NRL tips guru Steve Green is back with his thoughts on the big clash between the Panthers and the Tigers for Thursday Night Footy.. don’t do your footy tips until you’ve read it!
It’s been a long time since you could call this match up a top of the table clash, but both teams won very well last weekend and although Wests are tied with 5 other teams of 12 points, a win here could see them back in the top 4.
As for the Panthers, they have gotten through the period without Cleary with flying colours. My model has been pretty accurate this year, but I admit I got the Panthers wrong. They are a fit, well drilled and exciting team to watch. With Mansour, Blake, Edwards and Cleary to come back into this team, the Panthers are genuine contenders.
While their missed tackle (280, second worst in the competition) and line breaks conceded (43) numbers could be improved, most of these missed tackles are because of their fast-moving line speed.
For example, last weekend the Panthers had 40 missed tackles against the Knights…whereas the Knights only missed 29. The Knights also broke the Panthers line 5 times, whereas the Panthers only broke the line 2 times. Despite this, the Panthers obviously conceded just two tries for most of the match, with a late consolation try to Nathan Ross blowing things out.
But my point is that my model is suggesting the Panthers defence will be more vulnerable than it is. I will be watching the Panthers defence closely this week, against a Wests team that is really finding its feet in the attacking department.
Some of their tries against the Cowboys were sensational and guys like Marsters, Fonua and Thompson have come from nowhere in the pre-season to be playing some of the best footy in the NRL. With Brooks, Marshall and Liddle, Wests have plenty of attacking options and with Lawrence, Packer and Taylor back, guys like Matulino, Eisenhuth and Twal can just focus on their excellent running games.
Last week Wests really broke out of a bit of form slump and if you take out that fortnight of footy that preceded last weekend, Wests have been one of the best teams this year (remembering one of their losses was against the Broncos due to a dodgy call!).
All in all, this match is going to be a thriller.
The numbers so far for NRL Tips:
30% profit on turnover
66% strike rate
Join Steve on his journey through the remainder of the NRL season.