Moonee Valley Race 4 – Ranvet Abell Stakes – 1200m
#1 Dollar For Dollar – $7/$2.15
Doesn’t win out of turn but this looks like a winnable assignment first up. Narrowly beaten by Newmarket winner Zoutori twice last campaign, which looks strong form for this. Can take up the running or trail Ancestry, each way all day. Take advantage of Ladbrokes ‘SWITCH’ promo if you can.
Moonee Valley Race 8 – The All-Star Mile – 1600m
#6 Mugatoo – $11/$3.5
Hugh Bowman will need to be at his best early to ensure cover and if that occurs, look out! Has a real motor this horse and whilst the mile might be a little short of his best, he will be motoring late and looks tremendous each-way value.
Rosehill Race 7 – G1 Coolmore Classic – 1500m
#18 Vangelic – $11/$3.5
Was the run of the race last start behind Forbidden Love when trapped wide with no cover on a hot speed, did a mountain of work and still kicked at the top of the straight. Should get a lovely run here and gets a massive weight swing on Forbidden Love. Over the odds.
Round 1 preview
Melbourne Storm VS South Sydney Rabbitohs – AAMI Park
This is a cracking start to the season! Both teams look ready to fire from round 1. The Bunnies are largely unchanged from last season and have been dominant in trials. The Storm lose the GOAT Cam Smith, and will be without hooker Harry Grant, but somehow still manage to have arguably the best spine in the game. Expecting a hard-fought slugfest with not a lot separating these two teams. With that in mind, and Melbourne’s outstanding record in Round 1 and at AAMI Park against Souths, we’ll take the Storm head to head.
Bet – Melbourne Storm to win head to head – $1.96
Newcastle Knights VS Canterbury Bulldogs – Mcdonald Jones Stadium
Unless you support one of these two clubs, you’re probably not going to rush home (or to the pub) to watch this. That said, there looks like a great betting angle to explore and can give us some excitement in what looks like shaping as a dour contest. The Knights are largely unchanged from last season and are without Kalyn Ponga. The Dogs on the other hand have spent up and recruited Kyle Flanagan at halfback, Corey Allen at fullback and Nick Cotric on the wing. Expecting this to be a low scoring tactical affair and this gives the Dogs a huge shout at starting the season with a win.
Bet – Canterbury Bulldogs +4.5 – $2 (Ladbrokes $2 line promo)
Brisbane Broncos VS Parramatta Eels – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane ‘won’ the wooden spoon last season and for good reason, their defence at times is a mess. Serious question marks remain over the defensive capabilities of their middle and backline, this is not helped by the absence of Staggs and Haas. Parra look set to pick up where they left off last season, and whilst that isn’t always top shelf, it will be good enough to get the job done here. Expecting a free-flowing game with plenty of points, mostly scored by Parra.
Bet – Parramatta Eels -8.5 – $2 (Ladbrokes $2 line promo)
New Zealand Warriors VS Gold Coast Titans – Central Coast Stadium
Hard game to assess. The Warriors play their first game under new coach Nathan Brown and it is unclear how they will structure their game this season. The Titans have bulked up their squad with Fifita and Tino among the big signings. The question will be whether they can give those two and Brimson out the back any quality ball. The potential is there for a big performance in round 1 but I’m not sold. Seems a high chance this will be high scoring and end to end type footy, we’ll back the points.
Bet – Total match points over 43.5 – $1.9
Sydney Roosters VS Manly Sea Eagles – Sydney Cricket Ground
Manly start the season with their backs against the wall with Turbo out injured after running hot laps in Manly and subsequently ‘pulling his hammy in the shower’ (there’s a great set up to a joke there but I’m going to let that one through to Gilly as they say). Hard to like Manly in this but beware Manly when written off, they will fight the full 80. Roosters should be too classy but not expecting any fireworks round 1. Has the markings of a low scoring, ugly game.
Bet – Total match points under 43.5 – $1.90
Penrith Panthers VS North Queensland Cowboys – Panthers Stadium
The Cows backline is in for a real workout, they were awful in defence at times in the trials, and we know how dominant the Panthers can be. Playing at home and having such a set combination in their spine, hard to see the Panthers racking up the points.
Bet – Penrith Panthers -9.5 – $2
Canberra Raiders VS Wests Tigers – GIO Stadium
The Raiders always run hard and tackle hard. The Tigers love to attack but can be hit and miss in defence. George Williams, the pint sized pommy halfback, plays tough and always looks for an opportunity to take the line on. The Tigers tired forwards will need to be careful not to let the little fella through at the back end of each half. I reckon he can get a meat pie for us.
Bet – George Williams anytime try scorer – $4.25
St George Illawarra Dragons VS Cronulla Sharks – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Hard to know what to expect with these two teams, although it probably doesn’t involve anything outstanding. This has the hallmarks of being a real slugfest and that suits the gritty Sharks. This game might just boil down to the kicking game of Chad Townsend.
Bet – Cronulla Sharks to win head to head – $1.7