Melbourne Storm (8th) v North Queensland Cowboys (9th)
NRL fans have had to wait 3-weeks for the NRL Grand Final replay in 2018, with the two leading teams in 2017 doing battle for the first time this season and surprisingly, both take losing form into this match. The Storm were sensationally upset last Saturday by the Tigers, in a night that was meant to be a celebration for Billy Slaters 300th match. However, someone forgot to give the script to their opponents, who did their best to disrupt the momentum of the Storm throughout the match. The did have their excuses, with just 36% share of possession, the Storm were going to struggle to score points and a 70% completion rate didn’t help their cause. The fact that they were close to their opponents considering these factors is a minor achievement, yet, it will matter little in the big scheme of things. There was plenty of negatives for the home team, most notably the 16 errors they committed and 32 missed tackles; if anything, such a performance was un-Storm like and definitely will serve as a wakeup call for them as they defend their Premiership. The Cowboys head down to Melbourne as losers, also upset by their opponents in the Broncos. They were the more fancied team heading into the contest, yet went down 24-20 amid a last-gasp opportunity to steal victory; only the upright would deny them though, as two competition points went begging with the dropped ball. It was a quality performance in most areas for the visitors; they completed at 83% with just 46% possession and attempted to make the most of their limited opportunities. Despite recording the first points of the match after 3 minutes, the Cowboys allowed the Broncos to score 18-unanswered points before HT. The fact that they missed 37 tackles didn’t aid their cause, as it appears defence will be a focus for both teams leading into this match.
Storm = Unchanged.
Cowboys = Michael Morgan (injury) is named to return at 5/8, forcing Te Maire Martin to the bench and Corey Jensen to the reserves. Coen Hess is named to start in the second row, with Ethan Lowe moving to the bench.
Overall = Storm 26 Cowboys 10
Last 5 Matches = Storm 5 Cowboys 0
At AAMI Park = Storm 75% Cowboys 33%
Form = Storm 1 loss – Cowboys 1 loss
This game promises to be another epic encounter and the stakes are raised since both teams will carrying losing form into this match. The recent his points towards the home team winning this contest; they have won the last 6 against the Cowboys, with the last win for the visitors coming back in the Grand Final qualifier (at this ground) back in 2015. Combine this with the Cowboys 33% winning record at this ground and it is little wonder why the Storm are strong favourites to bounce back. Nevertheless, the Storm didn’t appear to be the same side they once were last week and it still may take a few weeks yet before they find their best. The Cowboys were also off their best, yet, the quality of their performance in a losing result was pleasing to say the least. If they can manage to get their bench rotation right so that the intensity of the match is consistent, then they are going to be a very difficult team to stop. Now that Michael Morgan also returns to their ranks, expect another dimension to their attack; he has the ability to direction attention away from Thurston, bringing out the best in both players. This is an underrated factor for the visitors and one that many may be overlooking; the fact that one of the most dangerous attack teams in the competition in the Storm were kept to just 8-points over 80 minutes signals alarm bells heading into this match. There is no doubt that they have the quality to fix and overcome this problem, however, it may take a little longer than expected. In a head-to-head option, there is too much to like about the Cowboys to overlook them. In terms of an investment, given the standing and history between both sides, perhaps investing around this match to be decided by less than a converted try is the safest option.
Either Team Under 6.5 Points @ $2.80
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (15th) v Penrith Panthers (3rd)
The Bulldogs are in a dangerous position after the opening two rounds of the competition, winless and desperate to open their account for 2018. They have looked good in their opening two matches, with fans of the club excited by what the rest of the season offers to them. After competing strong with the Storm in Round 1, the Bulldogs quickly found themselves in trouble as they were behind 18-nil at HT. After scoring their first points of the match in the 48th minute, the Bulldogs struggled to deliver a high level of execution to worry the Roosters. Even with an 82% completion rate, they were no match for their opponents. The greater concern for them at the moment is the amount of points they have allowed in the first two weeks; they average 33-points per game in defence and will find it difficult to compete each week with their opponents if this trend was to continue. The Panthers had no such issues, as for the second week in a row, they overcame a 14-nil deficit to prevail as winners. This time, it was the Rabbitohs on the receiving end of the Panthers strong second half display winning the match 18-14 courtesy of a 75th minute try to Tyrone Peachey. They dominated possession in the second half and ultimately became too much for their opponents to handle. There is plenty of improvement still left in the Panthers, as they made 11 errors and missed 30 tackles; furthermore, if they continue to allow their opponents to lead in matches, their run of positive outcomes will quickly turn against them.
