2014 NRL Round 18 Preview

NRL

Now that Origin has concluded, all attention can turn back to club football as teams push their case for a berth in the Finals. It will be exciting and painful in equal measures for fans of any club, with a chance to extend their season on the line. For some teams, it will be an overachievement while for others, the sheer thought of missing out on the Finals is too much to contemplate. Some teams appear to be out of contention, however you only have to cast your mind back a few years to remember the charge that the Eels made to the Grand Final. That was amazing to see and as each game concludes, the picture of the Finals will become a little clearer. Some teams are having their second bye this weekend, meaning that we are again short of a full round of fixtures. Not to worry though, there is plenty of excitement in store, evident in the amount of upsets that took place in the league last week. This is going to be a great finish to the regular season!

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers 

Friday night action heads across to Brookvale Oval this week, as two losing teams look to get back on track with a win here. Minus a few quality players, the Sea Eagles have a 7-day turn around to contend with following their loss last week to the Bulldogs. That result set the standard for the rest of the weekend, with several teams being shocked by their opponents and losing matches they shouldn’t have. Full credit has to go to the Bulldogs, as a makeshift halves combination brought apart the Sea Eagles over 80-minutes. It was not your typical Manly performance and coach Geoff Toovey will have to get his team back into the right mindset. Unfortunately, they have a terrible habit of playing down to their opponents level against lesser teams, rather than trying to set a standard. It was especially uncharacteristic considering the Sea Eagles are viewed as one of the teams to beat in 2014. The Tigers also suffered a loss last week, but they were a little more gallant in defeat compared to their opponents here. The loss to the Panther demonstrated just how important their key players are to their team, some of whom were missing through Origin or injury. They were able to push the Panthers at times, proving again that they are going to be a difficult team for any opponent to beat. They have a habit of sticking around and building pressure when it is needed, largely due to the impact of Luke Brooks in the halves. Mick Potter has the right balance in his team moving forward, but they desperately need to consolidate their standing on the ladder. A few consecutive wins would allow this to happen, although towards the end of last weeks match several players appeared to be travelling on weary legs. It will be a tough task meeting the Sea Eagles on their home turf and after they suffered a disappointing loss, nevertheless it is one that they will have to rise to overcome or risk losing a match that could cost them dearly at the end of the season.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles have named DCE to feature in this team and after a strong performance in Origin when he was on the field, the Sea Eagles could use his presence. He replaces Jack Littlejohn, while Jorge Taufua returns on the wing and James Hasson is named on the bench. This means that Glinton Gutherson and Jayden Hodges make way and find themselves back in NSW Cup. While their attack needs added spark, the Sea Eagles will be hoping for an improved defensive effort. That leaked points at crucial stages of their last encounter and allowed several players to dominate their team. They should be out to make a statement that they’re not going to allow that to happen again, especially on their home ground.

Wests Tigers

The Tigers have named both Robbie Farrah and Aaron Woods to back up following their efforts for the Blues on Wednesday night. It will be a tough ask for them to back up from this but one that they both should be up to. Braith Anasta is out with an ankle injury and utility Blake Austin is named to take his place here. His movement allows for rookie Mitchell Moses to be named in the team at fullback, as he appears to be already making a strong name for himself. Bodene Thompson is out in the second row and Dene Halatau is named to replace him, after making a successful return from injury last week. There are no extras on the bench, but James Gavet does come back into the team in jersey 17. Hopefully the returning players will allow the youngster to play with a reduced amount of pressure on their shoulders.

Recent History

Overall = Sea Eagles 12 Tigers 8

Last 5 games = Sea Eagles 3 Tigers 2

At Brookvale Oval = Sea Eagles 5 Tigers 1

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Sea Eagles $1.22 Tigers $4.40

Centrebet = Sea Eagles $1.23 Tigers $4.30

Sportsbet = Sea Eagles $1.24 Tigers $4.25

Betfair = Sea Eagles $1.24 Tigers $4. 50

Verdict

Despite the players returning for the Tigers, the Sea Eagles should still be too strong for their opponents. Like last week when they should’ve won convincingly, they should aim to do what they couldn’t do last week. Returning to their home ground will also lift them to another level, but the Tigers should still make them work for this victory. Not too much has changed in recent years at Manly and it is interesting to not that the Tigers have a 40% win rate over their opponents in the last 5 matches. Coupled together with their recent form and a hunger to remain in the Top 8, they will be out to make a statement. While this should make it a closer than expected contest, the Tigers will still struggle to overcome their opponents completely over 80-minutes. They will keep things close early, but just lack the killer blow to overcome the Sea Eagles on their home turf.

