The Big Marn’s NRL Round 15 Preview
This shapes up as a huge clash for the Dragons as they try to stay in touch with the top eight.
It will be the Dragons first match of the season in Wollongong, so will be looking for a big performance in front of their home fans.
The Dragons are struggling to score points and were disappointing in their loss to Manly before the bye.
The Bulldogs recorded an impressive victory over Souths before the bye with new recruit Krisnan Inu and Ben Barba pulling off big plays.
Dragons will be desperate and at $2.20 with Sportingbet Australia look like a great bet. I’ll also make the Dragons my best bet of the round.
This will be a huge all-Queensland affair with plenty of Origin players backing up.
Which players back up after Origin will have a huge influence on this match. The Broncos have already decided to rest Petero Civoniceva and Justin Hodges for this clash.
The Baby Broncos recorded an impressive victory over the Roosters last week and will take confidence from that performance.
The Cowboys are coming off the bye and will be desperate for a victory in front of their home fans after losing to the Titans at their last start.
The Cowboys won on the bell last time these sides met and I’m expecting the Cowboys to win again in a tight affair. The $1.85 for the Cowboys and $1.95 for the Broncos with Sportingbet Australia indicates how tough this one is to pick.
Both sides are coming off tough wins in wet conditions last week, which could take its toll in the later stages of this match.
The Warriors have no State Of Origin representatives, while the Sharks will be sweating on skipper Paul Gallen and five-eighth Todd Carney getting through Origin unscathed.
The Warriors and Sharks have plenty to play for with the Warriors trying to force their way into the eight, while the Sharks are pushing for a top four spot.
Should be a close one but I favour the Warriors to make it consecutive wins on the road.
The bye came at the wrong time for the Eels after they recorded a come from behind win against the Sharks in Round 13.
The Eels will be hoping they can continue their momentum and record just their third win of the season when they take on the Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs went down to the Bulldogs in a thriller before the bye and will be looking to get back into the winner’s circle.
Both sides will be relying on key players getting through Origin. Souths will have Greg Inglis and Dave Taylor in action for Queensland, while Jarryd Hayne will be on show for the Blues.
Souths will be missing Matt King and Sam Burgess to injury but expect them to have too much class for the Eels and get the job done in a potential danger game.
The Titans have started to play to their potential and will be confident going into this clash with the Panthers.
Having a settled halves combination has helped the Titans. Rookie Aiden Sezer has found his feet in first grade, while Scott Prince has rediscovered his best form.
The Titans will be without Luke Bailey to injury and will hope their back row of Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison and Greg Bird back up after Origin.
The Panthers went down to the Warriors in Monday Football and face a difficult road trip here.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has made a stance once again by dropping a big name player in Lachlan Coote, while Michael Jennings has been recalled if he gets through Origin duty for NSW.
The Tigers are going for eight wins in a row and will love returning to their fortress at Leichhardt Oval.
The Roosters haven’t had the rub of the green with refs recently and will be hoping their fortunes change this weekend.
Roosters skipper Braith Anasta is clearly frustrated after some howlers by the match officials in the Roosters match with the Broncos last week.
This could be a danger game for the Tigers as they go for eight straight but they should be good enough to get the points if they aren’t complacent.
Bitter rivals Manly and Melbourne meet at Brookvale Oval in Monday night football and it could be a fiery encounter once again.
Adam Blair is no longer at the Storm having moved on to the Tigers but last time they met Blair and Manly second rower Glenn Stewart were involved in a brawl that saw both players later suspended.
Both sides will have plenty of Origin players backing up but the extra few days after Origin could benefit both sides.
The Storm were missing their big three (Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith) for the first time during the Origin period and went down to the Tigers last week 10-6
This should be an absolute thriller with the Brookvale factor getting the Sea Eagles across the line.
Best Bet – Dragons $2.20 with Sportingbet Australia
Melbourne Storm $3.25
Manly Sea Eagles $6
Brisbane Broncos $6
Wests Tigers $7
Canterbury Bulldogs $11
South Sydney Rabbitohs $11
Johnathan Thurston $5
Cooper Cronk $5
Billy Slater $6
Greg Inglis $7
Ben Barba $11
Benji Marshall $11
Peter Wallace $11