National Rugby League Round 8 Preview

April 30th, 2010

Last week in Round 7 we saw just how badly the Melbourne Storm wanted to show the NRL world they are serious about playing for pride, as they scored one of the most impressive wins of the round thrashing the Warriors 40 – 6.

This week they play the Cowboys up in Townsville and although they are the raging favourites to secure another no-competition-point victory, others are worried that they won’t be able to match last week’s intensity.

Other big wins and upsets from Round 7 included the Cronulla Sharks 20 point win ahead of the Newcastle Knights, which surprised NRL fans the nation over.

Any confidence the Sharks found last week, however, is sure to be smashed to pieces on Saturday when they come up against the premiership favourites, the Dragons.

Last weekend the Dragons secured their sixth season win when they came up trumps at the end of the ANZAC day clash against the Roosters.

Sydney this round have another hard ask as they play the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.

An in-depth review of the NRL results from last round and a more detailed preview of the eight matches scheduled for this weekend can be found at NRLleague.

Below we have a quick look at the Round 8 fixtures and which teams have a win in them.

Brisbane Broncos v Newcastle Knights

Both teams have been very flat this season, but with Brisbane having the home advantage at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night they look the pick to get in a much needed win.

It was one of the Knights worse loses last week when they embarrassingly went down to the Sharks, so it is no surprise that they are the underdogs this round at $2.65 with Ladbrokes.com.au.

The Broncos have been improving over the last couple of rounds and as long as they can put aside the drama surrounding Israel Folau and his possible switch of codes they will come away with the win.

Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bulldogs

The Eels and the Bulldogs were the two teams who in the pre-season were the early premiership favourites.

They have been quite uninspiring at the start of 2010, but over the last two rounds have started to show a bit of flair and get a few wins under their belts.

This is one of the hardest games of Round 8 to pick, but with the home ground advantage and last week’s win ahead of the Cowboys up in Townsville, the Eels are our pick.

They are the bookies pick too as they are the odds-on favourites, currently paying $1.46 with Ladbrokes.com.au.

Canterbury had their own Round 7 win beating the Broncos, but with a number of their star players out including Ben Hannant and Josh Morris both requiring surgery after bad injuries last week, they will be weakened and Parra will score more points.

New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders

The Warriors suffered one of the worst Round 7 defeats when they were smashed by the Storm in Melbourne. This week they return home and hopefully return to form for a win.

The Raiders, usually brilliant at home, were unable to claim victory in Canberra last week, going down to the Rabbitohs by just two points.

If the Raiders can’t win in Canberra then their chance of winning in New Zealand is pretty slim, which is why we are again picking the $1.48 favourites with Ladbrokes.com.au and backing the Warriors.

On paper Canberra have a better squad especially with the likes of Terry Campese and rising star Josh Dugan, but if they can’t play a full 80 minutes of footy then they are not going to get up that NRL ladder.

Gold Coast Titans v Penrith Panthers

This will be the match of the Round as two of the teams right at the top of the NRL ladder face off in a passion-fuelled showdown at Skilled Park.

Both teams have been super impressive this season, securing five wins each, but only one can come away with their sixth victory on Saturday.

The Titans play some mean footy at the Gold Coast and have an imposing record at their home ground, which is why they are the current favourites with Ladbrokes.com.au at $1.75.

Penrith, however, are in red hot form and will be keen to secure their fifth straight victory. Paying $2.10 they are still good value and many will be jumping on these odds.

But for us we will pick the Gold Coast, especially as Scott Prince should be making his return.

North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm

This match will be a really interesting one to watch as the world waits to see whether the Storm can back up last week’s comprehensive win.

The Cowboys haven’t presented their rival with the toughest competition this year and if you go by form alone Melbourne should coast to victory here, which is why Ladbrokes.com.au have them as the $1.67 favourites.

But we are going against the grain on this one and getting onto North Queensland’s juicy $2.25 odds. The Cowboys love to play at home and have Thurston back again, who made a big difference to the team last week even though they went down to the Eels.

They won’t want to make it two home ground losses in a row and with Melbourne sure to face a far more hostile crowd in Townsville we think they will be off their game enough for the Cowboys to come through.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks

There is very little to say about this game except if the Sharks can win against the Dragons, then Melbourne are being under paid.

Unofficially Cronulla are the bottom team on the ladder while the Dragons, officially and every other way, are sitting at the top after becoming the only team this year to win six games.

The Sharks, however, gained a tiny bit of confidence as they secured a shock victory ahead of the Knights last round. Beating Newcastle when playing at home, however, is in no way compared to slaying the Dragons at WIN Stadium; so any Sharks fans out there betting on them and their $5.25 odds with Ladbrokes.com.au, good luck!

St George are a lot of things the Sharks aren’t, impressive, clinical, professional and physically strong, and it will be a struggle for Cronulla to score any points let alone enough for a win.

Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters

In the first game on Sunday afternoon the Tigers, coming off two loses, host the Roosters at Campbelltown.

Both teams have injuries and both have changed their on-field positions around a bit, which makes this game very hard to pick.

They came up against each other back in Round 2 this season and the Chooks got the win, but they are missing halfback Mitchell Pearce so without him it will be a big ask for them to take down the Tigers at home.

The Tigers too have some big injury issues and to try and help them pick up the pace skipper Robbie Farah moves to halfback this match.

We think this combined with the weakened Roosters squad and the Tigers home ground record will see them secure a tight victory here.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles

In the final game of the round the Rabbitohs face off against Manly at ANZ Stadium. Even though Manly suffered a shock two point loss to the Titans last week, they start as the favourites here at $1.66 with Ladbrokes.com.au.

Manly play some tough footy and before last week they were on a roll winning four consecutive games. South Sydney, although not as consistent, have also secured four wins this year so this is a tough one.

The Sea Eagles, as impressive as they have been, tend to fade in the second half and if the Rabbitohs stay focused they could come away with a shock win here.

Rugby League Betting Round 8 Picks:

Match 1 – Broncos

Match 2 – Eels

Match 3 – Warriors

Match 4 – Titans

Match 5 – Cowboys

Match 6 – Dragons

Match 7 – Tigers

Match 8 – Rabbitohs

Agree or disagree with our picks? Let us know by leaving a comment below. We are always happy to hear from other Rugby League betting enthusiasts!

Our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au have an exciting range of NRL betting options open on the games again this weekend including specials markets such as the Highest Scoring Team for the Round.

This week St George Illawarra are the odds-on favourite to score the most points as they play a very unlucky Sharks. They are paying $4.25 at the moment through Ladbrokes.com.au for this market, which is great value considering they are at such short odds for a head-to-head win.

This is just one example of how exotic NRL betting can prove far more profitable when betting on the Rugby League than the standard win or lose bets.

2010 NRL Round 8 Match Calendar:

Day

Date

Time (local)

Venue

Home Team

Away Team

Fri April 30 7:35pm Suncorp Stadium Brisbane Broncos Newcastle Knights
Fri April 30 7:35pm ANZ Stadium Parramatta Eels Canterbury Bulldogs
Sat May 1 3:00pm Mt Smart Stadium New Zealand Warriors Canberra Raiders
Sat May 1 5:30pm Skilled Park Gold Coast Titans Penrith Panthers
Sat May 1 7:30pm Dairy Farmers Stadium North Queensland Cowboys Melbourne Storm
Sun May 2 2:00pm Campbelltown Sports Staidum Wests Tigers Sydney Roosters
Sun May 2 3:00pm ANZ Stadium South Sydney Rabbitohs Manly Sea Eagles