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2017 NRL Round 8 preview and expert tips

Posted on 19/04 by Joe Gann

2017 NRL Round 8 preview and expert tips

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Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles betting
Team Odds
Canberra Raiders $1.62 Bet Now
Manly Sea Eagles $2.35 Bet Now

Jarrod Croker’s incredible try-saving tackle was one of the highlights of Saturday’s victory over the Warrior’s. Coming 3 minutes before half time, it helped to prevent a momentum swing in the Warriors favour with the NZ already 2 points up at that critical juncture.

Instead, it served as a precursor to a much improved second half display that saw the Raiders run in 14 unanswered points to record a 20-8 win. Joey Leilua proved to be the difference with 2 key tries, furthering his claims for a Blues jersey in the upcoming Origin series. The right edge of the Raiders has been extremely productive over recent weeks, with Leilua, Jordan Rapana and Elliot Whitehead scoring 7 tries in the last 2 matches.

Despite underperforming in the first half, they remained within touching distance to capitalise on increased possession in the second to record their fourth win of the season. Sitting in fifth spot now with another home round to come, the Green Machine are in good shape.

Left to rue a disastrous opening 20 that saw Storm cross for 4 tries giving themselves a mountain to climb, the Sea Eagles will have plenty to work on this week. A strong second half display almost paid dividends as the Sea Eagles frightened the Storm in a high scoring encounter at Lottoland; 46 points scored in the first half was the most since Round 3 in 2013.

The dreadful defensive performances by both sides led Silvertails skipper Daly Cherry-Evans to compare the game to an under 20’s fixture. Dropping out of the 8 as a result of the loss, the Brookvale club will be hoping to get back on track as soon as possible. They will be anxiously awaiting news of Lloyd Perrett who was taken to hospital for scans on a sternum injury.

Recommended Bet
Raiders to win @ $1.62 $501 Bonus Bet*

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Brisbane Broncos betting
Team Odds
South Sydney Rabbitohs $3.03 Bet Now
Brisbane Broncos $1.39 Bet Now

The Bunnies spurned 3 glorious chances to score while 9-8 up on Friday and those errors prevented what could have been a different outcome against the Bulldogs; the mistakes were compounded as the Dogs ran in 3 tries straight afterwards.

Sam Burgess will be absent this Round after being hit with a harsh 2- week suspension for a shoulder charge; his case at the NRL judiciary won’t be helped by his 2 previous non-similar charges. His brother George was more fortunate with the forward being cleared of any wrong-doing after an alleged elbow infringement. A hesitant attack combined with a weakness in the left side defensively remains the major areas of concern for Michael Mcguire’s side.

The Broncos were fortunate to come away with the 2 points last week in an enthralling tussle with local rivals the Titans. 22-20 down with 3 minutes remaining, when James Roberts secured a last-gasp win with his third try of the night. The news of Jack Bird’s decision to swap the Shire for the Suncorp has been a major coup for the club this week. The deal to acquire one of the brightest talents in the competition is accompanied by rumblings of discontent in the game relating once again to nebulous third party involvements. It remains to be seen whether the rumoured financial enticements offered to Bird creates any disharmony in the Broncos locker room during the remainder of this campaign.

Recommended Bet
Broncos to win @ $1.39 $501 Bonus Bet*

Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
Parramatta Eels $2.20 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $1.67 Bet Now

The Eels had looked down-and-out during Monday’s clash with the Tigers, before bursting to life in the final quarter to record a stunning 26-22 victory.

Imminent Eels recruit Mitchell Moses was in fine early form, firing Wests to a 22-10 lead before the Eels responded to snatch a late win. With Bevan French still missing from the line-up, it was left to auxiliary full-back Clint Gutherson to fill the void and his fine display helped his side to a vital 2 points after a dismal spell of 4 consecutive defeats.

The expansive style which was the hallmark of the side’s strong early form but which has faded of late, was crucial in the closing stages as the 12-point deficit was wiped out. This could be a tight game, the timely boost that the Eels enjoyed courtesy of that victory will serve them well against a struggling Penrith team.

