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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.