2013 NRL Round 15 Preview

NRL

 

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters

For the second time this season, we will see a dramatically reduced round of fixtures caused by the byes in and around SOO. To combat player fatigue, it is unfortunately something that we are going to have to get use to and with Game 2 kicking off next Wednesday; it will be worth the wait. Nonetheless, it has been a tumultuous week of rugby league off the field and people are beginning to again doubt the personal credentials of not just the offenders, but all rugby league players in the NRL. It is a sad set of circumstances and the offenders are going to have to pay a price. Hopefully by the end of this weekend, the media and the fans will be only focusing their attention on the games passed and the approaching Origin encounter. While other teams are resting, Round 15 will kick off with a rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Roosters out at ANZ Stadium. The two sides have already met this year but the anticipation around this clash will be focused on the return of SBW to the home ground of the club that he once left. More importantly for the Bulldogs, they will want to turn the tables on a game where they were beaten 38-0. They are a different side to what they were back then and are playing off the back of a 4-game winning streak (they have also won 7 of their last 8 matches). Now it is the Roosters that need to get things back together following 2 losses in their last 3 games, and don’t forget that their win was lackluster to say the least. The task for them does not become any easier here as they are without several of their stars due to SOO duty. Either way there will still be a lot of attention around the return of SBW to the Bulldogs “kennel” and their forwards will be up for the challenge. The Roosters will want to take the battle to the Dogs early and set a standard that they have been unable to reach in the past few weeks. The Bulldogs also have a few players out but are able to retain a core group of players that will want to continue their recent run of form, especially given how well they played last week against the Sea Eagles. Before we can turn our attention towards the feature game of the coming week, we have this game to contend with. It is shaping to be a great contest and the storylines running through this game certainly does increase the anticipation around it. Let’s see if the Bulldogs form will continue or the Roosters are able to bounce back to winning form.

 

 

 

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 

 

The Bulldogs are in a rich vein of form at the moment and majority of that has been built around the retaining of a core group of players. In that time they have also had a few players return from injury and suspension; and their return only improves the strength of their team. This week they are without Josh Morris and Josh Reynolds who have both been called into the NSW SOO team. Tim Lafai comes back into the team in the centres for Morris and given the chances he has had this season, you would expect a decent performance from him again here. As for Reynolds’ replacement, they have chosen to name Joel Romelo, who has made more of a name at hooker rather than 5/8. Regardless, he has a small amount of experience in this position and he is a tough player that will be ready for any pressure the Roosters give him. There may be a slight change to the starting side that was resembled in their win against the Sea Eagles. Des Hasler chose to start Josh Graham and Josh Jackson in the place of Sam Kasiano and Tony Williams. The move was designed to allow Kasiano and Williams to add impact when they took the field (which they did terrifically), while Graham and Jackson were able to whether the early pressure from the Sea Eagles in defence. I would expect this to happen again at same stage during the season but whether or not it happens here remains to be seen.

 

 

 

Sydney Roosters 

 

The Roosters depth has been tested this week given the players they have lost to SOO duty. The last time Origin was on, they were fortunate enough to have the bye, but this week we are going to have to see a few players step up to the mark in their absence. The biggest change for them will occur in the halves and coach Trent Robinson has chosen to name Daniel Mortimer at halfback and Mitchell Aubusson at 5/8. Mortimer comes off the bench to replace Mitchell Pearce and he may need a little time to adjust to playing a position that he seemed to comfortable with back in 2009 at Parramatta. When he has taken the field this year, it has been to replace Jake Friend at hooker and now NafeSeluini comes onto the bench and will look to give Friend a rest at some stage. As for Aubussons move, he is a versatile player that has played in the centres and back row but now finds himself in a new role that will have its challenges. To accommodate this move, Boyd Cordner moves into the second row and will partner SBW; and Frank Paul Nuuausala is promoted from the bench to play lock. Due to FPN being promoted, Dylan Napa (NRL debut) comes onto the bench and he will join Isaac Lui and Sam Moa. Moa was a late inclusion in the game against the Warriors and Liu was the man that had to miss out on that occasion. He will get another chance here and along with Napa, they’re in to cover for the Aidan Guerra, who has been named in the centres to cover for Michael Jennings. The strength for the Roosters is definitely in their forwards, but the bench is also a problem area for them. They need to develop strength and depth that can allow them to compete with the stronger sides of the competition.

