As the final couple of matches of the opening round of the NRL season roll around we haven’t been left disappointed with the quality of footy we’ve seen. There have been some early season statements from some of the top teams while there looks to be plenty of fight from the teams who usually find themselves in the bottom half of the ladder.
NRL Round 1 Sunday Betting Tips
Raiders vs Wests Tigers
Sunday 4:05pm AEDT
The Raiders will make the top 4 this year and look a serious premiership chance as they kick their season off against the Wests Tigers. Canberra have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and will continue to look for another elusive premiership under the guidance of Ricky Stuart. Jack Wighton will be out to pick up where he left off from his Dally M calibre season while they are also boosted by the return of Josh Hodgson. Hodgson missed the majority of last season with a knee injury and is a massive boost to the chances of the Raiders this year. The Tigers are in a precarious position coming into this season with their fans really expecting to play finals footy for the first time in years. It will be a do or die season for Luke Brooks who is a key part of the Tigers attack, while new recruits James Roberts and James Tamou will be out to prove themselves for their new team.
Canberra will be very hard to beat today in their season opener at home and travelling teams always find it difficult to win down there. You can guarantee there will be a packed out home crowd and if their Canberra team can show up and play anywhere near their potential, they will win today. There are no major injuries for the Raiders and the return of Josh Hodgson is a massive boost to a side with an already extremely strong spine. The Tigers' chances might lay in the middle of the field and will need their forwards to be at the top of their game to give them some momentum throughout the match. I just can’t see the Raiders losing their first match of the season down in Canberra and they look a solid bet to start the first NRL Sunday of the season.
Dragons vs Sharks
Sunday 6:15pm AEDT
How good is it to have the footy back? We close out the day with a local derby as the Dragons host the Sharks in a match both sides will be desperate to win. The Dragons were woeful in their recent Charity Shield match and have many writing them off before the season has even begun while the Sharks look to extend their run of making the finals every season under John Morris. The Dragons will play their first match under Anthony Griffin who becomes their eighth coach and will look to start a new era for the club who has had so much success ingrained into them. Their season took a blow after Cmaeron Mcinness tore his ACL in training and will need to show sharp improvement from last year, having only won two out of six matches at their home ground they play at today.
The Sharks have always shown glimpses of being a competitive finals team and I think this is a massive year for their club. They have been consistently performing in matches like this but have failed to go on with it in the pointy end of the season. Interestingly, Andrew Fifita has missed a spot in the starting 17 for this season opener and might be a sign of the tough love which Cronulla will be handing down this year. New recruit Aiden Tolman adds some experience in the forward pack and it will be a big year for Matt Moylan in the halves. From what I have seen in trial matches in the lead up, St George look in all sorts with the ball in hand and really lack the firepower in attack. I think it will be a comfortable win to Cronulla today in what could be wet and gloomy conditions. Expecting it to be hard to play the usual side-to-side Dragons footy and Cronulla might just win this game through the middle of the field. Looks a long year for the Dragons and I can’t see them winning here today.