Bulldogs = Jeremy Marshall-King is named at 5/8, with Matt Frawley dropped to reserve grade and the vacant bench spot filled by Nu Brown. Aiden Tolman starts at lock, with Adam Elliott moving back to the bench.
Panthers = Moses Leota comes onto the bench for Sam McKendry (injured). Viliame Kikau is named to start but after replaced by bench player, James Fisher-Harris, expect something similar to happen again.
Overall = Bulldogs 17 Draw 1 Panthers 18
Last 5 Matches = Bulldogs 2 Panthers 3
At ANZ Stadium = Bulldogs 57% Panthers 40%
Form = Bulldogs 2 losses – Panthers 2 wins
The fact that the Bulldogs have dropped their 5/8 to reserve grade is a strong statement that they believe their attack was flat. The inject of Marshall-King will not immediately change the direction of their play but it will give them what they need to improve as he too, develops as a player. Many believe that the Bulldogs issues are far greater than just a positional change in the halves, with Penrith installed as strong favourites to win this encounter. Little consideration has been given to the Bulldogs strong record at this ground, as well as the level of fatigue that would’ve developed in the Panthers following a tough match in hot conditions. That being said, more is needed from the Bulldogs before you can take them with confidence. They took a leap forward in Round 1, yet, it was a different story last week as they were unable to get both sides of the ball firing together. Perhaps, another week is needed for this team to adapt to the playing style of the new members of the team. Sooner or later, the Bulldogs are going to click into gear and as well as the Panthers have been, they too have been unable to put together a complete performance. If anything, they have been lucky in the sense that their opponents have been unable to capitalise on their short comings; a better opponent would’ve sensed the opportunity and giving up a 14-point lead in the first two weeks isn’t a great sign either. This game screams of uncertainty in the early stages of the season and one that should be avoided at all costs. For the sake of making a selection, it is hard to see the Bulldogs losing 3-consecutive matches with the quality of players that they possess. If you cannot help but invest on this match, then given the head-to-head selection, take the Bulldogs at the line to just scrape past their opponents.
Bulldogs +4.5 @ $1.80
Wests Tigers (4th) v Brisbane Broncos (11th)
The Tigers shocked the rugby league world last Saturday with a spirited 10-8 win over the reigning Premiers, the Storm, in Melbourne. It was certainly a proud moment for those involved with the club, as a massive 64% possession statistic wore their opponents down. They also managed to cope with receiving 18 total penalties against them, with most coming at crucial stages in the second half. That aside, the Tigers executed to a strong standard in other areas; they completed at 77% and made 9 errors. They will not be happy with the 38 missed tackles, although much of that can be attributed to their scrambling defence. Now sitting at two wins from as many matches, the task ahead of the Tigers is maintaining the high standard they have set and perhaps aiming to score more than 10-points in a match. The Broncos also head into this game as winners, with an upset with over the Cowboys in Brisbane. Many were quick to doubt their chances of winning the match, with the signs from their opening round encounter very negative for the what lies ahead this season. Nevertheless, they too benefitted from a possession statistic that favour them (54%) and they completed at 74% to compliment this. The 18-point scoring run that they went on in the first half set up victory, while there were also a few nervous moments at the end of the game with the Cowboys closing in on them quickly. After struggling in Round 1, their forwards dominated the middle of the field, with the team carrying the ball for an average of 9.6m per carry, almost 2m more per carry than their opponents. If they were aiming to make it back-to-back victories against an easy opponent, they better change their attitude with the Tigers desperate to make life difficult for anyone they face.
Tigers = Matt Eisenhuth is named at lock in place of Elijah Taylor (injured), with Michael Chee Kam coming onto the bench.
Broncos = Tom Opacic is named at centre for Jordan Kahu (injured), while Jaydn Su’A fills the vacant bench spot.
