The 2016 NRL season returns after the representative weekend and the clubs will be looking to get back into their regular routines. Continue reading for our NRL Round 10 Preview and Betting Tips.
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St George Illawarra Dragons vs Canberra Raiders (Thursday 7.50pm AEST)
The Raiders have lost three of their four past games as they have entered a bit of a slump despite their 60-6 thrashing of the Tigers. Their inconsistencies this season can be credited to the injuries they have suffered to key players but Aiden Seizer and Blake Austin will be playing their sixth game together this weekend and they will need to lift their game if they want to steer their side towards victory.
The Dragons slumped to their fifth loss of the season that saw them drop out of the top 8. The loss was even more disappointing considering the Warriors were without 10 of their regular first graders and yet they still couldn’t offer enough in attack to break the Warriors defensive line whilst they conceded a lot of points themselves.
The Raiders have a dominant record against the Dragons and I believe this will contribute to the side entering this match with a lot of confidence. The Dragons still haven’t found a way to attack at a high standard and as the Raiders are one of the best attacking sides in the competition when they are switched on they will score too many points for the Dragons to be able to keep up with.
Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (Friday 7.50pm AEST)
The Eels have unfortunately had to go through the darkest days in the clubs long history. They were found to have been rorting the salary cap and they have lost all of the competition points they had acquired throughout the opening nine rounds and have dropped from fifth place to last on the ladder. It is still possible for them to reach the finals if they can pull off the close to impossible by winning at least 12 of their last 15 matches. However, they still need to make a couple of moves before they are under the salary cap for this season and play for points.
Meanwhile the Rabbitohs have lost five of their last six matches since starting the season in scintillating form. Injuries have derailed their season whilst other players haven’t lived up to their standards, especially Greg Inglis. Their captain Inglis has started the season below par but over the past couple of weeks he has shown glimpses of his former self and he grabbed a try for Australia over the weekend. He generally lifts as he nears the State of Origin period and on the back of this the rest of his team should improve in their performance. Sam Burgess has stated he is a certain starter for this weekend despite suffering an ankle injury in the last match and it is likely Alex Johnston will return to the wing for the first time since round 3.
History shows us that after a side has been done for rorting the salary cap, they come out with a point to prove in their next match as the Bulldogs in 2003 smashed the Raiders and the Storm did the same after their salary cap exposure in 2010. I am predicting a similar performance from the Eels this weekend as they have already showed throughout the season they have one of the best defences and attacks whilst the Rabbitohs have been poor.
Penrith Panthers vs New Zealand Warriors (Saturday 3pm AEST)
The Panthers and Warriors are sitting on the same amount of competition points and it is fair to say they have had a similar start to the season. The Panthers have lost a lot of games they could have won but in their last match against the Raiders they were lucky to escape with a victory. Bryce Cartwright has been playing at an incredibly high level all year and he is a constant threat in attack with his offloading ability and he always keeps the opposition defence in two minds as he carries the ball with two hands and is capable of kicking, throwing a pass or running the ball himself. He showed he was destructive over the weekend when he played a starring role for City against Country and it is likely he will find himself in a New South Wales jersey in a couple of weeks.
The Warriors have been inconsistent throughout the year and it is hard to say which side is going to be turning up to play each week. They have suffered a few injuries to key players but Tuimoala Lolohea will return this weekend whilst Simon Mannering is a chance of pulling on a jersey. Meanwhile the six stars who were on the sidelines due to their disciplinary reasons will return to the line up. I believe those players will come out with a point to prove and will want to have a big match in this one and it will lead their side to victory.
Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys (Saturday 5.30pm AEST)
Whilst this match is credited as a Storm home game, it will be a part of a double header that is played at Suncorp stadium and therefore the home field advantage for the Storm has been taken away in this match.
The Storm are on a three game winning streak and they have been incredibly impressive in their last two starts. They have scored a combined 80-points in those two contests whilst they haven’t conceded a point. It gives a lot of credit to their defence, as they are currently the best defensive side in the competition. However, it will be a much tougher task for the side this weekend as they are up against another strong defensive outfit and they still have a lot of injuries across their backline.
