We are well into the meat of the season and plenty of teams will be hoping to get through this Origin period unscathed. In what should be a highly entertaining round, there are definitely some attractive bets.
Friday 10th June, 7:55PM, Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Despite a slow start, North Queensland consolidated its top-four standing in Round 13 with a dominant 26 point win over the Titans without their Maroons contingent. The performance of youngsters Heilum Luki, Griffin Neame and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow along with the ever improving Scott Drinkwater was a sign of the rapid turnaround the side has made under Todd Payten this year. The teams split their 2021 encounters: St George Illawarra got up 25-18 in Townsville in Round 2, while North Queensland bagged a 38-26 late-season victory in Rockhampton. The Cowboys boast the second-best defence in the NRL and and have conceded 50 points less than the Dragons have scored so far in 2022 and with four of the six visitors to Queensland Country Bank Stadium managed just one try I see another dominant Cowboys win.
With just one win from their last nine games, the Titans are staring down the barrel of a potential wooden spoon finish in 2022 and come up against a South Sydney outfit who may have found their groove with a demolition of the Tigers in round 13. Despite trailing The Tigers at halftime, they clicked into gear after the break with Alex Johnston bagging a hat-trick and the mercurial Cody Walker scoring twice and will more than likely have the services of Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow who have all been named despite Wednesday’s Origin fixture. The Rabbitohs are on a six-match winning streak against the Titans and against the competition’s second worst defense, the line on offer looks one of the best bets on the weekend.
The Roosters host the Storm at the SCG in what will be one of the matches of the round. Much like the Rabbitohs, the Roosters season keeps stalling just when they appear to be gathering some momentum with a 36-16 win over Cronulla in Round 12 negated by back-to-back losses to Penrith and Canberra. Melbourne’s Origin contingent of Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Xavier Coates and Harry Grant have all been named to play whilst Nelson Asofa-Solomona returns to provide additional go forward through the middle of the field. Interestingly, The Storm are on a four-match winning run against the Roosters, however Trent Robinson’s winning percentage at home during the second portion of the season lifts to 80% in a sign the Roosters could begin to hum soon. Despite this, there still isn’t enough from the side to suggest they can turnaround their lackluster form and the Storm will be keen to continue holding onto second place.
The Broncos and Raiders look set to clash in one of the games of the round as Kevin Walters side chase 7 wins in a row. Not to be outdone, the Raiders are having a mid season resurgence and now sit just one win outside the top 8. Despite not missing him in recent weeks, club captain Adam Reynolds returns for the Broncos and will be buoyed playing behind the likes of Patrick Carrigan, Payne Haas and Tom Flegler who have all been in great form this season. The Raiders have recovered from a 2-6 start to win four of their last five – including high-quality upsets of the Sharks, Rabbitohs and Roosters and showed plenty of resolve to hold off the Roosters 22-16 in Canberra last Sunday. Fullback Xavier Savage is starting to grow into first grade and looks to be on the most promising players in the game, whilst Jack Wighton will be keen to back up his impressive Origin performance for his club side. There will not be much between the sides, but at home in front of what will no doubt be a big crowd at Suncorp, the Broncos should be able to extend their winning streak.
Wests Tigers will be reeling from the abrupt departure of Michael Maguire and will be keen to improve on their last game in round 12 where they gave up 32 points in the second half alone.
Meanwhile, Manly will be relieved to have snapped a three-match losing streak with a dominant 44-12 win over the Warriors, with Haumole Olakau’atu and Reuben Garrick continuing to shine in 2022. Manly comfortably took care of the Tigers by 14 points in round 9 earlier this year and should take care of the struggling merger outfit again on Sunday afternoon.
In one of the best performances of round 13, the Panthers wider squad stepped up to account for the Bulldogs and may not suffer from the Origin blues as they did in 2021. The likes of Kurt Falls and Sean O’Sullivan came in and steered the ship, whilst Villame Kikau showed why hes the stuff of nightmares for opposition defenders, scoring a try in their 30-18 win. The Knights will have been buoyed by the week off as a ‘reset’ however have still only recorded two since in the past twelve rounds, and come up against a side they’ve only beaten once in their past 11 attempts. With a full Origin contingent available, and with a significant enough rest period, I can’t see the Knights getting close to Panthers.
The Warriors continue to sink to new lows in 2022 and now have won just one of their last nine after 44-12 defeat to Manly in round 13. The NRL’s worst defensive outfit were steamrolled through the middle and even with Nathan Brown stepping down as coach, I can’t expect much to change in that department. After a red hot start to the season Cronulla has been plagued by inconsistency with a win over the Titans backed up by heavy losses to the Raiders and Roosters. The Warriors have won just two of their last 11 against the Sharks – and the memory of crashing 29-10 in the Shire in Round 9 after the hosts played with 12 and even 11 players for a majority of the game will be fresh in their mind. The Warriors may lift and play with more energy under club legend Stacey Jones, but playing with a bit of emotion can’t make up for deficiencies on both sides of the ball.
The round finishes with a public holiday clash between old rivals the Bulldogs and Eels. The change of coach has not changed the Bulldogs’ fortune, giving up more than 100 points over the course of their last 3 games. Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton were by far and away the Dogs best again last week and are building a strong connection on the back of Burton’s stellar kicking game. Winger Maika Sivo return to make his appearance of the year for the Eels, and will have the services of the Origin trio of Ryan Matterson, Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard in what is now pretty much their full-strength side. Parramatta has won 10 of its last 12 against Canterbury and will be firing after a week’s rest.
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