The 2016 NRL season continues this week with another exciting weekend of rugby league expected. Continue reading as we take a look at every match and offer our NRL Round 6 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons (Thursday 7.50pm AEDT)
The Dragons suffered their biggest loss of the season at the hands of the Cowboys next week and they are facing a similar opponent in a similar atmosphere on a five-day turn around. It is a tough ask for the side that has built its success on its defence as they were blown off the park in the second half by a quality side. The team and especially Benji Marshall has come under a lot of scrutiny for its inability to create quality chances. I believe a lot of this can be narrowed down to the move of Josh Dugan back to fullback as he is a terrific runner of the football but lacks the ability to pass. In the last two seasons whilst playing at fullback he has just one try assist and two line break assists.
Meanwhile the Broncos were again in cruise control in their victory over the Titans. The side broke out to a 22-4 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining and gave the Gold Coast side hope as they leaked points but they never seemed to look worried. Halfback Ben Hunt had his best game of the season and if he and Anthony Milford can be firing in the same match then the side will score a lot of points. Their defence will be too strong for the lack of creativity the Dragons have and they will earn a big victory in this one.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Sydney Roosters (Friday 7.50pm AEDT)
The Roosters haven’t had to wait long for their shot at redemption against their biggest rivals after they suffered a humiliating defeat to them in the opening round of the 2016 NRL campaign. Whilst the side has improved since then, they are still winless, as their inexperienced side has lapsed at different stages of matches and allowed the opposition back into the contest.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs looked as if they were going to be handing the Sea Eagles a hiding as they raced to a 16-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes. However, after that the side never looked like scoring again as they had just 30% of the ball and were defending their line for the majority of the match. Whilst a bit of luck went their way as the Sea Eagles would drop the ball with a clear run to the line, it is still a positive for the side that they were able to hold on for the two points. They are clearly missing Adam Reynolds and John Sutton who were solid in their win of the Roosters before being injured but with Sam Burgess having a match under his belt after his injury scare the Rabbitohs will come away with the victory.
Parramatta Eels vs Canberra Raiders (Saturday 3pm AEDT)
This could arguably be the match of the round with exciting players on both sides whilst these two sides have been surprisingly a lot of people this season. The Eels were within seconds of winning their fourth straight match but crucial errors by the side combined with a miracle play from the Panthers saw them fall to their first loss since the opening round. The Eels have won their three matches on the back of their solid defence but they need to improve on the attack if they are going to be successful this year. They have scored just 70 points in the opening five matches, which is the second lowest total in the league.
The Raiders don’t have that issue as they have scored 177 points this season and that is without their starting halves for the majority of their matches. The return of Aiden Seizer and Blake Austin was celebrated with a win as the two combined to orchestrate the victory. The Raiders combination has been reported as front-runners to wear the New South Wales Origin jerseys this season and they will be searching for solid and consistent performances. It should be a close contest and we are backing the Raiders to cause an upset as the Eels point scoring woes continue.
New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles (Saturday 5.30pm AEDT)
The Sea Eagles were undone by a poor start against the Rabbitohs as they fell to their first loss since round 2. They will still be without their halfback Daly Cherry-Evans but Apisai Korisau showed that he will be a solid replacement whilst he also could give Trent Barrett a positive head ache when Cherry-Evans returns from injury. Dylan Walker showed again that he isn’t a ball player as his only option with the ball is to run whilst when he does opt to pass it is premeditated and the defence line can adjust easily.
The Warriors continue to show signs of improvement despite having to defeat the winless Roosters in golden point on the weekend. Shaun Johnson is continuing to run the ball whilst Isaac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had their best games for the Warriors. Ben Matulino has been a dominant force up front and is leading from the front for the rest of his forwards. This should be a high scoring match with the Sea Eagles and Warriors both in the bottom four for defence having conceded the third and fourth most amounts. However, the Warriors attack has been far stronger and I am expecting them to get at least a 20-point victory in this one.
Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys (Saturday 7.30pm AEDT)
The Cowboys put on a clinical performance as they bounced back from their loss against the Broncos to hand the Dragons a 36-0 defeat. All of the Cowboys star players were on song as they put on a near perfect performance. Despite being away from home the defending champions will head into this match as favourites.
The Panthers left it late to escape with their second win of the season as they were lucky to be within striking distance as the Eels were their own worst enemy. Bryce Cartwright scored a double including the winner and was a constant threat on the right hand side. His offloading ability along with his hard running makes him a dangerous player for defences to worry about in defence and they need to continue to get him as involved in the match as possible. However, the Cowboys have the best offence in the competition whilst still conceding the least amount of points. Their attack and defence will get them a comfortable win on the road.
Cronulla Sharks vs Gold Coast Titans (Sunday 2pm AEDT)
A quality side in the Broncos defeated the Titans last week and they face another tough outfit this weekend. Ashley Taylor’s adjustment to first grade has been terrific, as the halfback has shown no sides of being intimidated in the top grade despite being at a young age. The return of Zeb Taia to the NRL has also been incredibly successful as he has been a damaging runner on the left edge and picked up four tries already this season.
The Sharks were clinical in their win against the Tigers and the victory could have been by a larger score line if the bunker had of been consistent with their decisions. The forward pack is continuing to be dominant and lay the platform for their classy outside backs and I am expecting their side to gain the upper hand in the battle of the middle against the Titans. The combination between halves pairing James Maloney and Chad Townsend is continuing to grow after every match whilst Ben Barba had another great performance at the back. The Sharks will earn a big victory.
Newcastle Knights vs Wests Tigers (Sunday 4pm AEDT)
The Knights almost pulled off the upset of the round as they were leading the Storm in Melbourne 14-6 with 20 minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the team and their fans, the side was unable to show the experience to steer the side to victory as the Storm mounted a comeback that saw them earn the two points. However, it is positive progress for the Newcastle side that has just the draw next to their name after the opening five rounds.
Meanwhile the Tigers slumped to their third straight defeat as they missed out on closing out the match against the Sharks. However, they didn’t deserve to win the match despite a great performance from fullback James Tedesco. The Tigers fullback is continuing to make his case as the number one for New South Wales and against the Knights defence that has leaked 160 points this season, he could have a lot of opportunities to make that claim. I am backing the Tigers to win this one and they should clear the line very easily.
Melbourne Storm vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (Monday 7pm AEDT)
The Bulldogs are arguably the most inconsistent side in the competition as they have either been red hot or very poor. Their forward pack has been able to lay a solid platform for the backs in every match but a lot of their success weighs on the shoulders of Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds. In the two matches they have lost, Mbye has had a poor game whilst in their three victories Mbye has been instrumental and a lot of it has to do with his running game. In their wins against the Sea Eagles, Panthers and Rabbitohs Mbye has taken the line on and straightened their attack whilst in their losses to the Eels and Raiders they have gone too sideways and it has been far too easy for the opposition defence to handle. Mbye will need to return to his running ways as it keeps the defence in two minds whilst he is able to work off the back of the hard work of his forwards.
Meanwhile the Storm bounced back from their loss against the Sharks as they were forced to pick up a hard fought victory against the Knights. Cooper Cronk again delivered when it mattered most as the Australian halfback always seems to manage to produce his best football when his side needs it. Marika Koroibete returns from suspension this week which will be a boost for the side as they can reshuffle their backline and forward pack to adjust for Tohu Harris returning to the backrow after being forced to play in the centres the last three weeks. This will be a close match with the Storm finding a way to win on home soil.
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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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