BRONCOS V DRAGONS - Thursday night, Suncorp Stadium

The Dragons could be in for another long night on Thursday as they travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the ladder leading Brisbane Broncos. St-George Illawarra were thrashed 36-0 in Townsville last week and this is the second leg of their Queensland road trip, with a match against the Gold Coast coming up in round seven. One of the biggest concerns for the Dragons has been their lack of firepower, averaging a league-worst eight points per match. To put it into perspective, the Roosters who have lost all five games so far are scoring at an average of 15.6 points per match. Making things worse for Dragons fans is the fact they have lost eight straight at Suncorp.

The Broncos have led in their past eight matches dating back to the 2015 Finals series and with the Dragons finding points difficult to come by, it's a safe bet that the Brisbane will be in front after 40 minutes. A Half/Full Double (1.50 Bet365) bet seems a bit more appealing for those looking at something a little more juicy than the current Head to Head price ($1.17 William Hill) on Brisbane.

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Brisbane Broncos - 1pt @ 1.50

RABBITOHS V ROOSTERS - Friday night, ANZ Stadium

Two months ago no one would have envisaged that the Roosters, NRL Minor Premiers for three straight seasons, would commence 2016 by losing their opening five games. That, however, is how its unfolded with their season likely to go from bad to worse against arch-rivals Souths Sydney in Friday Night Football. The pair met in the opening round of the competition where Souths ran out convincing 42-10 winners. One of the major differences between the sides on this occasion will be the fact that Bunnies playmaker Adam Reynolds and John Sutton will be missing. Souths began brilliantly at Brookvale against Manly last week, posting 16 points in the opening 16 minutes to blow their opposition off the park. The concerning thing though was the fact they remained scoreless after that in getting out of Brookie as narrow 16-12 winners.

Souths have had a tendency to begin their matches with lightning speed this season with the exception being when they were blown off the park by the Dogs two weeks ago. They have scored the opening try in four of their five matches and are $2.10 with Sportsbet to open proceedings with a try again. On top of that they have defeated the Roosters on three straight occasions at ANZ and have scored at least 28 points in all three wins.

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South Sydney Try - 1pt @ 2.10

PARRAMATTA V CANBERRA - Saturday afternoon, Pirtek Stadium

This game is promising to be a battle of the forward packs. Both the Eels and Raiders big men have been formidable in the opening five rounds of the NRL season. Canberra's surprise win against the Bulldogs at Belmore on Monday night came off the back of their forwards (Frank Paul Nuuausala made 140 metres, Shannon Boyd 121 metres and Paul Vaughn 115 metres). The last time these teams met was round 26 last year where an Edrick Lee try right on fulltime leveled the scores before the Raiders won in Golden Point at Pirtek. While the Raiders don't have the best record at Pirtek, the Eels haven't taken advantage of the home ground either, losing eight of their last 10 there. One of the positives for the Eels at home though is their losses have been narrow on most occasions (five of the eight losses by seven points or less).

With much of the emphasis on the forward clash, we have highlighted a big bopper that could be value when it comes to First Tryscorer suggestions. Go with the in-form Junior Paulo as either First Tryscorer ($51 William Hill) or To Score A Try in the match ($8 William Hill), with the rampaging Eels prop crossing for the first try in the last two weeks against the Tigers (rd 4) and Panthers (rd 5).

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Junior Paulo - 1pt @ 8.00

NEW ZEALAND V MANLY - Saturday afternoon, Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors will be hoping to overcome somewhat of a hoodoo when they host Manly at Mt Smart Stadium this Saturday afternoon. The teams have played on 27 occasions with the Warriors only getting the points on eight occasions. In fact, Manly has won 16 of the last 20 against them! If they are to beat Manly then this could be the week as they are coming off back-to-back wins including a 32-28 Golden Point win over the Sydney Roosters at Gosford last week. Two players they will be relying heavily on are Shaun Johnson and Solomone Kata. Between them they have 10 of the Kiwis 22 tries so far this season. While the attack isn’t necessarily a problem with the Warriors, their defence has been. They are averaging 25.2 points per game against them which is simply not sustainable if you have top eight ambitions.

New Zealand bought heavily in the off season and acquired Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Isaac Luke and Jeff Robson among others which had many predicting them as premiership contenders. They are yet to show the consistency required to be premiers, however, what has been consistent has been the form of Tuivasa-Sheck. His running game was what made the Warriors lure him away from the Roosters. He leads the NRL in runs (99) and run metres (1,044). Points shouldn’t be at a premium for either side in this one so we recommend taking the Over 42.5 Total Match Points ($1.87 Bet365).

