The Big Marn’s NRL Round 19 Preview
The Warriors sit in eighth spot after their win over the Titans last week and need to keep winning to hold off the challengers outside the top eight.
The Broncos will be happy Origin is over and will be looking to cement their spot in the top four.
New Zealand has suffered a blow in the lead-up to this clash, with rookie Konrad Hurrell ruled out through injury after his three try effort against the Titans last week.
Manu Vatuvei returns for the Warriors, but as everyone knows it’s rocks and diamonds with Big Manu!
I think the Warriors are building nicely in their charge to the finals and $2.60 with Sportingbet Australia looks great value.
It’s hard to see anything but a comfortable Bulldogs victory with Ben Barba and Josh Morris in red hot form.
It also shapes up as a crucial game for both sides for completely different reasons.
The Bulldogs are only one win behind the Melbourne Storm in 1st spot while the Eels will be looking to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Eels staged a comeback last week after the Sea Eagles shut up shop. The Bulldogs won’t make the same mistake and will cover the -16.5 line with ease.
They are my best bet of the week and the $1.90 with Sportingbet Australia to cover the line looks a good bet.
The Storm will be desperate for a win after their shock loss to the Raiders last week.
The Origin period seems to have taken its toll on the Storm with Billy Slater out injured and Cameron Smith not playing against the Raiders last week.
The Cowboys will also appreciate the end of Origin and the return of their Origin stars as they push for a top four spot.
Melbourne has a great record against the Cowboys, winning 75% of the clashes between the sides.
Can’t see the Storm slipping up again and should be too strong in this one.
The Knights were comfortably beaten by the Rabbitohs last week and it appears their finals hopes could well be over.
Manly dominated Parramatta last week before switching off and letting the Eels score some late points to take the gloss off their victory.
The Sea Eagles will be without Brett Stewart who picked up a hamstring injury but will welcome back his brother Glenn from injury.
Manly are almost back to full strength and the defending premiers are now outright second favourites at $5 with Sportingbet Australia.
Newcastle has been a major disappointment this season and I expect that to continue on Saturday night.
It’s been a big week for the Panthers with the news that Penrith’s favourite son Luke Lewis has been granted a release from his contract at the end of the season.
How the Panthers react to that news could decide the outcome of this match.
It’s do or die for the Tigers in 9th spot and they desperately need a victory to force their way back into the top eight.
The Tigers beat the Panthers 30-0 earlier in the season and will be hoping for a similar result after losing their last three matches.
OUTSTANDING! What else can you say about the Raiders performance against the Storm last week. Not even the most diehard Raiders fan would have predicted a victory to the Green Machine.
It’s a must win match for both sides as they sit outside the top 8 and need a victory to keep their finals hopes alive.
Unsung heroes like Reece Robinson, Edrick Lee and Jarrod Croker have been standouts for the Raiders but it’s important they back it up in a match that they will be expected to win.
The Titans have a terrible record in Canberra which makes the task even harder but I think the Raiders might suffer a come down after their performance against the Storm.
This is arguably the match of the round between these two bitter neighbours.
The Dragons are coming off the bye and their season goes on the line in Wollongong on Sunday.
The Sharks were gallant in their draw with the Roosters, after losing their entire backrow including skipper Paul Gallen in the lead up to the clash.
Cronulla has exceeded all expectations this season and most people would be surprised to see the Sharks currently in 3rd position.
These sides have only played three times in Wollongong with the Sharks yet to record a victory but I’m expecting that to change on Sunday. Another value bet with Sportingbet Australia with the Sharks @ $2.35
As mentioned last week, fans are starting to get excited about the Rabbitohs chances of playing finals football but now they are talking about taking out the premiership.
The Roosters are coming off a draw against the Sharks and this shapes up as a must win clash to keep their finals hopes alive.
Who can forget the Round 1 clash between these sides when the Roosters scored at the death to record a remarkable 24-20 victory.
The Souths players will have long memories and will be pumped for this clash against their bitter rivals in Rivalry round.
Big Marn’s Best Bet – Bulldogs -16.5 @ $1.90 with Sportingbet Australia
Melbourne Storm $3.75
Manly Sea Eagles $5
Canterbury Bulldogs $6
Brisbane Broncos $7
South Sydney Rabbitohs $9
New Zealand Warriors $14
Wests Tigers $14