Suggested Bet

Tigers +10.5 @ $2.05

Soaring value = Sea Eagles 7-12 @ $5.25 – The Tigers should put up a strong fight in this match and with the Sea Eagles struggling at times last week, this match may be a little closer than most think. Considering the line is also the “Suggested Bet”, then this may be one option that you want to consider if you desire more return for your investment.

New Zealand Warriors v Parramatta Eels

With a reduced amount of fixtures, there are only two matches on Super Saturday. The first heads across to New Zealand, with the Warriors hosting the Eels in a vital clash for the Finals hopes of both teams. Looking at the big picture of this match, there isn’t much between the teams involved. Heading into this round, both sides are level on 20 competition points, however they are separated by their points difference, with the Warriors +22 far superior than the Eels -34. Each team heads into this match off a bye round and will want to establish early momentum after a week off. The Warriors have the added luxury of remaining on their home ground, that served them so well in Round 16 where they beat the Panthers. That game proved just how capable they can be on their day; as consistent execution assisted them in building pressure on their opponents. Unfortunately for the Eels, they were unable to do the same against the Knights, going down by a converted try on home soil. It was a tough loss for them to stomach, as the Knights were vulnerable heading into that match. In the end, it became too much for the Eels and the pressure upon the shoulders of their key players narrowed their attacking options. That is something that they have to be wary of, with other teams now aiming to shut down their attacking threats. They are one team that were expected to improve in 2014, but not many people expected that they would get to the position to be a chance for the Finals. Now that they are here, they must make the most of the situation and combat a dangerous Warriors team that is growing in confidence and becoming a real threat in 2014.

New Zealand Warriors

It’s business as usual this week for the Warriors, with a few minor alterations to their lineup making them a different side to last week. They have chosen to name Jacob Lillyman in the team at prop after featuring on Wednesday night and he is expected to take his spot in the starting side. He has a new partner this week in Suaia Matagi, who is called up from the bench to replace Sam Rapira, after he suffered a back injury. Ben Matulino, making his return from minor knee surgery, fills the vacant spot on the bench. Hopefully he can return to the form that we saw from him a few weeks ago where he was running rampant on the Warriors left edge. The forwards will have to be strong in the middle of the field in this match, to again establish a strong platform for Shaun Johnson to build off and create extra room for the outside backs.

Parramatta Eels

Interestingly this week, Brad Arthur has resisted the temptation to name Jarryd Hayne to back up from Origin. Instead, he has moved Chris Sandow to fullback and named Luke Kelly at halfback. Whether or not this decision is maintained remains to be seen, but it will heavily impact upon the chances of the Eels in this match. As this match is played overseas, it will be clear as to whether Hayne will play based on his decision to board the plane or not. Tim Mannah has been ruled out of this match with injury and Darcy Lussick moves into the starting side, while Fuifui Moimoi returns to the bench. Kenny Edwards is also out and Ken Sio is named to replace him in jersey 17.

Recent History

Overall = Warriors 13 Eels 19

Last 5 games = Warriors 2 Eels 3

At Mt Smart Stadium = Warriors 9 Eels 5

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Warriors $1.25 Eels $4.00

Centrebet = Warriors $1.28 Eels $3.80

Sportsbet = Warriors $1.24 Eels $4.25

Betfair = Warriors $1.27 Eels $3.90

Verdict

The week off for both teams heading into this match could mean anything. Luckily for the hosts, it has meant extra time at home and a reduced amount of fatigue due to no travelling. This should make the Warriors ready to fire in this contest and handle anything that the Eels have to throw at them. The Knights proved in the last match that if you have the right game plan and keep Hayne quiet, you are able to handle the Eels. The same needs to be established early by the Warriors defensive structure, while at the same time they need to pressure their opponents in attack. They have the ability to do this with a monster forward pack establishing a strong platform for their halves to build off. As for the margin, it really depends on which two teams show up for this contest. If the Eels fail to prepare mentally for the trip, they are going to be caught out by the Warriors. Also, the Eels have to attempt to win this match without Hayne, who is a major strike weapon in attack. It would be difficult to see them prevail without him and with the form of the Warriors currently. The Eels are looking tired too, so if the Warriors get a few tries early, this score line could blow out with their opponents closing down completely.

