Thu, May 15, 11:05am by Rob Sheeley
IT just wouldn’t be a regular season without at least one player becoming embroiled in a Kings Cross incident – this time it’s the Roosters’ half-back Mitchell Pearce.
It is amid that backdrop that the NRL enters the 10th round of competition this week, a week which will be the last full round of rugby league prior to State of Origin disruptions taking hold.
Between rounds 11 and 19 only one week (round 13) will be a full weekend of football with no teams having a bye.
Round nine provided the most stable set of results for the season to date with seven of the eight favourites winning their respective matches. The only upset of the weekend was the Panthers’ win over the Knights in Newcastle which AustralianGambling tipped in this very article last week.
The Sea-Eagles (2nd) and Roosters (4th) now share favouritism in premiership betting, both at $5.00. The Rabbitohs (5th) are at $6.00 on the second line of betting with the top-of-the-table Bulldogs currently at $7.50.
The Bulldogs look massive value at this stage of the season. They have been dominant so far and have the makings of a genuine premiership contender. The best price available is currently $7.50 with IASbet.com (better than $7.00 with Sportingbet).
Other sides that may warrant speculating on at big odds are the third-placed Titans who are $23 with Sportsbet, the Panthers (6th) who are $21 with IASbet and the perennial premiership giants, the Storm, who are the biggest odds they have been for a long time at $12.
Here is a look at all the Round 10 matches;
7:40pm, Friday, May 16 at ANZ Stadium
The Rabbitohs host the Storm in the opening game of the round with both sides boasting an identical record.
South Sydney made it back-to-back wins last week with an emphatic 40-18 win over the high-flying Titans. The fifth-placed side have something to build on now and can push their claims for a top-four berth with a win here. If they replicate last week’s showing they should be in it up to their ears.
The Storm appear to have lost a little bit of their imposing aura that has surrounded them in recent seasons. They showed plenty of fight to get over the top of the Sea Eagles last week in a 22-19 win. They lose their regular five-eighth Ben Hampton this week and will need to be at their best to compete here.
Prediction – Rabbitohs by 8 @ $1.50 with IASbet.com
7:40pm, Friday, May 16 at Suncorp Stadium
Another all-Queensland battle takes place this Friday night with the Broncos starting as short-priced favourite against their younger cousins, the Titans.
The Broncos have lost four of their last five and slumped to 11th place on the ladder. They were handed a 27-14 loss by the Cowboys last weekend. They come up against a side who has been playing well so far in 2014 and will need to improve on recent outings to justify such a short quote.
The Titans will miss their enforcer Greg Bird, who has been suspended for a lifting tackle. That aside, they have only lost three matches in 2014, the worrying part of that being that two of those have been in the last three weeks. They could well spring an upset at juicy odds in this match.
Prediction – Titans by 4 @ $3.05 with Sportsbet.com.au
3:00pm, Saturday, May 17 at Pirtek Stadium
The Dragons travel to Parramatta this Saturday after dishing out a performance last weekend that their own coach labelled as soft. They meet a resurgent Eels outfit, who will be looking to continue the misery for the side sporting the red V.
The Eels snapped a two-match losing streak in style last Monday when they hammered the Cronulla Sharks 42-24. They sit just outside the top eight and can sneak into that zone courtesy of a win here.
The Dragons have plenty to prove after an abysmal effort against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium last Sunday where they were defeated 38-6. The Dragons languish in 13th place and are $67 to win the premiership. They may pin their season’s hopes on their new signing, Benji Marshall, but he is yet to be named with red-tape blocking his way at this stage.
Prediction – Eels by 6 @ $1.55 with IASbet.com
5:30pm, Saturday, May 17 at Remondis Stadium
The Sharks return home to The Shire, desperately chasing their third win of 2014. They will not have it easy against the seventh-placed Tigers, who are also staring down the barrel of three straight losses.
The Cronulla Sharks had opportunities on Monday night in their 42-24 loss to the Eels, but unlike an electric chair, they failed to execute when it mattered. That performance indicated that they can compete and, if they get the little things right, they can be winning again soon.
