’ve already beaten the Bulldogs once this year, a 22-8 upset in Round 5 at Belmore. As has been the struggle for them in recent years, they need to focus on consistency and make a charge when other teams are impact by representative duty. The Bulldogs are fortunate to be coming off a victory over the Roosters and will be out to make in 3 wins in a row here. Their margin of victory was closer than they would’ve liked, nevertheless, there was improving efforts from their halves and forwards. The intensity in their play has increased in recent weeks and they will be out to make sure that this is maintained. Thankfully, they only lose two players here and majority of their creativity should remain constant with the halves featuring. Now, the challenge will be to maintain the strong intensity that their forwards have set each week and take the contest to their opponents. This was one area that they were outplayed in last time and they need to improve on that effort if they were aiming to capture a win here.

Team News
Raiders = Sia Soliola and Shaun Fensom (injury) return and will take their place in the back row. This covers for Josh Papalii (Origin) and forces Luke Bateman back to the bench.
Bulldogs = David Klemmer and Josh Jackson (both Origin) are out. Josh Morris was named in the Blues squad but is expected to play here after being released. Tim Browne will start at lock, while Raymond Faitala-Mariner will be in the second row. Danny Fualalo and Adam Elliot come onto the bench.

Overall = Raiders 14 Bulldogs 17
Last 5 matches = Raiders 2 Bulldogs 3
At GIO Stadium = Raiders 44% Bulldogs 50%
Form = Raiders 1 win – Bulldogs 2 wins

Momentum is with both teams but it is hard to overlook the Raiders. They were great last week on the road and a performance like that has been a long-time coming for them. Now, they return to their home ground and face a team that they have already beaten this year. They will head into the match as favorites and rightly so, given how dominant they were against the Bulldogs prior. Their opponents have the disadvantage of taking the field weaker in the forwards but will also have revenge on their mind. The Bulldogs have been impressive in their last two wins, but they have not exactly overcome quality opponents. They may find the Raiders too strong for them again in this game, as travelling south to Canberra when it begins to get cold is never an easy trip to make. As for the margin of victory, unlike their previous meeting, this game will be a lot closer. The Bulldogs will look to limit the scoring opportunities of their opponents and frustrate them into mistake. If they give the Raiders room to move, they may punish their opponents. There is no certainty of how this match will play out other than the fact that the home team should be able to cover the line offered and grab victory.

Suggested Bet
Raiders -3.5 @ $1.90

Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels

The Knights suffered another loss last week, this time it was at the hands of the Tigers and it did little to erase their poor recent run of form. However, it was pleasing to see a greater effort from the Knights in the contest, as sign that this club may just be heading, albeit slowly, in the right direction. A win for this team is not far off and with the troubles their opponents are experiencing, they may just sense an opportunity to capitalize. It appears as though everything that can go wrong for the Eels is going wrong. They were spirited in their match against the Storm, with a late try closing the margin of victory in favour of the visitors, to 12-points. Regardless, it was an improved defensive display from a struggling outfit. Kieran Foran’s return didn’t have the intended affect as their attack was continually halted by a superior defensive structure. Since then, Corey Norman and Junior Paulo have been brought into question for their off-field actions and the club appears to be struggling further to distance themselves from any negative headlines. The team is vulnerable at the moment and the confidence they were playing with early in the season appears to have been knocked out of them. If they’re not careful, they could find themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard against a team that is desperate to grab another win.

Team News
Knights = Dane Gagai (Origin) has been replaced at fullback by Jake Mamo, meaning that Cory Denniss will come onto the wing. Jaelen Feeney is named at 5/8 for Brock Lamb (injured), while Sam Mataora comes into the starting team for Jack Stockwell.
Eels = Vai Toutai is named in the centres for Michael Jennings (Origin).

Overall = Knights 18 Eels 14
Last 5 matches = Knights 4 Eels 1
At Hunter Stadium = Knights 59% Eels 29%
Form = Knights 5 losses – Eels 2 losses

Both sides are desperate to grab a win to put some tough times behind them but ultimately, the team who wants this win more will get it. The Eels were solid against a very good Melbourne team on Monday, suggesting that if they play up to that level again, they will be a chance of winning here. Player availability is also and issue and without Scott and Foran, the Eels will struggle, while the Knights success in the middle depends upon Jeremy Smith. With all players expected to feature (stay connected to Twitter for final team news), the Eels may just have the edge over their opponents. In the modern game, it is not often that teams have a losing streak longer than 5-6 matches and the Knights will sense that this is the ideal time to end their run of losses. The stars appear to be aligned also, an improved effort last week, returning home for the first time since a thrashing and the Eels very vulnerable. Rather than take them for the win, the ideal selection appears to be the home team with the line in their favor. There is still doubt around how the Eels will perform with the issues that are going on and this could cause the game to be extremely close.

Suggested Bet
Knights +8.5 @ $1.95

Good luck!



Hey guys, i'm Scooby! I have followed Rugby League since I was young enough to watch it and growing up in Sydney, it was inevitable. I will always make it my business to watch all 8 NRL fixtures per week and follow it with more than just passion. During my playing career, I have played at several representative levels, with and against current players. I began writing previews on NRL games early on in 2012 and really found a passion within this. I enjoy listening to various people and their opinions on the game, and then forming my own. Coupled together with another passion, gambling, I soon learnt that there was a market out there for more than the rugby league diehards. Hopefully I can pass on my knowledge of the game to help you win some cash.

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