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 Eels game.

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

NRL Round 18: Titans v Eels

The Titans last performance was fantastic, demolishing the Raiders in Canberra.

Although their defence is always a concern, their attack is among the best in the competition. They are equal first with the Eels in tackle breaks per game and with Fifita having not played Origin 3 due to suspension, their strike weapon will be fresh and keen to go.

Brimson played more minutes than I had hoped, and Tino and Big Moe were also heavily involved, but all of these guys should back up in what was a key game for the Titans.

With Thompson back on the wing, Peachey back providing bench impact and Rein / Clark battling for the number 9 jersey, I think the market is underrating just how strong this Titans line up this weekend.

The Eels also look strong, though I do think their outside backs look a bit more vulnerable with Waqa Blake, Tom Opacic and Haze Dunster all a notch short of the top class outside backs of the other big guns.

With their best forward (Junior Paulo) set to be rested, and Moses a chance of not backing up, and Gutherson having been in NSW camp all week, this Eels team is vulnerable for this matchup.

On my ratings, the Titans are not that far behind and with the home ground advantage and a 4 point head start, I am happy to have them here.

Predicted score Eels 24 – Tians 24

NRL Round 15: Eels v Bulldogs

The Eels are great at demolishing the struggling teams and before last weekend, I think the Eels would be favoured to win by close to 30 here.

However the Doggies win over the Dragons was very impressive and so the line of 20 does seem far more appropriate. Averillo at 6 and Meaney at 1 both looked great, while Marshall-King at 9 is also a big improvement for the Doggies.

The hard working Doggies forwards totally dominated the Dragons pack and although this is a strong looking Eels team, it is not the strongest they have fielded this year.

On top of the loss of Mahoney, the Eels are now also without Sivo. Because Ferguson continues to play reserve grade, that means the Eels wingers for this match will be debutant Sean Russell and Haze Dunster.

One of the stronger aspects of the Eels line up is their outside back pairing of Cotric and Hopoate, so the Bulldogs will fancy their chances of pulling off another big upset here.

The Eels have also named Keegan Hipgrave in place of Bryce Cartwright, and I can only presume that Coach Arthur is using this game as a chance to rotate his squad around and give some fringe players some time in first grade – just in case he needs them to step up the business end of the season.

I am still a little concerned by some of Coach Barrett’s coaching decisions, such as playing an underperforming Napa ahead of Atoni, who was great in 2021 and has been tearing up the NSW Cup with the Mounties.

And while the Eels love Bankwest, the Doggies should have a few supporters there too and so I think this one could be slightly closer the market is predicting and the Doggies at the line is worth a small bet.

Predicted score Eels 30 – Bulldogs 16

NRL Round 14: Eels v Tigers

The Eels losing Mahoney is a big one. Not only because Mahoney is a great player, but because they do not have great depth in terms of back up hookers.

Mahoney plays a lot of minutes and has rarely been injured since cracking first grade, so the Eels ruck cohesion could be missing in this game.

As for their opponents, Wests will be without Mbye, who has been much better since moving to 6. However, let’s be honest, he is still mediocre at best and I think he will not be sorely missed.

But the problem for Wests is that they also do not have great depth to draw upon for this position. Billy Walters has not been tearing it up in the NSW Cup, so I think he will struggle with the intensity and pace of the NRL.

With Wests riding high in confidence, I thought they could be value against the Eels this weekend, but the Eels side is still looking very strong and while Wests have looked a little better in recent weeks, I think their past two opponents (a heavily depleted Dragons and Panthers line ups, may have made them look better than they are).

Predicted score Eels 25 – Wests 12

NRL Round 13: Knights v Eels

I was hoping that the Knights could be playing an Eels team without Mahoney, Gutherson and Paulo, but Gutherson was passed over for the 18th man role and it looks as if the plucky Eels hooker will be released and line up at dummy half on Sunday.

That means that despite being in 3rd place, the Eels will only lose Paulo to Origin duty. With a very good injury toll, the Eels head into this match with a strong squad.

After a very poor defensive performance, Blake Ferguson has been dropped this week, meaning Haze Dunster gets a go in first grade. However besides that, it is a very settled Eels team and the bookies have them big favourites here.

While the Knights showed plenty of fight last weekend to beat Manly, they head into this one with further key outs. Although the absence of Ponga, Pearce, Hunt, Mann and Lee hurt their attacking strike power, their pack was still very impressive last week.

