All posts by Sam Melit

NRL Best Bets – Round 8

Canberra Raiders halfback George Williams

Here we are, it’s time for the best bets of round 8 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons

The Raiders put on a courageous performance against the best team in the NRL, but fell short as Clint Gutherson shot an arrow into the hearts of Raider fans.

Late in the game, they showed how effective their attack can be by scoring two late tries to send it into golden point.

It is fair to say this is a must win game for the Raiders.

They have fallen into a two game slump and this is caused by the lack of cohesion between Wighton and Williams.

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

They haven’t been able to figure out their flow on attack and can’t execute attacking plays in the oppositions half.

This is a game where they will prioritise their attack and sort out their set pieces and combinations.

They will be facing a Dragons team who played a good game against the Roosters and showed that they haven’t given up.

They showed promising signs in attack especially when Matt Duffy is attacking the line.

St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Matt Dufty

He set up two tries last week and played his game of the season.

The Dragons forward pack is also beginning to play better and should be able to go toe-to-toe with the Raiders.

However, I think the Raiders need to win this game before they continue to fall into a losing slump.

Raiders -9

Over 38.5

Parramatta Eels v North Queensland Cowboys

The Eels are proving a point every week as they continue to play at a high level against the cream of the crop teams.

Their forward pack is emerging as the best in the NRL and the pairing of Dylan Brown and Mitch Moses causes any team in the competition headaches.

Parramatta Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown

This combination is disrupted this week as Moses is out and Jai Field will step into the halves.

Brown will have to fulfill Moses’s role and must be able to control the game and coordinate their high octane attack.

The Cowboys are coming off their most dominant game of the season and were able to outscore the Knights by thirty points in the first half.

Their team is getting better every week especially in their forward pack as they were able to run over the Knights team.

North Queensland Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt

This game will be won in the middle and with Moses being out and the ‘grind’ it out style of the Cowboys, it should be a low scoring affair.

If the Cowboys can play through the middle and keep the Eels possession as low as possible, they should be able to keep it close and potentially win.

Cowboys +7.5

Cowboys WIN

Under 41.5

Gold Coast Titans v Cronulla Sharks

Both teams would be flying high, as they delivered good performances last round.

The Titans were able to upset their big brother, and the Sharks were able to score 40 points against Manly.

Shaun Johnson has been flying under the radar and has been quietly producing.

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

He currently leads the NRL in try assists with 10, and has lead his team to two victories  against the Bulldogs and Manly.

Against Manly last week, their attack looked more fluid and fast.

Matt Moylan with his touch football background is able to skip around the field and deliver passes to up and rising playmakers like Kotoa and Ramien.

It is clear that Ash Taylor is also regaining confidence in himself, and beginning to take more chances on attack.

While the Titans played well, their points weren’t orchestrated from flashy set pieces and good attack.

Gold Coast Titans half Ashley Taylor

Rather, it came from pick and drives, intercepts and off turnovers.

This Sharks attack should be able to target one of the worst defensive teams in the NRL, who lead the NRL in missed tackles at 276.

I think the Sharks are gaining momentum and should be able to score points against a bad Titans team.

Sharks -5.5

Sharks +13


NRL Best Bets – Round 7

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary

It’s that time of the week again for some best bets! 

Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Last week, the Panthers played one of the best games they have played in the past three years, beating their ‘bogeyman’ of the Melbourne Storm.

The Rabbitohs have won their last two games which were against the Titans and Warriors.

Panthers the last couple rounds have played highly competitive and physical games.

As a fan these, are the games you look back at and think that’s where the season changed.

Beating a team like the Storm can do wonders for the teams confidence and helps elevate their level of play.

South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell

The Rabbitohs have been struggling this season, and playing two bad teams helped to put the team back on track.

The attack has been the main problem for the Rabbitohs but the last two rounds have helped improve and develop their attack.

Both teams are high in confidence and will be raring to go.

But, I think the Panthers are still being disrespected by only making them a -1 favourite.

They are not being treated like a top three team who just had a win over a team that has beaten them for years.

Penrith Panthers half Jarome Luai

If Cleary and Luai can do what they did last week, I cant imagine the Rabbitohs being able to contain this young, fresh and exciting Panthers team.


Panthers -1

Melbourne Storm vs New Zealand Warriors

Personally, as a part of my weird gambling brain, I NEVER bet on the Storm after a loss.

Even if I tried to bet against them, I think my body will reject it and wouldn’t be physically capable of placing the bet.

The Warriors who have struggled this season now have lost their coach in Stephen Kearney.

