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 Tigers game.

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

NRL Round 15: Storm v Wests

Whenever Wests seem to be building momentum, they put in a performance that takes them back to square one.

With Adam Doueihi out this weekend and the Storm naming a strong line up, it is hard to foresee anything other than a big Storm win here.

Once again last weekend the Storm managed to withhold an early onslaught and then at the 20 minute mark, they start to physically dominate the ruck and captilisise on their opponent’s mistakes.

While new Tiger’s recruit Maumalolo has great go forward for a winger and is a very accomplished finisher, he is slow off the mark and I think Coach Bellamy will target a lot of his attack that way.

Mbye is back at 6 and Roberts is back in the centres, and both of those changes do not instil me with confidence. After being in camp up at the Sunshine Coast for the past month, the Storm look to be in a groove and at the top of their game.

Wests have a tendency to lift after a heavy defeat, so I do think Wests will start this game strongly and potentially keep it competitive, but the Storm should be too good and I think the line is about right here.

Predicted Score Storm 36 – Wests 10

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: West v Panthers

Although the Panthers continue to play stellar footy, this is the biggest challenge they have faced all season. While the Panthers have missed Koroisau and Edwards for an extended period this year, overall the nucleus of their squad has remained better intact that any other team in the competition. In total, ten Panthers players have played every game so far this year.

This weekend, due to suspension and Origin duties, they will be missing Apisai Koroisau, Brian To’o, Isaah Yeo, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin, Moses Leota and Nathan Cleary. Six of these guys are in the Panthers top’ ten players based on my player ratings.

And none are more important that captain Cleary. Cleary’s kicking game and overall control has seen him climb to be the premier player in the competition. His goal kicking is amazing and his combination with Luai is why the latter has been picked for NSW. While Burton and May are very good replacements, May in particular has not played much in the halves in recent times, and so I am not sure we will see the clinical Panthers we have become accustomed to.

In addition, the absence of Martin, Leota, Yeo and Koroisau take away the core of their dominant forward pack. While Kikau and Fisher-Harris remain, these four guys are renowned for doing the tough stuff that is often missed by the pundits. Yeo is also great at playing as a extra ball player, so his absence further compounds the loss of the Panthers halves.

The big question then becomes how well the NSW Cup players can step up. Before last weekend many people would argue these guys are all ready to dominate the NRL, but lets not forget that the Panthers NSW Cup team suffered their first loss of the year last weekend, to a patchwork Mounties team. The week earlier they snuck home against Souths due to a 79th penalty goal…so I still think these young guys will find the going tough stepping up to the NRL in a team missing a ton of talent.

As for the opponents, Wests delivered for us last weekend, and I am confident they can do again this week. Although they will miss Joe O to Origin duties, their forward depth is impressive and I think guys like Amone, Seyfarth, Blore and Utoikamanu will relish the opportunity to play more minutes.

Wests spine looks very settled and out wide, I really like the speed Wests possess in the form of Roberts and Nofoaluma.

Playing at Leichardt, off the back of winning three of their last five, I really like the odds on offer for Wests here.

Predicted score Wests 24 – Panthers 22

NRL Round 12: Tigers v Dragons

Two teams that are pretty hold and cold, with the Dragons showing plenty of grit to nearly beat the Sharks last weekend.

Wests were outplayed by the Warriors, with their defence again proving to not be good enough – conceding over 30 points for the 8th time in 11 games in 2021

While the Dragons attack might be lacking plenty of punch with the continued absence of Dufty, Lomax and Ravawala, their defence is much stronger than Wests, having kept their opponents to under 20 points in 7 of their 11 games in 2021.

Coach McGuire has made another bold call, by naming James Roberts on the wing, shifting Talau to centre and dropping Joey Leilua.

I like this move, because the problem for Roberts at centre in 2021 is that he is never able to get in space and use his blistering speed.

The Dragons depth has really been tested here, with Geard Beale plucked from the QLD Cup and put into the centres and Brayden Williame playing on the wing, due to injuries to the Feagai brothers.

On the bench, the Dragons have a few young guys that are only playing their second first grade game. In total, this Dragons squad has only 107 caps for the 2021 season – compared to Wests, whose squad has a combined 162 caps for the 2021 season.

So even with all of Coach McGuire’s chopping and changing in 2021, this Wests squad is a lot more settled than the team the Dragons have had to put on the park this weekend.

Predicted score Tigers 26 – Dragons 12

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: Tigers v Titans

This is a tough one to price up, because both teams had very contrasting Round 8 performances.

Wests had a tough, gritty win over the Dragons at their home ground. You could see from the emotion shown by the players at full time that this Wests squad is definitely working hard and playing as a unit.

A great solo try to Joey Leilua, a strong game by the halves and a dominant defensive effort from the forwards should all give Wests fans a reason to be optimistic heading into this weekend.

I like that Liddle has been brought back into the first grade squad. His form in the NSW Cup has been out of this world and he is far too good a player to be playing reserve grade.

As for the Titans, they welcome back Big Tino…which could not come soon enough for Coach Hollbrook. There were already plenty of doubts about the Titans defence before last weekend, but the Titans have now conceded 112 points in their last 3 games.

While the Titans have no trouble scoring points, the loss of Thompson out wide is a big blow. The little dynamo is terrific at making metres and finishing off his chances, while Fifita was also well contained last weekend.

It is also worth noting just how soft the Titans’ draw has been to date. The only top 5 team they have played is Souths, whereas Wests have had to play Souths, Eels and Roosters.

At Campbelltown and off the back of a morale boosting win, I thought Wests would be a little shorter here and I like the +4.5 on offer.

Predicted score Wests 22 – Titans 22

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