Friday, 20 March 2009
: Betfair's Mathew Thompson looks at round two for Racing and Sports readers.
20th March, 7.35pm AEDT, ANZ STADIUM, SOUTHS V PARRAMATTA SOUTHS TO WIN 16.5
I had a cracking weekend to start the NRL season last weekend only missing once with Manly going under to the Bulldogs.
I am going for the value first-up in round two.
Souths were sensational last week and obliterated the Roosters. Parramatta got close to the Warriors, but didn't deserve to.
Here's two tips for the price of one. Souths won't just make the top 8, they are a genuine top 4 chance.
Secondly, I am prepared to say they will do a job on the slow, sluggish Parramatta line-up again on Friday night. If the Bunnies get on a roll, they will cover the -16.5 start with ease.
20th March, 8.35pm AEDT, SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE V MELBOURNE MELBOURNE TO WIN
Who will forget the game of the season in week two of last year's finals, where Melbourne, somehow came back to beat Brisbane on the final siren. I am still waiting to wake up and realise it was all a dream.
It might be last season's news, but loses like that play on the minds of some teams, and I suspect Brisbane are in that boat.
Aside from that, I liked the Storm's performance against the Dragons last week. Yes, they won in golden point, but they controlled the game at times, and had patches where things didn't click. That's to be expected from a team featuring new faces.
The Broncos were good as well, but backing up week after week will be another issue for Ivan Henjak's young team.
The Storm are outsiders here, and they represent good value. Back the Storm, or even better, lay Brisbane at the shorts.
21st March, 5.30pm AEDT, WIN STADIUM, ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA V GOLD COAST ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA TO WIN
The Dragons really stuck it to Melbourne last Friday, sending the match to golden point in the dying stages before eventually succumbing via a Storm field goal.
The Gold Coast started slowly against Newcastle at home in round one, but fired back to dominate the final hour of the match and stamp themselves as one of the competitions giant killers.
The Dragons have a sensational record at WIN Stadium in Wollongong and the local fans will be out in force to support the side and their new coach Wayne Bennett.
I expect the home ground factor, and the good first-up showing to be enough to get St George Illawarra home.
21st March, 7.30pm AEDT, CUA STADIUM, PENRITH V CANTERBURY - BULLDOGS TO WIN -10.5
There couldn't have been two more contrasting performances to launch the season than the efforts of Penrith and the Bulldogs.
Canterbury blew the premiers Manly off the park last Saturday in a performance so good it was no fluke. The Bulldogs youngsters showed they are the real deal.
The Panthers were average at best in their loss to Cronulla. The inexperienced Penrith line-up looked to panic in attack with a series of ill-thought out kicks and a lack of cohesion.
If both sides play to the form line, the Bulldogs are the good things of the weekend.
21st March, 9.30pm AEDT, DAIRY FARMERS STADIUM, NTH QLD V WESTS TIGERS NTH QLD TO WIN
The rematch of the 2005 grand final might prove closer than most people think.
The Cowboys showed last week they'll be a tough, uncompromising side this season with an imposing forward pack.
The Tigers are specialists at moving the opposition's forwards around with their skills and speed.
There will be points galore here on a hot night in Townsville. Take the overs in the total match points market, but I expect the Cowboys to win in a shoot out at home.
22nd March, 2.00pm AEDT, CANBERRA STADIUM, CANBERRA V ROOSTERS ROOSTERS TO WIN
Surely the Roosters can't be that bad, two weeks in a row? Can they?
Make no mistake about it, the Roosters are under the pump already. Betfair backers didn't want a bar of them in premiership betting, and they were out to $40 to win the comp after being smashed by Souths last weekend.
Canberra can score tries like no other team in the NRL, but they ran out of puff big time against the Tigers last Monday.
I am banking on the Brad Fittler rocket sparking the Roosters to life. I think they can win.
22nd March, 3.00pm AEDT, BROOKVALE OVAL, MANLY V WARRIORS WARRIORS TO WIN
How many outsiders have I tipped this weekend? Hhmm
Des Hasler made a point of saying last week that the Brett Stewart issue played no part in his teams failure to beat the Bulldogs. So if that's true, Manly have a lot of improvement to make before the punters can 'declare them' at Brookvale like they did last year.
The Warriors are in this competition up to their eyeballs. Their forward pack is one of the best balanced in the NRL, and their backline is full of strike power.
I am backing the Warriors with the start at least, but I think they can win the game
23rd March, 7.00pm AEDT, TOYOTA STADIUM, CRONULLA V NEWCASTLE CRONULLA TO WIN -2.5
Another week, another team shrouded in controversy.
Brett Seymour's alleged drunken antics have cost him a place in the Sharks side for Monday night's match, and that poses a problem for Cronulla who have lost their halfback.
Trent Barrett emerged back on the NRL scene with interest against Penrith last week, and he might be the buy of the season. He's good anough to cover for Seymour, and the likely replacement at half, Blake Green, is a star of the future.
I like Newcastle as a football team, but they faded badly against the Titans in week one.
I think the Sharks are specials.
BEST BET OF WEEK 2: SHARKS 2.5
BEST ROUGHIE: SOUTHS -16.5
BEST LAY: CANBERRA TO BEAT THE ROOSTERS