But due to injury, suspension and Origin, they will be without their three key middle forwards in D Saifiti, D Klemmer and Frizell. This means that they are going to call upon NSW Cup players like Jack Johns and M Croker. Although these guys can definitely play, it is a big ask to step up against a pack featuring Campbell-Gillard, I Papalii, N Brown and R Matterson.

The Eels also welcome back Dylan Brown, who will stiffen up their defence on the fringes, so unfortunately for our Knights futures bets, the Knights are going to have to pull out something special here.

As a plus, Connor Watson is in amazing form and J Clifford will likely debut for the club. He and Crossland should provide the Knights with the first genuine halves partnership they have had since Pearce was injured.

Hoy, Best and To’a can all finish tries, while Barnett, J Saifiti and Fitzgibbon will provide some experience in the middle.

At home on Old Boys day in Newcastle, I am expecting another spirited performance from the Knights, but they will likely fall short due to their inability to create points with so many key players out.

Predicted score Eels 28 – Knights 16

NRL Round 12: Rabbitohs v Eels

This is another game where it is terribly hard to get a read on Souths. Last week, with Latrell back, I thought Souths would put up a real fight against the Panthers.

But they struggled for energy and Latrell himself looked disinterested at times. With the departure of Reynolds locked in, it does seem like the wheels have fallen off this Souths season, which is very disappointing for what is already a lopsided competition.

This weekend Coach Bennett has dropped Su’a and Mansour to reserve grade and has promoted Milne and Sele. While both of these guys have been playing well in reggies, I doubt these changes will make much difference.

Murray however is a big inclusion, and a hard working forward can sometimes be just the player a team needs to find their groove.

For the Eels, they were dominated by Manly last weekend. While Manly are playing great, there were a few worrying signs for a club that has a habit of starting to lose their early season form around this time of the year.

Statistically, the Eels had more possession, made more metres and completed well, so a heavy loss to Manly may have been the result of poor execution and a bit of bad luck.

Although Arthur a strong debut, he is not as strong a defender as Dylan Brown and this, combined with a wayward Waqa Blake, allowed Manly to make 8 line breaks! Before this, the Eels had conceded only 3.3 line breaks per game.

The loss of Campbell-Gillard is also significant, with the big fella playing so well he has come back into Origin contention.

So with both teams missing a couple of key players still and both coming into the match off poor performances, I think there is far too much uncertainty to have a bet with any confidence.

Staying out of the head to head market, however, I have had a rare total points bet on this one.

Although going the overs in total points would have netted a massive return if you did it for every game this season, the lines have moved up to over 50 points now…which makes sense in most games this weekend, but not this one – which is likely to be a tight game between two teams that are usually strong defensively.

While Souths conceding 50 twice in three weeks may make such a play look stupid, I have faith that master Coach Bennett, with the return of Murray, can get the Souths team defending well again and I think this one will be lower scoring that the market predicts.

Niukore coming in for Blake in the centres, which I think is a near certainty, should also stiffen up the Eels defence here.

Predicted score Rabbitohs 22 – Eels 20

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 Broncos game.

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

NRL Round 9: Eels v Roosters

I thought the Roosters were amazing against the Knights. While a lot of the focus was on how the Knights played poorly, the Roosters were simply ruthless in the opening 20 minutes.

Every mistake made by the Knights led to a try, with Sam Walker leading the way and the Morris brothers, Tupou and the highly underrated Ikuvalu finishing off every half chance that came their way.

However, the Roosters injury toll is now getting ridiculous. This weekend they will be without Sitili Tupouniua, Freddy Lussick, Billy Smith, Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Brett Morris, Lindsay Collins and Jake Friend.

Contrast this to the Eels, who are likely to be without only Nathan Brown in terms of key players missing.

The Eels are playing at Bankwest (where they always seem to lift), and hopefully you can see why my system says the Eels are value at -4.5.

Although a lot of attention is focused on the Panthers, Storm, Souths and Roosters, the Eels look like they have taken a big step forward in 2021 and now genuine contenders.

The Eels’ back three are as good as any in the competition, while their spine is also up there with the likes of the Storm. They have plenty of depth in the forwards and a low injury toll to deal with.

With a slightly stronger squad and a home ground advantage, I would normally be putting this one forward as a big play.

However, I am conscious that in such an uneven season (so far!) the strength of each team’s draw to date could be distorting things. The Eels have only played one team currently in the top 5 (the Storm), so there is a risk that their numbers are being inflated by some soft opponents (Broncos x 2, Wests, Bulldogs etc…).

I am happy to have a small play here and will be watching closely as to how the Eels go about shutting down the gifted Sam Walker.

Predicted score Eels 22 – Roosters 12

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!


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