 

 

 

Recent History 

Overall = Bulldogs 77 Draw 5 Roosters 79

 

Last 5 games = Bulldogs 3 Roosters 2

 

At ANZ Stadium = Bulldogs 10 Roosters 2

 

 

 

Stats that matter

 

  • The Roosters were off a little last week and they can start with improving their completion rate. For that game, it stood at 65.2% and mistakes are beginning to get the better of them (season average 71% – 12th). They need to knuckle down and take greater care of the ball when they have it.
  • This game is going to feature the two best defences in the league in terms of missed tackles. The Roosters are the benchmark at the moment with an average of 20.3, although this is climbing. As for the Bulldogs sitting in second spot, they average 22.5 and this is decreasing the longer the season goes on.
  • The Bulldogs will want to limit the amount of points the Roosters score as they may find it tough to stick with them. At this point of the season, the Roosters average 23.4 points per game (3rd) and are ahead of the Bulldogs who average 19.1 for the season (11th).

 

 

Odds 

 

TAB Sportsbet = Bulldogs $1.38 Roosters $3.15

 

Centrebet = Bulldogs $1.41 Roosters $3.00

 

Sportsbet = Bulldogs $1.42 Roosters $2.95

 

Betfair = Bulldogs $1.45 Roosters $3.15

 

 

 

Verdict 

 

It’s a shame that these two teams are not meeting at full strength, as it would’ve been a great game to watch. That is not to say that this one won’t be, but it could’ve been so much better. More so, it would’ve given us an opportunity to view the progress of both teams since the last time they had met. Given the circumstance that they now meet under, it is hard to move away from the Bulldogs as the more fancied team. I would still strongly consider them even if teams were at full strength; such is the form of the Bulldogs at the moment. The Roosters are without their halves and will still be reeling from a tough game against the Warriors. Don’t discount them though; they have a point to prove after a loss to the Warriors and a lackluster performance against the Eels. The Bulldogs are sturdy in the middle of the field and their forwards will be up for the battle that the Roosters are going to give to them. This game will be a lot closer than most think though. The Roosters attack will not be up to its usual standard but the players they have moved into different positions are strong in defence. Bulldogs should win this match and they should do so with a margin that will resemble a tough contest.

 

 

 

Suggested Bet 

 

Bulldogs 1-12 @ $2.85

 

 

 

Margin of interest = Bulldogs 7-12 @ $5.25 – If you want a little more value from your bet, then this is the option for you. The Bulldogs should win by a 1-12 margin but to be a little more specific, it should be by more than a converted try. This means great value for punters if you are willing to take a risk.

 

 

 

SKDed over again = Tim Lafai FTS and/or LTS @ $11 – Lafai returns to the Bulldogs side this week and he will relish the opportunity to face a player like Shaun Kenny-Dowall. He has been terrible in recent weeks and the Bulldogs will be out to target him. Expect him to get the ball in every attacking opposition possible.

Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders

Saturday night football is heavily impacted by Origin this week and for the second time this season; it will feature just the one game of rugby league. The last time this occurred we saw an exciting contest between the Rabbitohs and the Knights, however it appears as though this clash will  fail to reach the same heights. If anything, a lot of the attention in this match will revolve around how well the Raiders perform following the news about one of their stars Blake Ferguson. The entire squad should be able to move forward from this but no doubt it would’ve affected them at training this week and they would’ve had an endless barrage of questions thrown at them in regards to his future at the club. It will be a minor speedbump for them moving forward and it has come at a time when their play was beginning to head in the right direction. They have fought their way into the Top 8 and they currently sit in 8th spot on 16 points, 4 points ahead of the Knights in 9th. This divide in the table is something that they will need and can be extra breathing space. Before they get too far ahead of themselves though, the Knights are yet to have a bye and with that in mind, they are just two points ahead of them. It is a stark contrast to the Tigers and they would give anything to be in the same position as the Raiders. They are stuck in 15th spot on the table and have just won 4 games for the season. It has been a tough run for them and they have had several injuries that they have had to contend with. This has meant their depth has been tested and at times, players have looked out of it. If there were other players to bring into the side, you think that coach Mick Potter would’ve made that decision without hesitation. They still have numerous things to play for and hopefully the team named each week will exhibit conviction and desperation in their play. There is only one way to see how this game will play out and we are going to have to tune in to see just what happens. More importantly, it is the only chance that we will have to get our NRL fix today and while not interesting everyone, it may solve a few problems for the respective clubs come the final whistle.

 

 

 

Wests Tigers

 

The Tigers have a very short turn around to contend with following their MNF loss to the Broncos and maybe it will be a blessing in disguise. This will only be the case if they put that performance behind them and strive to come out on top here. Aaron Woods is out of this game after finally being rewarded for his consistent play with selection in the Blues side for Game 2. The Tigers will struggle in his absence as he has been a shining light in a very dim set of circumstances. Jack Buchanan comes into the side in the front row and finds himself back in the starting side after spending the last few weeks coming off the bench. Liam Fulton is also named to start in the second row this week and this has forced Ben Murdoch-Masila back to the bench, as was the case after the late changes in MNF. Lock BraithAnasta has been ruled out for the next 3 weeks through injury and Sauaso Sue, who has been promoted from the bench, has replaced him. This has left a few spot vacant on the interchange and the new faces are Ava Seumanufagai, Shaun Spence and Bodene Thompson. Thompson comes into the side to replace youngster Jarred Farlow and this may be due to salary cap restrictions placed on them by the NRL. The final change is James Tedesco being named at the back, but this is a minor inclusion as he was able to prove his fitness in time to be a late addition against the Broncos.

 

 

 

Canberra Raiders 

 

The Raiders have a few changes forced upon them this week due to players being called SOO for Game 2. Blake Ferguson was originally named for the Blues but after everything that has gone on he will be out of rugby league for an extended period of time. This is no time to get on a soapbox but collectively, fans are beginning to be frustrated with how many opportunities players are being given, only to have it throw back in the clubs face. It may be a split-second decision from him but it may now be one that he will suffer the consequences for, perhaps for many years to come. His replacement in the side this week is Sami Sauiluma in a move that has pushed Jack Wighton back into the centres. Sandor Earl is also included despite his impending departure and he may vacate the team when Edrick Lee is back into the fold. In the forwards, Josh Papalii is out of this game due to his selection in the Maroons side and he is replaced by Joel Edwards. Edwards promotion has opened up the opportunity for Jarred Kennedy to come into the side on the bench. Surprisingly, David Shillington was left out of the QLD team and he will have his work cut out for him reaffirming his position as one of the premier props in the game as he is playing off the bench.

 

Recent History

Overall =Tigers 15 Raiders 10

 

Last 5 games =Tigers 4 Raiders 1

 

At Campbelltown Stadium = Tigers 5 Raiders 2

 

 

 

Stats that matter 

 

  • The Raiders have really found a winning formula recently and they can put a lot of it down to their completion rate. In the past two weeks they have averaged 83.7% and when they win, they average 78%. This is definitely an area they should focus on as they currently they average 71.7% for the season (10th).
  • Not much is going right for the Tigers at the moment and it will be even harder this week without Aaron Woods and Farrah. They only make 8.36m per carry (16th) and the forwards should aim to create extra room for the halves to work off.
  • The Tigers are also failing in defence and they miss an average of 30.2 tackles per game (15th), leading to them conceding an average of 27.5 points per game. The Raiders are improving recently, but are still not where they would want to be. They average 26.8 missed tackles per game (8th), which leads to them to conceding 22.4 points (13th).

