NRL Tips expert Steve Green brings you his NRL round 5 preview as the Tigers travel to Brisbane to take on the Broncos.
The Broncos performance last Thursday has been heavily criticised by everyone. I have not seen a team cop so much condemnation for a performance, and I don’t blame them!
The Broncos squad looks terrific on paper and despite all the Harry Hindsight’s that now claim the Broncos spine was always going to struggle, this Broncos spine (swapping Hunt for Kody Nikorima) came within a minute of taking out the Premiership in 2015.
Ironically it was a Hunt dropped ball that cost them, so I am not giving up on the likes of Milford and Boyd just yet.
But there is no doubting that the Broncos goal line defence is a shambles, the stats show this. The Broncos are now second for line breaks conceded and tries conceded.
Milford and Nikorima are just good enough defenders and their edge forwards are not good enough to protect them anymore. Oates and Isaako may be attacking dynamite, but they are making stupid errors and although Bird and Staggs are a formidable centre combination, they did miss Roberts last weekend.
However it is the forward pack that has been particularly disappointing. Su’a exploded onto the scene last year, but in 2019 he looks out of shape and off the pace.
Tevita Pangai is suspended here and although I am looking forward to seeing Haas now that he is a year older and wiser, he hasn’t played footy for a while and could be down on match fitness. As for Gillett, his progress is taking longer than people thought, including myself.
While I am disappointed in the Broncos start to the season, I am not throwing away my futures betting ticket on Broncos premiership just yet. A lot of teams have started 1 from 4 and gone onto have a lot of success, and with age on their side (besides Boyd!) this Broncos team will improve as the season goes by.
As for Wests, I thought they were gritty against the Panthers and very unlucky to lose.
They failed to nail the field goal when on offer and their attack is still pedestrian at times. Reynolds created their two tries with grubbers and with Mbye and Brooks having slows starts to the year, I don’t think Wests pose too much of an attacking threat at present.
But Wests have been far more energetic than the Broncos this year and they are currently 2nd on post contact metres, 1st on support plays and 2nd on decoy runs.
They always have players in motion and despite guys like Garner, Twal, Aloia and Matterson not being household names like some of the Broncos forwards, they have been far more effective at getting the job done.
The bookies have been underrating Wests all season long and I think that has continued in this one. I am conscious that the Broncos are under pressure and I expect them to come out firing, and receive plenty of help from the referees in front of their home crowd.
But Wests head start is pretty big for a team that has played 3 strong games this year.
Suggested Betting Play: Wests Tigers +6.5
Steve is covering every NRL game for the season, as well as State of Origin and Internationals.
New to this season, Steve is recommending some half-time plays on selected games as he looks to further exploit his advantage over the bookies.
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