2017 NRL Round 12 preview and expert tipsPosted on 22/05 by Joe Gann
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South Sydney Rabbitohs v Parramatta Eels betting
|South Sydney Rabbitohs|
The Rabbitohs delivered another display full of promise against the Storm at the weekend, with the table-toppers held to just fourteen points by Michael Mcguire's side. Despite the improvement on Sunday, defence remains a priority for the Bunnies – they currently have the league's fifth-worst record in that department.
They can point to a dominant second half against the Minor Premiers as a cause for optimism – Souths had 55 percent of the ball and forced the Storm into making an extra 48 tackles. Ultimately, it was to no avail though as the Bunnies failed to penetrate one of the competition's meanest defences and didn't register on the scoreboard after the break. Skipper Sam Burgess continues to lead the way with yet another barnstorming showing; with 25 hit-ups for 183 metres, five tackle breaks and 42 tackles, it was a display that didn't merit finishing on the losing side.
Although the ladder makes uncomfortable reading at present with the team languishing in thirteenth spot, they are just two points shy of a top eight place and are showing signs of considerable progress.
After an excellent run of form in which they racked up three wins on the bounce, the Eels are in danger of slipping back into bad habits. The loss to the Raiders made it back to back defeats and increase the sporadic nature of results that has blighted their campaign so far. The introduction of Mitchell Moses will undoubtedly help their cause, but it will take time for him to find his feet at his new club; his much-anticipated debut was something of an anticlimax.
The close defeat to the Raiders could have been a different story, however, with the Gold and Blues laying siege to the Canberra line in the dying stages. To make a bad day worse, they lost Nathan Brown and Michael Jennings to injury and the pair will be struggling to make this weekend's clash.
Selection: Rabbitohs to win
New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos betting
|New Zealand Warriors|
The Warriors produced yet another insipid display as the Dragons brushed them aside in Waikato. It was the latest humiliation for a club that lurches from disaster to disaster. Despite having the better of the opening stages and in fact taking the lead, the Dragons response was emphatic. They picked apart the Warriors defence at will as they administered a crushing 30-14 defeat.
It all seems depressingly familiar for the Warriors, optimism generated through such a quality packed squad tempered by bewildering displays of inadequacy. Shocking defensive displays are commonplace and give the attack no foundation in which is assert themselves, with Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran yet to dominate proceedings on a regular basis. Play-offs football looks a forlorn prospect on current evidence.
Despite the distraction of Origin commencing this week, the Broncos are in great shape to absorb the potential problems that the series brings. A mauling of the Tigers was the perfect preparation for this taxing period as the club prepare for their resources to be drained by representative call-ups. In top gear at the minute on the back of six consecutive wins, they swept past Wests with consummate ease.
Up to 3rd on the ladder now, they face the ideal opponents this week; the Warriors' shambolic campaign continued against the Dragons in the previous round, following on from the disastrous collapse at Pepper Stadium in Round 10.
Selection: Broncos to win
Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury Bulldogs betting
The victory over the Cowboys was the start of five consecutive home games for the Sharks as the reigning Premiers resume their defence of the title.
Andrew Fifita and James Maloney were instrumental in a near-perfect second half fightback that saw the Sharks snatch victory 18-14. The much-publicised absence of Johnathan Thurston was highlighted by the poor kicking performances of Ethan Lowe and Kyle Feldt for the Cowboys. The solitary conversion from the pair compared to Maloney's three, ultimately proved to be the difference between the teams.
The Sharks maintained the pressure on league leaders Melbourne Storm and briefly took over at the summit before the Storm's win in Perth over the Bunnies.
The Bulldogs' continue to blow hot and cold as their erratic form stretches into the middle part of the season. They seem heavily reliant on Josh Reynolds, and without his on-field presence, the Bulldogs look an inferior side. A twenty-minute period in the first half in which their right edge was breached three times led to the Roosters building up a 20-6 lead, and they were unable to bridge the gap despite offering up a valiant second half response. Poor losses at the hands of the Sea Eagles and Tigers have been followed immediately by their most sublime wins to date, over the Broncos and Raiders respectively.
The problem is that it is impossible to foresee which version of the Bulldogs is going to take the field. It is entirely plausible that the appearance of the Sharks this week will bring out the best of Des Hasler's side, and after back-to-back defeats, they will need to get back on track here.
Selection: Sharks to win
Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters betting
When on-song, the Roosters look a class act with quality running throughout the side; the Bondi club appears to be a shoo-in for a top four place. They still struggle to dominate for the complete 80 minutes though and a jittery second half showing almost opened the door for a remarkable Bulldogs comeback. The Tricolours possess the firepower to blow most teams away, and a devastating twenty-minute period here put paid to the Bulldogs' hopes of taking anything away from the game.
With the combination of Daniel Tupou and Latrell Mitchell proving to be lethal, it was the Roosters left edge that inflicted most of the damage in that spell. It was Mitchell Pierce who eventually sealed the match for the away side, his late try capping a fine display that has surely cemented his place in the Blues' camp for Origin Game 1.
The Raiders made a welcome return to winning ways last week after a damaging spell; winless in their previous three matches; the Green Machine put an end to the drought with a hard-fought victory against the Eels. Jarrod Croker celebrated his 200th NRL appearance – the fourth-youngest player in history to reach the milestone - in style as the Vikings secured a vital two points. They have made a habit of missing out in tight games so far, this season - the defeats to the Cowboys, Broncos and Sea Eagles were all by a margin of four points or less.
It is a facet of the game that may prove crucial as we approach a critical part of the season. The assembled talent on offer in the Capital is far more capable than the results have shown so far - scraping into the top eight places this weekend should provide a springboard for an improved run of form. Origin commitments may prove a deciding factor in this clash between two evenly matched sides.
Selection: Raiders to win
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