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NRL - Round 4 Preview
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Roosters vs Manly

Friday night kicks off with the Grand Final rematch of last year between the Roosters and the Sea Eagles in what should be a fiery and spirited contest.

Manly will be seeking revenge after losing all 4 clashes with the Roosters last year, however their task has been made harder with the loss of rugged forward Jason King and five eighth Kieran Foran racing the clock to be fit.

The Roosters have a very good record at their home base of Allianz Stadium, winning 6 of the last 7 matches played at the venue, although this is somewhat countered by Manly’s good form away from home on a Friday night winning 11 of 14 matches played.

I’m anticipating Foran being out for the Sea Eagles and I feel that’s too big a loss for them to overcome, even though coach Toovey will have them up for this game.

Verdict: Roosters to win by a margin 1-12. Best odds BET365.COM.AU – $3.0

St George vs Brisbane

After some poor trial form you could be excused for thinking this game had all the hallmarks of a snooze fest, yet it now shapes as an intriguing encounter between two sides with a healthy history and rivalry.

Both sides have had an impressive start to the season, however upon inspection the Broncos form reads a little better for mine. They have met 3 of the Top 8 sides from last year for 2 wins and a narrow loss, whilst the Dragons are unbeaten but have played 2 Bottom 8 sides and an injury ravaged Sharks side.

Brisbane have won 2 of the last 3 games played at WIN Stadium between the two sides, with history showing a propensity for low scoring encounters with only 1 of the last 6 games having more than 38pts scored.

The Broncos have also failed to score more than 18pts in their last 9 away matches, so this could provide a solid angle for those looking at playing totals markets.

Verdict: Total Match Points Under 38.5. Best odds BET365.COM.AU – $1.91

New Zealand vs Wests Tigers

The Warriors registered their first points of the season last week with a victory over the Cowboys, whilst the Tigers go from strength to strength on the back of young guns Brooks and Tedesco.

This match will be played in Wellington which doesn’t bode well for the Warriors, as they have lost all 6 games in New Zealand that have been played away from headquarters Mt Smart Stadium.

The Tigers have also won 2 of the last 3 clashes played in NZ between the two, and I think they are lively outsiders in this encounter to make it three wins in a row.

The Total Points market however provides the most interest for me here, with 6 of the last 7 away games for Wests Tigers resulting in Over 48pts being scored.

Both sides like to throw the ball around and they aren’t exactly renowned for their defence either, so providing we get a dry track I believe this match has the potential for a high scoring encounter.

Verdict: Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $1.91 with BET365.COM.AU

Parramatta vs Penrith

Saturday afternoon serves up ‘The Battle of the West’ between these two fierce rivals who have both had encouraging starts to the season.

Parramatta recall enigmatic halfback Chris Sandow for this clash to no doubt boost their well-publicised goal kicking problems, however this may well be offset by his defensive deficiencies so only time will tell.

The Panthers have a good record at Parramatta Stadium, winning 5 of their last 6 games against the Eels, with these games generally being high scoring with 7 of the last 10 serving up 42pts or more.

I think there may be some value in the tryscorer markets for this match.

10 of Parramatta’s 12 tries this season and 7 of Penrith’s 11 tries have been scored by their respective wingers, so backing these players in various Tryscorer markets may well give you a decent run for your money and prove fruitful.

Verdict: Wingers in 1st, Last and Anytime Tryscorer Markets.

Bulldogs vs Melbourne

Perth plays host to this Saturday’s encounter between the Bulldogs and the Storm in what should be a tough, physical encounter.

The Bulldogs have a good record when facing the Storm at neutral venues, winning 3 of the last 4 clashes, however this is offset a little with the Dogs winless in their last 3 games away from ANZ Stadium.

Melbourne has had their usual solid start to the season but face a short backup after playing Monday night. They were 3-2 at the Line on a 5 day backup last year, so perhaps it may not affect them as much as anticipated.

The Bulldogs still seem to be struggling in attack with Sam Perrett finding his feet at fullback, and with the Big 3 all on deck for the Storm they look hard to beat provided the travel doesn’t take too much out of them.

Verdict: Melbourne Win. Best odds Luxbet – $1.62

Souths vs Canberra

The Rabbitohs will be looking to turn around a recent run of poor form around when they meet the struggling Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

An injury to Isaac Luke and the possible suspension of George Burgess hasn’t helped matters, however the good news is they appear to match up very well against the men from the nation’s capital.

Souths have won their last 3 clashes against Canberra at ANZ Stadium, and their last 5 at all venues.

Couple this with the Raiders being winless in Sydney since August 2012 (vs Penrith) and all signs point to a Rabbitohs victory.

It may well be a big victory at that too, with 4 of the last 5 games between the two recording over 50pts and the Raiders last 4 away matches also tallying 50pts or more.

Verdict: Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $1.91 with BET365.COM.AU

Newcastle vs Cronulla

Both sides will be desperate for a victory in order to avoid a 0-4 start to the season.

Cronulla have endured an injury ravaged start to the season, but welcome back Andrew Fifita for this clash in what is a massive boost. The Knights are largely unchanged, with fullback Darius Boyd seemingly another week away from a return.

The Knights hold a solid advantage over the Sharks, winning 4 of their last 5 clashes in Newcastle, only going down in Golden Point last year. They have also won 7 of the last 9 matches at all venues between the two sides, so the Sharks certainly face a tough task.

Low Scoring games have also been the norm, with 4 of the last 5 at this venue registering less than 42pts.

Verdict: Newcastle Win @ $1.50 with BET365.COM.AU & Under 42.5 @ $1.91 with BET365.COM.AU 

Gold Coast vs Nth Qld

A Monday night Queensland Derby rounds out Round 4 with the Cowboys facing the Titans.

Both sides have been largely inconsistent this season and proving a nightmare for Tipsters and Punters alike.

Gold Coast has won 3 of the last 4 matches against Nth Qld at home, with 6/7 of these games having 40pts or more scored.

The Titans have also won 3 of their last 4 at home against Qld Teams, whilst conversely the Cowboys have lost their last 4 away vs Qld Teams.

The Cowboys are also the only side this year that have failed to cover the Line in any of their matches.

Based on these figures you would be leaning towards a Titans victory, however I’m going against the grain and am quite keen on the Cowboys turning things around. They were lacklustre against the Warriors last week and I think they’ll have been chomping at the bit all week to make amends.

Verdict: Nth Qld Win. Best odds BET365.COM.AU – $1.62

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