Cronulla Sharks (2nd) v Melbourne Storm (1st)
The Sharks enjoyed a week off after a 1-point victory over the Bulldogs in Round 12, minus their Origin stars. It was a determined victory that showed just how capable this team could be. Talent was still present and the older, more experienced members of this squad stood up and took control of the outcome. Given the recent form of the Bulldogs, perhaps the victory wasn’t as impressive as first thought but given the circumstances, they will take it. Having 54% of possession assisted their cause, although their errors were still high (13 for the match); surprisingly, they have the highest amount of errors of any team in the competition (12.2 per game). Hosting the Storm will increasing the interest in this game, as it is not only a replay of last years GF but also of their thrilling Round 6 match where the Sharks won 11-2. In that game, they unearthed a power game that targeted the key players for the Storm and they pressured them relentlessly. Since then, the Storm have regained top spot in the competition through consistent performances. Last weeks 28-point win over the Knights went a long way to rebuilding their confidence. That was their second consecutive win, following an upset 2-point loss to the Titans in Round 10. Unlike the Sharks, the Storm are committing just 10.7 errors per game and rely upon a strong completion rate to dominate a contest or keep them within striking distance of their opponents. There is no love lost between these two teams and this game promises to be yet another exciting contest.
Sharks = Jack Bird (centres), James Maloney (5/8), Andrew Fifita (prop) and Wade Graham (second row) return from Origin and will start, with a host of players dropping out of the 17 altogether. The only player kept on the bench Chris Heighington.
Storm = Cameron Smith (rested) is named at hooker, pushing Bradon Smith out of the team. Jordan McLean is named to start, pushing Slade Griffin back to the bench.
Overall = Sharks 12 Storm 21
Last 5 matches = Sharks 3 Storm 2
At Southern Cross Group Stadium = Sharks 55% Storm 54%
Form = Sharks 4 wins – Storm 2 wins
The Sharks have won the two last contests between these teams and they have broken down the Storm with relentless pressure targeting their key players. In doing this, they have taken them completely out of the game, requiring other players to step up. The Storm head into this game as slight favorites, which could attributed to the Sharks struggling a home this season; their 3 losses this year have been here, giving them a 50% record at this ground. Nevertheless, after a week off, they should be ready to fire for this game as their Origin players have had time to recover. The Storm didn’t exactly have a difficult encounter against the Knights and will take plenty of confidence away from that effort. Of the past 5 meetings, the score has been close in all but 2 games, with the Storm winning both those games by 20 and 28 points; regardless, the quality of the Sharks has dramatically improved since then and they will be ready for what the Storm throws at them in this game. Each team has players that are pushing for Origin selection, with that factor expected to bring out the best in them throughout this match. Conditions are expected to be tough also and with that in mind, the winning margin should be less than a converted try. Despite only winning 4 out of the past 10 meeting between the two sides, the Sharks appear set to prevail yet again. Rather than take them outright, invest on this game being a close contest and only take the Sharks if forced to in tipping competitions.
Either team under 6.5 points @ $2.50
Manly-Warrigah Sea Eagles (6th) v Newcastle Knights (16th)
The Sea Eagles won their second Golden Point victory of the season over the Raiders last week, this time at home. After jumping to a 20-6 HT lead, the Sea Eagles appeared set to pile a big score on their opponents, yet they went scoreless until the extra time period. As they scrambled to cover the Raiders vast attack, the Sea Eagles missed a massive 48 tackles, with their 85% completion rate getting them through the match. Here, they will aim to keep the momentum rolling against a team that is languishing down the bottom of the competition ladder. The Knights were luckless in their trip to Melbourne on Friday, comprehensively beaten 40-12. Unsurprisingly, there was a distinct lack of class between the two sides and with just 42% of possession, the Knights failed to gather any momentum against their opponents. They made 77 more tackles than the Storm and it showed as they looked tired in defence and missed numerous 1-on-1 tackles that lead to points. Now that the Knights have passed the halfway point of the season, they need to build as much momentum as possible heading into next year. This includes developing younger players and attempting to instill confidence despite their poor results. It is no surprise that coach, Nathan Brown, is persisting with the same lineup of younger players to provide them with as much exposure as possible.
Sea Eagles = Jonathon Wright comes onto the wing for Jorge Taufua (injured).
Knights = Mitchel Barnett is named at lock, swapping with Luke Yates, who is relegated to the bench. Josh King, who replaces Sam Stone, will join him.