Overall = Tigers 5 Draw 1 Broncos 20
Last 5 Matches = Tigers 1 Broncos 4
At Campbelltown Stadium = Tigers 44% Broncos 86%
Form = Tigers 2 wins – Broncos 1 win
Can the Tigers cause an upset for the third week in a row? This is the question on everyone’s lips ahead of Round 3 and the odds suggest they will find it difficult. After a poor showing last week, there was a lot to like about the Broncos performance against the Cowboys, as they played a fast pace that allowed their halves to work off the back of a pack that was carrying the ball well. If the Broncos have done their homework ahead of this game, it will state that the Tigers will rarely allow their opponents to dictate the terms of this match and they will be taking every opportunity to upset the momentum of the visitors. The belief that lies within this team currently, is having a positive effect on their play and the Broncos could easily be heading for an ambush. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they must overcome a poor record against their opponents, with just one win in the past 8 meetings between these two sides, as well as an inferior record at this ground. Like other teams this weekend, one victory isn’t going to completely fix the issues that the Broncos experience in the opening two weeks; in equal measure, the two victories of the Tigers doesn’t mean they are the perfect side either and by their own admission, they will be working hard to improve ahead of this game. The Tigers have a new-found confidence in their defence and it is making in very hard for their opponents to score points. This suggests that this match is going to be a very similar affair in difficult (wet) conditions; the ideal selection is then to take the either side to win by less than a converted try. Attitude counts for plenty in this game and if you need to make a selection in a tipping competition, it is better to lean towards the Tigers with what they have displayed in the opening two weeks, rather than assuming the Broncos are a team that has bounced back.
Either Team Under 6.5 Points @ $2.60
Canberra Raiders (12th) v New Zealand Warriors (2nd)
The Raiders suffered back-to-back losses to start their season, following a 30-28 loss to the Knights at home in Canberra. It was a concerning loss for the Raiders, who for the second week in a row, have allowed their opponents to score 30-points. If they are relying on their attack to outscore their opponents each week, they are going to be in for a long season. The statistics read well for them; they completed at 86% with 54% possession, made just 6 total errors and missed only 21 tackles. Rather, it was the movement in their attacking structure that caused the most concern and now Aidan Sezer is returning to the starting side and Blake Austin will come off the bench. There is also the lingering question of the fitness levels of the home team, as they again failed to close out a match. The Warriors have had an opposite start to the Raiders, winning their first two matches and now have the opportunity to capture the first 3-win start to their season in the club’s history. After a strong display in Round 1 against the Rabbitohs, the Warriors travelled the long journey home to face the Titans. Their defence was a highlight of their play, missing just 26 tackles and making their opponents wait until the 77thminute before crossing the try line. This needed to be a strong point of their play, as their attack struggled at times; they completed at 69% with just 43% possession and 11 total errors. There were times when they looked positive with their play, yet were only averaging 8.2m per carry of the ball. No doubt that fatigue from their journey to Perth took its toll on their team and they face another tough test with a road trip back to face the Raiders, a team that will be desperate to grab their first win of the season.
Raiders = Aidan Sezer returns to the starting side at 5/8, with Blake Austin shifting back to the bench. Liam Knight (club debut) is named on the bench in place of Charlie Gubb (injured).
Warriors = Leivaha Pulu is named to start in the second row for Isaiah Papali’i (injured), while Agnatius Paasi fills the vacant bench spot. Jazz Tevaga is named on the bench in place of Sam Cook.
Overall = Raiders 18 Warriors 16
Last 5 Matches = Raiders 4 Warriors 1
At GIO Stadium = Raiders 51% Warriors 40%
Form = Raiders 2 losses – Warriors 2 wins
It has been a long time since the Warriors last tasted victory against the Raiders, with their last win coming back in Round 16, 2015. The fact that they also are on the road at a ground where they have a 40% winning record is also cause for concern. Many of those factors would worry fans of the “old” Warriors team, yet, this team is displaying different qualities to lend many to think that the intended outcome will be different. The odds suggest that the Raiders are capable of bouncing back and capturing a victory after given up strong leads in consecutive weeks. That is hope more than anything, as their moments of pleasing play is overshadowed with fatigue and an inability to close out a tight match. The Warriors will know that they have the fitness to outlast their opponents and the speed to catch their slower defenders on the edges, as well as when their spine is running the ball. All these signs point towards the Warriors winning this match and handing the Raiders their third-consecutive defeat. The is mainly due to the visitors having a great stability in their halves that allows Johnson and RTS to play their natural game; this is also well supported by their forwards and their new-found respect they have for the ball. Rather than get too excited about their chances, this is yet another match that you need to be careful. The two previous efforts from the Raiders is likely to have a positive effect, providing them with greater confidence of in their play and more aware of what they need to improve on. There are too many possible outcomes that is clouding the judgement to make a definitive call.