With just 2 victories this campaign - coming at the expense of the Tigers and Knights – it has been an extremely disappointing start for the much-vaunted Panthers side. On the back of 3 defeats in a row now, last week’s humbling defeat at the hands of a battle-hardened Sharks unit was a low point for the ailing mountain men. A minimum target this year was to make the finals but history is against them: they have never made the 8 after notching just 2 wins from the first 7 rounds.

They seem to be running low on ideas and a lack of attacking enterprise is hindering their progress. With a young roster lacking big match experience and know-how, impatience tends to creep in during certain periods of a game where they need to hang in. They are possibly struggling to cope with pre-season hype and the difference in match-winning nous between themselves and the reigning Premiers was glaringly obvious at the weekend; at the minute, they have huge strides to make to match the top sides.

Recommended Bet
Eels to win @ $2.20 $501 Bonus Bet*

Nth Queensland Cowboys v Newcastle Knights betting
Team Odds
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.35 Bet Now
Newcastle Knights $3.20 Bet Now

A catastrophic first-half defensive showing, in which a porous right-edge defence conceded 4 tries, was a major factor in last weekend’s loss to the Dragons.

John Asiata is proving to be an extremely capable deputy to the injured Johnathan Thurston - at 108 kilos he’s not the most orthodox figure to be playing in the halves – but his outstanding display almost powered the Cowboys to an unlikely win against the Dragons. Having only started 3 games as a forward, and never at half-back, it was an audacious move from Paul Green which came within a whisker of paying off.

Down 28-4 at half time, 3 tries in 10 minutes helped set up a barnstorming finale in which the Cowboys almost pulled off the comeback of the year. The continued absence of the talismanic Thurston alongside Lachlan Coote, Matt Scott and Jake Granville will inevitably weaken the Townsville side and this game may be closer than their respective ladder positons suggest.

The Knights have a sizeable war chest at their disposal and despite failing in attempts to lure Jack Bird, Matt Scott, Matt Prior and Dale Finnucane, will now turn their attention to Kieran Foran and Ben Matulino as they continue their rebuilding process. They are being assisted by the highly influential Johns brothers in the recruitment process, with the pair helping to sell the club and the area to potential recruits.

Coach Nathan Brown had a worrying update regarding hooker Rory Kostjasyn this week, revealing that the 29-year-old may not return from a throat injury that has kept him out of action all year. It was another valiant but ultimately futile display last week but Nathan Brown’s men are certainly heading in the right direction despite remaining planted at the foot of the ladder.

Recommended Bet
Cowboys to win @ $1.35 $501 Bonus Bet*

Cronulla Sharks v Gold Coast Titans betting
Team Odds
Cronulla Sharks $1.37 Bet Now
Gold Coast Titans $3.10 Bet Now

Jack Bird’s announcement that he will be plying his trade in Brisbane next year seemingly did nothing to affect the Sharks preparation this week. The Premiers’ try-line remained untroubled for the second week in a row in their convincing win at Pepper Stadium. It was classy performance that boosts belief that they can be the first side in history to successfully defend their title.

Surely, fortunes will improve soon for the Titans after enduring a year of wretched luck so far. It was a heartbreaking last gasp defeat at the hands of local rivals the Broncos and the margins of their defeats must have a demoralising effect. Rookie prop Max King will be out for a month after confirmation that he had suffered a broken hand plus Chris Grevsmuhl picked up a groin injury that will keep him out for 3 weeks. W

With Dale Copley also forced from the field at the weekend, the Titans will be praying for the prognosis that suggests Co-captain Kevin Proctor, Konrad Hurrell and Joe Greenwood may all be available this week is correct. As the Gold Coast club wait for just their second win of the campaign, their top 8 hopes rapidly diminish and it is imperative that they embark upon a winning run soon, but with the Sharks in menacing form, the chances of that run beginning this week are slim.

Recommended Bet
Sharks to win @ $1.37 $501 Bonus Bet*

Wests Tigers v Canterbury Bulldogs betting
Team Odds
Wests Tigers $2.50 Bet Now
Canterbury Bulldogs $1.53 Bet Now

The Mitchell Moses situation refuses to go away with the Eels-bound playmaker continuing to produce high quality performances despite the distraction of a three-year contract awaiting at the Parramatta club.