New Zealand Warriors fullback and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

This really stunned me, as I thought he has done a good job developing some young talent, but also creating a blueprint for that the Warriors are as a team.

This news was also a shock to the players, as they have little understanding like myself on why he was sacked.

This could severely affect the attitude of this young group who hasn’t experiences this type of change in a middle of a NRL season.

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

The Warriors still have great leaders in their team like RTS, Blake Green and Adam Blair, and are always capable of beating very goods sides when no one expects it.

However, while the Warriors can do magical things, I think the Storm have the formula to beat this Warriors team, as in the past eight games the Storm are 8-0.

Storm -14

Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders

The Raiders are in a slump at the moment, as their attack hasn’t been effective.

They are struggling to generate momentum and score points.

This was evident in their loss to a severely injured Manly team, where they were only able to generate six points.

Parramatta Eels forward Nathan Brown

The only notable team change is that Nathan Brown is suspended……again and the Raiders are at full strength.

The Eels are on the other side of the spectrum, as they have become the NRL media’s darling team.

They are in the spotlight for valid reasons, as they have one of the best forward packs in the competition and arguably the best spine.

The Eels are an aggressive team and are always looking to attack the opposition and utilise their  weapons.

Canberra Raiders winger Nick Cotric

This is evident through them leading the NRL in offloads, 2nd in line breaks and 5th in total points.

With the Raiders focusing on their attack and the Eels being as explosive as they are, this game will go over the low total.

Over 36.5


NRL Best Bets – Round 6

Gold Coast Titans halfback Ashley Taylor

It’s that time again; some best bets in what looms as an interesting week of rugby league.

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons

This is the most Saturday 3pm game ever created, and I love it.

Honestly, a game I am looking forward to.

That first Saturday game where mediocre teams compete in the sun gets my gambling blood flowing.

Are the Dragons back, Kinda? They are coming off a morale boosting win against the Sharks, where they showed signs of promise.

Players like James Graham and Matt Duffy, who have been the butt of plenty of criticism showed that they are viable players within the Dragons system.

Graham was rewarded for his performance is he moves into the starting team, which is the only significant change for the Dragons.

St George Illawarra Dragons veteran prop James Graham

While this is the tale of most Dragons seasons where they beat up on bad teams,  it doesn’t mean we still cant make money off them.

The Titans on the other hand were handled easily by the Rabbitohs and did what most teams do after losses, sign Corey Thompson.

Both Phillip Sami and Brian Kelly move to the wing, because of Thompson putting the one jersey on and Dale Copley being out with an ankle injury

The Titans have shown fight this season, competing against some good teams.

However, they are still at the bottom of the ladder and that’s for a reason.

I was going to put on some stats to help prove this point, but they are legitimately are at the bottom of nearly every category.

Gold Coast Titans centre Brian Kelly

Titans fans shouldn’t  hang their head low as they do lead the NRL in charge downs.

I can’t believe I am betting on the Dragons again. I vowed to never bet on them again if they lost to the Bulldogs….

I guess I don’t have morals because -3.5 is a such a good number.

I believe the Dragons should carry some confidence going into this game and beat up on the charge down leaders of the NRL.

Dragons -3.5

Wests Tigers v North Queensland Cowboys

These teams are the definition of mediocre from both a team and managerial stand point.

The Tigers are falling apart, and I don’t understand what their management is doing with some of the players they have signed and for how much.

There is a lot of work for them to do with their team, but with that said they are still playing at a decent level which reflects the type of coach Michael Maguire is.

Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma

This team is very streaky and every few rounds they will play a great game, but then proceed to lose two in a row.

The Cowboys are in the same boat, as they have shown that Premiership hangover is a real thing.

Losing JT after that grand final really exposed plenty of holes within this team.

However, they have done well to combat this with some young players coming through the system and signing some key players.

The play here is simple, the under.

North Queensland Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt

Two mediocre teams usually results in a mediocre game.

Both teams I believe don’t have the ability to run up the score and will be a defensive and possession based battle.

Under 38.5

Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles

Both sides are coming off wins, but it’s fair to say they both under-performed.

Ricky Stuart and Des Hasler will ensure that their sides will rectify their mistakes and bounce back in round 6.

Corey Horsburgh returns to the team along side the infamous eye poker Hudson Young.

Canberra Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh

Manly lose two key players in TMartin aupau and Moses Suli both with finger injuries, and this shuffles Brendan Elliot to centre and Addin Fonua-Blake to prop.

These are vital losses for Manly as it creates more vulnerabilities in their defence that both George Williams and Jack Wighton can take advantage of.

Raiders have better players at every position, besides where two brothers with the last name Trbojevic reside.