Avoid this game altogether but if you must… take the Warriors @ $2.10
South Sydney Rabbitohs (14th) v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (6th)
The Rabbitohs displayed positive signs early on in their match against the Panthers, jumping to a 14-nil HT lead and appearing to be in control of the result. The team that played during the first half failed to turn up in the second half of play, with the Rabbitohs going scoreless from that point onwards. It didn’t help their cause that a number of players suffered injuries, but the pressure became too much in the end, with their opponents crossing the line in the 75th minute for the game-winning try. In terms of their overall performance, it was a better showing than the previous week; their completion rate was 79% with just 9 errors halting their momentum. Not having Reynolds directing traffic at halfback definitely impacted this area and it will be a tough few weeks ahead attempting to grab their first win of the year without him, as well as increasing pressure on their performance. The Sea Eagles had no such issues in their dominating display against the Eels, putting behind them a Golden Point loss in Round 1 to win 54-nil. They quickly gathered momentum with a try in the 4th minute and quickly jumped to an 18-nil lead inside 13 minutes. From the opening stages, it was one-way traffic for the home team as they played well beyond their potential. Having 69% of possession aided their cause, with this supported by an 88% completion rate, 6 total errors and only 14 missed tackles. If the Sea Eagles continue to display similar performances, there is no doubt that they will finish high on the ladder. Nevertheless, as good as their performance was, it was aided by the lack of motivation from their opponents once they knew the result was decided; it was impressive that the Sea Eagles never dropped the intensity and continued to pile misery on their opponents.
Rabbitohs = Hymel Hunt returns to the bench, replacing Tyrell Fuimaono (injured).
Sea Eagles = Unchanged.
Overall = Rabbitohs 14 Sea Eagles 20
Last 5 Matches = Rabbitohs 2 Sea Eagles 3
At ANZ Stadium = Rabbitohs 52% Sea Eagles 50%
Form = Rabbitohs 2 losses – Sea Eagles 1 win
All signs point towards the visitors winning this match; they dominated their opponents last week and look to have regained the confidence following their Round 1 loss. The combinations within their team appear to be stronger following that performance, as their stars finally played to their potential, all at once. The Rabbitohs still have plenty of question marks lingering over the heads. The loss of Reynolds is still be felt and while his replacement is capable, the players around him are still getting accustomed to his play. The Sea Eagles have only shortened since betting markets open, with this a strong guide as to what most others think. This is not to suggest that the Rabbitohs are completely out of contention in this contest; they have the capability in the forwards to dominate the middle and put themselves in a winning position. Had they managed the match better last week, the opinion of them heading into this game would be vastly different and perhaps the Sea Eagles wouldn’t as short as they are. A lot of this relies upon good ball security (something that always seems to evade them) and Damien Cook offering speed and support out of hooker. He has the potential to break a game open and provide the halves with a retreating defensive line. There is also the chance that fatigue will impact the Sea Eagles after they played in extreme conditions, this is also impacted by losing a day on the turn around. That being said, they should be able to handle this situation but it may keep the score closer than expected. There is still plenty of hope for the Rabbitohs and it will only take one win to restore their confidence; the safer option is the visitors by less than 2 converted tries but this is yet another game that is worth watching and saving your pennies for Round 4.
Sea Eagles 1-12 @ $3
Parramatta Eels (16th) v Cronulla Sharks (13th)
The Eels took a few major steps backwards in their development with their 54-point thrashing by the Sea Eagles last Sunday. In horrendously hot conditions, the Eels behind 18-nil after just 13 minutes and from that point onwards, there was never any doubt of the potential result. The last of motivation and execution from the Eels was a cause from concern, as it was clear that they believed the result was decided prior to the fulltime whistle. Brad Arthur has a difficult task of halting his teams slide, as this effort came after they gave up a 14-point lead in Round 1 against the Panthers. A starting point for them could be improving on the 69% completion rate (just 31% of possession), 12 errors and 50 tackles they missed. Stakes are high ahead of this match, as they face the Sharks, a team who is also winless after 2 rounds. They went down to the Dragons at home last week 20-16 after leading 14-nil at one stage. Their effort in the second half was diabolical as they failed to close out the contest, continually allowing the Dragons to gather momentum and make the most of every opportunity they were given. Having 12 total errors and missing 40 tackles is very concerning; it was evident that the combinations within this team are going to take longer than expected to form together. The makings of a good team is evident for all to see, however, unless they play with confidence, they are going to quickly build unnecessary pressure on the all involved with the club.
