NRL ROUND 17
Titans v Dragons
Both these sides have a point to prove after getting back on the right track last week with wins, the Titans were the more convincing of the two in comfortably beating the Tigers whilst the Dragons made tough work of beating the Knights but will be buoyed with their second half attack.
Whilst both sides have suffered periods of drought on attack this season they’ve largely been dangerous with ball in hand and with most of their key attacking weapons on board here I can see this being a game dominated by offence. There are a few showers forecast on the day but nothing considerable enough to dampen the flare of either side and I can see them trading try for try in what is expected to be a tight game. Pick – 3 units on total combined points ‘over’ 40.5
Broncos v Storm
The spark from Hunt when he made it onto the field last week will have Broncos fans breathing easier as he’s a player the Broncos definitely need firing if they’re to remain in the top four and he’s been rewarded with a starting spot here. The Broncos are still without Boyd and Milford, two players Bennett would love to have against the table-topping Storm but the side named performed admirably last week in upsetting the Raiders with Marshall in particular winding back the clock in leading what was a dangerous attack.
It’s no wonder the Storm are favourites here with the heavy artillery of Smith, Cronk, Slater and Chambers all back on deck, throw into the mix they’ve won their last six matches at Suncorp Stadium and they really are hard to go past. Bellamy loves the challenge of playing the top teams away and will have his side primed for a big clash.
I find it hard to go past the Storm here given the side they’ve named and their amazing record but the Broncos won’t make it easy for them; ultimately though the match-winning guile of any of the Storm big-three will get them home in a likely close one. Pick – 2 units on Storm to win by 12 points and under
Raiders v Cowboys
The Raiders season is well and truly teetering after another loss to the Broncos last week in a game where the Broncos attack flourished, partially due to some flimsy defence from the Raiders though which will have had Ricky Stuart seething.
The Cowboys dusted themselves off from the massive blow of JT’s season-ending origin injury and beat the Panthers last week in a low scoring affair, their defence was excellent and will need to step up again here as there’s no way they’re going to beat the Raiders in a try-fest. Whilst they do have capable enough attacking weapons the Cowboys have lost a considerable amount of potency without JT and I can’t help but feel that his absence will be felt hard by them here.
Basically it’s do or die for the Raiders and there’s no question they’ll be up for this clash, they have no shortage of danger men throughout their side and once they get a lead they’ll defend it as though their lives depended on it. I don’t see the Cowboys having enough points in them to stay in the contest here and we’ll back the home side to win comfortably as they cut loose. Pick – 4 units on Raiders -4.5 or better point start (BEST BET) and 1 unit on Raiders to win by 13+ points
Raiders 13+1 at 3.10-1
Rabbitohs v Panthers
The Bunnies have had a bit of a break and used that time to regroup with talk of closed sessions, bonding and soul searching which more often than not yields results. Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs though they’re coming up against a quality side on paper who are desperately searching for answers as to why they’ve not yet lived up to the hype thus far, coming off another lacklustre loss to the Cowboys.
Both these sides lack no motivation here and I can’t help but feel both sides are ready to have a break out performance on attack; there’s no shortage of quality players in either side capable of breaking a game open and I can see things clicking here.
The forecast looks good for attacking footy and I’m happy to back the ‘overs’ in what should be a very entertaining game. Pick – 3 units on total combined points ‘over’ 43.5