This game is a hard one to pick, because Manly can always upset teams at any time as they are able to  step up even when key players are out.


Manly Sea Eagles lock Jake Trbojevic

I don’t think this Raiders jersey and Stuart will allow Manly to upset them.

This is revenge for the Raiders who lost both games to Manly last year.

I feel like Ricky Stuart isn’t the type of person to forget.

He remembers losing to Manly twice last year, and I don’t think he will want to lose this Saturday.

Raiders -3.5

Other  Plays

Broncos/ Knights  038.5

Rabbitohs/Warriors O41.5

Panthers /Storm O36.5

Bulldogs +4.5

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

NRL Best Bets- Round 5

Parramatta Eels halfback Mitchell Moses

Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers

The battle of the west. Always a fierce rivalry.

Every match is tightly contested match that usually comes down to the last couple of possessions.

Easily the best game of the round because of the vast amount of  salivating matchups across the board.

Both teams have key players back.

For the Eels, their enforcer Nathan Brown joins the already strong Eels pack and Nathan Cleary will re-join Luai in the halves.

One of Penrith’s main advantages is the strength of their bench.

Having Matt Burton, Zane Tetevano and Moses Leota coming on allows Penrith to maintain good production in the forward pack for the full eighty.

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary

The Eels, however, can tear apart any team with their halves combination.

Dylan Brown and Moses are a deadly combo and for the Eels to win, they will have to rely on these two to organise their attack and execute repeat sets.

Unlike past Penrith teams, they are much more composed and clinical on attack.

Panthers are first in post contact meters, first in run meters and third in set completion.

The Panthers have small amounts of throw away sets because of the good running from their outside backs which provides Penrith with great field position most sets.

Parramatta Eels half Dylan Brown

This can be correlated to the Panthers fast play the ball, as the panthers average 3.28 seconds compared to the Eels 3.81 seconds.

This will be a close game and I think the number of 5.5 is too big and also slightly disrespectful for the third ranked Panthers.


Panthers +5.5

Panthers H2H

Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm

I’m not falling for this Knights team yet. People have already labelled them as a team they can make a deep push in the finals.

This is the game for the Knights to prove it and if they win, I will start to consider them a legitimate threat.

The Knights see no key changes to their team.

For the Storm, Ryley Jacks will replace the injured Jahrome Hughes at halfback and Nelson Asofa-Solomona re-joins the team.

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

The Storm have been so successful in past years because of how effective they were at slowing down the play the ball.

Wrestling was the core of the teams strategy, but now with the new rule changes that encourage a faster paced game, they will  have to be able to change and adapt.

Since the break, the Storm have been sloppy and are making bad errors.

They lead the NRL in errors and have a set completion of 73% (13th in NRL) .

The Knights are an attack first team and this is reflected through them leading the NRL in points and tries.

Ponga put on a clinic last week against the Raiders and reminded everyone that he is one of the best players in the NRL.

Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith

Without Ponga, this Knights team loses a lot of explosiveness and spice on attack.

Bellamy will have to have  game plan to slow down Ponga and reduce his production. DON’T FALL FOR THE GOOSEY

Even with the Storm playing poorly, they are still fifth on the ladder.

This is a ‘get right’ game for the Storm, who should be able to outplay a young Knights team.


Storm HT/FT

Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders

Both teams will wish round four never happened.

The Tigers allowed the Titans to score 28 points in a loss and the Raiders were blown out by the Knights.

The Tigers dealt with this loss by axing their veteran Benji Marshall making room for Josh Reynolds.

Benji has carried the Tigers in attack especially when attacking in the twenty.

Wests Tigers utility Josh Reynolds

Reynolds is a good player, but losing Benji creates a void in a leadership role and a viable attacking threat.

However, Reynolds will offer better and more consistent defence which was lacking in the Titans loss.

The Raiders have no changes and are at full strength.

The Raiders have an advantage at every position, and from a player point of view, have a wide array of talent that far outweighs the Tigers.

Harry Grant has been one of the Tigers best players and will be interesting to see the clash between him and Hodgson.

Both players will be extremely active around the ruck, especially scooting as both teams rank first and second in dummy half runs.

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

A key moment that made me bet on this game was that after the Raiders loss, the team immediately huddled up and Josh Hodgson was speaking to the entire team straight after the final whistle.

The team knows that they played poorly and want to resurrect their bad performance by dominating a rattled tigers team.

Raiders -8

Raiders 13+

For more bets and rugby league chat, follow @sammelit on Twitter.