Eels = Beau Scott (injury) returns on the bench, pushing Will Smith back to the reserves. Daniel Alvaro is named to start, with Kane Evans moving back to the bench. Kenny Edwards (injury) is the new face on the bench, in place of Brad Takairangi (injured).
Sharks = Jesse Ramien (NRL debut) is named in the centres in place of Aaron Gray.
Overall = Eels 15 Sharks 15
Last 5 Matches = Eels 2 Sharks 3
At ANZ Stadium = Eels 49% Sharks 38%
Form = Eels 2 losses – Sharks 2 losses
Rugby league is an amazing game and there is never a dull moment, this is highlighted in the Eels being listed as favourites ahead of this match, despite coming off a 54-point thrashing. It was an uncharacteristic effort from this team that has built a strong foundation in recent years; many are of the belief that this will work in their favour and they will bounce back to their 2017 form. The Sharks plan to make things more difficult for them and if anything, they have demonstrated far more potential than the Eels this year. The loss of Gallen leading into this game does impact their forward rotation, but his omission does not have the same bearing it once did. Their spine is slowly coming together and there is enough evidence to suggest that if the forwards dominate the middle, they will have the luxury of playing on the front foot. Forget the fact that the Sharks gave up a lead last week; much like the Eels, they will be desperate to bounce back and capture their first win for the season. They are false outsiders ahead of this match and deserve a lot more respect from punters. The Eels defensive structure have plenty of question marks lingering and it will take a few more performances before you can confidently say that the Eels are an improving team. The value on offer for the Sharks is too good to overlook and it should be a very tight outcome after 80 minutes, with the visitors prevailing.
Sharks @ $2.10
Gold Coast Titans (10th) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (1st)
The Titans couldn’t make it consecutive wins to start their season, suffering a 20-8 loss to the Warriors on the road. Hopes were high that they could emulate their opening round come-from-behind win over the Raiders, yet, their chances took a hit when it was announced that halfback Ash Taylor would be absent through injury. Any playmaker has a positive effect on their team, but the influence of Taylor’s presence appears to give the Titans an edge they would otherwise be without. The final result somewhat flattered the visitors, forced to wait until the 77th minute before grabbing their first try of the match; this was despite having a 57% share of possession and only making 7 errors. The problem for the Titans may also be within their defensive structure, after missing 45 total tackles across the match. They will need to improve ahead of this match, as they face the unbeaten Dragons outfit that is sitting at the top of the ladder courtesy of two strong victories. Their most recent was a come-from-behind victory over their rivals, the Sharks. Finding themselves behind 14-4 at HT, the pressure was on the Dragons to improve their efforts in the second half. Thankfully for them, they found a spark that lead to two tries and two more penalty goals ensured they finished on top. There were several doubts about the quality of the result, with questions lingering around the performance of their opponents; perhaps if the Sharks had been a better team, played to their ability or shown greater composure, perhaps it would’ve been a different result. The Dragons could also aim to improve their 74% completion rate and 11 errors, which limited the momentum they were able to develop it attack. On the other side of the ball, the Dragons defensive structure is appearing strong and supported by the fact that over 80 minutes, they missed just 13 total tackles. There are plenty of positive signs for the Dragons and they will need to back it up again if they are to be taken seriously moving forward.
Titans = Ash Taylor (injury) returns at halfback, with Bryce Cartwright moving back to lock and pushing Will Matthews to the bench. Jarrod Wallace (suspension) is named on the bench.
Dragons = Unchanged.
Overall = Titans 7 Draw 1 Dragons 11
Last 5 Matches = Titans 3 Dragons 2
At Cliver Berghofer Stadium = Never played at this venue
Form = Titans 1 loss – Dragons 2 wins
Based on the opening two weeks of the competition, the Dragons are undoubtedly the stronger of the two sides. Then again, you cannot overlook the impact of the return of Taylor to the Titans. He was dynamic in Round 1 and had a bearing on numerous attacking plays that lead to points. It was clear that he was the missing link in their loss over the Warriors and the Dragons best prepare for a strong showing from their opponents. The fact that this game has been taken to Toowoomba (because of the Commonwealth Games) takes the home ground advantage away from the Titans and assists the visitors. The play of the Dragons has an edge of calm and measure about it, this was evident in the way they managed the game last week against the Sharks and the experience offered from Hunt at halfback is bringing the best out in other players in the squad. It will be interesting to see how they perform given they will be heading into this game as favourites. It was games like this one last year, that the Dragons should’ve won, which was the difference in them achieving and missing out on success. When comparing the two sides in the forwards, the Dragons appear to have the edge over the Titans; not much credit has been given to McInnes and the job he is doing out of hooker to keep his team powering through the middle. This was a weakness of the Titans in Round 1 against the Raiders and had a more experienced team jumped to a similar lead, they may not have been able to fight their way back into the match. There were similar opportunities afforded to the Warriors last week and despite their ability to score points, the Titans will need to stop their opponents in attack before they are going to be able to put themselves in a winning position. This suggests that once the visitors get rolling, they should win this match comfortably.
