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NRL Round 8 tips and predictions

Posted on 23/04 by Admin 2

NRL Round 8 tips and predictions
The Eels finally pulled off a victory at the seventh attempt against the Sea Eagles. Elsewhere, the Warriors returned to winning ways – halting the Dragons’ winning streak in the process.

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Dragons v Roosters

The Dragon’s winning streak finally came to an end at the hands of the Warriors on Friday night, and Paul McGregor’s job is now to ensure his team bounce back rapidly. A punishing turnaround schedule of two games in five days leaves the Dragons with the opportunity of just a single training session before another colossal test against Premiership favourites the Sydney Roosters. Roosters boss Trent Robinson preferred to concentrate on the positives from his side’s mundane 6-0 victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday night. It was the first time that the Chooks had kept their opponents scoreless since a 38-0 shutout of the Knights back in 2016, so emphasising his side’s defensive effort was perhaps an understandable viewpoint.

Prediction - Dragons $1.75

Storm v Warriors

Melbourne achieved back to back wins for the first time in 2018 and extended an unbeaten record at Suncorp to nine years in the process. A dramatic night of action saw the Premiers triumph 34-20, a useful preparation for the visit of the high-flying Warriors in the traditional Anzac Day clash. The Warriors delivered a perfect response to last week’s defeat to the Broncos by putting an end to the Dragons’ unbeaten start. Having lost 13 of their previous 14 clashes against the Red V, the Warriors task was made more difficult by the late withdrawals of Shaun Johnson and Solomone Kata. They were dealt another blow 13 minutes before half-time when Tohu Harris picked up an injury that puts him in doubt for the clash with old club Storm this week. The 20-12 victory saw Stephen Kearney’s side join the Dragons at the top of the ladder.

Prediction - Storm $1.62

Rabbitohs v Broncos

The Broncos’ disheartening 34-20 loss to Melbourne on Friday was compounded by a growing injury crisis in the forward department. Hooker Andrew McCullough sustained an elbow injury that may rule him out for up to two months, a further blow for the club following the loss of Matt Gillett to a fractured neck in round 6. The problems are mounting for coach Wayne Bennett who admitted afterwards that he has no idea of how he will compensate for the absences ahead of this week’s match against the Rabbitohs. The Bunnies’ crushing 42-22 victory over the Raiders was marred by the prospect of influential lock Sam Burgess facing further disciplinary sanctions in his return to action following two-game suspension – with his rash challenge on Aidan Sezer sparking a wild free-for-all. Younger brother George was also placed on report for his high shot on Luke Bateman, and both will be eagerly awaiting the decisions of the judiciary this week.

Prediction - Rabbitohs $1.60

Sea Eagles v Knights

The Sea Eagles suffered the ignominy of becoming the first team to succumb to the Eels in 2018, dispatched in emphatic fashion 44-10 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. It was an astounding result given the 54-0 drubbing the Sea Eagles had handed out to the Blue and Golds in round 2– representing a swing of 88 points. An excellent win for the Knights of this year’s surprise package Wests Tigers was soured by the revelation that Mitchell Pearce has sustained a pectoral injury that may rule him out for the remainder of the campaign. The marquee recruit has been in fine form so far, and his contribution has helped lift the Knights into a top-eight spot after seven rounds of the season.

Prediction - Knights $2.25

Panthers v Bulldogs

The Panthers suffered a surprise loss to the Sharks on Sunday, as old boy Matt Moylan came back to haunt his boyhood club. A Sharks side shorn of many of their key personnel produced a stoic display to take the two competition points, and consign the mountain men to a loss that sees them slip to third on the ladder as a result of the Warriors’ win over the Dragons. A lack of attacking flair was one of the main criticisms of former Dogs’ coach Des Hasler’s reign at Belmore, so it was surprising to hear present incumbent Dean Pay laud his side’s display after watching his team draw a blank during last week’s turgid encounter at ANZ Stadium. Despite playing their part in the lowest scoring NRL game since 2013, Pay chose to highlight his side’s character, but it was a huge anticlimax following their exhilarating 27-10 win over the Cowboys a week earlier.

Prediction - Panthers $1.45

Titans v Sharks

A ragged, and at times ill-disciplined Titans threw away the chance to claim a famous victory against the Cowboys in Round 7. With their Queensland counterparts’ confidence at rock bottom following five straight losses, Gold Coast had a golden opportunity to prolong their misery, but instead, let them off the hook with a pitiful display. They contrived to hand the victory to Paul Green’s side on a platter on the back of 12 penalties and 11 errors; a performance that Titans coach Garth Brennan described as ‘schoolboy stuff.’ The Titans have the competition’s weakest defence, having conceded 197 points to date, a flaw that needs to be addressed. An injury-ravaged Sharks exhibited plenty of character in the face of adversity during their courageous win over Penrith at the weekend. Missing pivotal figures Paul Gallen, Wade Graham and, 13 minutes into the action Luke Lewis, the Sharks found the resilience to keep out an in-form Panthers to claim their third win of the year.

Prediction - Sharks $1.50

Cowboys v Raiders

The Cowboys snapped a five-game losing streak against a below-par Titans on Saturday, with their big guns firing them to an invaluable victory. After a staggering 331 minutes spent behind on the scoreboard, the Cowboys finally burst to life to secure only their second win of the campaign. The win bizarrely moves them to within two wins of the top eight despite lying just one place of the foot of the ladder. Canberra boss Ricky Stuart was left furious about what he perceived as a dive by Tom Burgess during his side’s 42-22 loss to the Rabbitohs on the Central Coast. With older brother Sam avoiding a sin-binning for a high shot on Aidan Sezer, the officials’ apparent leniency disappeared when Raiders’ skipper Jarrod Croker was later sent from the field for a professional foul. The defeat stalls the progress of the Green Machine who had achieved back-to-back wins prior to this following a terrible start to the year.

Prediction - Cowboys $1.40

Eels v Tigers

The bubble finally burst for the Tigers, and it was a defeat that coach Ivan Cleary had been bracing himself for after a scintillating start to the new campaign. A late Newcastle assault saw the Tigers narrowly miss out on a fourth consecutive victory, but the inconsistent performance will be a lesson learned and they still lie handily placed in fourth position on the ladder. They face a Parramatta side who have finally got the monkey off their back courtesy of their 44-10 win over Manly – their first success of the season. Stories emerged of an intensely brutal training session in the run-up to the match, by players desperate to respond to the barrage of criticism their woeful start to the season has invited. The change in mood apparently did the trick, and they will look to build on what they hope is a milestone win this week.

Prediction – Tigers $1.65

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