Round 3 of the 2022 NRL season is capped off on Sunday with a local derby and a clash between two sides who have had drastically different starts to the season.
First, we head north where the 3rd placed Brisbane Broncos play host to the 5th placed North Queensland Cowboys. Yes, you read that right, this is a 3v5 clash.
In game 2 on Sunday, the Canterbury Bulldogs head to Brookvale to take on the disappointing Manley Sea Eagles, in what could prove to be the turning point in the home side’s season.
As always, make sure you keep up to date with our match-by-match previews throughout the season at our NRL Tips page, where we will give you all the best bets to beat the bookie throughout the year.
NRL Round 3 Sunday Betting Tips
Brisbane Broncos vs North Queensland Cowboys
Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 27th March, 4:05pm (AEDT)
1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Albert Kelly 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan. INTERCHANGE: 14. Ryan James 15. Kobe Hetherington 16. TC Robati 17. Billy Walters. RESERVES: 18. David Mead 19. Rhys Kennedy 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Jordan Pereira 22. Cory Paix 23. Brenko Lee 24. Corey Jensen
North Queensland Cowboys
1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo. INTERCHANGE: 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Reuben Cotter 17. Griffin Neame. RESERVES: 18. Emry Pere 19. Scott Drinkwater 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Brendan Elliot 22. Ben Condon 23. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 24. Daejarn Asi
The Queensland Derby hasn’t had that ‘Big game’ factor for around 5 years, with the Cowboys, and more recently the Broncos, struggling to be competitive. Despite this, it always seems to have a real rivalry feel to it, which is more than demonstrated in the results. Over the past 5 seasons, the Broncos have won 6, the Cowboys 4, and only once in those 5 years has a team completed the double in a single season (Broncos 2019). Now, despite it being early in the season, both sides have shown improvement over last season, and this sees the matchup as a 3 vs 5 battle, with the winner more than likely leaving Round 3 inside the top 4.
The Broncos are coming off a solid 16-10 victory over the Bulldogs last week, despite only enjoying 40% of the possession. The Bulldogs were in the contest all the way, however their lack of execution in attack killed their chances. I put this result more down to the Bulldogs not getting it done, rather than the Broncos being impressive, but at 2-0 you can only beat who’s in front of you. Is Kevvie Walters finally turning this team around?
The Cowboys were one of the most impressive teams last week, as they thoroughly outplayed the Raiders, who were coming off a quality win over the Sharks in round 1. They dominated with the ball, claiming 59% of the possession, and running for over 600m more than the Raiders, averaging 10m more per set of 6. Their cover defence was impressive too, despite missing 31 tackles they only conceded the one try.
The Broncos showed more grit in their victory over the Bulldogs and seem to have more belief in themselves this season. The Broncos only had 40% of the ball, were out gained by over 500m, and conceded 6 line breaks to 3, yet still managed to get the win. I believe if they were playing a side with a pulse in attack, things may have been very different. It’s hard to gauge whether the performances against the Broncos have been caused by the Broncos play, or whether the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs were both just poor. The Broncos effective tackle percentage against the Bulldogs (83.6%) indicates their defence isn’t as good as the for and against may have us believe, and I believe the better the competition gets, the more we will get to see the real Broncos.
In team news, the Broncos have named the same 17 as last week against the Bulldogs. Patrick Carrigan limped off the field at training with a knee issue, however, is still expected to play. Rhys Kennedy or Corey Jensen would be the likely beneficiary’s of any late news on Carrigan.
For the Cowboys, they also named the same 17 from their last up victory over the Raiders, with the only possible inclusion being Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, however he is unlikely to play.
