Full Round 1 Preview
It’s always a dangerous proposition betting in the early rounds but I’ll do my best to weave some magic. But, before we get into the wizardry, if you haven’t already; make sure you join our season-long punters club being run by the NRL FANTASY AMATEURS. They have kicked off proceedings by nailing a good price about Manly once Cleary was ruled out for the Panthers. Do yourself a favour and join the team for just $20 a share HERE.
Panthers ($2) vs Sea Eagles ($1.82)
- No Captain Cleary for Penrith
- Turbo to hit the ground running
- Premiership hangover for Penriff?
- Both Olakau’atu & Taupau likely to play
- Sean O’Sullivan from the clouds!
There’s been an avalanche of money for the Sea Eagles since the news of ‘The Chin’ (Cleary) being sidelined for ‘at least the first 3 rounds’. They were $2.30 last week but have been crunched into $1.82 and still firming! Des will have them up and about round 1 and some question marks on the Panthers depth now they have had to shed some salary cap, Burton would have been pretty handy right about now…I’m backing Manly to win and win well.
Raiders ($2) vs Sharks ($1.82)
- Sharks have transformed their roster
- Hynes kicks of Sharks career
- Schneider replaces Fogarty (injured) at halfback
- Ricky is whinging again
- How will Sticky use his pack?
- Any more WAGS want to bag him on Insta?
It just wouldn’t be footy season in Canberra without a few WAGS pounding their thumbs posting about Ricky leaving their beloved partner out of the 17. All jokes aside, Canberra look set to struggle early with the loss of key recruit Jamal Fogarty. Young Schneider deserves his crack but it’s very hard to come into the NRL and dominate. Trial by fire for the kid against a Sharks team who look destined for a big season. Back the Sharkies to cover the line.
Broncos ($3.50) vs Rabbitohs ($1.30)
- Latrell Mitchell still suspended
- Ilias replaces the departed Reynolds at halfback
- Reynolds ruled out due to COVID
- Can Haas carry a pack short on troops?
- Will the Bunnies remain a top 4 team post Wayne Bennett?
Whilst every man and his dog are keen on Souths piling on the pain for Brisbane, I am not. The loss of Reynolds is one that has been underplayed in the media and by punters in general, he was the rudder that steered a ship that was often headed for disaster (well maybe not that dramatic…) Cody Walker is a fine player, but he’s not a game manager. That role now falls on a kid who has big shoes to fill. It’s quite ironic that Reynolds now misses his debut for the Broncs against his old club yet I am backing the Broncs in his absence. Payne Haas will stamp himself as one of the most influential players in the game this season and if he can break the Souths pack early, Staggs and Farnworth can have some on the edges against some questionable defenders (looking at you Paulo & Milne). It might be heart in mouth stuff, but back the Broncs to cover the line.
Roosters ($1.18) vs Knights ($5)
- Keary set to return from injury
- ‘Squid James’ Tedesco to have a big year with Keary back
- Is former Knight Connor Watson the Roosters new Jake Friend? (Spoiler – probably not)
- Can Ponga find form now that they are paying his dad?
- The Knights stink
The Roosters come into round 1 as the shortest-priced favourites for the round, and for good reason. The Knights have a smell about them that would outlast religion. Mitchell Pearce boarded a plane for god knows where in the off season and former Dragon Adam Clune takes the 7 jersey. Good luck mate. The Roosters on the other hand welcome back star half Luke Keary after missing nearly all of last season. His inclusion means Teddy can just worry about chiming in out the back when required, as opposed to trying to do it all like he did last season. The Roosters will be the biggest winners of round 1.
Warriors ($1.95) vs Dragons ($1.87)
- Reece Walsh still on the sidelines
- Shaun Johnson makes his return
- Woodsy finds a new home at the Dragons
- Origin star Sims shock drop
- Can Sloan become a star?
- Bird to soar in the backrow
Unless you’re a supporter of one of these two teams, you’re probably not going to rush home from the pub to make sure you get home to watch this…That said, I’m expecting the Dragons to be big improvers this season, I love the look of Tyrell Sloan at fullback and he could form a deadly combination with Hunt. The Warriors are a team I am happy to take on this season, they have been brave during COVID but it might all just catch up with them this season. Johnson looks a shell of the player he once was and all reports suggest star fullback Reece Walsh wants out. Avoid the Warriors and back the Dragons.
Tigers ($4.10) vs Storm ($1.24)
- Lil Papi fit and ready to fire!
- Storm never lost rd 1 under Bellamy
- No munny (I know the feeling)
- The Tigers are the Tigers
- Luke Brookes is Luke Brookes
- Will Madge destroy the changerooms?
A lot has been made of the stat that gets trotted out this time every year – “The Storm have never lost round 1 under coach Graig Bellamy”. Yeah well, I was always a virgin until I wasn’t…at age 30…Where was I again?…The Storm are certainly there to be beaten with Munster and his powder friends still on the sidelines, but are the Tigers capable of pouncing? (Man, that’s really bad isn’t it…) All jokes aside, the Storm probably do enough to win, but the 12.5 point start for the Tigers will get me in. Back door cover anyone?
Eels ($1.40) vs Titans ($3)
- This is Parra’s year (For the 36th year in a row!)
- Like an imposter at a Death Row concert – this is a battle of 2 Pacs
- Will Fifita be as dominant? (Spoiler – YES!)
- Will King Gutho ever be crowned? (Spoiler – NO!)
- Is Toby Sexton an NRL half? (Spoiler – I have no idea!)
This is a mouth-watering clash between two big packs! Paulo, RCG & Co; take on Fifita, Tino & Mo. Whilst the Eels have been pretty consistent over the years and performed admirably, they have fallen short of taking out top sport on many occasions. It’s hard to see them improving off last year and quite possibly regressing. Their pack is just too good to totally dismiss though. I’m expecting the Titans to really threaten this year, especially off some brutal running on the edges from the one-man wrecking ball, D Fifita. This game will be much closer than prices suggest.
Cowboys ($1.87) vs Bulldogs ($1.95)
- Will Jack Hethrington stay on the field?
- Val now a centre & Hammer a fullback?
- Will the Fox trot as a Dog?
- Will TPJ stay on the field?
- Will Lolo play big minutes?
- Are you sick of questions?
There are a million questions going into this game, but for me, none bigger than; how the f*ck does Okunbur get a game? Who does he have photos of? Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t want to know! He’ll rush in off his wing and leave his opposing winger unmarked like he has a million times before, and for this reason, Murray Taulagi to score a try is the bet of the season!
Good luck & good punting!
*All prices and lines are correct as of the time of writing & are courtesy of Ladbrokes, who are offering $2 lines on ALL games during Round 1. T&C’s apply, check their website for more details.