Overall = Sea Eagles 15 Knights 12
Last 5 matches = Sea Eagles 5 Knights 0
At Lottoland = Sea Eagles 63% Knights 20%
Form = Sea Eagles 2 wins – Knights 2 losses
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Knights appear to be hard-pressed attempting to win this match. That has been a trend for them during 2017 and it doesn’t look set to change. To make matters worse, they have a very poor record against the Knights; they have recorded just 1 win in the past 9 meetings between the two sides, with their last victory coming back in Round 19, 2012. On top of that, they haven’t won at this ground since 2006. The quality simply isn’t present for them this year and while they are expected to improve on their efforts last week, it will not be enough to alter the result of this match. This game becomes a question of how much the Sea Eagles will win by rather than if they will win. The average winning margin for the home team in their past 5 meetings against the Knights sits at 17.8 points, with just 1 being by less than 16 points. The Sea Eagles are too short to take straight out, with the ideal option being an attacking rout of their opponents. The whether on Friday is expected to be poor, which may ultimately limit the amount of points scored. Nevertheless, it should be of little concern to the home team, who still have plenty of available quality at their disposal. Given the recent high-scoring history between these two teams, the Sea Eagles should be capable of covering the line and going on with the job from there.
Sea Eagles -14.5 @ $2
Piling on the points = Sea Eagles 19+ @ $2.40 – The Knights concede the most points of any other team in the competition at an average of 27.8 PPG. The Sea Eagles have shown at home this year that if they get rolling, they can run up a tally. The Knights may just bow to the relentless pressure from their opponents.
Former Flyer = Akuila Uate FTS and/or LTS @ $8 – Go back a few years and Uate was the form winger of the competition, playing for the Kangaroos and a key attacking weapon for the Knights on the wing. After a dip in form last year, he is working back to his best and will be out to remind his former club just how talented he is.
Brisbane Broncos (5th) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (13th)
Despite a host of key players returning, the Broncos were unable to return to the winner’s circle against the Roosters in Sydney. That match was the ideal opportunity for them to move back into the Top 4 after a loss to the Warriors with 7 players missing. Against the Roosters, their defence was pressured over the entire match, with two late tries to the Broncos narrowing the margin and giving them a chance to steal victory. It wasn’t meant to be though and the 55% possession statistic made things appear worse as they failed to penetrated their opponents defensive line. They have an ideal chance to regain confidence against the Rabbitohs, a team they were lucky to beat 25-24 back in Round 8 amid controversial circumstances. For the visitors, they have had a week to get over their lackluster 22-16 defeat by the Eels. Things were looking up for them after they challenged the Storm the previous week; yet just 70% completion rate, 39 missed tackles and 12 errors made things extremely difficult. The lack of effort was most disappointing, as the Rabbitohs appeared lost for answers during several stages of that match. The loss has confined them to the wrong end of the ladder and unless they start to reverse their form, their season is just about over. They will take confidence from their last effort against the Broncos, as well as the fact that they are 4-points off 8th on the ladder. With the competition so close, they will not completely rule out their chances, although they need to change what they are doing, immediately.
Broncos = Anthony Milford (injury) returns to the halves, forcing Benji Marshall out of the 17. Kodi Nikorima (injury) returns on the bench, with Jaydn Su’aA relegated to the reserves.
Rabbitohs = Bryson Goodwin (injury) returns in the centres, pushing Tyrell Fuimaono back to the bench and Robbie Rochow out of the 17.
Overall = Broncos 18 Draw 1 Rabbitohs 7
Last 5 matches = Broncos 4 Rabbitohs 1
At Suncorp Stadium = Broncos 62% Rabbitohs 31%
Form = Broncos 2 losses – Rabbitohs 2 losses
The Rabbitohs will be desperate to put a poor showing behind them, needing to bring a higher level of enthusiasm and execution in this match. Wanting to do that is one thing, actually achieving that is a difficult factor altogether. Betting markets suggest that winning this game is beyond the visitors, even with their impressive display in their last outing against the Broncos. Given their recent efforts, they are going to find the task of winning this match too difficult for them. The Broncos are benefitting from Milford returning to their team and will reignite the successful combination that he had with Ben Hunt prior to his injury, that was until Wayne Bennett stated that Hunt would not take part in this game. This has perhaps left the Rabbitohs with an opportunity to use this to their advantage, although they have a very poor record at Suncorp Stadium to contend with, winning just 4 matches from 13 attempts. Desperation is expected to be a major factor in their game with time running out for them to make a charge towards the Top 8. The Broncos have a superior pack of forwards that will be better than their last outing over the Rabbitohs, although there are similarities between their last meeting and this match. The last time they met, the Broncos were coming of a draining performance over the Titans; now, they have a 6-day turnaround following a tough loss to the Roosters. The Rabbitohs are expected to be fresh after their week off, which may mean the margin of victory is a lot less than most are thinking. Then again, the Broncos have a week off in Round 15 to motivate them to perform well here. They had a close encounter last time and it would be surprising to see the Broncos completely reverse that effort with other factors influencing their performance.
