What a weekend of football we have and on a long weekend no less and hopefully there are a few winners amongst the 8 games.
Canberra Raiders ($1.50) v North Queensland Cowboys ($2.35)
Thursday 14th April, 8:05PM, GIO Stadium
Another early season rematch kicks off round 6 as Canberra plays host to the Cowboys at GIO Stadium. When the two clubs met back in Round 2, North Queensland walked away dominant winners 26-6 victors but both sides now enter this match on the back of losses to the Warriors and Storm respectively. Both sides can mix the form to play like finals contenders one week and wooden spoon candidates the next and likewise with both being capable of sparkling attack and weak defense I’m going with the overs to start the weekend.
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.26) v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs ($3.85)
Friday 15th April, 6:00PM, Accor Stadium
After a difficult start to the year with fixtures against the likes of Penrith and Melbourne, South Sydney are offered a great opportunity to record another win at the expense of the Bulldogs. They will be without fullback Latrell Mitchell for up a two months but Blake Taafe returns to fill the void at fullback while young half Lachlan Ilias is improving game by game. Kyle Flanagan retains the 7 shirt on the Canterbury front, but is on a hiding to nothing in a side that has only scored 40 points in the opening 5 games and along with Matt Burton and Josh Addo-Carr must look to spark the side. However, I don’t see the Bulldogs going close Friday night and will back the Rabbitohs to cover the line.
Penrith Panthers ($1.07) v Brisbane Broncos ($8.50)
Friday 15th April, 7:55PM, Bluebet Stadium
Penrith is arguably playing better than last season and are once again well and truly entrenched as Premiership favourites. The defending premiers are second in points scored whilst conceding the second least amount in the competition and look a tough ask for a Brisbane side without star forward Payne Haas. Brisbane responded to dismal back-to-back losses to North Queensland and the Warriors with a gutsy 24-20 loss to the Roosters but are still finding it difficult to score points, with just over 12 a game. The Panthers are on a 19-match winning streak at home and it’s very difficult to see them getting tripped up here, but with no value around the home side I’m going with Villiame Kikau to barge over on the dynamic Penrith left edge.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles ($1.52) v Gold Coast Titans ($2.55)
Saturday 16th April, 5:30PM, 4 Pines Park
The Sea Eagles produced a professional performance in the Newcastle wet without sta Tom Trbojevic with Daly Cherry-Evans backing up his excellent performance in round 4 with another in round 5. For many years Gold Coast continues to be one of the more difficult teams to get a read on after some up and down performance were on course for a landslide loss when they trailed the Eels 20-0 soon after halftime but rallied to get within 6 on the full time whistle. Manly have had the wood on the Gold Coast last season, with both wins coming by more than 30 points and on the back of their confidence boosting wins, I’m siding with them again at home.
Arguably the match of the round is Saturday night as the third placed Storm host the second placed Sharks at AAMI Park. The Melbourne Storm have been flying under the radar in recent weeks while the Sharks are easily the most improved side of 2022 and are relishing playing under Craig Fitzgibbon. The Sharks put on a show for the Shire faithful last Sunday and without sounding like a broken record, it is great to see Matt Moylan getting back to playing his best football alongside Nico Hynes. In saying that, the Storm are as reliable as death and taxes and are building a lot of momentum, especially as they only make one change to the side, that being young rake Tyron Wishart who comes back onto the bench.
Sydney Roosters ($1.17) v New Zealand Warriors ($5.00)
Sunday 17th April, 2:00PM, Sydney Cricket Ground
The Roosters come off the back of their Queensland sojourn with two wins, with a 28-4 win against the Cowboys before a hard fought win against the Broncos 24-20. Kiwi international Joey Manu has been the Roosters best this season with his lethal right foot steps causing trouble for opposition centres. Sam Verrills is set to make his first appearance of 2022 at hooker and will help the side with their structure, which had often been disjointed in the opening round. The Warriors after a tough start are chasing four straight wins and have got progressively better with each victory, while Shaun Johnson and Chanel Harris-Tavita are beginning to create a strong combination in the halves
The Roosters have won their last four against the Warriors but the start appears too generous for a strong Warriors side.
St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.55) v Newcastle Knights ($2.30)
Sunday 17th April, 4:05PM, WIN Stadium
This Easter Sunday clash looks an intriguing one for two sides struggling in recent weeks.
The Dragons have lost four on the trot and have now conceded the most points in the competition with 144, an average of almost 30 a game while Newcastle has followed up two dominant early season wins with three heavy losses. After going down to Penrith and Cronulla by 18-point margins, the Knights faded late in a 24-point defeat to the Sea Eagles and have mustered just one try in their last two games, however some consideration must be given to the poor conditions at McDonald Jones Stadium last Thursday night. Remarkably the Dragons have won 13 of their last 17 against the Knights, but I believe the Knights have demonstrated the greater upside in 2022 and look a strong bet at the price.
Parramatta can continue their strong start to the season as they host the Tigers in a Western Sydney derby at CommBank Stadium on Monday’s public holiday. The Eels sit 4th on the ladder but can jump to third or even second if they win and win well and recorded two comfortable wins over the Tigers in 2021. The Tigers meanwhile sunk to a new low in round 5 and only recorded a late try to at least add the slightest bit of semblance to the score. Once again I struggled to find value in the standard markets but I am going with the in form Moses to cross the white chalk and end the weekend on top.
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