NRL ROUND 2
Sharks v Dragons
The Dragons were one of the standout teams from round one as they easily took care of the Broncos off the back of a very good display from the forward pack along with new halfback Ben Hunt. The Sharks on the other hand did what nearly every other team in the competition does when they go to Townsville and lost to the Cowboys in a display that they can certainly improve on.
The fact the Sharks came up so badly in a few stats last week (62% completion rate and 38 missed tackles) yet still only lost by 6 points in what’s probably the toughest road trip in the NRL has to fill them with some confidence going into this clash. A notable culprit last week was Valentine Holmes who is desperate to make the fullback position his and I’m sure his class will shine through here as he bounces back from last week in style.
It’s going to be hard slog up front for both packs as a massive arm wrestle ensues, look for the old heads of Gallen, Graham, Fifita and Prior to step up though as there’s no way they’ll allow the Dragons pack to bully them at Shark Park! Moylan and Townsend will be sharper here after last weeks hit out and I see plenty of points in the home side as they come away with the win.
Broncos v Cowboys
The Broncos will be under a heap of pressure here following their lacklustre performance against the Dragons in the opening round and a wounded Bronco is a very dangerous one so whilst the bookies have placed them as firm underdogs here I have them as more like an even (or better) chance of grabbing the win at great value on home soil.
The obvious dangers posed by the Cowboys come from Thurston, Taumalolo and Scott who are all absolute world class players but the Broncos have class to burn in their side too and Bennett will be demanding a huge game from his stars, particularly the playmakers in Boyd and Milford who were quiet last week.
The recent history between these sides has been littered with golden point deciders and whilst on paper you can see just why the Cowboys are favourites one can never underestimate the character of the Broncos and the ability of Bennett to fire them up for the big occasion. We’ll take a small bite on the value of a Broncos win in the margins as grit and desperation gets them (just) across the line. Pick - 2 units on Broncos to win by 12 points and under
Storm v Tigers
How the Storm manage to continue to stay at the very top of their game after so many years of success is quite incredible; in the tipsters world they’re the friend you can always rely on – consistent, professional and just so dam good and if their opening game on 2018 is anything to go by they’re going to be there or there about yet again this season.
The Tigers pulled off the biggest upset of round one in beating the Roosters, doing so through a very gritty defence (albeit aided by some terrible Roosters attack) but they’re up against a very clinical Storm attack here who I expect will run rings around them. Very few sides in the competition cope well with the structure and unrelenting wave of attack the Storm throw at them and I’ve no doubt this young Tigers side are about to be brought down to earth with a thud as they will be confronted here by a totally different attacking beast to that which they slay last week.
The line for the Storm to cover is a large one but they will dominate every facet of play here; the Tigers may have their moments but the end result is going to be a very large win to the home side. Pick – 3 units on Storm -14.5 point start
Raiders v Knights
The Raiders put in a classic coach-killer performance last week as they raced out to an early 18-point lead only to end up losing the match to the Titans in the final moments and poor old Ricky Stewart would have hardly slept a wink on Sunday night as a result. For parts of their opening round match the Raiders looked absolutely unstoppable on attack but boy did they clock off and Ricky will have put them through a punishing week of training as a result, we certainly won’t see any such prolonged lapses here.
The Knights proved they’re unlikely to be a wooden spoon side this season but were guilty of reverting to old habits against the Sea Eagles as they let them back in the game late and very easily could have lost it if not for a few ever so slightly wayward DCE drop goal attempts. What I saw though was a side on the rise but one that’s still working out their combinations with so many new additions and I can’t help but feel they’re about to cop the brunt of a very frustrated Raiders side here.
The Raiders are obvious favourites, playing at their beloved GIO Stadium and being the first home game of the season one would expect a large home crowd to buoy them on and ensure any lapses in concentration are only momentary. We’ll happily take the Raiders to get the job done in style. Pick - 4 units on Raiders -3.5 point start (BEST BET)
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Week Eighteen -6.32 13 -49% LOST SOO 3 +5.25 4 130% N/A Week Seventeen -7 7 -100% LOST Week Sixteen -1.7 11 -15% LOST Week Fifteen -3.87 17 -23% LOST Week Fourteen +3.44 10 34% WON SOO 1 +3.64 4 91% N/A Week Thirteen -7 7 -100% LOST Week Twelve +6.34 13 49% WON Week Eleven +1.24 15 8% WON Week Ten +3.96 12 33% WON Week Nine +9.67 10 97% WON Week Eight -1.09 13 8% LOST Week Seven +18.27 15 123% WON Week Six -3.51 15 -23% LOST Week Five -3.3 15 -22% LOST Week Four +3.6 11 33% N/A Week Three -7 7 -100% LOST Week Two -4.5 12 -38% LOST Week One -5.27 11 -48% LOST Total +4.85 222 2% 35%