Rabbitohs +12.5 @ $1.80
Gold Coast Titans (11th) v New Zealand Warriors (12th)
Hopes were high that the Titans could head to Townsville and return as winners after the confirmation that the home team would be without JT. What they didn’t count on was that they would be missing starting hooker, Nathan Peats, in a game where the forwards would need to assert dominance. It wasn’t the greatest of matches and having just a 37% possession made things even more difficult. Combine this with 13 total errors, 39 missed tackles and making 114 more tackles than their opponents, just competing in that game was an achievement. The Warriors travel for the second-consecutive week, following an unsuccessful trip to Sydney last week to face the Eels. Their opponents were hampered by injuries heading into the match and lost more players throughout; towards the end of the game they had just 1 fit player on the bench. This took a toll on the Eels and many expected the Warriors to use it to their advantage. It wasn’t to be though, with the Warriors expressing a desire to play controlled football rather than flashy brilliance that creates uncertainty in defensive structures. A soft, game sealing try in the 79th minute to the home team summed up the evening for the visitors. Sitting 4-points out of the Top 8, time is running out for both teams to make their move and press for Finals football. Many would believe that the Titans have played far better than anything the Warriors have offered this season; nevertheless, they cannot afford to take their opponents lightly, especially after losing to them by 6-points in Round 5 in New Zealand.
Titans = Nathan Peats (injury) returns at hooker, pushing Tyrone Roberts back to the bench. Jarryd Hayne shifts to fullback, with Will Zillman moving from the bench to start in the centres.
Warriors = Jacob Lillyman starts at prop for James Gavet (injured), with Bunty Afoa added to the bench.
Overall = Titans 7 Warriors 14
Last 5 matches = Titans 0 Warriors 5
At Cbus Super Stadium = Titans 49% Warriors 60%
Form = Titans 2 losses – Warriors 1 loss
This is a crucial game for both teams as they aim to push their way into the Top 8. Just when it appeared that the Warriors had turned around their season, they performed poorly against the Eels and failed to deliver. This game is another difficult test altogether and the Titans will want to bounce back from their poor showing over the Cowboys last week. The return of Peats is a positive one to improving their attack and defence. On the other hand, the Warriors do not have any major changes to mention and their reversal of form needs to come from the forwards dominating the middle, tightening their defence and playing direct in attack. Just when you thought that they were going to be able to do this, they lacked effort and enthusiasm. This is one asset the Titans have delivered this year in majority of their performances; the home team will also be out to make amends for their loss to the Warriors earlier in the year. The Titans are on a horror run against their opponents; they Warriors have won 13 out of the past 14 matches and in the Gold Coast, the Warriors have won7 out of 11 matches. That aside, the Warriors have changed their play dramatically this season and it clearly hasn’t worked for them; either that or they’ve failed to adjust to playing controlled and measured football. The Titans appear to have their opponents covered in just about every area and despite their opponent’s strong record at this ground, the home team should be able to halt the Warriors run. As for the margin, the past 5 matches have been decided by an average of 10.2 points, with just 1 game (22 point victory to the Warriors in 2015) being by more than 10-points. With little separating the two teams on the table, as well as their earlier encounter this year, expect them to win by less than 2 converted tries.
Titans -2.5 @ $1.90
Titanic effort = Titans 1-12 @ $2.90 – The Titans have the ability to score plenty of points, yet these two teams have a history of close contests. This game is expected to be no different, with the Warriors egger to perform better after failing last week.
Dominating the contest = Konrad Hurrell FTS and/or LTS @ $11 – Hurrell has featured for both teams playing here; scoring 6 tries in 7 matches between the two teams. His attacking ability is improving each week and he is gaining in contest. Expect him to lift for this game against his former club that cut him loose.