The Tigers have lost two in a row, to the Titans and Roosters. They get their big chance to bounce back here and welcome back both Robbie Farah and Braith Anasta. They look massive odds in this game and easily the best value of the week.
Prediction – Tigers by 10 @ $2.05 with Centrebet.com
7:30pm AET, Saturday, May 17 at 1300 Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will be chasing a hat-trick of wins when they go head-to-head with equal premiership favourites, the Sydney Roosters, on Saturday night in Townsville.
The Cowboys made it two on-the-trot with a convincing 27-14 disposal of the Brisbane Broncos last Friday night. They will be boosted by the return of Tariq Sims, Ray Thompson and Antonio Winterstein from injury this week and look a huge chance at the $2.00 quote.
The Roosters will have to deal with the loss of Mitchell Pearce for this clash after he was handed a one-match suspension by the club. It will make the task a little more difficult for the fourth-placed Roosters, who look to win their fourth game in a row in this one. They have named Sonny Bill Williams at five-eighth with James Maloney shifting to halfback. This game oozes upset.
Prediction – Cowboys by 8 @ $2.00 with Sportsbet and IASbet.
2:00pm, Sunday, May 18 at GIO Stadium
Canberra Coach Ricky Stuart finds himself in familiar territory after nine rounds with his team sitting near the bottom of the ladder. This week they host the Penrith Panthers, who look more and more like a genuine top-eight team every week.
The 14th-placed Raiders have lost four of their last five matches and last weekend’s 54-12 loss to the Warriors in New Zealand was nothing short of embarrassing. Coach Stuart has made a raft of positional changes this week but has not really wielded the axe. It may be akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic if recent form is anything to go by. The Raiders are now second favourites in wooden-spoon betting at $3.50 – it might be time to invest on them in that market.
The Panthers were methodical in their 32-10 away win over the Knights in Newcastle last Sunday. If they can find a touch more consistency, it will not be long before they are even higher on the ladder than their current sixth placing. They are now $1.65 to finish in the top eight, which is looking a good bet. They are close to full-strength this week with only Nigel Plum out due to a concussion injury. If they repeat last weekend’s effort, they will be winning again here.
Prediction – Panthers by 12 @ $1.70 with Sportingbet.com.au
3:00pm, Sunday, May 18 at Waikato Oval
The Bulldogs shift their home game to Waikato on the North Island of New Zealand this Sunday where they come up against the Warriors, who are given the luxury of not having to leave the country for this away clash.
The Bulldogs sit atop the premiership table and have not lost a match since round three. They were clinical in their 38-6 demolition of the Dragons last Sunday and would have to be considered a massive chance to rack up another victory in this clash. They go into the match with an unchanged line-up and look the best bet of the week.
The Warriors may sit in 12th position, but they are chasing their third win in a row here. Last weekend they ran riot with a 54-12 shellacking of the Raiders. They also take the same team as last week into this match and could well be competitive for a long period of the match. One bet worth considering at nice odds is the half-time/full-time double combination of Warriors/Bulldogs, which is currently $8.00 with IASbet.com
Prediction – Bulldogs by 7 @ $1.45 with Centrebet.com
7:00pm, Monday, May 19 at Brookvale Oval
Monday night football sees the Manly Sea-Eagles at home to the Newcastle Knights. On paper, the result looks to be a fait accompli with the second placed team taking on the side running 15th.
The Sea-Eagles looked to have the Melbourne Storm beaten last week before a lapses saw them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a 22-19 loss. It was first loss in a month for the Manly side and they should be able to bounce back in this one.
The Knights have lost four of their last five matches and look to be out of sorts. Last weekend’s 32-10 loss to the Panthers was nothing short of mediocre and it looks like master mentor Wayne Bennett may have the biggest challenge of his illustrious coaching career on his hands this season.
Prediction – Sea-Eagles by 14 @ $1.38 with all bookmakers.
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