Note: () denotes the home team’s bookmaker handicap.
This should be a one-sided match, though is made all the more the interesting with Shaun Kenny-Dowall debuting for the Knights, against the team that sacked him only weeks earlier. SKD’s recent form at the Roosters was turbulent at best; having been one of their best in 2016 but easily one of their worst in 2017. Given the leap-of-faith the Knights have made on him, it will be very interesting to see which SKD turns up. We for one, will be cheering him on.
The Roosters are without Boyd Cordner, Michael Gordan and Jake Friend, though should still be too good.
The Sharks have been somewhat disappointing of late and are coming off a big loss to the Titans. the Rabbitohs are coming off two disappointing performances themselves and there’s growing speculation that Coach Maguire is close to being sacked. The Sharks get James Maloney back this game (rested after Origin) and we feel that they're primed to put some big scores on struggling teams.
Tip: Sharks -8.5 @ 1.90 – Crownbet
There’s a lot of hype around the Panthers making a late charge into the finals. We aren’t buying into it and think this game could go either way. The Titans are a perplexing team, having beaten both the Storm and Sharks (twice) this year, while losing to teams on the bottom of the ladder. This mixed form could be partly explained by a run of injuries. The Panthers wins have been mostly against mediocre teams falling away late. As stated above, we think the game could go either way, but think a +5.5 handicap for the Titans represents value
Note: Panthers get Matt Moylan back from injury and are losing Trent Merrin.
Tip: Titans +5.5 @ 1.92 – Ladbrokes
The Raiders season is all but over. They will see this match as their last hurrah, a chance to go down with guns-a-blazing. But go down they will. The Storm have successfully weathered the Origin period and are coming fresh off the Bye. For the Storm, this game is the first of the back end of the season, as they look to prepare themselves for the finals.
The Raiders have lost Josh Papalii and made the surprising decision to place Michael Oldfield (a winger) on the bench.
Tip: under 41.5 points @ $1.91 - Ladbrokes
The Top 8 is all but determined for 2017. Accordingly, we expect a few of the lower teams to lose to blow out scores in coming weeks. We saw it happen to the Bulldogs on Thursday night, and won’t be surprised if the same happens to the Warriors on Saturday. Travelling to Townville is a big trip for the Warriors, and even harder without the star halfback, Shaun Johnson. Having lost SJ to a season ending injury, the Warriors are calling on Mason Lino; a young half with only 3 NRL games under his belt played back in 2015.
The Warriors forward pack have provided no go forward at times this year, and are prone to giving up late in games. We expect a similar course of events to play out here.
We put the mockery on the Dragons last week and they didn’t disappoint. While they only lost by one point, both teams played poorly. We expect an improved performance from the Dragons this week, back at home with Tyson Frizell returning to their forward pack.
Manly are without hooker Api Korosiau, as well as winger and goal kicker Matthew Wright. In Wrights absence goal kicking will be a real weakness for Manly if this game is tight. Manly’s superior halves paring should be the difference.
People aren’t going to agree, but we see this as the potential upset of the round. When these teams clashed in round 7, the Eels won by just 4 points as their forward pack genuinely looked to struggle against the Tigers. This game represents Mitchell Moses’ first game against the Tigers. He himself will be looking to have a big game, while the Tigers forwards will be looking to run through him.
If you are brave enough to back the Tigers outright (we said potential upset), take advantage of the Sportsbet promotion as they are prone to dying late. Otherwise we like them with the +9.5 handicap.
Tip: Tigers +9.5 @ 1.91 – William Hill
Sharks -8.5 @ 1.90 – Crownbet
Titans +5.5 @ 1.92 – Ladbrokes
Tigers +9.5 @ 1.91 – William Hill
Raiders v Storm - Under 41.5 points @ $1.91 - Ladbrokes