Fri, Jun 7, 8:51pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: North Queensland Cowboys vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs – NRL Round 13
When/Where: 7:30pm, Saturday 8th June at 1300 SMILES Stadium
AUD $100 Free Bet: www.IASbet.com
The Cowboys coach Neil Henry appears to have his head firmly ensconced in the coaching guillotine after his team’s loss last week. Henry had been given a two week ultimatum to turn his side’s fortunes around or start looking for new employment and it hasn’t started well. In his defence, the Cowboys were missing all of their key players to representative duty or injury and weren’t given much chance anyway. They meet the Bulldogs here who are quietly marching toward the top eight, just how coach Des Hasler likes it; under the radar.
The Cowboys were completely dominated by the Titans last week losing 31-12 and slipping down to twelfth place on the ladder in the process. The fact that bookies still rate them a $34 premiership chance highlights the fact that they have have under achieved greatly so far this season.
The ninth placed Bulldogs hung on to defeat the Dragons 16-14 last week in a game they dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard. Bookies still fancy the Bulldogs as a serious premiership hope. They are just $9 to win the title despite not even being in the top eight.
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North Queensland will be sweating on the fitness of their four State of Origin stars – Thurston, Tate, Scott and Tamou – with all four named to back up this week pending a fitness test after Wednesday night’s match. Neil Henry has named an extended 21-man squad as back-up with Michael Morgan, Ethan Lowe, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Ricky Thorby all on standby after playing last week.
1. Clint Greenshields
2. Ashley Graham
3. Brent Tate
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Johnathan Thurston (c)
7. Robert Lui
8. Matthew Scott (c)
9. Rory Kostjasyn
10. James Tamou
11. Tariq Sims
12. Glenn Hall
13. Dallas Johnson
14. Ray Thompson
15. Jason Taumalolo
16. Ashton Sims
17. Scott Bolton
18. Ethan Lowe
19. Michael Morgan
20. Kalifa Faifai Loa
21. Ricky Thorby
The Cowboys are now coming of four straight losses and look to be struggling. Last week they had plenty of excuses with their State of Origin stars absent as well as Matt Bowen out with injury. Bowen will still be missing this week and their star five eighth Jonathan Thurston looked a little below his best in the State of Origin match but has been named to play here.
Last week the North Queensland side were outplayed by the Titans in a 31-14 loss. The Cowboys did manage to beat the Bulldogs back in Round 1 down in Sydney by twelve points (24-12) but both sides appear to have reversed their form somewhat since then. The Cowboys will be desperate to get their season back on track here before it’s too late.
Canterbury welcome back Krisnan Inu from suspension once again, with Mitch Brown pushing back out to the wing and Drury Low dropping out of the squad of seventeen. The two notable omissions from Des Hasler’s squad are Origin representatives Josh Morris and Josh Reynolds although both will certainly be added to the squad should they come through Origin without any problems, with Reynolds being a certainty given that he didn’t take the field.
1. Ben Barba
2. Mitch Brown
3. Tim Lafai
4. Krisnan Inu
5. Sam Perrett
6. Joel Romelo
7. Trent Hodkinson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Michael Ennis (c)
10. Sam Kasiano
11. Frank Pritchard
12. Josh Jackson
13. Greg Eastwood
14. Dene Halatau
15. Tim Browne
16. James Graham
17. Dale Finucane
The Bulldogs have now won four of their last five and are just one win out of the top eight. They are coming off a close 16-14 win against the Dragons. It looked to be a game that they dominated but just couldn’t put their opposition to the sword.
The Bulldogs are as close to full strength as they have been all season provided that their State of Origin stars take the field. They could possibly be the most improved team of the competition in the last five weeks and go into this game priced as such.
For the Cowboys to be a winning hope it will be a case of their two representative front row forwards needing to take charge and for Jonathan Thurston to weave some magic on the back of it. They have looked a little disjointed in attack of late and seem to lack that excitement factor that they have become renowned for. Punters should not rely on the fact that the Cowboys are at home too much, as they have not managed to beat the Bulldogs in Townsville since 2007.
For the Bulldogs to win, Des Hasler will simply ask for more of the same. Their forwards look much tougher with Graham and Kasiano up front and they should match it with the Cowboys pack. Michael Ennis is probably the difference between the two forward packs with his edge in experience and creativity at hooker.
This game looks to be a case of a team who’s star is on the rise (the Bulldogs), against one who’s star may be fading (the Cowboys). It is hard to tip against the current form of the two teams, particularly in light of the Cowboys efforts of the last fortnight. Whilst it may not be all one way traffic, I can’t go past the Canterbury Bankstown side.
Bulldogs by 10.
Cowboys – $2.65
Bulldogs – $1.48 Head to Head with IASbet.com
The bookies look to have summed this match up pretty similar to the way we have. If anything we may be getting slight “overs” in the head to head market for the Bulldogs and, on that basis, they look an ok bet here.
Cowboys 1-12 – $3.75
Cowboys 13+ – $7.00
Bulldogs 1-12 – $2.88 with IASbet.com
Bulldogs 13+ – $2.80
The odds for the Bulldogs 1-12 is very alluring. Provided that the Cowboys can remain competitive for the bulk of the game, it looks to be a solid investment and the $2.88 on offer is hard to ignore.
Cowboys +6.0 – $1.92
Bulldogs -6.0 – $1.92 with IASbet.com
The line is reasonably well placed here but if anything I’d lean towards the Bulldogs covering the spread. With the handicap being a converted try I think we have that in our advantage and will stick with the Canterbury Bankstown team -6.0.
For first try scorer I like the Bulldogs centre Krisnan Inu who returns from suspension for this match. Inu is currently $13. Of the others I think Inu’s team mate Tim Lafai is also worthy of consideration at $13 as well.
If I was looking at other value bets I’d turn my attention to more specific margin markets. IASbet’s “Alternate Winning Margin 1” market has the Bulldogs 1-10 at $4.00 which looks pretty good.
In their “Winning Margin 2” market we could bet on something a little more specific and take the Bulldogs 7-12. This offers a much bigger return at $9.50.
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