As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Here’s Steve’s thoughts for every Sharks game.
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NRL Round 18: Raiders v Sharks
The Raiders played their best game of the year, and interestingly it was without Wighton at 6 due to rep duties.
Frawley’s kicking game was amazing and it was the key to the Raiders building pressure and tiring the big Manly forward pack. Off the back of this fatigue, Starling and Sam Williams scored three tries by playing direct and running the ball at the tiring forwards.
It was the first time the Raiders had clearly executed a game plan and it must have been tempting for Stuart to retain this halves pairing and move Wighton to 1 or the centres.
While the Raiders did look much better, it was a heavily weakened Manly team and a close to full strength Sharks team will pose a much bigger challenge this weekend.
The Sharks form had been very impressive and although they have won five of their last six, that winning streak has mainly been due to a soft draw over the past six weeks.
The Broncos showed that controlled, disciplined footy is enough to worry this Sharks line up and I do think the Raiders have an edge in terms of star power.
While the Raiders are still missing Whitehead, I think the Raiders turned a corner in their win against Manly and the move north to get them out of Canberra and in camp for a month, might help the squad get over some of the division that had obviously been bubbling away in the nation’s capital.
On my ratings, this game could go either way and that is why I put forward a small play at the Raiders on the head to head. I will keep it small because I still have concerns about just how cohesive this Raiders team is at the moment. Happy to see odds have shortened, so let us hope Raiders can get the W at the better odds we took earlier in the week.
Predicted score Raiders 20 – Sharks 20