Fri, Jul 30, 1:28pm by Kevin Pitstock
NRL Tips For Round 21 Provided By Our NRL Specialist Tipster & Sports Punter: Deeross
Last week wasn’t the best of weeks with a round of 5/8. The upsets that I chose came oh so close to coming through, with the Panthers getting pipped in the last 10 minutes and the Warriors dropping their heads after a comfortable half time lead against Souths. This week sees 6 games where a team in the top 8 plays a team in the bottom, with the only 2 exceptions being the Warriors vs Titans and the Storm Vs the Raiders. This week will be a good measure of which teams in the top 8 are true title contenders, with more than a few teams left to convince the average punter.
Bulldogs Vs Souths
– Souths had a superb second half last week against the warriors, however a lot of it was off the back a a brilliant Dave Taylor performance, who will be out until the finals with a fractured Collar bone. That being said, their best player for the last couple of years makes his return this week in Isaac Luke. The Bulldogs were put out of the game last week within 11 minutes due to a brilliant Hayne Plane performance. After being down 28-4 at half time they performed well enough in the 2nd half to make it a respectable score line given Haynes dominant performance, winning the 2nd half 12-4. This tells me the Bulldogs aren’t completely done with the competition yet, although their chances of making the finals are now based on mathematical chances and not likely to happen. Souths need to cement their spot in the top 8, and with a convincing win over the Bulldogs they may be able to convince the south Sydney faithful they are genuine title contenders, however the rest of us will still need some more convincing.
Panthers Vs Cowboys
– This has to be the worst Friday night game of the season, it’s a pity I live in QLD too as this game will be aired first up here. Panthers have lost 3 in a row, and are looking in terrible shape, they can’t seem to post points at the moment. The inclusion of the NRL’s top try assister in half back Luke Walsh will help them get over the line more than a few times in this clash. Cowboys almost blew a 10 point lead last week against the Knights and had to win in golden point with a golden try. Panthers should easily walk away with a 13+ victory, seeing as they are 2nd on the ladder and Cowboys are 2nd last, however the Cowboys seem to keep the games in touch. I’m not confident in the margin for this one, but the Panthers will win.
Eels Vs Roosters
– Once again the Roosters are the feature game of the weekend, and once again they are the underdogs. They have defied the odds on more occasions than any other team this year, with a shock victory against the Titans at home earlier this year without Pearce, and another against the Broncos on Monday night, once again without Pearce and also Nate Myles. Of all the teams in the top 8 the Roosters are in the best form with 4 wins in a row, however out of all the teams in the bottom 8 Parra are the best team with 3 wins in a row. This will be an absolute cracker, and if there is anything less than 50 points in this game I will be very surprised. The Hayne Plane has taken off and is in full flight, the question is whether there will be some turbulence this season. The Fui Fui express is also hammering at full pace. Sam Thaiday was raiding the Roosters defence in a Fui like manner, and it was getting the Broncos on the front foot, the Roosters will need to Muscle up in defence to not only stop Fui but its off the back of such damaging runs that Hayne is at his best. Once again the Roosters boast the best half, 5/8 and lock combo in the game, with last Mondays game showing they can score on any side of the field from any position, I couldn’t put a bees dick between these two, but with the Roosters looking to consolidate their position in the top 4 I think they will have enough to stop the Eels from a repeat of their 2009 run to the finals. Another aspect to take into account is every team seems to perform quite poorly after a Monday night victory, so the Roosters need to defy the trend this week to get up.
West Tigers Vs Sharks
– I didn’t get a chance to watch the Eagles have a win over the Tigers last week, however from what I heard it was a good performace from the Eagles that won it, in particular Jamie Lyon impressed. The Sharks got done by the Raiders in a game that was not the most entertaining to watch. Once again the Sharks will look to impress their new coach, however they might be the first NRL team to burn through 2 coached in one season with a hard run into the back end of the season. They will struggle to get another win this year. Tigers are at Leichardt, where they should play more games as they tend to win a hell of a lot of the time.
Tigers to win, I think 1-12.
Warriors Vs Gold Coast
– Well how about those Titans last week, after copping a lot of criticism from just about every league supporter, including their own fans, they have a remarkable win away from home against competition leaders the Dragons. Was it the Dragons under performing or did the Titans play out of their skin?? Well unfortunately it was the former, with an poor game from the Dragons at home allowing the Titans to snatch victory. It has to be noted that a couple of very poor refereeing decisions went against the Dragons, most notable a no try in the first half, and also a spear tackle during golden point which went uncharged. This last penalty would have carried them up the field and allowed them a decent attempt at field goal, however the Refs must have all blinked at the same time and missed that one. The Warriors performed well in the first half, however had a slump in the 2nd half and let Souths run away with Victory. They were playing away from home, so it wasn’t a bad result considering that they travelled across the Tasman and played aginst a Souths outfit that turned up to play. I’m weary of the Titans, This will be a close one with either team winning by 1-12, I’m going the warriors for this one.
Storm Vs Raiders
– If Storm were in the comp they would be in the top 8, which kind of makes this another top 8 vs bottom 8 clash. The Storm have a ridiculously good record against the Raiders, losing only 6 of their 26 matches. The Raiders can match it with the Storm up front, however it’s the over paid backline that is the difference between these two. Storm will win this one at home.
Going 13+ for this one.
Broncos Vs Dragons
– This is the second best match up of the week, with highest placed bottom 8 team the broncos against the highest ranked top 8 team the Dragons. Dragons had a shock loss to the Titans in golden point last week, a few tough calls against them didn’t help their cause. The Broncos looked like they were going to get thumped by about 50 at one stage against the Roosters, however a brilliant quarter in the last half actually saw them winning the game with less than 10 minutes to go. My ticket to the game was the most valuable I had ever purchased as I witnessed what I think was the most exciting game of rugby league I have ever seen. Thaiday pulled his socks up in the second half and got the Broncos rolling forward, and AFL defect Falou was damaging out wide. The Dragons need to win this game to get the finals back in the picture, and with Bennett once again up against his old club I think they will outclass the Broncos all over the park. If the Tigers can beat the Broncos and Titans, the Dragons should be able to beat atleast one of them, and with a loss to the Titans last week they will want to show the competition that they are not going to have a repeat of last years abysmal choke.
Dragons to win, 1-12.
Knights Vs Eagles
– Eagles halves combo in Hodgkinson and Foran went well against the Tigers last week, and with Lyon in the centres where he belongs they will be far too good for the Knights. Knights did alright to equalize they game with the Cowboys and force golden point, however if you are going into golden point with the Cowoys your only as good as the Sharks. Knights are looking to be in the bottom 3 teams of the comp this year.
Manly should win by about 30, but get on 13+ to be safe.
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