Whilst I believe the Broncos should win this game, the fact it’s a local derby and both teams are coming off solid wins has me believing this will be a tight contest, particularly early. I also lean towards the Cowboys covering, with both teams’ attack looking somewhat clunky and team defence looking solid for both
Under 18.5 1st Half Points ($1.89 at TopSport)
$1.90 (1 Unit)
Manly Sea Eagles vs Canterbury Bulldogs
4 Pines Park, Sunday 27th March, 6:15pm (AEDT)
Manly Sea Eagles
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Sean Keppie 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ethan Bullemor 13. Jake Trbojevic. INTERCHANGE: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Andrew Davey 17. Taniela Paseka. RESERVES: 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Morgan Boyle 20. Tolutau Koula 21. Jorge Taufua 22. Alec Tuitavake 23. Christian Tuipulotu 24. James Roumanos
1. Matt Dufty 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Braidon Burns 4. Brent Naden 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Jake Averillo 8. Luke Thompson 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jack Hetherington 12. Tevita Pangai jnr 13. Josh Jackson. INTERCHANGE: 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Corey Waddell 16. Max King 17. Ava Seumanufagai. RESERVES: 19. Chris Patolo 20. Brandon Wakeham 21. Joe Stimson 22. Kyle Flanagan 23. Reece Hoffman 24. Josh Cook 25. Aaron Schoupp
Well then, isn’t this an important game for the Sea Eagles. After a less than impressive showing in their season opener against the Panthers, the Sea Eagles were expected to look much better in round 2 against the Roosters. They didn’t, with their forwards being thoroughly outplayed for the second week in a row. Whilst they started 0-4 last season and still managed to make the top 4, this season seems a little different. Last year they had the excuse of no Tom Trbojevic for the first month of the competition. This year, whilst he’s been far from his best, Trbojevic is there, and the Sea Eagles are still struggling.
I seem to be writing about the Bulldogs on a weekly basis, and that’s because the Bulldogs have played 3 straight Sunday afternoon games. This will continue for a few more weeks, with their first non-Sunday game coming in round 6, where they will clash with the Rabbitohs in the traditional Good Friday clash. I mention this, because I’ve said many times that I don’t believe in the hype of this Bulldogs team. Their attack looks clunky, and they are looking to Matt Burton far too often to just kick the ball to the moon and back on the last play. Whilst this works from time to time, they really need to be more creative in attack if they’re to improve.
As mentioned, the Sea Eagles forward pack has been bullied in the first two weeks of the season. Last week, they were outgained by 350+ metres by the Roosters, and only managed 45% possession. Over the first two weeks of the season, the stats that stand out regarding the Sea Eagles are defensively. They have conceded the greatest number of metres (by a whopping 200m per game), conceded the most post contact metres, concede the 3rd largest number of metres per set, and they have the second slowest play the ball speed. This all points towards a team that is being dominated in the ruck, and this mitigates the effectiveness of Trbojevic.
The Bulldogs had every chance to win their game last week, having 60% of the possession and winning every main statistic besides errors (and of course, the final score), but couldn’t get it done. They have only managed to score 3 tries this season, despite having statistics that indicate they should have scored more. They have run for the most metres of any team in the league, they are 4th in line breaks made, 2nd in average metres per set and 3rd in offloads. They are lacking in the spine, as I’ve said all season long, and on a wet Sunday afternoon at Brookvale, they will once again struggle to score points.
In team news, the Sea Eagles have named the same 17 as last week, with the biggest question mark being utility Dylan Walker being in doubt. Walker needs to get through concussion protocols to take his place on the bench. If Walker is unable to start, expect Tolutau Koula to come onto the bench.
The Bulldogs have also named the same 17 which took the field last week, however, expect the same late changes as last week, with Corey Waddell to start in front of Luke Thompson. Tevita Pangai Jr is also a chance to revert to the bench, possibly to harness his aggression.
Until the Bulldogs prove me otherwise, I’ll keep betting on their unders. Every single unders bet involving the Bulldogs have been zero sweat so far this season.
It’s now or never for the Sea Eagles, they really can’t afford to come out of this game struggling. It’s their first home game of the season, and they are taking on a side that shouldn’t threaten their defence too much. The look ahead was a 10.5 start, before the line opened at 11.5, and has now settled into 10.5 with not a lot of movement. The market seems to agree with this line, and I don’t see a major value play against the spread. I’d lean Manly covering, but if it’s a wet day at a notoriously slow track at Brookvale, this could be a low scoring tight contest.
Bulldogs Under 13.5 ($1.89 at Palmerbet)
Under 19.5 1st Half Points ($1.95 at Palmerbet)
Under 38.5 Points
$1.90 (1 Unit)