Suggested Bet

Warriors 13+ @ $2.10

Ramming it home = Warriors 19+ @ $$$ – The Warriors may just get the boost they need with a few early tries. Unlike a few games this season where they have scored first, they will be ready to on with this one. On top of that, the Eels can fold easily, especially considering the stage of the season and the absence of senior players.

Melbourne Storm v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The second match on Super Saturday heads to Melbourne this week, with the resurgent Storm hosting a Bulldogs team that proved last week what they are capable of. There were not many people that were willing to give the Dogs a chance in that match, considering their opponents were close to full-strength and the Bulldogs were missing a few key players. However they were able to turn the table on the Sea Eagles and produce an impressive victory. Their task this week is just as difficult against a Storm team that is yet to affirm their place in the Top 8 of the competition. They too have battled injury and representative selection, yet have also turned out a shock performance or two. They have their Origin stars back now and will be aiming to return to the dominant team that we have come to expect from them in recent seasons. They enjoyed a week off last week, one that was certainly needed after they crashed to the Dragons on the road. They were caught off guard to some extent, out played and beaten by a team with a hunger for revenge. Now they need to get their plans back on track, something that will depend heavily upon the performance of the “Big 3”. They return in this match for the first time since Cronk was injured in Origin 1 and it will not take long to realise just what they are capable of. The Bulldogs are a smart team though, possessing one of the strongest pack of forwards in the league. They know how to set up a victory in the middle of the field and this match promises to be a great contest, as the Storm seek revenge for their 40-12 Round 4 loss, which set them on a losing streak for 3 out of the next 4 matches. Make sure you are able to watch this contest, as these two teams may just meet again at the business end of the season, when there is much more to play for.

Melbourne Storm

The Storm have named all 5 of their Origin players to back up from Wednesday night but there are a few question marks around whether they will feature in this game. Cronk picked up another injury, thankfully for him it wasn’t a reoccurrence of his broken arm. Cameron Smith also appeared to be hobbling on an ankle, but such is the toughness of this player he is tipped to take the field. Will Chambers is in some doubt with concussion and will be given until KO to prove his fitness. Elsewhere, Bryan Norrie returns to the starting side, meaning that Jordan McLean heads back to the bench. Tim Glasby and Joel Romelo have been named as extra players on the bench, but will miss out if all of the Origin players back up. There hopes depend on the players that take the field, but they will not be completely out of the contest if they are missing a few players.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Josh Reynolds is the player most in doubt for this match, as he is risking a 4-game suspension for one of his tackles on Wednesday. That would set the Bulldogs back and is the result of the fortune that he received after the first Origin match. He has taken the early guilty plea for his shoulder charge on Will Chambers and will miss the next 3 matches. The Bulldogs have also included Damien Cook, Drury Low and Pat O’Hanlon on an extended bench just in case. In the backline, Krisnan Inu shifts to the wing to accommodate the return of Josh Morris. In the forwards, Tony Williams and Josh Jackson return to the second row and will have remarkably different roles this week. It appears as though Williams could even fill the void left by Reynolds, following his efforts in his absence last week This team needs to replicate their efforts last week, as they showed just what they are capable of producing. Performances like that one at the business end of the season would be difficult for anyone to handle, regardless of how well they are playing.

Recent History

Overall = Storm 16 Bulldogs 17

Last 5 games = Storm 2 Bulldogs 3

At AAMI Stadium = Storm 4 Bulldogs 0

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Storm $1.48 Bulldogs $2.70

Centrebet = Storm $1.45 Bulldogs $2.85

Sportsbet = Storm $1.50 Bulldogs $2.65

Betfair = Storm $1.52 Bulldogs $2.76

Verdict

The Storm are a hard team to look past during any match, let alone one where the “Big 3” are reunited for the first time in a long time this season, which is to happen as expected. It was evident just what they were capable of during Origin, as that performance is enough to scare any team in the Top 8 that is coming up against them. That isn’t to overlook the Bulldogs, they are a capable outfit and proved last week how they can learn from past performances. They will aim to draw confidence from their win against the Storm earlier this season, a match where the “Big 3” did feature. This will mean that their opponents will not intimidate the Bulldogs, but they will be wary of what they are capable of producing. On top of that, the Storm players should be hungry to overturn the performance that saw them comprehensively beaten by the Dogs last time. This match should be a lot closer than the last two meetings between the teams, with the winner probably not emerging until later in the match. Fatigue will be a factor for both teams, but at this stage of the season it will worry any one. It will be a closer match too, but hard to go past the Storm as they aim to make amends from their earlier loss this season.

