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 9 Triple Preview…
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NRL Round 9: Eels vs Roosters (Friday)
I thought the Roosters were amazing against the Knights. While a lot of the focus was on how the Knights played poorly, the Roosters were simply ruthless in the opening 20 minutes.
Every mistake made by the Knights led to a try, with Sam Walker leading the way and the Morris brothers, Tupou and the highly underrated Ikuvalu finishing off every half chance that came their way.
However, the Roosters injury toll is now getting ridiculous. This weekend they will be without Sitili Tupouniua, Freddy Lussick, Billy Smith, Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Brett Morris, Lindsay Collins and Jake Friend.
Contrast this to the Eels, who are likely to be without only Nathan Brown in terms of key players missing.
The Eels are playing at Bankwest (where they always seem to lift), and hopefully you can see why my system says the Eels are value at -4.5.
Although a lot of attention is focused on the Panthers, Storm, Souths and Roosters, the Eels look like they have taken a big step forward in 2021 and now genuine contenders.
The Eels’ back three are as good as any in the competition, while their spine is also up there with the likes of the Storm. They have plenty of depth in the forwards and a low injury toll to deal with.
With a slightly stronger squad and a home ground advantage, I would normally be putting this one forward as a big play.
However, I am conscious that in such an uneven season (so far!) the strength of each team’s draw to date could be distorting things. The Eels have only played one team currently in the top 5 (the Storm), so there is a risk that their numbers are being inflated by some soft opponents (Broncos x 2, Wests, Bulldogs etc…).
I am happy to have a small play here and will be watching closely as to how the Eels go about shutting down the gifted Sam Walker.
Predicted score Eels 22 – Roosters 12
— Roosters Stat Man (@RoostersStatMan) May 2, 2021
NRL Round 9: Cowboys vs Broncos (Saturday)
Both these teams staged impressive comebacks last weekend, however the Broncos comeback was unlike anything I have seen.
With Isaako’s poor positional play exposed on multiple occasions early in the match, the Broncos looked set for a long night. However, off the back of some beautiful backline movements and some amazing runs by their enigmatic number 1, the Broncos got themselves back in the game.
After that they started dominating through the middle, with Haas, Pangai, Carrigan and Lodge all proving hard to contain in the middle.
The Broncos outside backs also made a solid contribution, while the halves pairing of Gamble and Milford played far better than I thought was possible.
As for the Cowboys, they lost Hampton to injury last week and this has seen Clifford given another shot at the 7. He has been playing great in the QLD Cup, so it will be interesting to see if he can step up and cope with the NRL speed of the game.
Taumalolo is lining up at lock again, but he was underwhelming last weekend and does not seem too settled under Coach Payten.
Out wide, Javid Bowen gets another shot at the NRL – but he has not impressed me whenever we have seen him line up.
Drinkwater and Holmes are the big threat for the Broncos and because the Broncos still look very vulnerable at times, I am not willing to have too big of a bet here…but off the back of their last 60 minutes of football, I think the Broncos are a very good chance of covering the line.
Predicted score Cowboys 24 – Broncos 24
NRL Round 9: Dragons vs Bulldogs (Sunday)
The Dragons losing Zac Lomax is a big blow to a team that is starting to show some really worrying signs.
Earlier in the season the Dragons looked to be playing tough, error-free footy… but in recent weeks their form has really dropped off. From Round 5 to 8 (the past month) the Dragons have the second-most missed tackles, the fifth-most line breaks conceded and the fourth-most run metres conceded. But worst of all, they have the least amount of metres made.
With Ravalawa and Pereira still missing, they are losing a lot of go-forward early in their sets, and the likes of Vaughan and Lawrie are having to do their hit ups without any momentum. Ramsay is also in doubt, meaning this could be a very understrength Dragons backline.
Norman also looks to be straying from the gameplan at times and falling back into the habit of making poor decisions, while the strong early season form of guys like Fuimaono, Kerr and Alvaro is dropping off.
While the Doggies stats are nothing too flash, they once again showed some heart to stage a mini fightback against the high-flying Eels last weekend.
After a strong game for the Mounties, there is a very good chance that Luke Lewis is promoted back into the top grade and this will allow Alvero to push out to the centres and strengthen their backline further.
I do not think the Dragons have done enough to be such heavy favourites for this one and I think the Doggies offer a little bit of value at the line.
Predicted score Dragons 22 – Bulldogs 16
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