NRL Round 1 preview and expert tipsPosted on 28/02 by Joe Gann
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listNRL Round 1 Odds - 2017
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Thursday 02/03/2017 - 8pm
Cronulla Sharks v Brisbane Broncos head to head odds
Cronulla’s title defence begins in earnest against the Broncos here. Following both teams’ defeats in the World Club Series whitewash, it will be a welcome return to familiar territory as the domestic competition commences.
With each squad needing to cope with the after effects of the long trip to the UK, it will be interesting to see how quickly they find their form. With the season upon us, the drawn out affair for the signature of James Segeyaro looks to be no nearer to a conclusion with Leeds Rhinos calling on their lawyers to settle the contractual dispute.
It is an unwanted situation for the Sharks who were hoping for the hooker to join up with the club and help fill the void left by Michael Ennis’ retirement. No doubt they will hoping to continue last season’s fortress-like home record - the Sharks’ formidable performances in their own back-yard saw them win 11 of their 12 matches at the Southern Cross group stadium in 2016.
The Broncos were without Adam Blair and Benji Marshall in the North West of England, the pair being left behind as a precautionary measure. It was Blair’s absence that proved costly to the Broncos as a ferocious Warrington pack exposed a front row weakness in Wayne Bennett’s team.
The absence of Corey Parker will be keenly felt as will the loss of Jarrod Wallace who has moved to the Titans. Question marks remain in other areas of the team, not least where Benji Marshall will fit in.
With Ben Hunt embarking upon his final season at the Suncorp, a suitable partner for Anthony Milford will also be at the back of Bennett’s mind this year.
A flat performance in England doesn’t inspire confidence that the Broncos are raring to go and the fixture list hasn’t been kind to them by pitting them against the reigning Champions in round 1.
|Cronulla Sharks to win @ $1.85||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Friday 03/03/2017 - 6pm
Canterbury Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm head to head odds
The Bulldogs currently have the upper hand over the Storm, having won each of the last 6 games including last year’s 20-18 win success at AAMI Park which consigned Craig Bellamy’s men to their first home defeat of the year.
Last week’s trial victory in Hobart has reinforced the Dogs’ current ascendancy over the Minor Premiers and they won’t relish an early trip to Belmore. An unbalanced squad will rely heavily on their dominant pack again here; an unrecognisable David Klemmer, complete with full head of hair and beard, James Graham and Sam Kasiano all received much needed game time in pre-season trials and will once again be pivotal to the Dogs’ fortunes.
New signing Brenko Lee was deployed at right centre in the Hobart trial game against the Storm and made an immediate impression, crossing for a try before setting up the match winner for Josh Reynolds.
They will be hoping that the arm injury sustained by Moses Mbye isn’t too serious, the playmaker was subbed off in the first half and failed to return.
Most teams would be decimated by the triple loss of Blake Green, Kevin Proctor and Marika Koroibeite, however, the Storm aren’t most teams and the signing of Josh Addo-Carr working in tandem with Suliasi Vunivalu would indicate that point scoring on the edges will not be a problem. In a further boost to the Minor Premiers, Fijian flyer Vunivalu recently agreed a new contract that will see him remain at the club until at least the end of 2018.
In what was a sensational debut season, the winger record 23 tries in 23 games and delivered one of the most memorable rookie seasons in recent years. The impending return of Billy Slater will delight the Storm fans, particularly as this will more than likely see the introduction of a halves partnership between Cooper Cronk and Cameron Munster; however young Brodie Croft has recently been staking a claim for a spot with some eye-catching displays.
Going into the new season, everything looks rosy for the Victorians and with a reputation for being traditionally strong starters – they registered 3 straight wins at the start of 2016 - an away victory is on the cards for Craig Bellamy’s men.
|Melbourne Storm to win @ $1.72||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Friday 03/03/2017 - 8:05pm
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers head to head odds
|South Sydney Rabbitohs||$1.53|
A comprehensive victory in the 35th anniversary of the Charity shield was the ideal preparation as the Rabbitohs look to revisit former glories in 2017.
