NRL previews - Round 6
SYDNEY, April 5 AAP – Preview of Round 6 NRL matches (all times AEST):
FRIDAY, April 6
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium 4.00pm
Head to Head: Souths 63 Bulldogs 75 drawn 4
Last clash: Round 7 2011 – Bulldogs 36 bt Souths 24 at ANZ Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Souths $2.25 Bulldogs $1.67
FootyTAB: Souths +2.5
Souths are riding on the crest of last Sunday’s magnificent fightback to beat Wests Tigers in golden point, but must adjust to the loss of star forward Sam Burgess, who is out for two months with a knee injury. The Bulldogs bounced back well to beat Gold Coast last week following their defeat by Newcastle, but they were far from impressive at Skilled Park. Souths will prove to be a far greater proposition especially with Greg Inglis getting better with each game at fullback and halfback Adam Reynolds growing in confidence with each game.
Key: Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba is the most exciting player in the NRL at the moment and his side’s most dynamic attacker. Should he eclipse Inglis then Bulldogs will be in good shape to seal a fifth win of the year.
Wests Tigers v Brisbane Broncos at Allianz Stadium 7.35pm
Head to Head: Tigers 4 Broncos 14 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 7 2011 – Broncos 31 bt Tigers 18 at Allianz Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Tigers $2.50 Broncos $1.55
FootyTAB: Tigers +2.5
The Tigers welcome back skipper Robbie Farah from suspension, but perhaps more importantly, representative prop Keith Galloway returns to bolster a front row that has struggled in recent weeks. The Broncos were super impressive against St George Illawarra in the first half of their win last week, but the way the Dragons fought back in the second half will give Tigers coach Tim Sheens food for thought. Brisbane will be strengthened by Corey Parker’s return from injury, with the Queensland lock set to come off the bench.
Key: Farah is one of the key components in the Tigers’ attack, and they missed him badly in their last two matches. A fifth straight defeat really would have the alarm bells ringing.
SATURDAY, April 7
Cronulla Sharks v St George-Illawarra Dragons at Toyota Stadium 7.35pm
Head to Head: Sharks 5 Dragons 3
Last clash: Round 19 2011 – Dragons 38 bt Sharks 8 at Oki Jubilee Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Sharks $2.10 Dragons $1.75
FootyTAB: Sharks +2.5
The decision to switch Todd Carney to five-eighth has coincided with three successive wins for the Sharks and sets up a mouth-watering clash with their local rivals. A strong performance by Carney could see him leapfrog Jamie Soward in the race for the NSW No.6 jersey. However, Soward has been playing well himself and is desperate to keep his place in Ricky Stuart’s side so needs no extra motivation ahead of this match. The Sharks won this game last year, however, they have only reached double figures in five of their last six encounters with the Dragons, putting pressure on Carney to create.
Key: Paul Gallen is in career-best form at the moment, as is Dragons front-rower Michael Weyman, who is showing the benefits of playing pain-free with some barnstorming performances. The first hit-up between the NSW pair could shake the foundations at Toyota Stadium.
Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters at Skilled Park 7.35pm
Head to Head: Titans 5 Roosters 3
Last clash: Round 8 2011 – Titans 24 bt Roosters 13 at Skilled Park
Tab Sportsbet: Titans $2.10 Roosters $1.75 Draw $0.00
FootyTAB: Titans +2.5
The Roosters turned around two awful performances to shock the Warriors last week and will head to Skilled Park full of confidence. However, with the Titans’ financial future looking more secure following the sale of their ill-fated Centre of Excellence building, it can only have a positive effect on the players. John Cartwright’s side have yet to win at home this season, but were much improved against the Bulldogs last Sunday. They will start this game without the injured Greg Bird, Jamal Idris and Mark Minichiello, which will do little to boost their hopes of a second victory.
Key: There is no love lost between former Roosters teammates Nate Myles and Jared Wearea-Hargreaves so expect a few fireworks when the two props clash on Saturday.
Canberra Raiders v Warriors at Canberra Stadium 7.35pm
Head to Head: Raiders 14 Warriors 12
Last clash: Round 21 2011 – Warriors 29 bt Raiders 10 at Mt Smart Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Raiders $2.10 Warriors $1.75 Draw $0.00
FootyTAB: Raiders +2.5
This match is a tipster’s nightmare with two sides who are coming off shocking last-start efforts. Canberra put in a terrible performance going down to North Queensland at home on Monday while the Warriors were feeble in losing to the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night after being dominated up the middle. This could be a season-defining game for both clubs. Brilliant Warriors halves Shaun Johnson and James Maloney need their forwards to lay a platform in this game.
Key: Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese is vital to his team’s chances and has to fire if the Raiders are any hope. He needs to run the ball more and take the line on.
SUNDAY, April 8
Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels at Hunter Stadium 7.35pm
Head to Head: Knights 21 Eels 19 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 12 2011 – Knights 8 bt Eels 6 at Hunter Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Knights $1.30 Eels $2.65 Draw $0.00
FootyTAB: Knights +6.5
Parramatta have enjoyed a great week following their first win of the season over Manly last Saturday and will be keen to make it two wins in a row. Five-eighth Ben Roberts comes off his best game for the Eels while rampaging prop Fuifui Moimoi was back to his blockbusting best against the Sea Eagles. Newcastle were blown off the park early by Melbourne last week and will be out to show their home fans they are finals material by dispatching the Eels. But the Knights face a tough task without captain Kurt Gidley with youngster Tyrone Roberts named at halfback while Jarrod Mullen will play five-eighth.
Key: The Knights need a massive game from Jarrod Mullen if they are to have any chance.
North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm at Dairy Farmers Stadium 7.35pm
Head to Head: Cowboys 6 Storm 17
Last clash: Round 3 2011 – Cowboys 34 bt Storm 6 at Dairy Farmers Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Cowboys $2.45 Storm $1.57 Draw $0.00
FootyTAB: Cowboys +4.5
North Queensland showed glimpses of what they can do last week in their victory over Canberra. Johnathan Thurston looked back to his best running the Cowboys backline. There are great match-ups all over the park with both sides capable of brilliant attacking football on their day. Melbourne have beaten all before them this year and it’s hard to see that run ending against the Cowboys. Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy won’t be happy with the way his side switched off late against Newcastle and will have them primed for this.
Key: The Cowboys pack has to get in Melbourne’s faces. Sitting back and letting Cameron Smith run the show from dummy-half will result in a long night for North Queensland.
MONDAY, April 9
Manly Sea Eagles v Penrith Panthers at Brookvale Oval 7.35pm
Head to Head: Sea Eagles 48 Panthers 26 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 20 2011 – Sea Eagles 12 bt Panthers 8 at Centrebet Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Sea Eagles $1.43 Panthers $2.90 Draw $0.00
FootyTAB: Panthers +8.5
Unbelievably premiers Manly are staring down the barrel of four consecutive losses. But they have a couple of significant things in their favour against the Panthers on Monday.
The Sea Eagles are playing their first game of the season at Brookvale Oval and they have co-captain Jamie Lyon returning from injury after he missed the loss to Parramatta last week. Penrith were made to pay for a slow start against the Sharks last week and will be out to recapture the form that resulted in them hammering Parramatta 39-6 two weeks ago. Penrith have a strong pack and danger on the left-edge with centre Michael Jennings and they are good away from home with both of their wins this year coming on the road.
Key: Penrith must begin well and take the Brookvale crowd out of the game.
Tip: Sea Eagles
06 Apr 7:46 AM