Wed, May 1, 10:49am by Rob Sheeley
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After a week of high drama, hard hitting and sizzling rugby league we look towards Round 8 of the 2013 NRL season. And what a round it is in prospect. From the opening game on Friday night where the sixth placed Broncos take on second placed Rabbitohs to the Monday night clash of traditional rivals, the Dragons and Sea Eagles.
We have had some success on the tip too, selecting eighteen winners from the last nineteen games with plenty of healthy returns from suggested bets. Let’s hope the good fortune continues this week.
As the season heads closer to State Of Origin time, opportunities for players to prove themselves worthy of representative honours are becoming rare. The need to win is also vital for teams that will be disrupted during the Origin period.
Let’s look at the match ups for Round 8.
The Broncos continued on their run of solid form by disposing of an injury plagued Tigers outfit last Saturday night. They have now strung together three wins on end and look to be much more positive than they were in early rounds.
The Broncos currently sit in sixth position with four wins from their seven matches. Bookmakers are keeping the Brisbane boys safe at $15 in premiership markets.
The Rabbitohs are backing up after their most bruising affair in the NRL this season. The South Sydney side were met with some tough and uncompromising play from Manly last week (be it fair or foul) and would have needed a good day or two to get over the effects of it.
That said, the Rabbitohs again reminded us that they are the real deal by defeating the Sea Eagles in reasonably convincing fashion. Half back Adam Reynolds again showed he is a super star in the making whilst Greg Inglis showed he already was one. They remain $5 second favourites for this year’s title.
Will the Broncos show that they have improved enough to compete with the best? Or will the South Sydney machine roll on?
The Bulldogs managed to put aside rumour and speculation and claw their way off the bottom of the ladder last weekend with a win over the Sharks. No one had predicted they’d be there after six rounds and bookmakers still give last year’s grand finalists a good chance of winning the premiership at just $15.
They will be expecting to win again this week and continue their journey back towards the upper half of the ladder. It will be a good test for the struggling Bulldogs who are desperate for competition points.
The Tigers injury list could well be larger than the actual playing squad after last weekend’s match. Coach Mick Potter would have been tearing his hair out as his players fell like flies against the Broncos. At one stage, the Tigers could not even field the full complement of thirteen players.
It will be a week of patch up work and regrouping as they look to field the best team they possibly can. They can at least take some solace in the fact that flying winger Marika Koroibete will return for this clash. The Tigers are $101 to win this year’s premiership and don’t look like shortening up anytime soon.
Can the under strength Tigers keep the Bulldogs at the bottom of the ladder?
The Storm remain undefeated and just $3.50 to win the NRL title in 2013. After looking under pressure last week against the Warriors they clicked into overdrive and put paid to their opposition in the twinkling of an eye.
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The club has now put together an amazing sixteen victories in a row and experts are already discussing them passing the record of the 1975 Eastern Suburbs side for most consecutive wins (19).
Canberra are $31 premiership chances and are still winless away from home in 2013. They were beaten but not disgraced against the Cowboys in Townsville last weekend but face a more ominous proposition here.
Can the Raiders pull off the upset of 2013? Or will the Storm edge one step closer to another record?
The Eels return to their home ground this Saturday after an abysmal display against the Panthers in Round 7. The Eels were handed a thirty two point drubbing by a side that had lost five games in a row in what was their second biggest defeat this season.
Parramatta now find themselves in fifteenth and are $101 to win this seasons premiership. They bounced back and won after their last big loss and will be hoping that history repeats in this match.
North Queensland ensured that they remained in the top eight last week with a win over the Raiders in Townsville. They remain $15 with bookmakers to win the premiership in 2013.
There is no doubting the firepower the Cowboys have at their disposal. Two Australian prop forwards and the likes of Thurston and Bowen in the backs to name but a handful.
Will it be a case of too much class from the Cowboys? Or is an Eels upset on the cards?
The Warriors again find themselves at the bottom of the ladder after a ten point loss at the hands of the Storm last Thursday. It certainly wasn’t the Warriors worst performance of the season and they have now managed to go very close to beating both top teams (Storm and Rabbitohs).
Unfortunately that won’t earn you competition points and things are becoming desperate for the $126 premiership chances, even at this early juncture. Coach Matthew Elliott conceded that his team would need to win at least eleven of their seventeen remaining matches to be any hope of making the top eight. On the back of nine days between games, this match may prove the ideal place for them to start.
The Titans were hit hard by injuries last weekend and John Cartwright will be forced to reshuffle his troops for this match. The Titans were left short staffed after a litany of injuries crippled their hopes against the Knights last Sunday.
The Warriors will prove a difficult hurdle for the Titans given their casualty list but this is the type of game they’ll need to win to remain top eight chances.
Will the Titans depth be good enough to overcome the Warriors in front of their home crowd?
The Knights return home this weekend after a successful trip to the Gold Coast last weekend. The Knights have caught the eye of many keen judges in the last couple of weeks and may well be flying under the radar. They currently sit in fifth place and are $13 to win the premiership.
Given the form of their opponents, the Knights will be looking to extend their current winning streak to three in this game.
The Sharks season has taken a turn for the worst. The Cronulla club registered their fourth consecutive loss last Sunday against a side who were running sixteenth going into the game. The Sharks are currently in eleventh and rated as $34 chances to win the premiership.
If the myriad of off field dramas hasn’t already proved too much for the players, this week won’t be any easier. ASADA has initiated their player interviews with the club, which will provide a further distraction to their preparations.
Are the Sharks capable of bouncing back to winning form against the Knights?
The Roosters have crept up to be on the third line of betting at just $6 to win the 2013 premiership on the back of their impressive display against the Dragons last week. They left little doubt as to whether they were the real deal in a dominant display.
They will come into this game fresh after a nine day break between matches. They managed to make the Dragons look very ordinary on ANZAC day and the Dragons were in winning from. That looms as an ominous sign for the struggling Panthers.
The Panthers registered their first win in six weeks when they ran riot against the Eels last Monday en route to a 44-12 win. Penrith are now eleventh on the competition ladder and $251 rank outsiders for the title in 2013.
While the Panthers may have gained some confidence from the win, this week they face a totally different proposition in the Roosters.
Can the Panthers win their third match of the season against the high flying Roosters?
The Dragons will come into this game smarting from their ANZAC day loss to the Roosters. The Dragons were completely out gunned and looked lost at times. They have been afforded the rare luxury of a ten day break between games and will be itching to be back on the park. The Dragons currently sit in ninth place and are $101 to win this year’s premiership.
They face an opposition who reminded fans why they are considered one of the toughest forward packs in the NRL. Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles, they may be without one or more players through suspension. Prop Richie Fa’aoso could miss up to ten weeks for his part in two spear tackles whilst Steve Matai may also miss one week.
The Sea Eagles will be eager to put their season back on track in this match against the Dragons. Manly are currently fourth and are rated as $7 premiership hopes.
Will the prospect of absent players through suspensions prove too much for the Sea Eagles as they aim to slay the Dragons?
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