Match Previews

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 Sea Eagles game.

To get Steve’s previews plus his best bets each week, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 18: Manly v Dragons

Not much to say about this one, an absolute lottery of a match-up with the Dragons depleted due to the Vaughn BBQ suspensions and Manly missing Tommy T.

Manly were poor against the Raiders and although they will welcome back DCE, they are without quite a bit of their own talent for this one, including Jake T.

And I am not sure DCE is 100%, because his form has fallen off a cliff in the last month. He was again ordinary for the Queensland team on Wednesday night.

But Manly do welcome back J Shuster and he provides a huge boost to their back row stocks.

While the Dragons team is not that bad on paper, they are missing some real attacking fire power in the form of Ravalawa, Dufty and Lomax, while Ben Hunt looked to have ice on a very sore shoulder, so there is a chance he struggles to back up his man of the match performance.

Up front, not only are the Dragons missing their best forward in the form of Vaughan, but Alvaro has refused to sign the relevant documents needed to be brought back into the bubble, and Sims is backing up after an epic Origin performance, so the Dragons forwards could also struggle.

Manly should win this one comfortably, but I do not have enough confidence to back them at the line here and so will stay out of this one.

Predicted score Manly 25 – Dragons 10

NRL Round 17: Sea Eagles vs Raiders

While I was surprised by the size of the Raiders’ defeat last weekend, I obviously rated the Titans more highly than the rest of the market.

Although some of the Raiders defence was pitiful, I do not think enough credit was given to the Titans attack. The Titans are averaging more line breaks per game than the Panthers and Eels in 2021 and lead the competition in tackle breaks per game. So with Fifita, Thompson, Brimson and co all lining up, the Raiders defence was always going to be put to the test.

So, part of the reason I am backing the Raiders this weekend is because I think the Raiders form line has been unfairly criticised based on last week’s horrible loss to the Titans.

This weekend, although their line-up is weaker on paper, I think some of the forced changes will add some much needed spark. Wighton has not been great at 6 and Simonsson had a shocker at 1, so the inclusion of young Savage at fullback and the journeyman Frawley in the halves is not as bad as it may look.

While losing Papalii is a big one, the Raiders do have the luxury of bringing Ryan James into the 17, so it is still a strong forward pack for the Raiders.

As for Manly, in terms of their best 17, they are missing Tom T (the most damaging player in the game), DCE (the QLD halfback and captain), Jake T (NSW prop), as well as Sironen, Schuster, Davey, Aloiai and Saddler.

With Croker at 9, Walker and Foran in the halves, I do not think we will see the same clinical Manly team we have been used to in recent months.

For example, this Manly line up has a combined 17 Try Assists all year. While Tom T has 19 by himself! DCE has another 15 and Schuster has 5. So, if Manly are going to create points here, the likes of Foran, Cust, Garrick and Walker are going to have to step up in the play making capacity.

Without crowds, the home ground factor is somewhat nullified and although Manly’s team is slightly better on paper, they do not deserve the 13.5 head start on offer here.

Backing a team after they have been flogged always seems like a crazy play, but I think the market has priced this one wrong.

Predicted score Manly 22 – Raiders 18

NRL Round 15: Titans v Manly

The big issue here is whether the Titans Reserves will be moved into the starting team closer to kick off. Rein at 9, Brimson at 1 and Don to replace Sami, will make this Titans team much stronger and in my opinion, would give them a very strong chance of winning at home.

With Big Moe back in the team, and a Titans pack featuring the likes of Tino, Fifita and Wallace, they have the power to overcome this Manly pack, which is still without Aloia and C Sironen.

While Proctor is out, with all due respect, I actually think that strengthens the team, by ensuring McIntyre gets more game time.

With Peachey on the bench and a centre pairing of Kelly and Herbert, the Titans have a ton of attacking strike power and I think they can score enough points here.

While Manly will also be lethal with the combination of DCE and Tom T, they are not as strong on the road, having lost 4 of their 7 away games this year.

Although Manly have clearly turned around their form from earlier in the year, I think some of their attacking dominance has resulted from playing some of the weaker teams in the NRL.

Their last 5 games have been against the Cowboys (7th), Knights (14th), Eels (4th), Broncos (16th) and Warriors (11th). So some of the crazy attacking stats we see from Manly are partly due to their opposition.