NRL Best Bets- Round 4

Cronulla Sharks centre Josh Dugan

NRL Best Bets- Round 4

North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla Sharks

Both teams are going into this game with vastly different levels of emotions.

The Sharks only played the first half last week as they unravelled in the second half against the Tigers.

The Cowboys were on the other side of the spectrum, as they blew out a poor Titans team.

The Cowboys lose their best player in Taumalolo this week due to bruising on the knee.

The key change for the Sharks is that Moylan will replace an injured Townsend.

Betting on the Sharks isn’t easy as it goes against my moral fibre to root for a team who I deeply despise.

However, I will put by morals aside to win money and I believe that the Cowboys are being overvalued.

The Sharks aren’t good, but I believe with Moylan and Johnson being paired in the halves it will add some spice to the attack and will promote an attacking style of footy.

The Sharks will take much more risks on attack, unlike the Cowboys who are more focused on completing sets (80%, 3rd in NRL) and controlling the game (59% possession 2nd in NRL).

Cronulla Sharks halfback Shaun Johnson

Stats and teams aside, this just feels like the most Sharks game ever.

Every season when you think they are bad, they pull off a win and stay in the conversation as a team who can make the 8.

If the Sharks continue to win me money, I will seriously consider becoming their main sponsor.

Sharks +3.5

Sharks H2H

Canterbury Bulldogs v St George Illawarra Dragons

Hungry dogs run faster, who is hungrier?

The Dragons have been hammered in the media following their loss to the Warriors, and specifically coach Paul McGregor.

While I think McGregor is a mediocre coach, I think people are speaking too soon.

Everyone from sports media, NRL fans and Dragons supporters have turned on him. I will continue to support coach McGregor and his coaching endeavours if he continuous to win me money.

Canterbury Bulldogs half Kieran Foran

The only change for the Bulldogs is Kieran Foran who returns to the halves along side Lachlan Lewis.

On the other hand, the key changes for the Dragons included dropping Dufty and moving Norman to fullback and both Isaac Luke and Trent Merrin have been added into the team.

Bulldogs are going to be a scrappy team, and I believe they know that.

In past years, they have relied on strong willed defence to win them games.

However, this isn’t the case this year as they have missed 109 tackles (3rd in NRL), made 49 Ineffective tackles (3rd in NRL) and lead the NRL in errors at 44.

Foran being back in the side will provide the team with more direction but won’t be able to hide the Bulldogs poor edge defence.

Both of these teams have problems, but which team has less?

These are the games that the Dragons have to win, they can’t lose to bottom tier teams or the heat will be turned up on the coach and by proxy the players.

St George Illawarra Dragons utility back Corey Norman

Being in the spotlight puts the entire team in front of the relentless media.

I think the Dragons will want to reduce the head noise they are currently experiencing.

While the Dragons lack a strong leader on the field, players like Paul Vaughn, Tariq Sims and James Graham will lead my example and will set the tone and tempo against a mediocre Bulldogs team.

Dragons H2H

Side Plays

Storm -6.5

Eels vs Manly U40.5

Panthers -6

NRL Round 2 Best Bets

NRL best bets are back in 2020. Every week, I will publish an article that will showcase some of the best bets of the round.

Let’s have a winning season and make some money.

Penrith Panthers Vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Two teams who are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Penrith are coming of a comeback win from 12-0 against the reigning premiers, and then the Dragons losing by 10 to the Tigers.

This game for the Dragons has been a microcosm for how they have played in the past few seasons,  very mediocre.  However, round one is round one, and its early days.

The Dragons still have key players injured, but will see Matt Duffy return moving Zac Lomax to the wing and Tyrell Fuimaono will replace the suspended Tariq Sims.

St George Illawarra Dragons utility Tyrell Fuimaono

For some reason, Ivan decided to start Kikau on the bench, I know puzzling.

He will start this round and will face Tyson Frizell on the left edge which will be a good clash.

The addition of Api Koroisau has immediately improved  the attack and also Nathan Cleary’s play.

Penrith’s spine could develop into one of the best in the NRL and its going to be exciting to watch.

Penrith Panthers hooker Api Koroisau

The Dragons couldn’t put away the Tigers, and when presented with attacking opportunities on the goal line, they were unable to piece together any effective set pieces.

This round, I expect the Dragons to prioritise their attack especially in the redzone and score points.

Penrith should continue their momentum from round one and come out hot, ready to blowout the Dragons. This should be a high scoring affair.

Over 38.5 (Bet-Easy)

Wests Tigers Vs Newcastle Knights

Both of these teams are going into round two 1-0.