 

 

Odds 

 

TAB Sportsbet = Tigers $3.00 Raiders $1.40

 

Centrebet = Tigers $3.15 Raiders $1.38

 

Sportsbet = Tigers $3.00 Raiders $1.40

 

Betfair = Tigers $3.10 Raiders $1.46

 

 

 

Verdict 

 

The Raiders have a terrible record at Campbelltown and to make matters worse, they have poor recent form against the Tigers. Despite this, the Raiders are still favorite in this game and that is mainly due to the recent form of both sides. The Tigers have lacked any decent enthusiasm in their recent performances (excluding the Panthers game) and their game against the Broncos on MNF on reiterated this point. They are lackluster in defence and their players look as though they are succumbing to the fact that their season is already over. They are not at full strength either and despite the Raiders missing a few players as well, they still should be move competitive than the Tigers will be. The Raiders appear as though they are a side on the up but they need to get their form away from home together before they will be seriously considered as a contender. The potential is there and if they are to change opinions, they will have to come out in this game and record a comprehensive victory over a fledging side. The Raiders should be able to easily account for the Tigers here but the fact that the game is played out in Campbelltown bring the Tigers slightly into the contest, and this affects the choice on the margin slightly. Still, I fancy them to be able to get away from them late and really show their attacking ability to the rest of the competition.

 

 

 

Suggested Bet 

 

Raiders 13+ @ $2.40

 

 

 

Left side, strong side = Jarrod Croker and/or Sami Sauiluma FTS @ $9 – The Raiders left hand side attack has been great in recent weeks even when they haven’t been winning matches. The two players on this side will be in the action from the opening whistle and  will look to trouble the Tigers right hand edge.

 

 

 

Go for more of a margin = Raiders 13-18 @ $5 – The Raiders are favored to get out to the 19+ margin ($3.50) but this option seems a little more inviting. The Raiders should be able to handle the Tigers with ease but they are a different team when they travel. Not only that, the Tigers also turn out a “strong” performance when they play at Campbelltown.

Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Just like Saturday night, the Sunday game is going to be affected by the SOO game on the coming Wednesday. Unfortunately there is only one game of football for fans to watch and unless they are heading out to the venue, it will be via a delayed telecast on free-to-air TV. That hopefully does not draw away from the contest as a whole and at the end of the day, both sides will be desperate to walk away from this game with the two competition points. For the Eels, it could be a real struggle if their form this season is anything to go by. They are a club that is going through a rebuilding process and the job ahead of them does appear to be a difficult one. They are sitting in 16th spot on the ladder and this is reflected through the lack of conviction they have shown. It appeared as though we could be in for a shock last week when they took on the Sharks but the Eels side that played the first half, failed to show up for the second. They had quickly gone from a competitive side to a team that was falling off tackles and failing to build momentum in attack. This allowed the Sharks to get out to a comfortable lead and control the game from the moment they wrestled it from the Eels grasp. It has been a different story for the Rabbitohs though as they are sitting pretty at the top of the table. They have had minimal problems this season and it appears as though they have worked really hard to get to this point. Their play is exciting, brutal and tough; beating most sides in every area of the game. That is what it takes to be a premiership side and they are working towards that. Before Rabbitohs fans get too excited, they are not at that point just yet and they still have to improve on a few areas of play. They need to learn how to defend on the back of multiple sets and on the back of a fast “play-the-ball”. It is a work in progress though and they will be the first to admit that they still have their flaws. As for this game, it could be a tricky contest when they are facing a side that is unpredictable and has little to lose. The Rabbitohs are the ones setting the benchmark and the Eels will be working hard to reach that level. The Eels also have an uncanny knack of dragging sides down to their level and beating them there (in the few wins they have had this season) but the Rabbitohs will look to rise above this. With minimal chances to win money on NRL matches this weekend, we need to make the most of the opportunities we have and this will be our only chance today to do so.

