The Rabbitohs go into this game as favourites on the back of an upset victory over the Dragons last week. The Bulldogs continue to disappoint, though beat the Rabbitohs in round 7 of this season 24-9. While this is a Rabbitohs home game, the home-ground advantage is mostly negated between the teams playing at ANZ stadium. The Rabbitohs are at strength, while the Bulldogs have Chase Stanley at half-back in Matt Frawley’s absence. We can see this game going either way, though, think the +4.5 for the Bulldogs is a little too high and represents some value.
The Knights have put on back-to-back upsets in the past two weeks, though both wins were at home. They now find themselves away to one of the hottest teams in the comp and without local hero Nathan Ross (back injury). The Eels may also find themselves without their fullback, with Bevan French in doubt. The Eels should be too good and it’s more of a question of by how much? The bookmaker line at -15.5 to the Eels is probably about right.
The Broncos are coming off an emphatic victory last week, which resembled more of a touch-footy training run against the Titans. While the Sharks have looked quite woeful without James Maloney, the playmaker is set to return from a broken hand this week. The Sharks will be looking to use this game to find their form and show that they are still capable against the top teams. We expect this to be a hardly fought battle with both teams looking to really focus on defence. The Sharks also represent a little value with a +6.5-point start.
This is a match-up between two teams really struggling, one with something to play for and the other with nothing. Josh Dugan suffered an ankle sprain last week, though should be right for this clash. Titans will also get Kevin Proctor back. Titans have beat the Dragons once this year and right now, given both teams' form, will be looking to re-gain a little pride after last week’s 54-point thrashing.
Can anyone stop the Storm? In the form they are in, it’s hard to say yes. Rugby League isn’t that simple though, its near impossible for a team to maintain the motivation to dominate week in, week out. The Roosters should finally get back their leaders, Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner and will be looking to put in a tough performance.
Matt Moylan has once again been named 18th man and will be given the full week to prove his fitness after sitting out on the past two games for Penrith. The Cowboys have lost both Antonio Winterstein (hamstring) and Gavin Cooper (calf). The Panthers really struggled at times last week against the Tigers, despite winning by 14. With the Bookmaker’s handicap line currently standing at -6.5 for Penrith, we’ll be backing Cowboys if they drift any further.
The Warriors are coming off five straight losses and haven’t looked like lifting at home all season. Shaun Johnson is out for the season, and whether they can win without him remains to be seen. Canberra have re-gained a little form by straightening their attack and actually holding onto the ball and finishing sets. Raiders look like they might be finding their early season form, and we wouldn’t be backing against them this week.
Manly showed a lot of class last week by bouncing back from 18-4 against the Roosters to win 36-18. DCE’s kicking game proved far too good, helping Manly’s forward pack to re-gain dominance. While the Tigers have been improved and we have had some success backing them in recent weeks, Manly are a much superior team and we feel that they represent some value. While most bookmakers have Manly’s handicap at -6.5, we will take the -6 on offer at Crownbet.