The Tigers faced an early deficit and fought their way out to win comfortably against the Dragons and the Knights shutout the Warriors 20-0..

No injuries from either teams, just Michael Chee Kam being replaced by Paul Momirovski and Sione Mata’utia for the Knights has been named in reserves coming back from a knee injury.

Wests Tigers back-rower Luciano Leilua

I think both sides were disappointing in round one.

The Tigers missed Luke Brooks in attack and looked clunky especially in set pieces.

Benji Marshall carried the Tigers attack, and had his hand in most of the Tigers points against the Dragons.

I don’t expect Marshall to be able to maintain this level of play round to round.

The Knights won easily against a bad Warriors team, however the Knights missed a lot of opportunities and probably could have beat the Warriors by 40.

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

With that said, a win is win, but you shouldn’t judge the Knights on  a below average win against the worst team in the NRL.

I like the Knights here, just because I think the Tigers look incomplete on attack and they won’t be playing in front of their fans at Leichhardt.

I am  more confident that this game will be low scoring and points will be a rare commodity.

Under 41.5 (Points Bet)

Knights Win

Rabbitohs Vs Broncos

One of the best coaching battles in the NRL, Anthony Seibold vs Wayne Bennett.

This has been a rivalry that has been brewing in the past years and is a key talking point heading into this game.

Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold

The angst between both coaching is reflected in the play, as both teams want to win for their coach.

Bennett has the upper hand on Seibold as the Rabbitohs were able to beat the Broncos in both match ups.

Broncos were victorious in the Queensland derby against the Cowboys, and the Rabbitohs beat the Sharks by eight points.

Both of these teams played well in round one, showing that they are both going to be hard for teams to handle.

The Rabbitohs have no changes to their team for round two.

The Broncos will be out without Tevita Pangai facing a four week suspension, and Alex Glenn is expected to miss one more round with a hamstring injury.

Brisbane Broncos halfback Brodie Croft

The Broncos have seen key players like Lodge and Bird fall victim to injury in the off-season.

While these are big losses, it doesn’t affect them as much as it would other teams because of the large amount of talent and depth within the Broncos.

Brodie Croft has been a good addition and has taken allot of the important decisions out of Milford’s hands, which will give the Broncos a greater chance of winning.

They have more composure  on attack and an effective kicking game.

Having  a cool, calm and collected player like Croft brings more structure in attack and direction in the tail end of games.

Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford

This has been the Broncos weakness, and this addition has helped to address this.

The Broncos strengths are in the middle, and I expect this game to be won in the forwards.

For the Rabbitohs to win, they will need players like Liam Knight and Tevita Tatola to be able to contain the young and strong Broncos pack.

Bennett can always get his players up for big games, especially against his nemesis.

The Rabbitohs forwards will be eager to step up and take it to the Broncos forwards.

This game will be played in the middle and between both twenties. Its going to be all about possession and mistakes.


Which team can be composed and cool headed in high pressure situations?

The Rabbitohs have more experience in their halves  and in a close game this will be a difference maker.

I also believe that Wayne Bennett is better then Seibold schematically and in motivating his players.

Rabbitohs win 

NRL Round 1 Best Bets

NRL best bets are back in 2020. Every week, I will publish an article that will showcase some of the best bets of the round. Let’s have a winning season and make some money.

Raiders vs Titans

The runners up from last year return back to Canberra to kick off their 2020 season against the Gold Coast Titans.

Curtis Scott while facing several police charges, will be putting on the Raiders green for opening round.

Scott isn’t the only change to the team.

Canberra Raiders centre Curtis Scott

George Williams will wear the 7 jersey and Corey Horsburgh also known as “Hors-bruh” will replace the injured John Bateman and young up and comer Bailey Simonsson alongside Nick Cotric.

The Titans will go without arguably their best player, AJ Brimson, who is dealing with a back injury and Moeaki Fotuaika will be joining him on the extended bench with an injury.

Both these teams have new players stepping up into the starting team.

Gold Coast Titans utility back AJ Brimson

It’s only round one, so both teams will take some time to gel with new players.

This game will have mistakes , miscommunication and mix ups on set pieces like a lot of games in round one.

However, I also believe it will be a low scoring affair due to new line-ups and the fact that many players are rusty in the opening round

Best bet- Under 44.5 (Ladbrokes) 

Warriors vs Knights

These two teams have been nightmares to bet on. One week they look like finals material, and the other wooden spooners.

However, I think the New Zealand Warriors this pre-season have looked awful.

New Zealand Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

In the Nines, usually a tournament that they excel in, they scored just eight points across the entirety of the tournament.