Suggested Bet

Storm 1-12 @ $2.80

Gold Coast Titans v Canberra Raiders

The first match on Sunday afternoon heads up to the sunny Gold Coast, as the Titans aim to replicated their Round 4 win against the Raiders, this time on their home turf. The fortunes of the two sides have changed somewhat since then, as the Titans performance have meant that they have fallen down the competition ladder. A wing in MNF last week lifted them back out of danger, but that could only be momentary if they are unable to put consecutive wins together. Surprisingly, they are 12th on the competition ladder on 18 points, but are only 2-points behind the 6th placed Broncos (20 points). While it is undesirable, a loss here wouldn’t spell the end to their Finals chances, it would just make it more difficult. The same cannot be said for the Raiders though, as they are languishing at the bottom of the table on 12 points, with a horror -119 points difference to contend with. They were fortunate to have a week off in Round 17, giving them more time to work on the same things that brought about their loss to the Tigers in Round 16. They are still struggling immensely on both sides of the ball, with their attack unable to develop consistency through a lack of speed. In defense, there is several question marks lingering around their ability to halt teams through the middle of the field. If they are to finish at the bottom of the ladder, several more questions are going to be raised about the direction this team is heading. Ricky Stuart never promised miracles in his first year in control, but he did say that there would be evident change in their play. If they want to make a statement and turn their season around, then a win against the Titans on their home turf is a good way for them to start.

Gold Coast Titans

The Titans have named all 3 of their Origin players to back up in this match, all of who are expected to take the field. Greg Bird is the only player that will miss this match, after copping a suspension for a dangerous throw on Titans teammate, Nate Myles. John Cartwright is leaving his option open though, naming 8 payers on the extended bench, from where both Nate Myles and Dave Taylor are named to start. There are a few decision for Cartwright to make in the lead up to KO, but if as expected, the Origin players do feature, they could find their way into the starting side. The combination of Mortimer in the halves with Albert Kelly was pleasing, so even expect Kelly to start the match on the field rather than the bench where he is named. He is crucial to their attacking movements and Mortimer appears to be fitting in nicely with the players that he has around him.

Canberra Raiders

Jack Wighton is out of this match with a broken thumb suffered last week, causing a reshuffle of the backline. Stuart has opted to shift rookie Brenko Lee into the centres and bring debutant Jeremy Hawkins into the team on the wing. Sami Sauiluma also joins him on the other edge, as he comes into the team to replace Matt Allwood, who was dropped back to NSW Cup. The Raiders desperately need change within their team but in some ways, Stuart is persisting with the same players in key positions. Until he decides to make the tough call on a few experienced players, not too much is going to change for this team.

Recent History

Overall = Titans 9 Raiders 5

Last 5 games = Titans 4 Raiders 1

At Cbus Super Stadium = Titans 5 Raiders 1

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Titans $1.65 Raiders $2.30

Centrebet = Titans $1.66 Raiders $2.25

Sportsbet = Titans $1.60 Raiders $2.40

Betfair = Titans $1.63 Raiders $2.48

Verdict

If there was one game that should have a coin tossed to decide the result, this could be it! Both teams have various areas of uncertainty in their team that is making it difficult to select a clear-cut winner. Aside from the fact that the Titans are playing at home, they are attempting to back up from MNF where they have a shocking record in the following week. On the other side, the Raiders have failed to produce any impressive performances this season that suggests they are anything more than an easy team to beat. On top of that, they have a horror record away from home that will become a factor throughout this match. Having a week off will help them prepare for this match, but drastic changes need to be made by Stuart and his team before they are going to change the opinion of what they are capable of. The Titans have far more potential than them and I am leaning slightly towards them capturing this contest. If both teams were to play at their best, the Titans would win hands down. So assuming that happens and all their Origin stars are fit to play, the home side should win this contest by a smaller than expected margin.

