NRL Tips Round 5
Ok. So we admit. We were strutting around with the feathers out last week, pretty satisfied with our 75% success rate for our NRL Tips over the opening rounds. Well we came back to earth with a thud last week, jagging just the four winners. It could have been better with a shade of luck but to be fair, on a weekend of upsets we’ll take the 50% return. Let’s hope the Easter Bunny helps us get the choccies this weekend!
Here’s our preview and Tips for Round 5 of the NRL
BULLDOGS V RABBITOHS – FRI 3 APRIL, 4:00PM AEDT ANZ STADIUM
The grand final rematch and suddenly the Rabbitohs look vulnerable after being razzled and dazzled by the Eels last weekend. There is a school of thought the loss will do Souths some good with the weight of the winning streak lifted from their shoulders. I’m not convinced many coaches subscribe to that theory though. Losing form is never ideal. It’s what happens next that counts. That’s where you’d expect the reigning Premiers to bounce back in style. The Bulldogs dodged a bullet against the Tigers, manufacturing a final minute field goal win after trailing by 18 deep into the contest. They’re a long way off their best but doing enough. They do get back Josh Reynolds following his round 1 injury and maybe Brett Morris. They are massive ins. If they were ever going to do a job on the Rabbitohs surely this would be it. It would take a brave man to tip against a Rabbit at Easter time though.
ATHLETES TALK: Rabbitohs by 7
TITANS V BRONCOS – FRI 3 APRIL, 8:35PM AEDT (7.35PM AEST), CBUS SUPER STADIUM
There’s something building at the Broncos. There’s a new style in their game and a renewed sense of responsibility and accountability. Might have something to do with that Wayne Bennett bloke at the helm. It takes a serious effort to beat the Warriors in New Zealand and in some respects it was the most impressive performance of the round last weekend. The Titans nudged a very nervous single into the covers to get off the mark against the Sharks. James Roberts’ intercept off an ambitious Wade Graham pass in the final minutes may just be the tonic they need to put together some sort of run. There should be a few points in this one. The Titans are likely to concede more than they put on.
ATHLETES TALK: Broncos by 14
SEA EAGLES V RAIDERS – SAT 4 APRIL,5:30PM AEDT, LAVINGTON SPORTS GROUND, ALBURY
Manly were beaten by the Dragons doing a Manly on them last weekend. Blanketed by mistake-free footy. It wasn’t pretty to watch but it was effective. If any team can find a way back from that it is the Sea Eagles. Kieran Foran will be second-up from an injury lay-off. But the delayed return of Steve Matai is compounded by the loss again of Jamie Lyon who re-injured his groin in a costly night for Manly. Feleti Mateo and Josh Starling were also casualties of the contest. Home ground advantage is lost in this one with the game moved to Albury. Despite all that, Canberra gave no reason to believe they will finish anywhere but near the bottom of the ladder in their loss to the Roosters. It was a miserable day for the Green Machine. Problem is, it’s what we’ve come to expect of them of late. Ricky Stuart has run out of patience in the halves, with Mitch Cornish replaced by Sam Williams. That won’t be enough against the Sea Eagles.
ATHLETES TALK: Sea Eagles by 16
KNIGHTS V DRAGONS – SAT 4 APRIL, 7:30PM (AEDT), HUNTER STADIUM
This has got arm wrestle written all over it. The Dragons haven’t been a visual feast in 2015 but no team has managed to get away from them. Same with the Knights. This pits the – statistically – second and third best defensive teams in the NRL against each other. It hasn’t always been a feature of Dragons teams in recent seasons. Step by step they appear to be heading in the right direction. If only they could score points. They are clearly the worst team in attack in the competition, having scored just 42 points in the opening month. That’s not a problem the Knights have had – and that’s where the difference lies. The Dragons are making gains, but Newcastle are ticking more boxes at this point in their campaigns. As an added bonus, the Knights will see boom off-season recruit Tariq Sims make his club debut.
ATHLETES TALK: Knights by 10
ROOSTERS V SHARKS – SUN 5 APRIL, 4:00PM AEST, ALLIANZ STADIUM
The only shame about this game is the rain that’s hovering over Sydney at the moment will probably rob fans of a dry weather Sunday afternoon points scoring spree from the slick Roosters backline. Even without the injured Blake Ferguson, the Roosters should have plenty of points in them against a Sharks side that just continues to find a way to lose. There are plenty of changes to their starting line-up. Excitement machine Valentine Holmes takes over at fullback and rookie sensation Jack Bird wins a start at five-eighth. The future of the Sharks looks promising. Unfortunately the fans will expect immediate returns to snap a four-game losing start to the season.
ATHLETES TALK: Roosters by 20
EELS V WESTS TIGERS – MON 6 APRIL, 3:00PM AEST, ANZ STADIUM
If these two teams turn up like they did last weekend, strap yourself in! The Tigers were sensational for an hour against the Bulldogs, piling on points through the growing combination of Brooks and Tedesco. And that was without the go forward of prop Aaron Woods, who returns from injury to take on the Eels. They get Pat Richards back from suspension as well. Parramatta produced one of the biggest upsets in recent history, de-throning the Bunnies to snap their unbeaten run. They did it with ad-lib football, cashing in on their pace and skill and letting it ride. Oh, they also threw in the sheer size and power of John Folau, who moves in a little closer this week and will play in the centres. The Tigers have similar flair. If they both bring that in front of what is traditionally a bumper local crowd, we could be in for a scoring frenzy. Probably the toughest game of the round to find a winner.
ATHLETES TALK: Tigers by 2
STORM V WARRIORS – MON 6 APRIL, 5:00PM (AEDT), AAMI PARK
Some teams just have a good record against others. This one isn’t in a dominant way, but for the Warriors to be running at around 50% against the Storm suggest there’s something to it. Bogey team? Maybe. But when every game starts from scratch, why should that matter? The Storm should have beaten North Queensland on Monday night. They were in control for most of the contest. Across the Tasman, the Warriors gave themselves no hope against Brisbane with an ordinary first half. So which post-match bake from the coach will mean the most to the players? The wrath of Craig Bellamy breathes fire and venom. It has surely been remembered over the past week.
ATHLETES TALK: Storm by 10
PANTHERS V COWBOYS – MON APRIL 6, 7:00PM (AEDT), PEPPER STADIUM
Another Monday night contest for the Cowboys who managed to break their season duck at home against the Storm. It won’t sit in the memory bank for its fluency, but for sheer dramatic effect it had it all. A Johnathan Thurston hook shot from the sideline to level the scores followed by a golden point field goal from the master of the Townsville turf. Surely that is the booster injection the premiership fancies needed to get their campaign going. Penrith were bitterly disappointing against the Knights, leaking points with monotony in the opening half. They were down on troops and up against a vocal crowd. Those two factors are eradicated this weekend. James Segeyaro and Isaac John return from injury for this home clash. The Cowboys are a momentum team though. Now that has started, the road trip may not be the nightmare it could have been.
ATHLETES TALK: Cowboys by 4