NRL Tips Round 4
We’ve had a great start to the season but gee we were unlucky last weekend. Just four points was the difference between another 6 out of 8 return and a perfect round! Both Canberra and the Gold Coast butchered handy leads late in the game to each lose by 2 points. Let’s hope there’s better luck this week!
Here’s our preview and Tips for Round 4 of the NRL
EELS V RABBITOHS; FRI 27 MAR, 7.35PM AEDT PIRTEK STADIUM
It seems everyone is waiting for the Rabbitohs’ bubble to burst but it’s hard to see that being this weekend. They have lost their try-scoring ace Dylan Walker to a hand-injury for a month but that won’t be the difference here. A return to Parramatta Stadium will help the Eels. They’re a much tougher prospect at home but this looks beyond them. They go in unchanged. That team was no match for the Warriors. Good luck against the Bunnies!
ATHLETES TALK: Rabbitohs by 14
WESTS TIGERS V BULLDOGS – FRI 27 MAR, 7:35PM AEDT (7.35PM AEST), ANZ STADIUM
The Wests Tigers have been the big improver in 2015 – largely on the shoulders of workhorse prop Aaron Woods. He’s succumbed to a knee injury and has been ruled out. I see the Tigers chances going with him. They will miss his yardage up the middle, especially in a heavyweight clash with Bulldogs front-rowers James Graham and Aiden Tolman. The Bulldogs were nowhere near their best in beating Manly last weekend but they still got the job done. Good teams can do that.
ATHLETES TALK: Bulldogs by 12
KNIGHTS V PANTHERS – SAT 28 MAR, 3:00PM (AEDT), HUNTER STADIUM
Another game heavily influenced by an injury to a key player. The Panthers have lost hooker James Segeyaro for this one and that alone could be enough to sway what appears to be a toss of the coin clash. He’s been replaced by Souths’ grand final winning rake Apisai Koroisau who gets a chance he probably believed may not come. Newcastle go into this undefeated without setting the world on fire. They’ve won three arm wrestles, doing just enough to get themselves over the line in a scrap. That’s a good sign. Korbin Sims misses this game through injury but Kade Snowden is in the sort of form that saw him earn representative honours a couple of seasons back. With home ground advantage and the sizzling form of their outside backs, I like the Knights in a tight one.
ATHLETES TALK: Knights by 2
SHARKS V TITANS – SAT 28 MAR, 5:30PM (AEDT), REMONDIS STADIUM
When you look at these two teams on paper you can easily mount a case for both. So which one is going to turn up in the better mindset to take the points. Pure hunch says that’s the Sharks. The focus of this game zooms in on the halves. The Titans will usher in former NYC Player of the Year Kane Elgey at halfback. The kid can play. But the Sharks have a congo line of big boppers who will be running at him all night. He’ll know he’s playing first-grade that’s for sure! Elgey will be relying on the likes of Greg Bird and Nate Myles for help! Cronulla have their own new blood in the halves with Wade Graham shifting from the back-row to replace the suspended Ben Barba. Blessing in disguise? Could be. Both teams will have to try and manufacture points somehow. The Sharks should have at least a couple more up their sleeve.
ATHLETES TALK: Sharks by 8
DRAGONS V SEA EAGLES; SAT 28 MAR, 7:30PM AEST, WIN STADIUM
Against the odds the Dragons mounted a spirited comeback to beat the Raiders last weekend. But even Ricky Stuart deemed the opposition something not worthy of first-grade standard. It makes it tough to get a read on the true value of the Dragons form. The elevation to Trent Merrin to the starting side is long overdue. Manly haven’t been themselves but gee they have a couple of aces to throw down that should help that. Jamie Lyon and Kieran Foran have both been named to make their return. If they’re anywhere near their best Manly should be too strong.
ATHLETES TALK: Sea Eagles by 8
WARRIORS V BRONCOS – SUN 29 MAR, 12:00PM (AEDT), MT SMART STADIUM
If the Brisbane that turned up against the Cowboys last weekend runs onto Mt Smart Stadium, we have the makings of a beauty on our hands. They’re every chance of an upset here. The Warriors haven’t been bad. Problem is, they haven’t been great either. But what’s new? There will be a sense of occasion about this one though. The Warriors are celebrating 20 years since they joined the Australian competition and maybe that’s the spark that will get them across the line? This one should finish just in time for the cricket to start. In the interests of equality, we’ll give this one to the Kiwis.
ATHLETES TALK: Warriors by 8
ROOSTERS V RAIDERS – SUN 29 MAR, 2:00PM (AEDT), ALLIANZ STADIUM
One team that’s crowing. The other is still stuttering through a regeneration process. It’s hard to see Canberra getting close here. Jack Wighton returns from injury but surely that won’t be enough against the Chooks. Expect plenty of points. Most of them could be scored by the Roosters.
ATHLETES TALK: Roosters by 26
COWBOYS V STORM – MON MAR 30, 7:00PM (AEDT), 1300SMILES STADIUM
No one would have predicted the Cowboys would start 2015 with three straight losses. The problem is, the hard part of their draw is just about to get underway. This against Melbourne may be considered the easiest of the lot. Yep. That’s the reality of what’s ahead for North Queensland. They’re about to embark on a run of games against Penrith, Souths, the Warriors, Newcastle and the Bulldogs. The nightmare could be about to get a whole lot worse if this slide isn’t quickly arrested. That alone may be enough at home against the Storm. They have two cosmetic changes to the outside backs. The Storm are unchanged. It’s risky, but let’s say the Cowboys because surely they aren’t that bad. Are they?
ATHLETES TALK: Cowboys by 7