Penrith Panthers (10th) v Canberra Raiders (9th)
In a deal done with the city of Bathurst, the Panthers have chosen to move this game to the central west, hoping that their positive record at this ground continues. The Panthers were back to their devastating attacking power last Sunday against the Bulldogs, piling on 38-unanswered points over 80 minutes. Many are aware at the talent that lies within this team and the shift of Moylan to 5/8 has appeared to be the right move for this team. He offered a dimension to their attack that had been evident previously, except on this occasion it was more consistent. More impressively, they kept their opponents scoreless and were relentless with their pressure; it was one of their best efforts for the season as they completed at 86%, missed just 22 tackles and committed 7 errors. The Raiders can only dream of finding their best at this stage of the season, unable to carry over their momentum from their Round 12 win against the Roosters with a loss to the Sea Eagles on the road. They were not without their excuses though, as injuries hampered their interchange rotation and meant that majority of their pack had to play unusually extended minutes. Nevertheless, they didn’t exactly give themselves every chance of winning with a 62% completion rate, 15 total errors and 3 line breaks over 80 minutes. Amazingly, they are still within striking distance of the Top 8 and have plenty to play for against a team that is now breathing down their neck and high on confidence following a last-start win.
Panthers = Unchanged.
Raiders = Iosia Soliola is named at prop to cover for Shannon Boyd (injured), while Luke Bateman starts at lock for Dunamis Lui (injured). Royce Hunt (NRL Debut) is named to come off the bench.
Overall = Panthers 18 Raiders 20
Last 5 matches = Panthers 1 Raiders 4
At Carrington Park = Panthers 67% Raiders 0%
Form = Panthers 2 wins – Raiders 1 loss
The Panthers are a team that thrives with confidence and with their past 2 wins, there is not a better time for them to play a team like the Raiders. This is why they are slight favorites over their opponents, with recent consistency favored in this matchup. Both teams have had their struggles this season yet at their best, there is little to separate them. The Panthers score fewer points per game (22.8 PPG vs. 21.7 PPG) yet have a higher linebreak average (4.7 per game vs. 3.9 per game). In terms of mistakes in a match, the Panthers average 11.3 errors per game (this has decreased since the start of the season) compared with the Raiders 10.8 errors per game; while in defence, the Panthers miss an average of 29 tackles per game compared with the Raiders 29.3 misses per game. With so little to separate the two teams, the outcome of this game may be too close to call. The movement of Moylan to 5/8 has offered the Panthers attack a new dimension and they are not willing to give it up easily. Despite losing players last week, the Raiders conceded majority of their points when they were unaffected by injuries. It was a testament to their character that they were able to fight back, although they have been underwhelming in several other matches this season with no excuses; you only have to look at their loss to the Knights in Round 10 as evidence. With that in mind, take the Panthers in a head-to-head selection but invest on a tight match anywhere else; sit back and allow each team to show what they’re capable of, with consistency, before considering either as a genuine contender.
Either team under 6.5 points @ $2.70
Parramatta Eels (8th) v North Queensland Cowboys (7th)
This game is another NRL fixture that has moved to an alternate ground, with the Eels selecting to take this game to Darwin and attempt to gain more money than they would’ve received with the Cowboys travelling to Sydney. The Eels will be out to emulate their efforts from Round 9, whereby they beat the Cowboys by 20-points up in Townsville. They took plenty away from that morale boosting win; since then they have won 3 out of their past 5 matches. Most recently, they recorded an 8-point win over the Warriors at home in a match that tested their determination and fight, as they were reduced to just 1 reserve on the bench in the closing minutes of the match. It was a sign of just how tough this team can be and if they can get through this difficult time minus a few key players, they are in prime positive to make a charge for the Top 8. The Cowboys sent a warning sign to the rest of the competition last week with a dominating 20-8 win over the Titans. Both teams were missing some players and many will argue that the Cowboys should’ve scored a lot more points in a poor quality match; nevertheless, it was their ability to control just about every area of the game over 80 minutes that was most impressive. With uncertainty still around Thurston’s return to this team, performances like last week are something the Cowboys are going to need each week. If they can improve their current standing on the ladder, they are going to be in an ideal position in the closing rounds to fight for a spot in the Top 4. As it stands now, they are just 2-points off 3rd, separated by an inferior points difference (+3); with their opponents struggling and revenge on their mind, this is a game that they have to come out and win with authority to improve their standing.