The 32-14 victory saw the Bunnies retain the shield for the 5th successive year over an unconvincing Dragons outfit. The big story surrounding this clash will no doubt be the return of Wests club legend Robbie Farrah. Competing with Damien Cook for a Round 1 start, if selected he will be lining up against his old club for the first time in his career.
The ‘ex-girlfriend’ was the metaphor of choice when describing the situation and Farrah insists that there is no love lost after the acrimonious split. The Rabbitohs side look
revitalised, and after a mediocre 2016 will be hell bent on making amends in the upcoming campaign.
Tigers’ catalyst James Tadesco is back amongst the action and if his pre-season performances are a barometer, 2017 could be a return to his rampaging best. The club are expected to break the bank to keep their prized asset, placing his contract negotiations as a higher priority than teammates Aaron Woods, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks. A Tigers outfit deprived of Brooks and Moses left a full strength Cowboys outfit battered in a spirited display during pre-season trials, despite going down 18-16, the performance augers well for the season ahead.
The sight of their former skipper in the cardinal and myrtle will undoubtedly fire up the Tigers and this could be an explosive encounter. Tigers’ boss Jason Taylor has made it clear that it is imperative his side makes a strong start to the season if they are to improve upon last term’s ninth place finish. This will be a fiercely contested tie between two evenly matched teams; the extra spice added by virtue of the Robbie Farrah situation makes this a tough one to call.
|South Sydney to win @ $1.53||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Saturday 04/03/2017 - 4:30pm
St George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers head to head odds
|St George Illawarra Dragons||$2.65|
A disappointing outing in the Charity Shield in which they were outplayed by the Rabbitohs wasn’t the ideal preparation for the new campaign and a disconcerting injury pile up has added to Coach Paul McGregor’s woes.
The roster selection has been reduced to 22 now in the wake of pre-season injuries to Drew Hutchison, Yaw Kiti Glymin and Will Matthews who dislocated a hip during the 32-14 loss. It seems like the bad luck is mounting at the worst possible time for the Dragons.
It will be a case of picking up where they left off for the Panthers; six straight wins at the tail-end of 2016 helped propel them into the finals. Young gun Te Maire Martin looks to have recovered from the back injury that kept him on the sidelines for the latter part of 2016.
His debut for the New Zealand side in the four nations coupled with an impressive run-out against the Bulldogs in the 20-10 victory pre-season trial has seen him earmarked for a dynamic halves partnership with fellow rookie Nathan Cleary. Dean Whare has been wasting no time getting reacquainted with first team action after almost a year out, scoring the first try against the Bulldogs and enhancing his chances of a spot in the Panthers’ back-line.
|Penrith to win @ $1.48||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Saturday 04/03/2017 - 7:00pm
North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders head to head odds
|North Queensland Cowboys||$1.42|
This could be the game of Round 1 as last year’s second and fourth placed teams face off in Townsville.
The Cowboys have been enjoying a picturesque training camp in New Zealand as they stepped up their 2017 preparations. Free from the tag of reigning Premiers, and all the associated pressures that come with it, the new season may provide a chance for the Cowboys to get back to their majestic form of 2015.
There are a couple of injury concerns that came out of a hard fought win over the Tigers - Antonio Winterstein remains a major doubt after suffering an ankle injury. Although they looked rusty in that friendly game, with uncharacteristic errors from Thurston and Coote, the big kick off will serve as a stimulus to regaining their focus. Another tie in which the sides are closely matched and again, home advantage could make the difference here.
The knee injury that looks set to keep Raiders’ Captain Jarrod Croker out is a huge blow to the club after his exceptional contribution last year; the current prognosis is that the influential centre is not set to return until Round 8. The green machine will also have to make do without Junior Paulo, who is suspended for Round 1.
The pre-season friendly against Newcastle presented the ideal opportunity for Ricky Stuart to give his second tier players a run out against a near full strength Knights side, it will no doubt serve as a valuable experience despite the 44-0 reversal. Junior Paulo is suspended for round 1.
Last year’s wonderful performance has led to expectations rocketing for the Raiders to deliver a title challenge; a first Premiership for 23 years is now the target for this incredibly talented side.
|Cowboys to win @ $1.42||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Saturday 04/03/2017 - 9:00pm
Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters head to head odds
|Gold Coast Titans||$2.00|
Celebrating their 10 year anniversary this season, the Titans are a club on the up.