The decision to block his release for at least another week means that the five-eighth will be in Ivan Cleary’s squad again this weekend. With Luke Brooks’ enforced absence, the consequence of a hamstring injury picked up in Round 4, the majority of the creative responsibility rests on the shoulders of the want-away star; hardly an ideal scenario for either club or player.

Des Hasler may have found an answer to his halves conundrum with Matt Frawley and Josh Reynolds teaming up in the playmaking department and Moses Mbye slotting in at hooker. The future of Josh Reynolds is becoming an increasingly pertinent issue with the pivot once more instrumental to the Dogs’ success. Up to 7th now after an improved recent run of form, the Bulldogs’ seem to be on an upward trajectory since Hasler’s contract renewal put to bed the uncertainty surrounding his future.

Recommended Bet
Bulldogs to win @ $1.53 $501 Bonus Bet*

Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons betting
Team Odds
Sydney Roosters $1.67 Bet Now
St George Illawarra Dragons $2.20 Bet Now

The Roosters have slipped to 4th on the back of a poor recent spell that has seen them come off second best against the Sea Eagles and the Broncos. However, an improved showing last Friday versus the Knights has helped rekindle the confidence that helped the Chooks record a 100% record up to Round 4.

A new-look back-line took the field against the Novocastrians as Joseph Manu gratefully seized his chance to shine with a superb showing, capped off with a dazzling first half score. It remains to be seen if coach Trent Robinson restores teenage sensation Latrell Mitchell, who he feels has suffered a loss of form in recent weeks in Tuesday’s enormous clash against the high-flying Dragons.

With the current uncertainty at both Melbourne and Wests due to much publicised departures in the halves department, the sublime form of Gareth Widdop is peaking the interest of several clubs with the off-contract Englishman emerging as one of the competition’s hottest properties. The Dragons are continuing with their excellent progress; 6 wins for the year now, and in the middle of a purple patch that has seen them win 5 on the spin. They delivered a masterclass in the first 40 last week - the 28 points they amassed was their highest first half total in 13 years - before succumbing to some incredible Cowboys attack late on.

The Red V continue to exceed expectations, their tremendous tally of 191 points makes them the country’s most prolific attackers.

Recommended Bet
Dragons to win @ $2.20 $501 Bonus Bet*

Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors betting
Team Odds
Melbourne Storm $1.29 Bet Now
New Zealand Warriors $3.55 Bet Now

The game at Lottoland was a strange one; the Storm raced into an 18-point lead within 18 minutes followed by 12 points for Manly, 12 for Storm then 14 unanswered points for Manly. The Sydney side came within a whisker of upsetting the Minor Premiers with a shaky-looking Storm looking shaky and just about holding off a determined Sea Eagles fightback.

The Victorians displayed an uncharacteristic defensive fallibility but did improve on a poor completion rate against the Sharks in the previous round with 31 from 34 sets. It was also their best points scoring display of the season with 30. Billy Slater continues to improve on weekly basis after his long-term absence and with 3 try assists and try-saving heroics at the other end, he was a key reason that the Minor Premiers picked up maximum points.

Melbourne also welcomed Cameron Munster into the halves for the first time after his absence through injury. The versatile Queenslander can play halves, full-back or centre giving boss Craig Bellamy extra options if required. In the traditional Anzac Day clash, Storm and Warriors tend to serve up a spectacle and this one will be keenly contested as always.

The Warriors imploded in the second half against the Raiders, conceding 14 unanswered points. A calamity of errors – 13 in the second stanza following just four in the first period contributed to the defeat. The Kiwis are lacking a killer instinct at the minute, a dominant first half showing should have seen Stephen Kearney’s men heading into the sheds with a more comfortable lead than 8-6.

This was the fourth time in seven rounds that the Warriors have been held to 12 points or less and in the last 10 of 11 games they have conceded 20 points or more. Bodene Thompson is facing a one match suspension for a dangerous contact charge but the Warriors are notorious for proving difficult opponents in this fixture.

Recommended Bet
Storm to win @ $1.29 $501 Bonus Bet*

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