Adding to the already weakened Warriors team (Jackson Frei and Bunty Afoa out for season) the Warriors will miss Josh Curran and  Agnatius Paasi due to injury.

The Knights are healthy heading into round one, but will see Kurt Mann pair up with Mitchell Pearce and Jayden Brailey make his Knights debut.

Newcastle Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce

The Knights have an advantage at the majority of positions and will have a strong impact off the bench which consists of Connor Watson, Jacob Saifiti, Tim Glasby and Aiden Guerra.

The Knights have won their last four matches played at home in round one, and I expect the same to happen here on Saturday arvo.

Best bet- Knights -6 (Bet-easy)

Value- Knights 13+ 

Manly vs Storm

What a way to kick off Sunday arvo footy. Two of the best rivals in the NRL will battle it out in the opening round.

This is the game of the round and I expect a highly competitive game.

Going into this ‘battle’, Manly will have both Trbojevic brothers and Addin Fonua-Blake in the lineup who were questionable to play round one.

Manly Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake

Manly don’t have any other changes besides Danny Levi making his debut.

The storms enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona looks set to be out due to a hamstring injury.

Brandon “Cheese’ Smith will be eating an aged cheddar on the bench because of a facial fracture sustained in the Aboriginal vs Maori game.

Melbourne have a significantly different team compared to last year, and even though coach Craig Bellamy always puts them through a rigorous pre-season, nothing matches the speed of a real NRL game.

To succeed against the Storm you can’t be afraid and have to put the pressure on them.

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen

Des Hasler is always able to get his players up in a big game. Manly will have to bend that tough storm defence, push offloads and be fearless.

Manly will be fired up in the opening round at home and I expect them to edge this one out.

Best Bets- Manly +3.5 (Ladbrokes), Manly WIN



NRL 2020 Future Bets

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary

NRL is back and so are the weekly betting articles for the 2020 season.

However, betting begins before round one kick-off and in this article, I will provide some future NRL bets that caught my eye.

Panthers top 8- $1.90 (BetEasy)

Last season for the Panthers was a massive disappointment.

Most people expected them to make the grand final and they didn’t even make the eight.

Ivan Cleary received most of the criticism for the panthers lack luster season.

Following the end of the season, it was clear that the Panthers will have to ‘clean house’ and review the football operations.

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary

Coach Ivan Cleary stated, “We are going to have to change something…. It’s not good enough.”

This process began before the season ended with players like Waqa Black and Dallin Watene- Zelezniak leaving the club before reaching the off season.

Some more moves were made in the offseason including James Maloney and Reagan Campbell Gillard departing.

However, Apisai Koroisau, Kurt Capewell and Zane Tetevano will be wearing Penrith colours in 2020.

Apisai Koroisau will fill the void that James Maloney created. Api will help to bring experience and direction to the young and hungry Penrith roster.

Penrith Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau

Another key part of Penrith’s success this season is Nathan Cleary.

This is his team now. With Maloney leaving, he will have to step up with his on and off field responsibilities.

Maloney has been the player coordinating attack for Penrith and Cleary has been able to sit behind Maloney and play  a ‘support’ role.

We have seem glimpses of Cleary’s brilliance, however, for Penrith to make the eight. Cleary needs to be more consistent in the 2020 season

Jarome Lui is another player who is going to be someone to watch.

Gaining a significant amount of muscle this off-season, he looks ready to step into the 6 jersey next to his former under 20s teammate Nathan Cleary.

Penrith Panthers utility Jarome Luai

It’s hard to also overlook nightmare fuel for oppositions, 120 kg second rower Viliami Kikau, who can potentially be one of the best players in the NRL if he is able to stay healthy.

This is an all or nothing season for Ivan as he has to show Penrith fans what they signed up for in the next 4 years, its top 8 or bust!

Cowboys top 8- $2.00 (BetEasy)

The last two years have been frustrating for cowboys fan, finishing 13th in 2018 and 14th in 2019.

However, 2020 is a new season for the Cowboys who have made many changes to both their roster.

Also changing for the club is their stadium with the club now be playing at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

The stadium hasn’t been the problem for the Cowboys but rather speed and options on attack.

North Queensland Cowboys half Michael Morgan

Michael Morgan has been waiting for some help and he has finally got it.

The previous season, the Cowboys back-line was one of the worst in the NRL as their back five had the fewest amount of metres gained, tackle busts and offloads.

Morgan’s partner in crime will be fast-paced 19 year old Scott Drinkwater, who recently won best player at the Auckland nines tournament.

Some other players who will help to add speed and more options on attack will include former kangaroo Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters.

