Melbourne Storm, 4th (6-4) Vs Manly Sea Eagles, 12th (3-7)
19 May 2018, 7:30pm
One of the Modern day Rivalries gets another edition etched into the history books this Saturday night. A Storm team that keeps on keeping on, minus their captain Vs a Manly team that finally snapped their 5 game losing streak with a massive win over Brisbane in Brisbane.

Melbourne Storm (MS) after a slow start kicked into gear vs an injury ruined Gold Coast Titans to win 28-14 at Suncorp stadium. An ordinary first half by MS standards saw them losing at half time but in traditional form the MS ran in three tries in the second half and out powered a gallant Titans team. This week they are with out their captain C. Smith through suspension, fun fact, this will be the 4th game B. Slater hasn’t played with his captain in his career. This allows B. Smith to get his chance to show MS fans what he will bring to the table once his captain retires. This young kid has been playing really well in the middle when he has been on the field, personally we are excited to see him run out in his preferred position of 9 this week.
A lot of pressure will now land on C. Munster and B. Slater this week and how they handle this will be the deciding factor for us. These two have the ability to win games on their own backs, but with out C. Smith, through his control and goal kicking it levels this match out a lot more.

Manly Sea Eagles (MSE) have had a shocking 5 weeks of footy with the club under siege from various angles and its reflected in their poor style of play. However in Brisbane Vs a Brisbane team that went in as heavy favourites, they reminded us that they are a footy side that when they click can match it still. The Trbojevic brothers had a field day and both found their form that has them in contention for a sky blue jumper in the next few weeks. Off this, M. Taupau, A.F-Blake, J. Thompson grew another leg and remembered how to play. Once these players competed their sets and reduced their errors, D.C-Evans came into the fray and delivered the game expected of his price tag. Scoring 14 of the 38 points, 1 try assist and better general kicking really drove the nail into another disappointing Brisbane performance.
This week traveling to AAMI Park won’t be an easy task, but they showed us last week that they can still turn up and will be running high after last weeks win. A heavy reliance through the middle making meters and not dropping easy ball will be the centre of their plays as it should be a lot easier without C. Smith there.

Stats that Matter:
Games won vs the Top 8: Storm 1 win, 4 losses. Manly 0 Wins, 3 losses.
Both teams are similar across the main stats: average 4 tries a match, both 74% completion, Line Breaks at 4 a piece and Made tackles 2 less to the MS on average with 305 to MSE 307. The main two differences in attacking stats is the Average Run Metres in favour to MSE 1489 to MS 1405 and Average Kick Metres 396 to MS over MSE 340.
Defensively MS out class MSE with an impressive 15.9 points per game conceded through the first 10 rounds, compared to MSE of 24.7.
Melbourne Storm Team Analysis
As mentioned earlier their Captain and Rock in the centre of the park is out with suspension, C. Smith, who took the early plea for a “wish bone” tackle, which seems his apprentice B. Smith come into the starting hooking role. This also forces the MS to run a more balanced bench with J. Hughes expected to get more game time as B. Smith will need a break at some stage. Another Storm player in S. Kasiano also misses a week through suspension, with the timely return of T. Glasby set to come off the bench.

Manly Sea Eagles Team Analysis
T. Hodkinson was included on the bench after the Cronulla Sharks surprisingly released him to help a MSE team desperate for a half to help D.C-Evans. It’s expected that he will miss the opening 15-20 minutes and then enter the game, this will force a potential reshuffle in the backs dependant what the MSE coach decides to do with D. Walker. Another injury to the MSE with T. Paseka, sees T. Sipley come onto the bench.

Possible Ladder position:
Melbourne Storm: They need this win to maintain in contact with the Top 4 and avoid the 5 other teams currently on 12 points. Dependant on their winning margin and other results, they could move to as high as 2nd or could fall to 6-8th.