Eels = Nathan Davis is named to start on the wing for Josh Hoffman (injured), while Tim Mannah returns at prop for David Gower (injured). Corey Norman is named on the reserves.
Cowboys = Justin O’Neill (injury) returns in the centres for Javid Bowen. Ray Thompson makes way in the halves for Kyle Laybutt (NRL Debut). Johnathan Thurston is named on the reserves yet again.
Overall = Eels 17 Draw 1 Cowboys 16
Last 5 matches = Eels 2 Cowboys 3
At TIO Stadium = Eels 100% Cowboys 100%
Form = Eels 2 wins – Cowboys 1 win
With this game moved to Darwin, you would think that either team would struggle with this fixture; this isn’t the case as amazingly, neither team has lost a game at this venue. The Cowboys wouldn’t be too unhappy with the move, as it is less travel time than heading to Sydney, with the Eels having to contend with a long flight. The Cowboys have been installed as slight favorites for this game, with many believing that the Eels have turned their season around with their last two efforts; taking their tally to 5 wins out of their past 7 matches. To put things into perspective though, the Eels have only defeated a woeful Rabbitohs team and an underperforming Warriors outfit. Winnings form is good form, although winning against teams placed 12th and 13th on the ladder is vastly different to the quality that the Cowboys have offered. With this in mind, the Cowboys are somewhat over the odds. Sure, they failed to pile points on the Titans with a major share of possession, yet the quality of that outfit is a far cry from what the Eels have faced. The Cowboys are also a team that has the ability to improve each week and continue to set a high standard for others to reach. While they are behind the Eels in points and tries scored, they are doing the little things that win them tight games, different to most others; they average 27.9 missed tackles per game compared with the Eels 30.4 misses per game, while their powerful pack of forwards contributes to their 33.6 tackle breaks per game compared with the Eels 27.8 per game. If the Eels were to have Corey Norman return to their team, their chances would dramatically increase, although the Cowboys appear to have a better ability of shutting their opponents out of this match. In terms of the winning margin, the Cowboys have only won 2 out of their 7 wins this season by more than 13 points, with that appearing hard to come by against a team growing in confidence from recent efforts.
Cowboys -1.5 @ $1.90
The right margin = Cowboys 1-12 @ $2.90 – As mentioned above, the Cowboys do not have a habit of scoring large victories over their opponents. Without JT in their team, their attack loses some potency, which should ensure that the final margin is a tight one.
Wests Tigers (15th) v Sydney Roosters (4th)
The Tigers were handed yet another loss, this time a 16-12 one by the Dragons in a match that had a poor standard. That loss now means that the Tigers have now not one in over a moth (23rd April) and they are languishing at the bottom of the competition ladder. Their most recent effort had some positives, yet on the whole, their opponents pulled the Dragons into a low quality match. The Tigers completed at just 67%, missed 40 tackles and committed 15 errors over 80 minutes. There appears no easy end to their woes, although the inclusion of Lolohea in the halves following a midseason transfer offered some hope. They will need more than that to increase their chances of upsetting the Roosters; a team that is coming off a 2-point win against the Broncos. Missing their halfback following Origin, the Roosters overcame the Broncos with power through the middle. It was a tight contest form start to finish and the home team were commended for their physical effort. It was made even more impressive considering they were comprehensively beaten by them 32-8 only back in Round 6. Now, in the middle of a testing period for them, the Roosters need to consolidate and find as many victories as possible. Thankfully for them, they face the Tigers an ideal time and they will look to make the most of a game they should be capable of dominating from start to finish.=
Tigers = Suaso Sue (suspension) returns to the second row for Chris Lawrence (injured)
Roosters = Mitchell Pearce (injury) returns at halfback, pushing Connor Watson to the bench and Zane Tetevano back the reserves.
