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 2 Triple Preview…
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NRL Round 2: Titans vs Broncos (Friday night)
While a lot of people are claiming the Titans are a fizzer after 80 minutes of footy, I thought they played okay against a well drilled Warriors outfit. The Titans had plenty of close chances, with guys like Proctor, Taylor and Don all coming very close to scoring points.
Losing Brian Kelly will hurt, as he is one of their best strike weapons out wide and his replacement (Sami) is more of a winger than a centre.
With Tino, Fifita and Herbert all debuting for the club, there was always a chance they would take a while to get going and I think the Titans will be better this weekend at home, playing against their archrivals.
The Titans had no troubles marching up the field, making just shy of 2000 metres for the game (just behind the Roosters and slightly ahead of the Panthers).
Titans conceded 6 penalties against the Warriors, which was second most in the entire round. At home, you would expect they get a bit more luck with the referee.
As for the Broncos, due to the injury to Lodge they will now be without Haas and Lodge for Round 2.
While the Broncos started well and Milford looked to be getting back to his best, the Broncos inability to play 80 minutes is there for everyone to see.
With 38 missed tackles, the Broncos still look vulnerable, and I am sure the likes of Brimson and Fifita will be licking their lips ahead of this weekend.
While Coach Walters does seem to have turned around the form of this Broncos team and they looked much better than the Siebold-coached shambles of 2020, I do think the Titans will be too good in this one and could pile on some points if Taylor and Fogarty can kick well and wear out the Broncos defence.
Predicted score Titans 28 – Broncos 16
NRL Round 2: Manly vs Souths (Saturday)
While the players are to blame for the poor effort on the field, Manly’s coach Hassler deserves some of the blame for awful selection decisions.
The fact that Harper, Cust and Shuster were all playing NSW Cup was a travesty… they are clearly in Manly’s best 17 at present. Expect Croker and Parker to be dropped before kick-off on Saturday.
While Manly’s poor completion rate and defensive lapses were the primary reasons they were flogged, the defensive line speed and go forward of Manly in the middle was also horrible. They conceded over 50 metres per set and only made 35 per set themselves. That is as big as any differential you will find in this key metric.
Manly had too many players that did not contribute enough on the weekend, with Gosiewski making 31 metres from 3 runs all game, Saab making 45 metres from 10 runs all game and Suli making only 76 metres from his 9 runs.
The good news for Manly is that they have the players to improve sharply, Coach Hassler just needs to pick them!
As for Souths, their problems started with their error rate…yet they were also playing off the back foot all night.
Besides new recruit Jai Arrow, the Souths starting forwards struggled against the fast moving Storm defence. For example, Tatola made 40 metres in 80 minutes, Su’a made 46, Host 66 and Murray 54 metres. This meant that Cook had nothing to play off and he was also confined to only 25 metres.
I picked Souths to win the competition because I thought the above guys were good players and the Souths bench of Koloamatangi and Arrow would provide great impact (which they did!)…but I admit I was surprised with just how poorly Souths marched up the field last Thursday.
With Walker and Mitchell in such good form, and off the back of a resurgent Souths forward pack, I am predicting a Souths victory…but at home and with some better team selections, I think Manly will also bounce back strongly here and make this one a close game!
Predicted score Souths 22 – Manly 16
NRL Round 2: Sharks vs Raiders (Sunday)
Sharks looked good against the Dragons, with Brailey and Kennedy playing great at 9 and 1. Townsend kicked well, while Moylan looked classy with ball in hand.
While we knew Sharks had great go forward and attack, it is clear they have done a lot of work on their defence after last year’s capitulation in tackling. Though will be interesting to see how that defence holds up on a dry track against a Raiders outfit with threats across the park.
The Sharks completed at an amazing 88% and if they can do that again, they will be right in this game…however once again, the Raiders fast moving defence will be a lot more challenging that what the Dragons served up in the rain.
The Sharks forwards shared the work around, but Rudolph was a standout. After poor 2020 performances, Graham and Woods looked lean and played well.
The Raiders started very slowly, but once they got in their groove they looked great.
Out wide their outside backs were terrific, which would be pleasing for Coach Stuard, because that was one area where I thought the Raiders could struggle.
Wighton and Hodgson did not have to do much, so that should worry the Sharks, as you would think the Raiders will be able to score a lot of points this year.
Ryan James was great on debut, while Hudson Young is finally getting the credit he deserves…and Tapine continued on with his stellar 2020 form.
Away from home and playing a Sharks team that will be feeling confident, I think this game will be a thriller.
Tempted to back the Sharks with the plus, but with the Sharks form variance of 2020 and the Raiders second half performance, there is not enough value to justify a bet on this one.
Predicted score Raiders 24 – Sharks 20
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