Parramatta Eels

The Eels don’t have to worry about any of their players being called into SOO as they have hardly earned the right to be rewarded for their play. The one player that was included for Game 1 was Jarryd Hayne and he is out of Game 2 and this one with a hamstring injury. For their side heading into this week, it is relatively the same side that was named to take on the Sharks last week. In the forwards, Mitch Allgood has been called into the starting side and he takes Fuifui Moimoi’s spot in the front row, while Moimoi is relegated back to the bench. Pat O’Hanlon has been moved to 18th man and the new face in jersey 17 is Jacob Loko. He was dropped last week for disciplinary reasons and played lock in the NSW Cup. He turned out a fairly strong effort and will play a different role for the Eels this week. For them, the rest of the season will be a struggle between competition for two points and contracts. The players have to put the news of their impending departures behind them and should focus on enticing other clubs to request their services for coming seasons.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

It will be a vastly different Rabbitohs team this week that will take on the Eels and some of that may be a blessing in disguise. They were exhausted when they left the field last week as the game against the Titans was played in hot and humid conditions up in Cairns. Majority of the side is kept together but it will be a difficult task for them to win here without their stars. In the backline, Greg Inglis has been replaced at fullback by Justin Hunt, while Dylan Farrell will play wing in the absence of Nathan Merritt. He will debut for the Blues in Game 2 following the suspension of Blake Ferguson and Rabbitohs fans will be the first to tell you that it has been a long time coming. In the forwards, Ben Lowe and Nathan Peats are the new second rowers as Ben Te’o and Chris McQueen were recalled to the Maroons team. On the bench, Tom Burgess has come in for his twin brother George, who will spend the next two weeks on the sidelines following a brain explosion off the field in Cairns. He has been charge with damages caused by his actions and it is a sad story that has seen the NRL brand damaged again. Tom is a capable player though and will relish the opportunity he has been given to debut in the NRL. Shaun Corrigan has been named as 18th man, but he will probably miss out on this game if all of the Rabbitohs players are fit. Souths fans will be happy with the progress of Luke Keary and watch for this young superstar when he takes the field. So high is the opinion of him by Michael Maguire, we see John Sutton pushed into the forwards and Keary play as at 5/8.

Recent History

Overall = Eels 50 Draw 3 Rabbitohs 63

Last 5 games = Eels 0 Rabbitohs 5

At ANZ Stadium = Eels 2 Draw 1 Rabbitohs 7

Stats that matter

  • Last week marked the occasion where the Eels overtook the Tigers as the team who concedes the most points each game. Sadly for them, they allow their opponents to score 28.1 points per game (16th) and may find it difficult to stick with the Rabbitohs. They are the best in the competition in this area and average 25.5 points per game (1st).
  • The Eels are getting worse when it comes to missed tackles. In their last 4 games, they have averaged 39.3 per game (46 last week v Sharks) and this has seen their season average climb to 28.5 (13th).
  • The Rabbitohs struggled to adapt to the hot conditions up in Cairns last week and we saw an uncharacteristic performance from them in regards to their completion rate. It was a dismal 62.3% and they will wan to rectify this against the Eels while also having to battle against limiting their errors (15 v the Titans).

Odds
TAB Sportsbet = Eels $4.00 Rabbitohs $1.26
Centrebet = Eels $3.85 Rabbitohs $1.28
Sportsbet = Eels $3.65 Rabbitohs $1.30
Betfair = Eels $3.95 Rabbitohs $1.33