Dragons 13+ @ $2.80
Big Mac = Nene MacDonald FTS and/or LTS @ $10 – MacDonald sparked the Dragons, last week, back into the match and there is an undoubted ease to the way this team moves the ball to their left-hand side. He is growing as a player and will want to get a try early on in this match to remind his old side what they are missing out on.
Sydney Roosters (7th) v Newcastle Knights (5th)
The Roosters put an opening round upset by the Tigers behind them in their strong performance over the Bulldogs last Friday, prevailing 30-12. They dominated the contest from the opening minutes and after leading 18-nil at HT, there was little doubt about the result. Their defence was strong throughout, missing just 24 tackles and making the Bulldogs wait until the 48th minute for their first of two tries. In attack, they appeared more comfortable with the new combinations within their side, although the output is not completely perfect just yet. They still only completed at 70% and made 14 total errors, but managed to average 10.7m per carry of the ball; this suggests that the forwards have aimed to improve their performance from Round 1 and recognise their role in supporting the playmakers. The Knights are ahead of the Roosters on the ladder, grabbing their second consecutive victory with a 2-point win over the Raiders in Canberra. They were forced to come back from deficits four times in this match, demonstrating the true determination and grit that this club has redeveloped. It is little wonder they were able to achieve this, as they were able to complete at 84% with just 46% possession and making just 8 errors. Unfortunately, they will not be happy with the 32 missed tackles, as well as the fact that they allowed their opponent to score 28 points in the match. That aside, the Knights are in a far stronger position than they were last year and appear to have the right mix of players to deliver success. You will hear a major focus on that this week ahead of this fixture, with many players heading up the M1 from the eastern suburbs of Sydney to Newcastle. The most notable story line running through this game will be the battle of the halfbacks, with Mitchell Pearce and Cooper Cronk certain to grab plenty of attention from people ahead of this clash.
Roosters = Reece Robinson (club debut) is named in place of Daniel Tupou (injured) on the wing. Dylan Napa is named to start at prop, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves moving to the bench.
Knights = Jamie Buhrer (injury) returns to the bench, pushing Jacob Saifiti to the reserves.
Overall = Roosters 25 Knights 12
Last 5 Matches = Roosters 4 Knights 1
At ANZ Stadium = Roosters 64% Knights 33%
Form = Roosters 1 win – Knights 2 wins
It has been a tough trip for the Knights to make in recent years; the last time they beat the Roosters was back in Round 20, 2014 and they have only beaten their opponents twice in the past 11 meetings. Combine this with a very poor record at this ground and even before comparing the two sides, the Knights are going to find it hard to win. What isn’t measured in those statistics, is the change that has occurred in Newcastle this year and the improvements that are being made to transform their play. The obvious headlines around this match will be revenge and players at the Knights proving a point after many were released by the Roosters. That can often drive teams towards success, but also detract away from their jobs on the field. They need to do what has worked well for them in the past two weeks and that is playing with measure, poise and relying on their defensive structure to restrict their opponents. The Tigers demonstrated in Round 1 that if you pressure the Roosters in the middle, their talented spine will find in hard to produce points. This will be an area of focus from the opening moments and Pearce will be very vocal in directing traffic at the Roosters big men to fatigue them and test their ability to work on both sides of the ball. Nevertheless, the quality within the home team is too much to overlook; despite their combinations still needing time to gel together, they are in a better position leading into this match than they were following their Round 1 loss. This suggests that the margin of victory will be very tight; regardless of how strong the home team appears, the points in the line market is too much to overlook for the Knights, a team that believes strongly in their play and one another.
Knights +8.5 @ $1.90