Suggested Bet

Titans -3.5 @ $1.90

Titanic effort = Titans 1-12 @ $3.10 – This game is expected to be a little close than the home side would like, mainly due to the fitness of their players backing up from MNF and Origin. Regardless, they are expected to win this match and if you want a some more value from your investment than this is a suitable option for you.

Cronulla Sharks v Newcastle Knights

The 3pm “match of the day” is a bottom of the table clash between the Sharks and the Knights at Remondis Stadium. If either team still harbored hopes of pushing for the Finals, they would have to start with a win here in this match. With so much to play for, the losers of this contest may just find themselves booking an early holiday. For the Sharks, they have experienced an array of emotions in the past 2 weeks, culminating in the amazing victory against the Roosters last Saturday. Down 24-nil at halftime, they were able to fight back and win the match 30-28, with a late try sealing the win for the team. Some people have suggested that it was the greatest win by a rugby league team in the past 50 years, especially considering the strength of their opponents and the players that they Sharks were missing. Either way, they are going to take plenty of confidence from that performance and they will need it as the Knights have also undergone a resurgence in recent weeks. They will be fresh for this match, after bye week in Round 17 meant that they have collected 2-competition points from the previous 3 rounds. Prior to that, they were victorious against the Eels and Cowboys, two teams who have had an inconsistent season. With their hopes slightly alive, the Knights will be aware of just how important this match is to their success. The news that their coach Wayne Bennett is going to leave the club will create animosity within the change room and uncertainty over the future of several players. Some may say that the Sharks will be a difficult team to overcome and that is true to some extent, but all good things have to come to an end at some point. The Knights will have to lift to another level if they are to capture a victory, otherwise it will be their opponents who maintain a 3-game winning streak.

Cronulla Sharks

The Sharks have named both Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis to return to their team following their involvement in Origin on Wednesday. They both appeared to get through that match without injury but with little to play for, either player may opt to sit this match out and allow for extra recovery time. In saying that, either Gallen or Lewis has never backed down from a tough challenge. Their inclusion forces Anthony Tupou and Tinirau Arona back to the bench, while Tupou Topoaga and Tim Robinson are part of an extended bench, but are likely to miss out on selection if the Origin players are fit. Fa’amanu Brown was solid last week at 5/8 and he is one player that is only going to benefit from increased playing time in the top grade. It was a long time ago but he added an attacking spark to the Sharks team in the 9’s and is going to need Robson to take pressure off him in attack.

Newcastle Knights

The Knights have chosen to name both Beau Scott and Darius Boyd for this match and they are expected to take their place in the starting team. Boyd does add another dimension to the Knights in attack, being another ball player as well as a line runner. Adam Clydsdale returns at hooker, pushing Travis Waddell out of the team, while Tyrone Roberts remains on the bench. Adam Cuthbertson has also been named on the bench, along with David Fa’alogo and Joseph Tapine. Two of those players will have to miss out on a spot in the final team and it will depend on whether or not Bennett wants power in the middle of the field or a player that allows for second-phase play through his offloads. This game is another opportunity for the halves to gel together, but time is running out quickly for them to make a statement and lead this team towards the Finals.

Recent History

Overall = Sharks 16 Draw 1 Knights 26

Last 5 games = Sharks 1 Knights 4

At Remondis Stadium = Sharks 11 Knights 10

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Sharks $2.20 Knights $1.70

Centrebet = Sharks $2.03 Knights $1.80

Sportsbet = Sharks $2.15 Knights $1.73

Betfair = Sharks $2.20 Knights $1.81

Verdict

The Sharks are flying high at the moment and there is no reason that it cannot continue. In saying that, they have played with a lot of emotion the past few weeks and may find it difficult to maintain such a level once the dust has settled on several issues. They will receive a boost by playing in front of their home fans, but they will have to be wary of a Knights team that has made a few late changes to shake up performances. The new halves combination appears to be working well at this stage and Gidley needs to ensure that he is continually relieving the burden on Jarrod Mullen. Then again, the entire team have been guilty several times season of “not showing up” for matches. The Sharks will be out with a point to prove though and a reward for their loyal home fans, as the last two victories have come on the road. There is too much uncertainty around this match to invest money with confidence and for that reason alone, I am recommending that you stay away from this match or bet around the match being an extremely close contest. For what it is worth, I believe the Knights will win by the narrowest of margins, perhaps producing something special to overcome the Sharks as players are aiming to cement a spot in the team for beyond 2014.

