Wed, Aug 21, 2:03pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canterbury Bulldogs – NRL Round 24
When/Where: 7:35, Friday 23rd August at ANZ Stadium
AUD $100 Free Bet: www.IASbet.com
Round twenty four is set to kick off with an explosive start in the form of this blockbuster that should provide both a footballing spectacle and some great betting opportunities.
The Rabbitohs clicked back into gear last weekend in style, and this week they take on a Bulldogs side who have done little else but win for the last two months.
The Rabbitohs classy victory last week has seen punters jump back on board both in this match ($1.45) and in premiership betting ($3.75). The Bulldogs are still missing a couple of key players which may contribute to the betting confidence in South Sydney, but it didn’t stop the Canterbury team from winning last weekend as outsiders.
There is still a glimmer of hope for the Bulldogs to sneak into that all important top four should the Sea Eagles keep losing, but that may be more of a wing and a prayer type notion for the blue and whites. They still look very backable in terms of being a premiership conveyance at $12.
The Rabbitohs have made a couple of forced changes. Ben Lowe will start in lieu of the suspended Jeff Lima, while Dave Tyrrell, Justin Hunt, and Matt King have all been added to an extended bench, one of which will fill the space left by Lowe with three to be omitted.
1. Greg Inglis
2. Nathan Merritt
3. Bryson Goodwin
4. Dylan Walker
5. Dylan Farrell
6. John Sutton
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Luke Burgess
9. Issac Luke
10. Roy Asotasi
11. Chris McQueen
12. Ben Te’o
13. Ben Lowe
14. Luke Keary
15. Jason Clark
16. George Burgess
17. Tom Burgess
18. Dave Tyrrell
19. Justin Hunt
20. Matt King
We saw some very positive signs from South Sydney last week after what had been a very ordinary month of rugby league from them. They Rabbitohs restored punter’s faith in them in one fell swoop by defeating the Manly Sea Eagles in a high quality match. If they repeat that performance here, then the $1.45 head to head price looks very attractive.
The bonus of that win was that it was done without star international forward Sam Burgess who is suspended. Yet the Rabbitohs were still able to get over the top of one of the toughest forward packs in the NRL competition. This week they also lose Jeff Lima so their depth will be tested again.
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The Rabbitohs were no doubt buoyed by the return of both Greg Inglis and John Sutton from injury last week, but it was another man who really stood up when it was needed; Adam Reynolds. Reynolds steered the ship with some big plays in the second half and was the catalyst of the South Sydney win. This youngster is fast becoming the best half back in the game.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has elected to elevate the enigmatic utility Tony “T-Rex” Williams to the starting line up and switch Josh Jackson back to the bench. He has also named Lachlan Burr as eighteenth man on what is an extended bench.
1. Josh Morris
2. Mitch Brown
3. Krisnan Inu
4. Tim Lafai
5. Sam Perrett
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Trent Hodkinson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Michael Ennis (c)
10. James Graham
11. Frank Pritchard
12. Tony Williams
13. Dale Finucane
14. Dene Halatau
15. Josh Jackson
16. Tim Browne
17. Martin Taupau
19. Lachlan Burr
When the Bulldogs travelled to Canberra without the services of Ben Barba, Greg Eastwood and Sam Kasiano, most punters thought a win looked beyond them, but they proved a myriad of detractors wrong. They are still without that trio this week and will be looking for an identical result.
They rise sharply in class here in terms of opposition, but the Bulldogs have won four of their last five, and are in that winning habit.
Usual centre Josh Morris has filled the void of Ben Barba at fullback extremely well, and could even have found himself a permanent home in the number one jersey of next season given Barba’s pending departure. If you’re the type of punter who sticks loyal to the Bulldogs, you will be licking your lips at the $2.75 price given their form in the last five weeks.
South Sydney are missing Jeff Lima and Sam Burgess but still have a giant pack of quality forwards. The Bulldogs are more likely to miss Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood than the Rabbitohs will miss their absentees. For that reason, this looks to be the area where the match will most likely be won for South Sydney. If the Rabbitohs deprive the Bulldogs of any forward momentum and start to create some of their own then we will see their star studded back line have a footballing field day.
As mentioned earlier, the Rabbitohs classy young half Adam Reynolds was pivotal in their victory last week. He gives the impression that he thrives on the big occasions and has that rare commodity of being cool under pressure. Expect Reynolds to figure prominently again this week.
Bearing in mind how well the Bulldogs have performed in the last five weeks, I still think the Rabbitohs have a clear class edge. The fact that South Sydney returned to solid form last week was also paramount in my calculations for the outcome of this encounter. To me, this is a match up between a genuine premiership title contender and a team with a rough shot at it. I’m very keen on the Rabbitohs to win here and think we can make some money in the process.
Rabbitohs by 12.
Rabbitohs – $1.45 Head to Head with IASbet.com
Bulldogs – $2.75
This is my bet of the match. The Rabbitohs were sensational last week against tougher opposition than this and will be looking to build towards the finals. I think the $1.45 is good value and a price that we can back with both confidence and conviction.
Rabbitohs 1-12 – $2.88
Rabbitohs 13+ – $2.50
Bulldogs 1-12 – $4.00
Bulldogs 13+ – $7.50
Given my prediction, this is the bet I’d be least likely to go for out of the big three. But with that in mind, my selection is the Rabbitohs 1-12. The main worry for me is that the South Sydney team could prove even more dominant that expected. I’d be more inclined to hone in on the other two bet types first.
Rabbitohs -6.5 – $1.90 with IASbet.com
Bulldogs +6.5 – $1.90
This is another option that looks very appealing to me. I think the Rabbitohs will have little trouble covering the line here. It could be a nice bet to compliment a solid lash at the head to head price.
For the first try scorer of the match I am going with the Rabbitohs prolific try scoring machine, Nathan Merritt. Merritt is currently $9 with IASbet.com.
If you prefer backing a Bulldogs player to score first, I’d recommend Sam Perrett who is currently paying $11.
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