NRL ROUND 18
Knights v Eels
The Knights have gone backwards as the seasons progressed with their impressive start now a distant memory as they’ve turned into a one-man band with Ponga orchestrating nearly all of their attack. We saw against the Bulldogs two rounds back after Ponga went off just how limp the Knights offence was as the Dogs ran away with a 20 point victory and his absence will once again have a huge impact on their attack here which even the much-awaited return of Pearce at halfback won’t be able to fix.
The Eels have been dreadful all season and are rightfully sitting on the bottom of the table but have shown signs of life in the back half of the season with their last outing one of their best in narrowly losing to the Dragons. With the line-up they have and certain players (Jennings and Hayne to name a couple) with points to prove the Eels should easily account for the Knights, it will all come down to their attitude which seems to have been their biggest problem all season.
With time running out for the Eels to try and avoid the wooden spoon they will view this as a real opportunity to bag a vital two points; it’s crazy the position they find themselves in given they’re a top-eight side on paper (billed as top four pre-season), something tells me though we’re going to see them at their best for the remainder of the season so watch out opposition. Pick – 4 units on Eels -1.5 point start (BEST BET)
Raiders v Cowboys
The return of Hodgson to the Raiders has seen their attack improve immeasurably as they’ve piled on a whopping 102 points in their last three games, unfortunately they’re still leaking like a sieve on defence though but are still in sight of the top eight.
The Cowboys have without doubt been the biggest disappointment of the season as they’ve looked tired in most of their performances but like the Eels they have shown some signs of life in the back half of the season and also like the Eels I can see them being a real threat to all opposition before them, especially with JT soon to sign off.
Both sides have attacking weapons right across the park with plenty of points in them and despite this being played on a cold Canberra night I can see the scoreboard getting a serious workover. Pick – 3.5 units on total combined points ‘over’ 42.5
Broncos v Warriors
There were signs early on this season that the Warriors may have turned a corner and finally grown a spine but alas as the seasons progressed and the odd gutless performance has become more of a regular occurrence it would appear that once again, with the finish line in sight, they’re waving the white flag with last week’s huge loss to a severely understrength Panthers being their most gutless performance of 2018.
The Broncos will be anything but happy with the fact they’re 7th on the table (unlike the Warriors who will consider being 8th a great achievement) and they’ve shown over the past two weeks with a gutsy win over a determined Raiders side followed up by a 34-0 thrashing of the Titans that they’re serious top four contenders, especially with the disruption of origin now behind them.
Unfortunately for the Warriors the NRL season is a marathon, not a sprint, and they’re running out of puff in a hurry as was on display in their 63 missed tackles last week; it’s an all too familiar story for Warriors fans as their side capitulates in the closing rounds of the season. Pick – 2.5 units on Broncos to win by 13 points and over
Titans v Roosters
This match looks like a one-sided affair if the odds are anything to go by but the Titans have been a hard team to get a read on this season as they’ve been all over the show with their last two matches highlighting that as they followed up a thrashing of the Tigers with a limp effort against the Broncos last week.
The Roosters last match out was also a fizzer for their attack as they were held to just eight points by the Storm and having had a week off to ponder things they’ll be itching to take the field against a Titans side that boasts the 2nd worst defence in the competition having conceded a whopping 401 points to date.
It’s hard to see the Titans getting up over the Roosters here but just how tight they manage to keep the score line will depend on their attack as the Roosters are certainly going to score plenty with a well-rested forward pack and one of the ace halves pairings in the competition, not to mention the rest of their all-star backline. With fine weather forecast and two handy attacks on display, plus one of the worst defensive sides in the competition, this match has all the making for a high scoring affair and we’ll take the ‘overs’. Pick – 3 units on total combined points ‘over’ 44.5 or better
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Week Twenty-Two +6.11 16 38% LOST Week Twenty-One +10.12 11 92% WON Week Twenty -0.6 14 -4% LOST Week Nineteen +9.02 15 60% WON 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 +29.5 294 10% 38%