Suggested Bet

Either team under 6.5 points @ $3

Penrith Panthers v Brisbane Broncos

MNF heads out to Penrith this week, as the NRL will hopefully ride the momentum generated from the third Origin match. Each team would be happy with their current standing on the ladder, although at the same time need to ensure that it continues. The Panthers head home after a win against the Tigers last week at Leichhardt Oval. It is the first time this season that they will take the field at their home ground at the top of the competition ladder, a feat that was handed to them last week with the loss of the Sea Eagles. It is well deserved considering their form this season, but as several reports have suggested, they have been the beneficiaries of a favorable draw. That is true to some extent, but at the end of the day they can only play what is put in front of them. Several other teams have been afforded the same situation, not to that extreme, although they have been unable to use it as an advantage. As for the Broncos, they should be feeling fresh after a week off, which was somewhat undeserved after a disappointing loss to the Sharks. They were unable to finish off their opponents when it mattered most and landing that killer blow towards the end of the game would’ve put their opponents away. As I have said all season, this is something that is lacking from their team, now causing them to be on a two-game losing streak. Their halfback, Ben Hunt, was sitting at the top of the Dally M leaderboard a few weeks ago, something that is deserved. In saying that, he has been responsible at times for a few of the finishing touches that are missing from their effort. There appears to be no clear-cut answer at this stage, but it could be something that is limiting them from being a top-rated team this season. This is the opportunity for both teams to make a statement and it is going to be thrilling viewing to see who is able to prevail after 80-minutes.

Penrith Panthers

The Panthers are now faced with the prospect that they could be without Peter Wallace for the remainder of the season. This will cause Ivan Cleary plenty of headaches as he attempts to come up with a solution that supports Jamie Soward and leads to winning performances. This week, Soward has been moved to halfback and Tyrone Peachey has been named at 5/8. Peachey has proven his versatility this season and this will be another chance for him to prove his worth at the top grade. Elsewhere, Sika Manu starts in the second row, with Lewis Brown shifting back to the bench. Nigel Plum, who is called into the team to fill the void left by Peachey’s promotion, joins him. It will take time for the Panthers to create attacking opportunities, although they need to revert back to what has worked so well for them this season and pressure their opponents where possible.

Brisbane Broncos

The Broncos are boosted this week with the return of Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker and Matt Gillett to the team after missing the last Broncos match. Griffin has also named Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges to back up from Origin, alongside Parker and Gillett. He is leaving his options open though and has shown reluctance in the past to rest his key players. Just in case, he has included Jake Granville, Ben Hannant and Corey Oates on an extended bench. With plenty to play for though, one would think that Griffin would want to field his strongest team and give them the best chances at winning this match. This is usually the time of season that the Broncos slip away from the contending teams, but they will want to ensure that they reaffirm their standing on the table and do not allow this to happen.

Recent History

Overall = Panthers 16 Draw 1 Broncos 29

Last 5 games = Panthers 3 Broncos 2

At Sportingbet Stadium = Panthers 10 Draw 1 Broncos 11

Odds

TAB Sportsbet = Panthers $1.60 Broncos $2.40

Centrebet = Panthers $1.66 Broncos $2.25

Sportsbet = Panthers $1.60 Broncos $2.40

Betfair = Panthers $1.67 Broncos $2.44

Verdict

This is one of the closest matches of the weekend, with two strong teams facing off against one another, aiming to prove a point. The Panthers are sitting pretty at the top of the competition ladder, but the loss of Wallace impacts upon their attacking movements and creates increased pressure on Jamie Soward. The Broncos also have a few question marks lingering around their efforts and their ability to produce an 80-minute performance. As a long season wears on, the Broncos boys are going to be building fatigue, especially their representative players. This game is just after that, whereas the Panthers are flying high and had no players away on representative duty. They should be able to carry on with their form in this match, but will have a tough time of it. The Panthers will have to carefully bring down their opponents by unrelentingly pressuring them in attack and defense. It will be a close contest but at the fulltime whistle, the home side should prevail by a tight margin.

Suggested Bet

Panthers 1-12 @ $2.85

Good luck!

Scooby

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Author

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Scooby

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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