Verdict

1st v 16th…easy choice isn’t it? Well the Rabbitohs have been playing sublime football this season and had both sides been at full strength, there would be no hesitation in going with them. This isn’t to say that I am moving away from selecting the Rabbitohs, but there are several factors that bring the Eels into this contest and that is one of them. Another is how well they recover from their last match. The Rabbioths players will no doubt be feeling the effects from a tough game in hot conditions. When they were walking off the field, their players looked exhausted and it will take longer to recover than a normal match. They are also without their star players and the task is made even more difficult because of this. Nonetheless, I am going to stick with the top side in the competition but it will be a lot closer than most think in the initial stages. A major factor leading me towards the Rabbitohs is that they are still able to retain their halves and hooker, while the players that are brought into the side are going to be desperate to prove to Maguire that they deserve a regular spot in possibly a premiership-winning team. This will make them more desperate in this game and they should be able to get the win over a side that has been terrible for majority of this season. A chance to win against a weaker top team may give them some motivation, but whether or not they use it to their advantage is another thing. As I said earlier, it will be close in the beginning, but the Rabbitohs class should be able to shine through in the end.

Suggested Bet

Rabbitohs 13+ @ $2.10

Win with this margin = 13-18 @ $4.50 – It will be tight early in this game but as stated above, the Rabbitohs should be able to take care of business in the end. The 19+ margin is the favorite “specific margin” ($2.85) but fatigue may eventually get the better of the Rabbitohs and this selection still favors a blow out, but not by too much of a margin.

Walk away with cash = Dylan Walker FTS and/or LTS @ $11 – Walker is the longest price of any of the Rabbitohs outside backs and this youngster has been on fire. He is making the most of his opportunity in the top grade and expect his speed to trouble his opposite defender.

Gold Coast Titans v Melbourne Storm

Hold your horses folks; before you get too excited for Game 2 on Wednesday, we have this one to get through. A lot of hype will be around Origin and in a smart move by the Titans and the NRL, this MNF game will kick off up in Queensland, two days before Game 2. The talk will have to stop at 7pm for a couple of hours as the Titans play host to a Storm team that is severally impacted by selections. It is a shame that this game will be missing so many top quality players but that is what we have come to expect from the SOO period and we cannot sit here and whinge about it. Either way, both sides will feature 17 players that will be doing what ever it takes to get a victory and the two competition points that go along with it. Points from a game like this could be more valuable to the Storm than the Titans given they are not expected to win this match without the “Big 3”. It is a very tough task for them and any side would struggle to grab a victory with their three top players out of their team. You cannot discount them through and they are always going to be a competitive side given the intensity of their coach, Craig Bellamy. It will be a different approach taken by the Titans, as they are without two of their star forwards, rather than the playmakers. They have been one of the surprise packets this year and have been playing beyond what anyone expected of them. A major reason behind this is the success of their young halves pairing and they are to be commended on their efforts. Their coach, John Cartwright, is also deserving of a mention, as he was the one who made the tough call at the end of last season and took a gamble on the youngsters. So far, so good for them and they were even able to push the competition leaders last week in a thrilling contest. The job does not get any easier for them here and despite the players missing, they will be playing against a team that is coming 2nd in the league. The Titans should be able to get the job done here but rugby league can be a very strange game at times and anything can happen. MNF is again promising to be a great game and before we turn all our focus to Origin, we must see how this game pans out and affects both teams in their progress through the second half of the season.

Gold Coast Titans

As stated above, there is a host of players missing from both sides that is going to test the depth of each club. For the Titans, all of their changes occur in the forwards and on the bench. It is a positive for them that they are able to retain their “spine”, as well as their backline. As for the forwards, Luke Douglas replaces Nate Myles in the front row and the new face on the bench is Ben Ridge. Dave Taylor, who again misses selection in the Maroons squad, replaces Greg Bird in the second row. Taylor was promoted off the bench and the player stepping into the side is Mark Ioane. Taylor has a lot more to prove to the competition, as everyone is aware of his talent, they would just want to see him use it on a more consistent basis. Ashley Harrison was another player that was left out of the QLD squad, although it was a different story to Taylor’s. Harrison played in Game 1 but has been left out of the side for Game 2 as they look for more impact in defence. This will only be used as motivation for the aging Harrison and expect a big performance from him and support his chances (if need be) for a recall.

