As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Each week on the blog we’ll feature three of his match previews from the eight games. Check out his NRL Round 10 Triple Preview…
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NRL Round 10: Tigers vs Knights (Friday)
With the decision to move Adam Doueihi to 6, Coach McGuire looks all out of ideas. Well, good ideas at least. While the rangy number 6 has had some issues, overall he has been among the Tigers’ best in 2021.
In fact, the entire Wests spine of Liddel, Brooks, Laurie and Doueihi have been in decent form in my view, despite Brooks’ kicking game letting him down at times.
In terms of try assists, Laurie, Brookes and Doueihi have combined for 19 this year. That might not sound much, but outside of those three players, the rest of the squad only have three try assists combined! So I really do not get how moving Doueihi further away from the ball is the answer. If there is one aspect of his game that is a worry it is his defence (he actually misses more tackles than Brooks), so moving him out wide will make him a target for the Knights.
The big problem for Wests is the lack of forward depth they have and the defensive lapses of guys like Mbye and J Leilua. Their fringe forwards are all failing to fire, while the signing of Tamou bas been a major flop (too old and too slow). Tamou is averaging only 78 metres a game in 2021, but in his final two years at the Panthers, he was averaging 133 a game. For a prop, metres made is a key metric and on that figure alone, his form is down about 40% from previous seasons…yet nothing seems to be said about his form and all the talk is about Luke Brooks.
As for the Knights, while their second half comeback was impressive, their gritty goal line defence in the first half was what kept them in the match against the Raiders.
The Raiders had plenty of chance to take the game away from the Knights, but they hung in there and when possession turned in the second half, the class of guys like Ponga, Frizzel and Brailey was enough to get the win.
While they still have plenty of issues to work on if they are to make the finals and challenge the top teams later in the year, I think that win could be the turning point I have been waiting for.
Hunt is a chance of returning this week out wide, while Fitzgibbon will be better for his first run in first grade in 2021.
I had the Knights about 8 points favourite on my predicted teams, but the decision to move Mbye to 6 and shift Doueihi into the centres (presumably to mark Bradman Best!) convinced me to have a small bet on Knights to cover the -5.5.
Predicted score Knights 26 – Wests 16
Whatever I saw at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night, it wasn’t Wests and it wasn’t Tigers. I’m not sure what it was and who it was for.
— Mike Meehall Wood (@MikeMeehallWood) May 12, 2021
NRL Round 9: Sharks vs Rabbitohs (Saturday)
The Sharks’ performance against the Panthers was extremely poor, as was their second half against the Storm the week before.
However, those two teams have put many of their opponents to the sword in 2021 and I think the Sharks still have the nucleus of a good footy team.
With guys like Townsend, Dugan, Graham, Fifita, Johnson, Woods, Tolman and Moylan, they have a ton of experience to get them through this tough period.
Although guys like Tolman, Townsend and Graham have seen their form slide in recent weeks, they are all still good footballers and if Moylan, Johnson and Townsend can link up the talented Kennedy at the back, I think the Sharks still have plenty of points in them.
Nikora and Rudolph have been hot and cold, but are strong runners of the ball, while Tracey and Hiroti will look to bounce back from a tough fortnight on the wing.
All in all, I think the Sharks team is being underrated due to a fair bit of recency bias (putting too much emphasis on recent results and ignoring some of the earlier form this team displayed)
While Souths do look much stronger with Reynolds at 7, I do think his finger is not 100% and that could affect his grip of the ball and his defence.
Walker has struggled to be as effective in attack at 1, because he is getting bashed on the kick return and is gassed when he does get the ball in the attacking position.
Benji’s defence is starting to get exposed, while the Souths outside backs of Burns and Milne are a long way from the likes of C Graham and J Mansour.
At a neutral venue and with Reynolds contact saga clearly dragging on, I think a desperate Sharks could stage an ambush here and get a surprise win.
Predicted score Sharks 21 – Souths 20
NRL Round 9: Warriors vs Eels (Sunday)
The Warriors’ defence was very disappointing last weekend, with Tom T making them look like fools on multiple occasions. Most of the damage was done down the Warriors left side defence of Pompeu and Maumalo. I expect Fergo to fancy his chances against Maumalo, with the big Warriors winger too slow off the mark for the dynamic and in-form Eels winger.
As a positive, the Warriors halves were great and although Walsh had some bad misses in defence, he is clearly providing the Warriors with some additional attacking spark.
The big question for the Warriors is whether Aitken will be right to go this weekend. If he is good to go, then I really like how this Warriors team is shaping up.
As for the Eels, they will be without D Brown at 6 and Niukore out wide, with both these guys a key part of the Eels rock solid defence. Although Waqa Blake’s return is handy and I highly rate Jakob Arthury making his debut, the Warriors will fancy their chances of cracking open this Eels defence.
While the Eels ran away with it against the Roosters, their attack was clunky at times and their tries came through a few individual moments of brilliance, rather than the smooth well-oiled Eels machine we have become accustomed to watching.
I think the Warriors are right in this one and the +7.5 is too tempting to pass up for a small play.
Predicted score Eels 22 – Warriors 20
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