Weather: A predict dower day in Melbourne with a high of 14*c to 9*c with clouds around the area. Game time temperature a toasty 12*c-10*c

For us the all round ability of the MS structures and players should win this game. A tricky line at +/- 5.5 on Sports Bet and +/-6 William Hill, suggesting the bookies aren’t too sure either and don’t want to give more than a full converted try at $1.90. If MSE didn’t put in last weeks performance this would be an easy call on the line and take the -5.5. Add in the suspension of C. Smith and we aren’t going anywhere near this and believe it will be a close result with both teams going blow for blow.
Our Tip:
William Hill – Margins – Either Team Wins by Under 12.5 (No Extra Time) – Either team win by UNDER 12.5 $1.85 (William Hill)

Good Luck and remember gamble with in your means.


Penrith Panthers, 2nd (7-3) Vs Wests Tigers, 7th (6-4)
17 May 2018, 7:50pm

The Penrith Machine keeps on rolling with another solid win away from home, come up against the Wests Tigers who stood tall with a short turn around.
The Penrith Panthers (PP) went to the Newcastle Knights (NK) home ground and came out firing and put the young NK under pressure which they could not recover from. Add to the early pressure the PP reduced their error count to 5 and completed at 84% to show their class and premiership credentials. This week a repeat performance will be required as they come up against a Wests Tigers (WT) who rose to the challenge again.
WT, once again showed that they will continue to turn up for each other and their fans. They took to the middle third and showed up a much bigger forward pack in the Cowboys, out running them by 222m, 12 more runs and completed at an outstanding 88%. All this adds up and they will need to get this form going again to be able to compete against the PP.

Game Stats that Matter:
Conversion/Penalty combined Success Rate could be the major difference in this game:
Maloney Last 3 Rounds: 6/6, 2/4 and 5/6
Marsters Last 3 Rounds: 2/5, 0/1, 5/5
Across the completions, errors, average run meters, line breaks they are fairy even.
The only main other difference is the Points Scored, with PP on 223 and 172 for the WT. Suggesting if Penrith can get off to another flyer, it could be a long night for the WT.

PP Team Analysis:
PP Star no.7 N. Cleary returns earlier than expected this week, just in time to take on his father. This causes a slight reshuffle, with T. Peachey moving back to the centre position, I.Yeo back to his preferred position at Second Row. This forces up and coming power house V. Kikau to rest on the pine.
Safe to say all of NSW will be watching N. Cleary and hoping he has fully recovered from his injury. In regards to the PP, as long as he is fit, the transition should be seamless, with J. Maloney more than happy to play second fiddle to this young super star in the making. Moving T. Peachey to the centre position and moving I. Yeo also strengthens the team and gives them more stability. A frighting thought considering the current form of the PP.

WT Team Analysis:
M. Fonua’s poor discipline has risen its ugly head again and has been dropped from the run on 17 and 21 man squad. His replacement is no slouch with K. Naiqama named as No.4.
Although M. Fonua has been one of the outstanding players for the WT, K. Naiqama is arguably better. He provides the same aspects as Fonua but has much better on field discipline and control, which is going to be their focus this week in making the PP defend for long periods rather than a points shoot out.

Possible Ladder movement:
PP – Currently 2nd, could move to equal 1st with the Dragons or join the pack on 14 points depending on results and for/against could fall to 5th.
WT – Currently 7th and at the lower end of the pack of 5 teams sitting on 12 points. A win could see them inside the top 4, a loss could see them out of the Top 8, such is this 2018 competition.

Weather, A glorious day at the foot of the mountains is forecasted with a High of 23*c and a low of 7*c and not a cloud in sight. With a predicted 12*c-13*c come game time, with clear skies.

For Us, Penrith win this game between 4-10 points, at $1.60 on LadBrokes, is the best odds, with the other book makers in Sports Bet, Bet365, William Hill and Crown Bet having the PP at $1.55, as a nice multi filler.
The WT aren’t traveling too well in Night games and away from home with a 2-3 / 2-2 this year respectfully. While the PP have won 4-1 at home and 4-2 at night. Compounding these statistics PP have won 10 of their last 11 games at their home ground.
If you must take the line, “Buy a point” to reduce the line to -3.5 (effectively a try difference), the Best Bookie we found for this line out of the five above is Ladbrokes at $1.83.

