NRL Tips expert Steve Green brings you his NRL preview of the Origin-affected clash between Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters.
Pre-season, I had a little something on Wests to win this one at 2.60. I thought it would prove to be a genius bet, but right now you can still get that price with the bookies!
The reason I thought that it would be such good value, is that I had loosely penciled in Keary, Mitchell and Crichton to be picked for Blues, alongside Cordner and Tedesco. With Cam Smith retired, I thought Friend could also be playing for QLD…and who knows, Radley or even Tupou were runners for NSW in my opinion.
But here we are, with the Roosters still able to field a surprisingly strong team. Crichton and Mitchell were dumped after game 1, while Keary’s head injury prevented him from being included in this series.
However, with some key players coming back from layoffs, the tricolors may be more vulnerable than the bookies think.
Firstly, Keary is back after a long layoff due to concussion issues, so he might take a little while to find his timing. JWH is also back after a patchy period with injuries and suspension, so he is also down on match fitness. Then you have Morris in the centres, a position he didn’t look to comfortable last weekend.
As a positive, Hall back on the wing adds some experience and class, while Manu looks set to one day play 1 for another club, a position he looks very natural in.
However, I think Wests recent form should not be down played. They like to rise to the occasion. They beat Souths last weekend (despite that team featuring all of their Origin reps) and a few weeks before that, they did everything but beat the Storm in Melbourne.
With Benji, Farah, Brooks and Thompson all in good form, they have an underrated spine and some quality forwards to work with. Momirovski is a talented player that will fill in well for Mbye, particularly playing against his old team.
And with Liddle, Mikaele, Taylor and Chee Kam on the bench, Coach McGuire has a great mix of size, skill, speed and power to work with.
At Bankwest, playing with a squad that has been playing together for the past few months, I still think that Wests with the plus is slight value here.