Collect a juicy $8 if Brett Stewart scores a try and Manly win thanks to Ladbrokes Footy Freaks Offer.
Over 42.5 points - 1pt @ 1.87

PENRITH V NORTH QUEENSLAND - Saturday night, Pepper Stadium

The Panthers haven’t liked doing things the easy way in 2016. Penrith has won two of its five games to start the season but the average margin in all five is a measly three points – the fifth smallest through five rounds in premiership history! They will need all the home ground advantage they can get against the Cowboys on Saturday but they have proven they can mix it with the best. In their two home games so far they went down, on the siren, to the Bulldogs back in round two while a week later they overcame a 10-point deficit and kept the Broncos scoreless in winning 23-22. North Queensland has overcome their recent abysmal away record to go on and win the premiership last season, however, in 2016 their only two losses to date have been on the road (Parra 20-16, Broncos 21-20). That said it seems the visitors have developed a liking for the foot of the mountains, leaving there with the points on two of the last three occasions including a 30-10 thrashing almost 12 months ago. They have already held two teams scoreless this season (Roosters and Dragons) and although that was at home, they are looking formidable heading into this one.

Peta Hiku scored a try in each of his first four matches with Penrith but didn’t score last week against the Eels. He represents good value as a First Tryscorer option ($15 Sportsbet) or to Score a Try At Anytime ($2.88 Bet365).
Peta Hiku - 1pt @ 15.00
Peta Hiku - 1pt @ 2.88

SHARKS V TITANS - Sunday, Southern Cross Group Stadium

This match is shaping to be one of the hardest to pick simply because both teams have begun the season equally as well as each other. No one expected the Titans, wooden spoon favourites at the start of the season, to have three wins in five to kick things off. It has been their effort in defeat though that has been ultra impressive. Their 34-16 loss to the Storm in round 2 could have turned out far differently had they not conceded two tries in three minutes before half-time while their effort to go down by only eight points to the Broncos last week is credit to their will to win. Heading to Shark Park won’t hold any fears for the Titans as they have won their last two at the ground, so those wanting to take the price about them to win can do so with a bit of confidence. The Sharks on the other hand have been very good in winning their three games, two of which have been at home where they have conceded a miserly eight points. Playing at home has been highly beneficial for Cronulla in recent times as they’ve picked up the points in eight of their last 11. Of the defeats, two of them were when the other team scored 18 or more points.

The Gold Coast are far from the easy beats of the competition and when you consider their form away from home this season they are definitely in this one. They lost in Melbourne (rd 2) but came from nowhere to beat the Raiders (rd 4), who have since franked the form by beating the Bulldogs in Belmore. Check their win price for the best value ($3.90 UNIBET) but even taking them at the +10.5 Line ($1.96 Luxbet) could prove to be a good bet.

Ladbrokes are pumping up the odds on a Gold Coast win and and Anthony Don try to a massive $8!
Gold Coast Titans - 1pt @ 3.90
Gold Coast +10.5 - 1pt @ 1.96
Statistics suggest that the Knights could break their maiden against the Tigers on Sunday afternoon. Winless in five (one draw, four losses) to start 2016, Newcastle has beaten the Tigers in four of their previous five attempts. That is the second best record they have against any team during that period. If they are to win though they need to do more than just rely on recent history. Their defence is leaking an NRL-worst 32 points-per-game while their attack is averaging a measly 14.8. For their part, Wests Tigers are staring down the barrel of four straight losses after winning their opening two fixtures. If they are to get back on track they need to fix their defence as they have conceded an average of 24 points during that time including 34 in their loss to the Sharks last week. Unlike Newcastle, points aren’t a concern for the Tigers as they averaging 4.4 tries per game.

Exciting NSW origin prospect James Tedesco leads the tryscoring stakes with seven this season but they have come in three games, meaning he was scoreless in the other two. Tedesco has scored 24 tries in 29 games when you take in last season’s games and he isn’t shy about scoring against the Knights, crossing the line twice in his past three games against them.
BET: Tedesco to score 2+ Tries ($3.00 Sportsbet).

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James Tedesco - 1pt @ 3.00


The Melbourne Storm haven’t had an obvious kryptonite in the last 10 years or so but Monday Football and the Bulldogs could be it. Their last seven games on a Monday has seen them win just twice, while their record against the Bulldogs lately has seen them drop five straight. For some reason they have had difficulty dealing with the boys from Belmore, with 16 lifetime wins from 36 attempts – their worst record by far against any opponent. If those statistics don’t encourage the Blue and Whites then their own record on a Monday might will – six wins from eight but one of those losses came at home against the Raiders in round five (22-8). Melbourne were expected to easily cover the line last week against the Knights, however, they scraped through by four points. Narrow margins have been a trend for the Storm this season as all five of their matches have been decided by eight points or less. Funnily enough, Dogs fans may fancy their chances yet again here as their three wins have all been on the road (Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Panthers). The one thing standing in their way is the Storm’s imposing home record, with all three of their games at the venue this season resulting in wins against the Dragons, Titans and Knights.

Will Hopoate is enjoying life in Belmore and has been on the score sheet in all five of his appearances for the club so far. That is a career best effort and when you consider he only scored seven times in 38 for Parramatta, it shows he has fit in well at the Dogs. Looking for a get out after the weekend? Then maybe take a First Tryscorer / 1-12 Margin bet with Hopoate as the tryscorer ($49 Centrebet).

If flyer Josh Morris scores and the Doggies win, Ladbrokes will fill your pockets to the tune of $6.50 per dollar staked!
Will Hopoate / Canterbury 1-12 - 1pt @ 49.00