“After a horror Round 2 analysis, the Grubber returns this week after getting a late release from the suicide ward at Royal Price Alfred Hospital. With some tough match-up’s for NRL Round 3, the Grubber has his work cut out as does everyone else in Rugby League tipping competitions.”
Hello Everyone, thanks to those that sent get well cards – trust my tips this week, I will get you back on top of your tipping comp! If you’re a betting person, look to the Penrith Panthers vs Souths match. The Panthers are red hot specials with the bookies paying around the $1.50 mark which is quite amazing considering their poor form, look to get better odds on Souths and while they have wholesale changes this week – they’ll be up for the clash and represent good value; Uncle Grubber will be off to the TAB first thing this morning to get in on the action there. Ok, here’s how I see things this Round:
Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights – The first Eels home game for 2008, after a woeful showing against the NZ Warriors the Eels will have been embarressed during the week and will be up for this game. Emotions will be running high, as Nathan Hindmarsh lost his father after a battle with cancer and no doubt the team will want to get the Hindmarsh family a win to dedicate. The Knights while winning 2 from 2, face a massive ask. Their defence will need to improve to starve the strong Eels attack; however their young forward pack could give the Eels some headaches too. Danny Wicks, Jesse Royal and Richie Faaoso could certainly do some damage. However, I see Parramatta with the most advantage in this game.
Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys – An exciting match up here, the winless Cowboys having a huge task to de-rail the new look Broncos at Suncorp. The Broncos looked composed last week and at home I can’t see them struggling to much unless they get some bad calls or injuries. Naturally the Cowboys are down on confidence and new combinations are taking longer to bring together; Travis Burns in particular might be a little starved of ball with JT playing a strong role in the side and unusually their attack isn’t what it was last year. I can’t see the Cowboys getting their first win at Suncorp, look to the Broncos to keep their roll going.
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm – Another great match-up here. The Sydney Roosters unlucky last week and robbed of a certain try. The Storm very patchy and getting touched up by the Sharks. I think the Storm are really missing some of their injured players and the departure of Brett White will see this trend continue. While Inglis is sorely missed, they do miss the passion and drive of Michael Crocket I reckon. The Roosters did beat the Storm in Sydney last year and I think they could cause and upset here. Yep, I do – back Freddies boys in this one.
Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra – Well picking a winner in this game is probably the same as choosing red or black on roulette. So maybe take the better odds and play 19-36 on the roulette table instead. Being serious, the Dragons should win this game after their form showing on Monday night. However, if they don’t see as much possession in this match it could be a different story. Canberra won ugly, but are a gritty side at home. I nervously predict the Raiders to have enough grit in their ACT homeland even without Zillman and Logan – Don’t forget, the Dragons have not won in Canberra in 8 years, a hoodoo that could remain fresh in their minds.
Gold Coast Titans vs Cronulla Sharks – An interesting match-up at Skilled Stadium, the Sharks getting another stern test after a tough road trip to Melbourne. Cronulla has been really stretched in the forwards, already low on depth after Reece Williams was struck down for the season and now Ben Ross goneskis it looks tricky for them. The Titans didn’t have enough ball against the Dragons – but when they got possession in good field position they looked very hot. I think emotionally Cronulla will be down and the Titans should light up at home in front of a bumper crowd. The Gold Coast to win.
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney – A mountain of pressure on the mountain men here and their coach Matt Elliott. The Panthers have been in search of answers for 18 months, will they find them at CUA Stadium this week? I don’t think so. The bookies seem to know something here, why are the Panthers such red hot favourites? Is someone in the know? I initially wanted to follow the money, but Uncle Grubber phoned up Russell Crowe and said “Will the boys be ready?” And the big guy told me – “They’re specials!” So given that Jason Taylor would have had the whip out this week, Souths should be up for this one. Both sides winless this year, the better completion rate and less-risky style from Souths should see them get home in this one.
Bulldogs vs Wests Tigers – Amazingly the Wests Tigers could be 3-0 after this game, with no one really picking them as a major force in 2008. The Benji-less Tigers are anything but toothless – with young gun Tim Moltzen looking like hot property and surely would have management trying to buy him half of Campbelltown to keep him on the books. The Bulldogs on the other hand would kill for an upcoming junior like Moltzen or a key signing anytime soon – the Dogs looking unpredictable so far and unable to give any guide to tipsters. I think the improved defence of the Wests Tigers, with only 26 points against them should be enough to get them home. In addition, their mobile forwards have suddenly become an advantage in the 10 man interchange system – making them much more potent.
Manly Sea Eagles vs NZ Warriors – Brookvale will come to life on Monday night for what should be a good, physical game. The Warriors will travel with confidence and their physical presence will trouble Manly at times. For the Sea Eagles, a horror start to the year so far – confidence down and mentally they won’t want to hear another NRL guru like the Grubber talk about the ‘Monaghan Factor’. However, at home this week Des Hasler should have the 2008 Manly side ready to unleash; expect a big showing from Brett Stewart on the pack of quick play the balls and with an up-tempo game – they’ll look to run the big Warriors raggard. Manly look good for the win here.