While the Titans defence has been a real concern, I think their line up is strong enough to ensure they can control the ball and not put too much pressure on their goal line defence.

I am expecting this to go down to the wire.

Predicted score Manly 23 – Titans 22

NRL Round 14: Manly v Cowboys

Because of his importance to the team and because he was so heavily involved, it is likely that Manly will take a conservative approach to Tommy T for this match.

Jake Turbo and DCE are both likely to line up however, while Manly will also be glad to welcome back Dylan Walker, who will likely slot straight into the 1 jersey.

The market has reacted by shortening the Cowboys, will be without Kyle Feldt due to an injury he sustained. Justin O’Neil will replace him, and while this is a loss, the Cowboys will be glad to have back Val Holmes.

With the Cowboys having won six out of their last eight games, I can see why the bookies have shortened their odds here. There is no doubt Manly are a far worse side without the brilliance of their dynamic fullback, and they are also still without Josh Schuster at 6.

Foran’s return at 6 will help DCE, however the captain could also be physically and mentally drained following a historical loss for Queensland, so I really do like the chances of the Cowboys continuing their winning ways here.

Tom Dearden is a smart pick up for the Cowboys, and I think he will compliment the free running game of Drinkwater quite well.

On my system the teams are about even on paper (with Tom T out) and although Manly do have a home ground advantage, I think the Cowboys at the plus are worth a small bet here.

Predicted score Manly 23 – Cowboys 22

NRL Round 12: Knights v Sea Eagles

Once again, despite being named and a lot of positive talk about him playing, Ponga has been ruled out of this one….which is a massive blow to the desperate Knights.

As you know, I have bet quite a bit of the Knights this year and their continued run of injuries is infuriating. Not only has Ponga meant to be back weeks ago, they have also had to battle for most of the year without their starting wingers from last year (Hunt and Lee).

Last weekend, the Cowboys exposed the fill-ins, but shifting it out wide and although Coach O’Brien recognised their inexperienced outside backs are a big weakness, he does not have many other options until Hunt and Lee are back on deck.

Thankfully, Bradman Best is back this weekend and that will provide them with some strike power, but it remains to be see what they will do to replace Ponga at 1. Mann is not the guy to do it, after a few more horrible errors on the weekend, while Hoy also struggled last time he was given a shot….though he is who should get the job due to his decent early season form at 1.

As for Manly, I thought they might be brought to earth by the Eels at Bankwest, but instead they grew another leg and are now clearly a genuine threat in this competition.

They welcome back Sironen via the bench this weekend, while Lawton showed what a smart acquisition he was by Coach Hassler.

On my ratings Manly look far better than the Knights due to the key players still missing for the Knights, but with the home ground advantage I think the Knights might be more competitive than the market is predicting.

Not enough difference for me to have a bet on this one.

Predicted score Sea Eagles 26 – Knights 16

NRL Round 9: Sea Eagles v Warriors

Two big outs for Manly, with Josh Aloaia and Marty Taupau both not lining up this weekend. The effect of this double blow is amplified by the fact that the Warriors forward pack is one of their strengths.

While Manly have some depth and I like what I have seen of reserve grader Zac Saddler, the Warriors forwards now have a decent edge in my books (remembering Manly are already without the likes of Curtis Sironen, Andrew Davey, Jack Gosiewski and Morgan Boyle).

The Warriors on the other hand are welcoming back more troops, just as they are starting to capture some form through the promotion of some talented youngsters.

Berry is doing a good job out wide, while Walsh is a real talent.

This week they look set to welcome back Aitken (who will replace Kosi), Harris-Tavita and E Katoa, who are all very strong players on my ratings system.

RTS continues to tear opponents to pieces and while Murdoch-Masila will be a big loss, the Warriors have the forwards depth to cope with this.

While Tommy T and DCE are always hard to shut down, the Warriors are an underrated team that has proven hard to beat all year, with their only significant losses coming against the Roosters and Storm.

On my ratings, this game looks set to be a thriller and happy with the small bet on the line and the head to head.

Predicted score Manly 20 – Warriors 20

Steve Green is back with NRL Tips in 2021. With all of Steve's best bets and full previews of every NRL game, it's the only way to bet the NRL. Join now to start beating the bookies!


Recognised By

racing.com
sportsman
RSN
sportsman
the-age