By Warren Anscombe @WarrenAnscombe
Penrith vs Bulldogs
In a repeat of last year’s preliminary final, the Panthers will be looking for revenge when they host the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
These sides met on three occasions last year, with the winning margin being a converted try or less each time, and I think we can expect another repeat performance here.
Penrith have won 7 of the past 14 games against the Dogs here, as well as 15 of the past 27 overall.
They also enjoy a good home record winning 9 of their 11 matches at this ground last season.
Both sides don’t possess great records in Round 1 fixtures, with Penrith winning 5/16 and the Bulldogs a slightly better 7/16.
As with the previous match I think we are looking at two of the better sides in the competition here, and I expect this to be a very spirited encounter that is sure to go down to the wire.
Verdict: Tri Bet Either Team Under 6.5 Points at $2.80 with
Sharks vs Canberra
The Sharks welcome back coach Shane Flanagan to the fold as they host the Canberra Raiders at Shark Park on Sunday evening.
Shark Park was not a happy hunting ground for the home side last year having lost their past 7 at home, however they have won 9 of the past 15 games here against their opponents so that will surely give them confidence.
Canberra are also not the best of travellers, having won just 4 of their past 11 Round 1 away matches and just 7/15 overall.
In fact the raiders have not won a first round away match since 2006, so no doubt they will be up against it here.
The Sharks endured a torrid season last year, and I think they will be keen to put that behind them and make a statement here.
New signing Ben Barba will also be keen to impress, and I believe they have too many strike weapons for a Raiders outfit that appear to face a long season ahead.
Verdict: Sharks -6.5 points at $1.92 with