NRL Round 3 Tips and PredictionsPosted on 20/03 by Joe Gann
Can the Tigers make it three-in-a-row after shock victories over the Roosters and Storm in the first two weeks of the campaign?
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listStorm v Cowboys
With both teams suffering surprising losses in week two, the Grand Final rematch represents a chance for a return to winning ways. Fighting back from 6-0 down to lead 8-6, there appeared to be only one winner at AAMI Park before a 77th-minute winner from Luke Brooks sealed the victory for the Tigers and inflicted a rare home defeat on the reigning Premiers. The Storm may welcome back Riley Jacks and Felise Kaufusi, while Michael Morgan and Lachlan Coote should return for the Cowboys, who were denied a late win in Brisbane by the upright; Scott Bolton’s unfortunate collision with the goal post with just 90 seconds left on the clock prevented a certain match winner for his side.
Prediction - Cowboys
Bulldogs v Panthers
The 66 points the Bulldogs have conceded represents their worst start in 47 years, although the intense criticism they have endured should be tempered by the fact that they have faced the Storm and Rosters in their opening encounters. Coach Dean Pay has become frustrated with his team’s attacking play so far, although there appear to be problems at both ends of the field.The racial abuse directed at Greg Inglis marred the Panthers’ win over the Rabbitohs at the weekend with the club forced to apologise to the fullback for the actions of a minority in their support. The mountain men regrouped after a lacklustre first stanza to stage an 18-point comeback that stunned their opponents – their second come from behind win in as many weeks.
Prediction - Panthers
Tigers v Broncos
Few would have predicted a 100% winning rate for the Tigers given the opposition they have faced so far, but Ivan Cleary’s men have made a tremendous start to the campaign. They have absorbed the blow of Josh Reynolds’ injury with Benji Marshall in outstanding form, and they hope to welcome Tui Lolohea back into the fold as they look to make it three in a row against the Broncos. Victory over Queensland neighbours the Cowboys provided a huge fillip for Wayne Bennett’s men after a week in which his much-maligned side had come in for heavy criticism in the wake of their opening day loss to the Dragons. Triumphant in yet another classic battle between the two great rivals, the Broncos 24-20 success saw halfbacks Anthony Milford and Kori Nikorima put in star turns to instigate an immensely satisfying win. The one sour note of the evening was the broken jaw sustained by Jordan Kahu, although Bennett appeared upbeat about his recovery timeframe. Jack Bird is set to make his belated club debut following his move from the Sharks in the off-season.
Prediction - Broncos
Raiders v Warriors
A horror start for the Raiders as consecutive late defeats leaves them pointless going into round 3. Last year’s crippling habit of losing tight encounters has followed them into 2018 as, despite a completion rate of 87%, Ricky Stuart’s men went down to the revitalised Knights. The Warriors are two for two for the first time since 2009 after being written off before the season kicked off; their early displays have garnered widespread praise and prompted optimism about their chances this year. Looking fit, fresh and motivated, the signs they have put their inconsistencies behind them are promising. Simon Mannering returns this week from a shoulder injury, and coach Stephen Kearney is confident of further improvement after a dominant display against the Titans which showcased an impressive upturn in both their consistency and defensive resolve.
Prediction - Raiders
Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Back to back defeats in the first fortnight of the competition is the worst start for the Rabbitohs for six years. Letting a 14-point lead slip and conceding three unanswered tries in the second half, the Bunnies caved in to allow the Panthers to snatch victory last week. Coach Anthony Seibold has injury concerns over Adam Reynolds, who faces an extended period on the sidelines, as well as Greg Inglis who left the field with a head injury. Sam Burgess will escape suspension with an early guilty plea for a grade 1 dangerous contact charge after being cited by the match review panel on Sunday. Fresh from a whitewashing of Parramatta, their biggest ever win in the fixture, the Sea Eagles will relish the opportunity to back up that display here against the Bunnies. A rampant Silvertails destroyed the Eels at Brookvale last time out and the scale of the victory gives them impetus going forward; a perfect response to the devastating golden point loss to the Knights in week 1.
Prediction - Sea Eagles
Eels v Sharks
Neither of these under-performing sides is yet to get going. The Eels have made a dreadful beginning to their season and are still waiting to register a first win following defeats to the Panthers and Sea Eagles. The performance in the 54-0 thumping was abysmal, with their complete lack of discipline - 12 penalties conceded and Mitch Moses sin-binned for the second straight week - largely contributing to their downfall. Coach Brad Arthur was taken aback by the paucity of effort on display; the embarrassing defeat prompting stinging criticism that he hopes will provoke a response this week. The Sharks had completed 20 sets and were 14 points to the good before the wheels came off in an error-riddled 2nd half. Valentine Holmes’ poor run at full-back continues with Josh Dugan taking over the role, leaving the Kangaroos international to remain on the wing for the time being.
Prediction - Eels
Titans v Dragons
Ash Taylor’s absence was crucial for the Titans in their loss to the Warriors. Outplayed and outscored by four tries to one, the team lacked direction without his presence. Jarrod Wallace is back from suspension this week, and they will be desperate for Taylor to recover from his hamstring complaint in time to face the undefeated Dragons. Wins over the Broncos and Sharks sees the Dragons make an excellent beginning to their new campaign; the combination of Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop seems to be a winning formula, with the pair striking up a rapport from the off.
Prediction - Dragons
Roosters v Knights
Two scintillating victories have left the Knights riding high, and they approach this one full of confidence. With a number of ex Roosters in their midst, this one will have extra spice; Mitchell Pearce is in superb form and would love to put one over his former employers who have some injury concerns despite recording their first victory of the season against the Bulldogs at the weekend.
Prediction - Roosters
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