Melbourne Storm

The Storm were always going to struggle in this match due to the quality of player that is missing form their squad. Their depth is going to be tested a lot more than any other side during this period but you can never discount them due to coach Craig Bellamy being able to motivate his squad. Like many other teams this week, the players coming into the team are going to be desperate to prove themselves worthy enough to remain in the side beyond this game. As for the changes, Gareth Widdop moves from 5/8 to fullback for Slater and Ben Hampton is named to wear the number 6 jersey. Brett Finch will play halfback for Cooper Cronk and his combination with Hampton is going to be tested early. Finch did play halfback last week though as Cronk was a late withdrawal and he needs to take control of this team as one of the more senior members. In the forwards, Slade Griffin will play hooker in place of Cameron Smith and this youngster has his work cut out for him. Ryan Hoffman is the only Storm player that has been named for the Blues and Tohu Harris comes off the bench to start in this match. Harris has been playing a number of different roles for the Storm this year and starting the match is nothing new to him. Due to all of the changes, there is almost a whole new listing on the bench. Mitch Garbutt, Mahe Fonua and Jordan McLean are the new faces and they will join Jason Ryles, however how they are going to be used by Bellamy remains to be seen.

Recent History

Overall = Titans 3 Storm 6

Last 5 games = Titans 1 Storm 4

At Skilled Park = Titans 2 Storm 2

Stats that matter

  • Both sides are very strong when they carry the ball forward. The Titans are benefitting from some very strong forward play and average 9.19m per carry (1st). The Storm are breathing down their neck though as they average 9.17m and it will be a great contest up front.
  • The raw ability of the Titans makes them a threat where every they are on the field. Players like Albert Kelly and Idris are reasons why they make an average of 5.2 line breaks per game (=2nd).
  • The Storm can score points (average 23.6 points per game – 2nd) just as well as they can defend them (average 14.5 points conceded – 3rd). The Titans will be up for the challenge though but while they can attack and score points with ease (average 21.4 points per game – 4th), they can struggle to hold their opponents to a small total (average 18.4 points conceded – 7th).

Odds
TAB Sportsbet = Titans $1.35 Storm $3.25
Centrebet = Titans $1.34 Storm $3.40
Sportsbet = Titans $1.38 Storm $3.15
Betfair = Titans $1.40 Storm $3.25

Verdict

In any game this season that the Storm have played in, there has always been a little bit of panic when news surfaces that one of the “Big 3” may be out. Well the impact is far worse here as they are losing all of them, along with Hoffman, but

the impact and talk seems to be minimal. People were aware that this situation was coming and had prepared themselves for the fact that their stars wouldn’t be playing. Hopefully the Titans are not of the same opinion because they still have a job to do when they get out there on the field. If they take the Storm lightly, they will be surprised. The Titans have a stronger side going into this match and should only be better for the experience of playing at home. They have a few players that are on the fringe of selection for Origin but have missed out and may just want to prove something in this match. The Storm are going to struggle in attack and their fluency with the ball will not acquire as many points as they will need to beat the Titans. It will still be a decent contest though, but come the fulltime whistle, the Titans should be on the right side of the scoreboard and do so with minimal trouble.

Suggested Bet

Titans -9.5 @ $1.90

Go for a little more value = Titans 13+ @ $2.30 – Sure, the Titans should be able to cover the line, however if you are looking for a little more value than what that bet is offering, then consider this. The Titans have a great ability to score points when they are all firing and will take a lot of confidence in their last match against the Rabbitohs where they were able to score 24 points against the competition leaders.

He’s got the Will power = William Zillman FTS @ $11 – In the last two games that they Titans have played at home, Zillman has been the player that has crossed the line for the first try. Expect him to be a good chance here as well as he is a player that has a knack of popping up in an attacking movement (and finishing it off) or getting on the end of an attacking kick.

Good luck!

 

Scooby

Author

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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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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