I think this is the year that the Cowboys can put it together and make the eight in 2020.

North Queensland Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo

The fault of this Cowboys team has been the lack of speed and ability to attack teams.

It has felt like Michael Morgan has been there only threat on attack.

I expect the Cowboys to make drastic improvements, and make a push for the 8. This is a new unit and will take some time to gel.

If they are able to be a cohesive unit with Taumalolo breaking lines followed by quick play the balls and Morgan directing attack with Val Holmes as the main threat on attack, I can see this cowboys team upsetting a lot of teams in 2020.

Storm to miss top 4- $2.00 (BetEasy)

The Melbourne Storm are still a great team and I expect them to have a good season and still make a good run in finals.

However, I think this season there are so many teams that have improved and I think the top of the table will be a lot more competitive.

With the departure of Will Chambers and Curtis Scott, the Storm will lose two of their best defenders and some firepower on attack.

Melbourne Storm hooker and captain Cameron Smith

However, there is no weakness is their forward pack, who was 2nd in the NRL in line breaks 3rd in tackle breaks and 2nd in post contact metres.

The forward pack is the core of this team and I expect them to be as dominant on the 2020 season.

Jarome Hughes is going to play a massive role for the Storm and the pressure is on him with two capable halfbacks in Ryley Jacks and Cooper Johns sitting the bench.

In the off-season, the Storm made barely any moves and did not shop around to attain any big names.

Melbourne Storm utility back Jahrome Hughes

The Storm are well known for bringing people up through their system and this method has been effective as many of the NRL’s best players have been involved with the Storm.

Many of the top teams have been more aggressive in the off-season, attaining high calibre players and want to make a push for finals.

It’s always hard to doubt coach Craig Bellamy but I still expect the Storm still to make a finals push but think other teams will be pushing harder for that top four spot.


NRL Round 25 Best Bets and Predictions

Parramatta Eels winger Blake Ferguson

NRL round 25 best bets and predictions

This article contains some of the best bets of round 25 of the NRL. The lines, odds and totals listed may change as we get closer to the weekend.

Eels vs Sea Eagles

Round 24 was one Manly may wish never happened.

They were embarrassed by the Melbourne Storm at home and lost star player Tom Trbojevic to a torn pec, ruling him out for the rest of the 2019 season.

Trbojevic has been a transcendent talent for Manly over this season. From making game changing plays, to also being a key piece in the bulk of their attacking pieces, his loss will heavily affect Manly’s finals hopes.

Manly will, as a result, have to re-shuffle their team and game plan. Brendan Elliot will move to fullback and Corey Waddell from the bench, into the starting side.

The Storm were able to expose Moses Suli and Brad Parker on the right edge in their encounter last week.
Josh Addo Carr and Justin Olam combining for three tries attacking that side of the field.

I expect for the Parramatta Eels to take full advantage of this and they will shift the ball a lot more and attack Manly’s weak edge defence.

The Parramatta attack has improved with the late season addition of Waqa Blake.

Blake Ferguson and Blake played their first game together last round against the Broncos.

The centre/wing combination have had a full week training and a game together so any issues of cohesion we saw should be ironed out.

The Eels did have a small hot streak after stringing together three victories in a row against the Titans, Knights and Dragons.

Heading into this week though, they are coming off close losses to both the Bulldogs and the Broncos.

The Eels will want to regather the momentum they had and build some confidence heading into the first week of finals.

Best bet– Parramatta Eels -4 $1.90 (Bet Easy) Parramatta Eels HT/FT $2.10 (TAB)

Value- Parramatta Eels 13+ $3.15 (Bet Easy)

Try scorer– Michael Jennings $3.00 (Bet Easy)

Titans vs Dragons

Two people are watching this game: those on super coach, or degenerate gamblers like myself.

However, there is still money to be made.

Both teams have had significant changes to their team. Notably, Cameron McInnes, who is out with a broken leg.

The Dragons will miss his presence in and around the ruck as McInnes leads the NRL in tackles at 1,146, and has the 3rd most dummy half runs in the NRL.

St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes

He has been the Dragons’ best player in 2019 despite going un-noticed because of his team’s disappointing season.

Honestly, I have no idea who will win this game.

Both teams are playing plenty of new and young talent with the hopes of them gaining some experience heading into 2020.

I can see, as a result, this game being high scoring. The last time these teams met, remember, there were 68 points on the board!

With both teams playing for nothing besides pride, they will play an open style and won’t be afraid to shift the ball and play some footy.

Best bet– Over 43.5 $1.88 (Neds)

West Tigers Vs Sharks

Sudden death.