Panthers -3.5 @ 1.83 (Ladbrokes)

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Wests Tigers, 7th (5-4) Vs North Queensland Cowboys, 12th (3-6)

10 May 2018, 7:50pm (AEST)

What a crazy start to 2018 for both these teams. The Wests Tigers (WT) blowing most critics away with an exceptional start to the year, while the North Queensland Cowboys (NQC) have looked a shadow of their grand final team of 2017.
With the WT on a downward spiral and the NQC starting to find form this match is shaping up as a defining match for both teams.
The WT are coming off a 5 day turn around after a comprehensive loss at the hands of a revitalised Warriors team. This is their third straight loss after losing to the Eels and Knights by 2 points, but before this, it was round 3 where a controversial decision gave them their first loss to Brisbane by 2 points. Not known for their attacking, making 24 more points or more twice this season with an average of 2.6 tries, they rather stifle teams and have only concede 20 or more points 4 times this year and kept the Melbourne Storm to 8 and 10 points winning both games this year.
The NQC tale of the tape isn’t pretty reading but is slowing building having won 2 out of their last 3. Beating an inform Penrith by 6, a 10 point loss to the Raiders (1st time a raiders team has won in NQC since 2007) who out muscled their forwards in the middle and a Gutsy 12 point win over the Gold Coast Titans. Their average tries is 2.8 with only clearing 24 points twice and conceding 24 or more points 4 times this year.

The last five meetings have gone the way of the WT, winning 3, NQC 2. The Highest winning margin by the WT is 12 points, when the NQC won both their games by a margin of 8 points. Their last meeting at Leichhardt Oval was won by WT in 2016 round 22, 26-14. However both teams are vastly different since this match and this year is one of the hardest to predict in many seasons of the NRL.

Stats that matter:
WT and NQC both average the same completed sets of 30, making errors a key area alongside the penalties conceded. WT on average have 2 less errors (9) than NQC, but concede one penalty more (9), where an interesting stat we found was the average offloads. WT average 13 compared to NQC 6.
This highlights the form of the NQC and their “getting back to basics” aspect over the WST who look to take chances and strive for second phase play to dismantle defences.
For us, this aspect will be a large determination in the outcome of the game. NQC aren’t scrambling to well and rely on their structures to hold out their oppositions, if WT can maintain this average it will go a long way to possibly win against the NQC.
On the flip side, the NQC are starting to find their flow scoring 26 points in their last two winning matches mainly off the backs of the forwards doing their jobs well. With the increase in meters gained this is allowing J. Thurston (JT) and M. Morgan (MM) more chances at scoring points. JT is 2nd overall in try assists (10), MM is equal 9th (6) tied with L. Brooks. This translates to the overall points with JT sitting on 54, 10th, compared to E. Masters 40, 17th.

Team Changes:
WT – R. Packer is named to play at prop returning from injury, move S.Sue to the bench as 17. P. Godinet falls out of favour with J. Liddle coming back onto the bench also. Interestingly C. Lawrence is named at 11, even with a HIA protocol to follow.
Team analysis, C. Lawrence wasn’t expected to return until next round, highlighting the importance of this game. However Coach Cleary has resisted rushing back star off season recruit, J. Reynolds as with his team is looking at some forward punch vs this improving Cowboys pack.
NQC – No changes as you would expect, with S. Bolton being allowed to play by the NRL even with an indecent assault allegation.
Team Analysis, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. No early returns for the NQC and no new injuries as the NQC are starting to turn the corner and a crazy thought is they are only two wins away from the Top 8.

Possible Ladder position:
WT – could possibly fall out of the top 8 if games don’t go there way or maintain the log jam that is positions 4th to 10th on 10 points.
NQC – Could leap frog the Raiders to 11th this week with a win and Raiders defeat. Or fall behind the Gold Coast Titans if they defeat the storm.
We are expecting a WT team to come out of the blocks hard after their disappointment of last week. For us this plays into the NQC game plan and will allow them to roll over the top of the WT in the latter parts of the first half and second half.

A glorious 14*c – 24*c day, mostly sunny with 30% chance of rain, <1mm

Suggested Play:
Don’t get greedy with this game, CrownBet are offering $1.92 for NQC line of -1.5. We have the NQC winning by 4+ points. The final winning margin will be defined by the WT fatigue factory, could remain close with a try difference or a blow out for the NQC.

COWBOYS -1.5 @ 1.92 (Crownbet)

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tigers v cowboys 2018 NRL Multisports