The Cowboys have moved back onto the top of the table and have only suffered the two defeats all season. They have the best attack in the competition and are averaging just under 30-points a match. The defending champions have the luxury of having no injuries to their squad and have the same team that lifted the premiership trophy last season. The combinations across the field are the best in the competition and Michael Morgan and Lachlan Coote are continuing to improve every week, which takes a lot of pressure off of Johnathan Thurston. It is hard to see this side ever losing a match but the Storm will definitely challenge them, however their outside backs will be superior and they will capitalise on their opportunities.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos (Saturday 7.30pm AEST)
In the second match of the double header at Suncorp stadium, the Broncos will benefit from having an away match on home soil against the Sea Eagles. The Broncos will want to bounce back after they lost their second match of the season against the Sharks a fortnight ago. They were blown off the part in the first half of the match and despite a terrific comeback in the second half they weren’t able to leave victorious and fell by just two points. You can expect a much faster start from the side this weekend, especially in front of a large crowd in Brisbane.
The Sea Eagles were outclassed in their last match against the Cowboys and as they are facing a similar opposition this weekend they will have their backs against the wall. Daly Cherry-Evans still hasn’t found his form from a couple of years ago whilst injuries to other key players in their spine has hampered his ability to find a solid combination. Their forward pack has improved throughout the year with Martin Taupau proving a threat on the edge whilst Jake Trbojevic is a tackling machine at lock.
The Broncos could have Andrew McCullough back at hooker this weekend, which would be a massive boost for the side as they missed his defence in the middle of the field against the Sharks. Regardless of whether McCullough takes the field, the Broncos will be too strong in this one and will bounce back from their recent loss.
Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks (Sunday 2pm AEST)
The Knights are in a rebuilding stage and they will continue to struggle for the rest of the season. They have just one win throughout the year and they have suffered a lot of embarrassing losses and their chances of keeping matches close are becoming slimmer every week as they have suffered injuries to key players including experienced veteran Jarrod Mullen.
The Sharks are proving each week that they are title contenders and their latest victory against the Broncos has done a lot to stamp that claim. The side has one of the best forward packs in the competition whilst their back line is full of experience and youth that has plenty of talent. The combination of Chad Townsend and James Maloney is growing every week whilst Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes have proved a lethal weapon down the right hand side. Despite the Knights playing on home soil, this should be another embarrassing match for them with the Sharks likely to run away with this one.
Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks (Sunday 4pm AEST)
This is arguably one of the hardest matches of the weekend to predict, both of these sides have been the two most inconsistent teams of the competition as some weeks they look as if they are top class and the next you think they don’t deserve to be playing at the highest level.
The Tigers are coming off an impressive victory against the Rabbitohs as they showed a lot of attack flair throughout the match and they had to do it without Mitchell Moses who they lose in the pregame warm up whilst their super star James Tedesco suffered a shoulder injury and didn’t return after half time.
Meanwhile the Bulldogs have won one, lost one throughout the entire season and as they are coming off a loss that suggests they are due for a victory in this one. Their forward pack hasn’t been as dominant as it has been in previous seasons and that could be largely due to the new interchange rule. Meanwhile Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye are continuing to lack that attacking spark that is needed to crack solid defences. However, they are facing a much weaker defence this weekend than the Eels one they failed to score a large amount of points against last week. The Tigers will put up a fight but as they are without their best attacking weapon Tedesco I will be backing the Bulldogs.
Gold Coast Titans vs Sydney Roosters (Monday 7pm AEST)
Mitchell Pearce had a successful return to the line up and played a starring role in his sides second victory of the season. Jared Warea-Hargreaves confidence would have grown after he played out the match without reinjuring his knee, which is often the case when returning form an ACL injury. The forward pack has been given a huge boost with his return along with Boyd Cordner returning to the left edge. Their attack will continue to improve as these three players return to form and it will allow for youngsters Jackson Hastings and Latrell Mitchell to excel as they have the pressure on their shoulders lowered.
The Titans suffered an embarrassing loss last week as they had nothing in attack and were held scoreless against the Storm. They also were found out on the defensive end far too easily against an outfit that was missing a lot of their key attacking weapons. As the Roosters team is now close to full strength, we are backing them to pick up an important victory this weekend and begin to revive their season.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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