Local Gold Coast junior Kevin Proctor has returned from the Storm and another Palm Beach Currumbin High School graduate Ryan James looks set to be rewarded with the club captaincy this week. It is a deliberate ploy by the Titans to have that local influence playing a crucial role in a new chapter for the club. Hooker Nathan Peats looks set to miss out on the opening weekend due to a shoulder injury and his place in the number nine jersey may be taken by Tyrone Roberts.
The injury concerns don’t end there however, with Pat Politoni, Ryan Simpkins, Tyler Cornish and Morgan Boyle all leaving the playing field with injuries during the 26-6 loss to the Warriors in their final warm up game. It’s a nightmare scenario for Coach Neil Henry and one that will probably swing this one in favour of the Roosters.
The Roosters will be buoyed by recent success in the Auckland nines and after a catastrophic season they will be seeking to regain that winning habit. The return of Mitchell Pierce, to play alongside new recruit Luke Keary in the halves will make the Roosters a different proposition this year. Trent Robinson’s men will be keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s disastrous early form – they won just 2 matches in the opening 11 rounds.
|Roosters to win @ $1.80||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Sunday 05/03/2017 - 2:00pm
New Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights head to head odds
|New Zealand Warriors||$1.14|
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will feel like a new signing for the Warriors after an ACL injury cruelly robbed the full back of the vast majority of 2016. His sparkling pre-season performances have given rise to the hope that the multi-million dollar recruit can return to his brilliant best.
There were glimpses in the 26-16 win over the Titans that the combination with Shaun Johnson could be something special this year. As ever, the Warriors will entertain and frustrate but it is hard to envision that a squad so packed with talent will miss out on the finals again. A good start to the campaign is imperative and a home fixture against the Knights is the perfect opportunity to begin with two points.
A Knights’ victory on the opening day would match their wins total of 2016, which tells its own story. A comprehensive 44-0 thrashing of a youthful Raiders side in a recent trial match will nevertheless have added confidence ahead of the big kick-off. It was their first victory for 10 months - since victory over the Tigers in Round 6 of last year and although the opposition were not at full strength, it was mostly the Raiders’ first choice pack that took the field in the first half. Keeping their opponents off the scoreboard is also an achievement that seemed beyond them last year and is cause for optimism amongst the Knights fans.
Whispers coming out of the club point to huge improvements over the last four months and they may reap the rewards of blooding so many youngsters last year; that invaluable first grade experience will serve them well in the future.
|Warriors to win @ $1.14||$250 Bonus Bet*|
Sunday 05/03/2017 - 4:00pm
Manly Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels head to head odds
|Manly Sea Eagles||$1.80|
New signing Blake Green has made an immediate impact at Brookvale, with coach Trent Barrett impressed with the steadying influence the former Storm man has already brought to the side.
An encouraging 24-22 win over the Roosters wrapped up a satisfying trial period for the Sea Eagles and they will look to transfer that form into the regular season. Green’s imminent partnership with Daly Cherry-Evans is a move that the Manly playmaker is looking forward to after an inconsistent season that saw him paired with five different halves partners.
A move back to the three-quarters line for Dylan Walker should also re-establish some much needed balance to a team that struggled with erratic form last term. Although they have a young squad and are currently in a period of transition, they still possess the box office names that give them a fighting chance to avoid missing out on finals football for a third consecutive year.
After the misadventure that season 2016 became, the Eels will be champing at the bit as they bid to make up for lost time. It was hard to salvage anything from the wreckage of the last year, but a togetherness and team spirit was forged in the wake of the decision to penalise the club with a points deduction.
A restructuring of the boardroom designed to provide a more stable platform, will no doubt benefit the club and it appears to be in a far healthier state than twelve months ago. With an extremely talented roster with fantastic strength in depth, the Eels will be aiming for a top eight finish as a minimum and could in fact be this year’s surprise package.
|Parramatta to win @ $2.00||$250 Bonus Bet*|
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