The 2016 NRL season continues this weekend with every team having won and lost at least one match. Continue reading for our NRL Round 7 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels (Thursday, April 14 at 7.50pm AEDT)
These two teams bounced back to winning ways last week with the Eels putting on their best performance of the season. Their defence had already been one of the strongest in the competition but they were able to put together an attacking display of the highest calibre. Keiran Foran, Corey Norman and Michael Jennings were instrumental in the victory as they raced out to a big lead in the first half. They continued their strong performance into the second half as they put on a full 80-minute performance. It will be the first time Foran is playing against his former club and you can expect he will be fired up for this one and will play at a high level.
Meanwhile the Sea Eagles earned a win in New Zealand despite being without halfback Daly Cherry Evans. Apisai Koroisau again had a great performance as a replacement for Cherry Evans and it will be interesting to see how Trent Barrett reshuffles his back line when the million dollar halfback makes his return in a couple of weeks. The bookmakers have this being an incredibly close match but I believe the Eels are going to be a hard team to beat this season. They have the benefit of having travelled the least of any club so far as they haven’t left Sydney in the opening rounds of the competition whilst the Sea Eagles have had to travel back from New Zealand. On the back of this and their strong defence, the Eels will come out victorious in this one.
North Queensland Cowboys vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (Friday, April 15 at 7.50pm AEDT)
The Rabbitohs have been inconsistent this season but they will receive a massive boost, as Adam Reynolds will return to the line up this Friday night. The halfback brings a lot more composure in attack and can continue to heap the pressure on the opposition with his strong kicking game earning a lot of repeat sets. However, their forward pack hasn’t been as dominant as it has been in recent years with Sam Burgess the only forward to reach over 100m in metres gained in their disappointing loss against the Roosters.
The Cowboys showed their experience as they maintained their composure against the Panthers despite trailing for the majority of the match. They showed their attacking class to level the scores and even with Johnathan Thurston tackled on the final play they were able to come up with the play that put them in the lead through Lachlan Coote’s boot. The side will be too strong on home soil as they earn a comfortable victory on home soil.
Gold Coast Titans vs St George Illawarra Dragons (Saturday, April 16 at 3pm AEDT)
The Dragons have two wins for the season but they are arguably the worst side in the competition at the moment going off form. They have been held scoreless in their last two matches against the Cowboys and then the Broncos as their attack never looked like scoring. They were without Benji Marshall in their loss to the Broncos but it would have been a tough ask to expect him to have changed anything. In fairness, they were up against the two best teams in the competition in consecutive weeks but their performances weren’t up to the standards of a competitive club.
The Titans have risen above all expectations this season and have been a competitive club despite all of their injuries. However, in a blow for the side they are likely to be without Greg Bird who was sighted for an incident in the first half in their loss to the Sharks. They pushed the Broncos whilst being in the match against the Sharks on the weekend and could have stolen it late with a bit of luck on their side. Their young talent and experienced players will get them over the out of form Dragons.
Canterbury Bulldogs vs New Zealand Warriors (Saturday, April 16 at 5.30pm AEDT)
The Bulldogs continued their dominance against the Storm as they won their sixth straight match against the Melbourne side on Monday night. The performance was built on the back of their defence as they muscled up in the middle of the field and when the ball was shifted wide they were able to defend it easily. Kerrod Holland was again strong in his second NRL match. He grabbed a try, held his own in defence whilst he is a great goal kicking option as he converted all three attempts and from difficult areas of the field.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Warriors failed to fire, as they seem to be a side that isn’t quite gelling to their full ability. It is a bit of a surprise considering Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Isaac Luke and Shaun Johnson have all played together for a number of years at international level and a lot of people believed their transition at playing together in the NRL would be smoother. Bodene Thompson will return to the back row this weekend, which allows Simon Mannering to move back to the middle of the field at lock. It will make them a lot stronger defensive side whilst Thompson offers more in attack on the edges with his damaging runs. However, on the back of their big win against the Storm I am backing the Bulldogs to come out on top in a high scoring contest.
UPDATE: Jeff Robson has been dropped from the side as Shaun Johnson moves from five eighth to halfback whilst Tuimoala Lolohea has been moved from the wing to five eighth to get closer to the action.
Brisbane Broncos vs Newcastle Knights (Saturday, April 16 at 7.30pm AEDT)
The Knights earned their first victory of the season on the weekend as they held on to their narrow lead against the Tigers on home soil. They managed to win on the back of their defence, as they held out their opponent for the final 20-minutes. It was a vastly improved performance as they were switched on for the full 80-minutes. Tariq Sims was strong in his return from suspension as he held down the left edge whilst constantly proving a threat in attack.
The Broncos held the Dragons scoreless in a clinical match that they finished strongly in to exaggerate the score line in their favour. One of their best attacking options James Roberts was clearly hampered by a hip injury which meant they were forced to attack down the left hand side for the majority of the match but it paid dividends with Anthony Milford and Corey Oates combining for the opening try of the match. Ben Hunt played another big role in his side’s victory as he is returning to his best form after a slow start to the season. With the two halves playing at a high level they will be a hard side to beat as they are capable of scoring a lot of points whilst they still maintain of the best defences.
Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks (Sunday, April 17 at 2pm AEDT)
The Raiders had their worst performance of the season against the Eels, as they didn’t turn up for the contest. On paper it was meant to be one of the best matches of the weekend but their defence was cracked far too easily and they were never in the contest. The talk of Aiden Seizer and Blake Austin being the New South Wales halves took a massive hit as Kieran Foran and Corey Norman outclassed them.
The Sharks raced out to an early lead against the Titans before losing James Maloney and Luke Lewis to injury in the early stages of the match. Luckily they were able to move Jack Bird to five eighth where he played all of last season whilst Gerard Beale came off the bench to slot straight in at centre. It will be important for those two players to be right for the match this weekend as the Raiders will be looking to bounce back from their humiliating loss and earn a victory on their home soil. However, the Sharks have a forward pack that can match it with the Raiders and arguably is bigger and stronger. If they keep their errors to a minimal then they will take the two points home.
Wests Tigers vs Melbourne Storm (Sunday, April 17 at 4pm AEDT)
The Storm started the season with four straight victories but has lost two straight matches and has fallen out of form. However, the two matches were close and they have injuries that have prevented them from fielding their full strength squad. Cooper Cronk will want to win the battle between the halves as he comes up against the young Luke Brooks and Mitchel Moses that are under scrutiny as the Tigers have lost their past four matches. Moses has a great combination with James Tedesco who continued his rise on the weekend as he grabbed a try and was involved in everything. However, the side is clearly missing a bit of extra punch and as they will be without their captain Aaron Woods who suffered an injury in the final 20 minutes of their loss against the Knights I will be backing the Storm to come out on top.
Sydney Roosters vs Penrith Panthers (Monday, April 18 at 7pm AEDT)
The Panthers have just two wins this season and four losses with their biggest loss margin being 8 points in the opening round of the competition. This shows they have been competitive in all of those matches but they can’t seem to find a way to win in the majority of their matches, which was evident in their loss to the Cowboys on the weekend.
The Roosters earned their first win of the season in an impressive outing against the Rabbitohs. It was obvious who their best player was as forward Dylan Napa took his game to another level and he took it upon himself to take on Sam Burgess and the other Rabbitohs forwards as he constantly pulled off big hits that lifted his team mates and put his side on the front foot. They will need another strong performance from him and the players around him if they are to pull off a victory in this one but I am going to back the Panthers in this one as they have a great forward pack and Matt Moylan has had a couple of games under his belt now and will be ready to fire.
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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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