Nervous tension will fill the air at Leichardt on Sunday afternoon, as when the final siren blows, one team will be moving into finals and the other will be preparing their mad Monday outfit.

The Tigers are coming off two convincing wins which highlighted their ability in attack but also their strong defence.

Michael Maguire is a defensive minded coach, who likes his teams playing physical and tough.

This can be seen through the Tigers 598 missed tackles – one of the best in the NRL.

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire

The Sharks had a disappointing loss, leading the Raiders by twelve points at half time, and losing in golden point 14-13… I can’t bet the Sharks this week.

That golden point stuff is against my gambling morals. Once a team loses like that, I can’t back them.

With my bias is in play, I can’t bet against the Tigers at Leichardt on a Sunday arvo.

The Sharks are too inconsistent and make crucial mistakes as they lead the comp in errors at 273.

The Tigers are a team who will be able to take advantage of any slip-ups while also clamping the Sharks on defence.

Best Bets– Tigers Win $2.10 (TAB) Tigers +2 $1.91 (Points Bet) Under 40.5 1.90 (Points Bet)

Value– Tigers 1-12 $3.30 (TAB)


NRL Round 24 best bets

Brisbane Broncos forward Payne Haas

This article contains some of the best bets of round 24 of the NRL. The lines, odds and totals listed may change as we get closer to the weekend.

Broncos vs Eels

The Broncos are coming off a disappointing loss to the Rabbitohs and will be raring to go against an Eels team who are missing Nathan Brown who received a 4-game suspension for his late shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The Eels will miss both his presence in the middle but also the inspiring runs and hits he makes that ignite the team’s energy levels.

This is extremely disappointing, as I would have loved to see Lodge and Brown going head to head in the middle.

The Broncos will see the return of star back-rower Matt Gillett from a groin injury.

Gillett back will help them defensively but also his leadership and experience will help to calm the Broncos inexperienced and young edge, as Darius Boyd stated ‘Gillo is one of those guys when he runs out you feel a bit safer’.

Brisbane Broncos back-rower Matt Gillett

The Broncos have one of the best forward packs in the NRL leading the comp in tackle breaks at 824 and should be able to take advantage of a weakened Eels team who are poor defensively, as they have the 3rd most missed tackles in the NRL at 753.

Best Bet– Broncos -2.5 $1.90 (Bet Easy)

Value– Broncos 13+ $3.60 (Sports-bet)

Storm vs Manly

I wish there was a market for sin bins. These teams have a chequered past, including my personal favourite NRL fight.

Storm Vs Manly is always a game that gets my attention, and the games never disappoint…..not including the 2008 Grand Final.

Dessy Hasler gets his teams up for the big games, as we saw last week with an inspiring win over the Raiders in Canberra.

However, the Storm are coming off two disappointing games, letting an eighteen-point lead against a twelve manned Raiders team slip and being down two points at half time by this year’s wooden spooners.

Since Origin, Munster hasn’t been playing his best footy, and his frustration was visible during his half time interview with Hannah Hollis when he stated, ‘Its absolute sh-t from myself……I need to be better for the team’.

His poor performance could be a direct correlation of how he is attacking. Munster plays his best footy when he takes on the line, however, this year, he ranks 17th in the NRL in line engagements.

I think Munster will want to prove his game changing ability, and I expect him to have a good game.

Melbourne Storm utility back Cameron Munster

Manly are coming off one of their most physical games of the season and adding to that Joel Thompson is out with a broken arm.

I think the storm get the victory and prove to the competition that they are still capable to win the premiership.

Best Bet– Storm win $1.72 (Bet Easy)

Tryscorer– Cameron Munster $4.00 (BetEasy)

Sharks vs Raiders

The 7th placed Sharks look to retain a spot in the top eight with a win on Sunday arvo against the green machine.

Paul Gallen will play his last game at Shark Park and it will be an emotional filled game for both Gallen and his teammates.

The Sharks will be playing with a high level of intensity from kick off,  however, while the sharks will be playing off sheer emotion, the Raiders are a team that, in my opinion, can win the premiership.

Anytime a team can come back from an 18-point deficit and defeat the best team in the NRL shows what type of character and ability this football team has.

Canberra Raiders centre and captain Jarrod Croker

I’m leaning the Sharks to get the win as the Raiders are coming off a tough game against Manly and also have lost Joseph Leilua to suspension.

This game should come down to the last ten minutes as these teams have a history of close games as the last three matches have been decided by four points or less.

Best Bets

-Tri-Bet Either team under 8.5 points $2.14 (Points Bet)

– Sharks Win $2.05 (Bet 365)