Mon, Mar 20, 10:28am by Head Editor
Many pundits were predicting a tight NRL season and so far, that’s exactly what we’ve got, with all 16 clubs registering at least one win in the opening three rounds, the first time that’s happened since 1973.
Round Three kicked off on Thursday night in Melbourne, when the Storm’s ice-man Cameron Smith slotted the conversion from the sideline to keep his side unbeaten and atop the ladder.
Last season’s runners-up were one of only three favourites ($1.57) to win this round, with several upsets occurring across the weekend.
The biggest of those, according to the bookies, came in Townsville on Saturday night, when Manly ($3.75) pummelled the Cowboys ($1.28) 30-8.
The Sea Eagles defended like their lives depended on it, and made the most of their chances, compared with the Cowboys, who had plenty of ball, but were clearly missing prop Matt Scott and Dally M medallist – Jason Taumalolo.
The upsets continued right up until the final game of the round, when the Dragons ($3.10) beat the Sharks ($1.38) 16-10, in a fierce local derby.
The Dragons led by 14 points at half-time, but had to survive a stirring second-half comeback by the Premiers, before holding on for a win that resembled their win in round one over the Panthers, built on defence.
While the Dragons were able to hang onto their half-time lead, the Eels could not. Parramatta raced to a lead even without star half Corey Norman and all signs pointed to a comfortable victory.
However, the Gold Coast outfit – minus Jarryd Hayne – showed commitment and dedication to a task and refused to go away, eventually coming away with the valuable points.
The match between the Roosters and the Panthers was viewed by many as a look ahead to finals action, and it didn’t disappoint with the Sydneysiders coming from behind to snatch a 14-12 win over Penrith.
Onto our best bets and once again we were two wins from three, both the Roosters ($3.10) and Storm ($3), saluted by a margin of 1-12 points. We did take Parramatta though, who couldn’t get it done.
Round Four kicks off on Thursday night when Souths ($3) host the Roosters ($1.40) at the Olympic Stadium.
Round 4 (Sportsbet)
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($3) v Sydney Roosters ($1.40)
Penrith Panthers ($1.20) v Newcastle Knights ($4.60)
Brisbane Broncos ($1.64) v Canberra Raiders ($2.28)
Manly Sea Eagles ($2.10) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.74)
Parramatta Eels ($2.05) v Cronulla Sharks ($1.77)
Gold Coast Titans ($2.66) v Nth Queensland Cowboys ($1.48)
Wests Tigers ($2.66) v Melbourne Storm ($1.48)
St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.85) v New Zealand Warriors ($1.96)
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