Overall = Tigers 8 Roosters 20
Last 5 matches = Tigers 0 Roosters 5
At Campbelltown Stadium = Tigers 46% Roosters 71%
Form = Tigers 4 losses – Roosters 1 win
Much like a few other teams in the competition, the quality of the Tigers appears to be vastly different and less than that of their opponents. They were improved in their efforts last week against the Dragons, yet there was always a sense that their opponents were never getting out of second gear. The Roosters are expected to drop their intensity compared to other matches this season, but cannot let this mindset dominate their play. This game provides a great opportunity to continue to develop combinations within their team and build confidence within one another. Trent Robinson will undoubtedly use this to motivate his team to provide a dominating performance and consolidate their standing on the competition ladder. The Roosters hold a dominant record over the Tigers, winning 12 out of the past 13 meetings between the two sides; in fact, the last time the Tigers beat the Roosters was back in Round 20, 2011. They are on an 8-game winning streak over the Tigers and during that time, their closest victory has been by 14-points (twice), with an average winning margin of 27.4 points. Given that the Tigers miss an average of 36.8 tackles per game (highest in the NRL) and concede an average of 25.5 points per game (3rd highest in the NRL), the Roosters attack should have things their own way in this game. Improvement is except from the Tigers, yet not enough to either halt the points or cause an upset. With that in mind, the visitors look set to pile on the points on the hapless Tigers and record a comprehensive victory.
Roosters +19 @ $2.55
Play it safe, line it up! = Roosters -12.5 @ $1.90 – If you’re worried that the Tigers are slowly turning around their form and may cause the Roosters a headache, this is a safer option. There is a case you could make, considering the toll the Broncos took on them last week as well as the physical burden growing on the Origin players.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (14th) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (3rd)
The Bulldogs season reached a new low last week with a 38-nil smashing at the hands of the Panthers last Sunday. Turmoil is plaguing this club form the top down and their effort represented a tired team; they were their own worst enemy in the game too as they completed at just 66% with 42% share of possession, missed 48 tackles, had just 1 line break and averaged just 7.4m per carry of the ball. A highly publicised “truth session” from the playing group was held on Monday, with the hope they can stop their slide down the competition ladder and salvage something positive from their season. The Dragons are familiar with their opponents predicament, yet have no such worries in 2017. They did enough to overcome the Tigers last week, with a mental lapse evident by their execution. They welcomed back some stars from injury and it was always going to take a game or two for them to find their match fitness. That being said, the Dragons were also guilty of playing down to the level of their opponents; they completed at 68%, missed 37 tackles and made 11 errors. They will be please that they were able to walk away from that game with 2-competition points, which keeps them inside the Top 4. Other teams are chasing them and hoping that a dip in form is imminent. Even as poor as the Bulldogs were last week, you can never completely count them out of a match. They have proven in the past that they are capable of a form reversal and the Dragons cannot head into this game with the same attitude as last week.
Bulldogs = Josh Reynolds (injury) returns at 5/8, pushing Matt Frawley back to the bench and he will be joined by Sam Kasiano, who is relegated back to the bench for James Graham (injury) who returns at prop. Brett Morris (injury) is named on the wing, pushing Kerrod Holland out of the team. Chase Stanley will feature in the centres for Brenko Lee. Craig Garvey and Francis Tualau drop out of the 17.
Dragons = Unchanged.
Overall = Bulldogs 21 Dragons 11
Last 5 matches = Bulldogs 4 Dragons 1
At ANZ Stadium = Bulldogs 57% Dragons 49%
Form = Bulldogs 3 losses – Dragons 2 wins
There is no great different between these two teams than their current standing on the competition ladder; the Bulldogs have been woeful in recent weeks and the Dragons are deserving favorites for this match. They will bring plenty of pressure for the Bulldogs, a team that is attempting to drastically reverse their recent form. You have to beware of the Bulldogs in this situation, they are playing for their season and with discontent growing within their fans, they need to restore the faith. The Bulldogs have a strong recent record over the Dragons and will be hoping that this serves them well; with key players returning for the Bulldogs, an improvement is almost certain. Josh Reynolds’ contribution to this team has been somewhat undervalued; he returns and will take pressure away from the other focal points of their attack. In equal measure, the Dragons attack will take confidence from yet another week together and aim to use the platform set by their forwards. The result is very difficult to decide upon, yet each time you have doubted the Dragons in 2017, they have changed opinion with impressive play. They look set to take this game, albeit, in a very close match. There isn’t too much to suggest that it will be close, the average winning margin in the past 5 matches between these two sides sits at 12-points. That being said, the Dragons attack scores 23.8 points per game compared with the Bulldogs 13.7 per game; while the Dragons score an average of 4.2 tries per game and the Bulldogs struggle with just 2.5 per game. This suggests a win to the visitors, although with the uncertainty around the margin, take them to cover the line.
Dragons -5.5 @ $1.90