St George Illawarra Dragons v Gold Coast Titans at WIN Jubilee Oval, 7:45pm
St George $1.91
Gold Coast $1.91
The Dragons will have their depth tested in a Friday night showdown against the Titans at WIN Jubilee. They’re missing 8 topliners due to Origin but will have a solid mix of rookies and experienced heads in the team with the likes of Hornby, Nightingale, Prior, Field, Hunt, Young, Weyman and Cuthbertson to line up for the red V. The thing about a Wayne Bennett trained side is that you know that every player will be aware of their role and will be doing everything to not let their team mate down. It is becoming a weekly comment about the Titans but they were simply awful last week against the Panthers. They’re the complete opposite of the Dragons where it appears that each player does not know what their role is and this is being reflected on the scoreboard. On paper, the Titans should blow this young Dragons side off the field, however on their performances this year, this seems very unlikely to be the case. The betting suggests that the Titans may be a chance but take the generous price that they’ve put up for the Dragons – the Titans have been too bad to forgive this season.
Best Bet – Dragons 13+ $3.50
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v North QLD Cowboys at Brookvale Oval, 7:30pm
North Qld $5.25
A Thurston-less Cowboys outfit will travel to Brookvale on Saturday to take on the Sea Eagles who have been in white hot form. You could go as far as to say that they are the most in-form team of the competition. They were most impressive in absolutely demolisheing the Bulldogs last week in a clinical performance despite the fact that the Bulldogs turned in their worst performance of the year. Make no mistake, they are one tough football team. They hit hard and have a strong forward pack and the creative spark of Cherry-Evans, Foran, Lyon and Brett Stewart to turn, the solid foundation laid by the forwards, into points. They have won ugly this year and they have won pretty this year. They will be a massive premiership threat come September. The Cowboys have a huge task ahead of them without their captains Scott and Thurston and the odds reflect that.
Best Bet – Manly by 19+ $2.25
Brisbane Broncos v Canberra Raiders at Suncorp Stadium, 2pm
The Broncos play the Raiders on Sunday afternoon with the Brisbane side yet again forced to field a young side due to the rep season. Alex Glenn will have the honour of being the youngest ever Broncos captain when he leads his side onto the field on Sunday in the absence of Darren Lockyer and Corey Parker. The Raiders are coming off a horrific loss to the Cowboys at home last week after collapsing from a 22-0 lead after 7 mins. They had excuses as they loss their two best players, Dugan and Campese, to injury early but were entitled to show more fight than they did. They’re again without Dugan and Campese so they will need to find their feet quickly if they’re to get the points against a Broncos side who is choc full of talent despite their inexperience. Can they do it without their big two? We don’t think so – the young Broncos’ talent and enthusiasm to shine through on Sunday afternoon.
Best Bet – Broncos 1-12
New Zealand Warriors v Wests Tigers at Mt. Smart Stadium, 4pm
The Warriors, who were flying high circa 2 weeks ago, came crashing back to earth last week against the Roosters at the SFS. While the Tigersonly just got out of gaol for the second successive week beating the Knights in extra time courtesy of a Robbie Farah field goal. They appear to be playing without cohesion in attack – incredible really considering the number of years Farah and Marshall have been playing together. Garth Ellis and Lote Tuqiri are again name in the starting line up and will be better for the run. The Warriors had been playing some super footy in the weeks prior – you can put a line through last week’s performance and if they bring their ‘A’ game, they should be too good for a West Tigers team who are really struggling at the moment.
Best Bet – Warriors -4 $1.91
Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park, 7pm
The Storm will be without the big three, Slater, Cronk and Smith, when they take on the Roosters on Monday night. While they have been unconvincing in their wins in the past month, they continue to grind out the win each week and that is a credit to them and their mental strength however the loss of the big three is a big blow. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that they are the heart and soul of the Storm team and while they’re missing, the Melbourne boys will find it difficult to win games. The Roosters have a golden opportunity to beat a top 4 team for the second week in the row after they upset the Warriors with grinding 7 point win last week. That will have been a massive boost to their confidence and they’re a huge shot again this week. If they can reel off another upset this week, it might be the spark they’ve been searching for in what has been an extremely disappointing season.
Best Bet – Roostyers +2 $1.91