NRL Round 4 Tips, Predictions

NRL Tips Predictions Round 4 2009As we approach the weekend, NRL Round 4 is upon us. Here is how we see things panning out:

Friday Night NRL Games:

Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Brisbane Broncos: The clash of the coaches, plenty at stake and while the game is being played at the Cauldron in Brisbane. Broncos forwards will really be tested here. While they’ve been impressive in the early Rounds, they have had good possession statistics and things have fallen their way at times – if they hit a hard patch in this one, I am not sure they have the mental strength of the Dragons this year. $1.48

Dragons: They might not have clicked in the backs and scoring points has been a real task, but their forward pack has been extremely gritty and could just upstage the Broncos on their home turf. This game could be fairly tight early on, with both sides reluctant to risk an expansive game. If the forwards really get up here, expect the Dragons backline to start improving quickly. $2.65

Dragons by 4

Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels

Roosters: Had a week of off-field drama, with distractions around Willie Mason and Nate Myles. Plenty of rumours circulating around this club at the moment, it could simply be a case of April Fools – something they won’t want to be on Friday Night. While form has been patchy, they do tend to bounce back well after getting spanked the week before. Confidence might be dented after the loss to Tigers and probably lack the personnel this week. $2.20

Eels: Surprisingly find themselves starting as favourites, hard to believe after their performance last weekend. They somehow got out of jail against the plucky Raiders. Remain disjointed, but seem to have enough spark from various individuals to get them home. Upstaged the Roosters in a patch trial game, which should remain the order of the day in this game. $.168

Eels by 6

Saturday Night NRL Matches

Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers

Panthers: Would be breathing easier and feeling 10 feet tall after pipping the Premiers at the old Fortress Brookvale. Regardless of their flaws, it seems coach Matt Elliott has finally realised what everyone else thought before Round 1 – Wade Graham needs to be in the halves. With Graham on board, and some confidence in the ranks – this could be an enjoyable home outing. If Waterhouse and the forwards again roll up their sleeves, they could thawt the sometimes shy Tigers pack. $1.95

Tigers: Were the entertainers last week, but hard to know how good they were – as the Roosters may have made them look better than they were. Regardless, they are a team playing expansive footy and will spread it wide early. Statistics kill them against the Panthers, as Penny have won their last 8 matches against the Tigers side. Capable of putting on plenty of points and may just need them in this game. $1.86

Penrith by 8

Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans

Storm: Are unbackable favourites in this game, have been strong without setting the world on fire. Will be a good outing for them to finalise their combinations and rack up some points. Hard to see them being troubled in this game. $1.18

Titans: Are still without Scott Prince and this is their biggest problem, while they surprised everyone last week – they face Mission Impossible in Melbourne. If they win this one without their little general, you can slot them in as Top 4 this year for sure. Long outsiders at $4.90

Storm by 12+

New Zealand Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Warriors: Have been hampered by not only the loss of Brent Tate, but now Steve Price. The dropping of Nathan Fien to the bench could end up hurting the side, while Stacey Jones has been in good form – he is ideal when subbed on after the tough stuff has finished. Also suffering plenty of injuries in the forwards, coach Ivan Cleary may have just tinkered too much with a winning formula. Hard to understand how they are at $1.50

Bunnies: Found their mojo last week and have the added bonus of Craig Wing. Will be full of life after a late surge against the Knights, have the depth and confidence at the moment to do the job. Should get the upset and are good value at $2.60

Souths by 8

Sunday NRL Matches

Bulldogs vs Cronulla Sharks

Bulldogs: Have had a frustrating off-field week with in-fighting and players being banned, but probably have the depth this year to cover for that. Their new forward pack and the experience of Kimmorley have not only the game, but the mental strength to get past all the crap. We really like the look of these guys this year. Should have too much attack for the Sharks, who have begun to wither in defence of late too. $1.58

Sharks: Much will hinge on if Trent Barrett plays, many feel he will and boy do the Sharks need him. Still not getting enough points in matches, but their defence has been a real worry of late. Expect the Sharks to cop a horror time on the edges as the faster Bulldogs pressure the likes of Luke Covell. Probably too big a task for the Sharkies this week. $2.40

Bulldogs by 6

Newcastle Knights vs Manly Sea Eagles

Knights: Lets hope they have a home at EngeryAustralia Stadium to even host this game, another side that has been hit hard by injury. Can play good in patches, but lacking any consistency. In saying that, we get a gut feeling this could be the week the Newcastle side finally gets it all together over 80 minutes. The home match and a chance to stun the struggling Eagles could be a nice backdrop for them. $2.55 (Good value at home)

Sea Eagles: Short priced favourites, but on current form this is hard to believe. Face a long road trip to Newcastle and simply haven’t had the structure to trouble any of the sides in this years NRL. Still without Stewart and now Jamie Lyon on the benches, so they may lack points. Look to Chris Bailey in the try scoring stakes, but otherwise it will be a few weeks yet before Manly dig themselves out of the hole. $1.52 (Shockingly short odds here)

Knights by 2

Monday Night NRL

Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys

Raiders: A home game in the cold Canberra night air, just what the doctor ordered. Have been playing well in patches, but pretty much just need the bounce of the ball to go their way. Surely due to register their first win and seem to be good value at $2.25

Cowboys: Still a little inconsistent, the travel and weather should stun them a bit and they may also struggle with the pace of the Canberra side which will look to run them around. This will be an interesting test to see exactly where the 2009 Cowboys side is at, one thing on their side is the fact that Neil Henry should have a good idea of what to expect from the Green Machine. $1.65

Raiders by 6

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