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Thursday, 30 April 2009

NRL Tips Round 8 2009

This is an archived story - so check the main page - www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com for the current round of tipping for NRL, AFL and Super 14. The site is also updated with opinion, news and features regularly. Something a little different today for the NRL Tips - been noticing a lot of the traffic the site generates is people after earlier in the week predictions, so here's my take on the NRL Games this weekend. Here are my tips for Round 8 of the NRL with Round 6 of the AFL and Week 12 of the Super 14 to follow. NRL ROUND 08 - 2009 Cowboys over Eels > You can't in your right mind take the Eels yet. Even at home and on a Friday Night when the fickle fans actually turn up to Parramatta Stadium. I remember getting burned by picking the Cowboys at Parra Stadium a couple of years back but one look at the Eels forward pack and I can't see them matching the Nth Qld go-forward which has started to click in the past fortnight. Cowboys to win but not in a landslide. Storm over Sea Eagles > This is a game where you should probably go 'home team when in doubt' but there's a two key aspects to this game. One is obviously Brett Stewart isn't playing for the Sea Eagles and secondly Brett Finch is playing for the Storm. With Finch playing outside Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith and operating in the link role that Billy Slater really shouldn't have to do as well - the Storm will find their attacking feet sooner rather than later. Given I seriously think Manly's defence is over-rated (Anthony Watmough is the best example of a human turnstyle I've seen since Eion Crossan) on the edges I'll take the Storm here - even at Brookvale. Titans over Rabbitohs. > The home ground factor looms large here and despite the Titans finally being beaten on the road at Penrith on Monday Night - the Titans are a better football team than they showed at CUA. The Rabbitohs on the other hand don't look in form at all and if it wasn't for Luke Stuart, Roy Asotasi and Craig Wing (who came back on when he shouldn't have - concussion) - I seriously doubt whether they win last Friday Night against a pretty ordinary Sharks outfit. Scott Prince is primed for a big one and will target David Kidwell's lack of side on defensive skills with his running game on the edges. Titans here. Sharks over Roosters > Eeeeek this is a tough game to pick. The Sharks have the home ground advantage and given how both teams have played in recent weeks - that is about all that points you towards a winner in this game. At least the Sharks scored 26 points last week... the Roosters came up goose egg. If Cronulla let Anasta and Pearce kick without pressure in attacking situations - then the Roosters are a shot but everyone seems to have figured out that Brad Fittler's game plan revolves around this one attacking ploy - so expect Ricky Stuart to have his men ready. Sharks in a low scoring affair. Broncos over Knights > If Newcastle had a full strength team I would be incredibly tempted to take them at home at EnergyAustralia. But no Mullen and no Cross really hurts and there are injury concerns over half a dozen other players so think long and hard about the impact that will be missed. The Broncos are doing it easy at the moment and finally utilised the best attacking side of the field in the NRL (Lockyer/Hunt/Hodges/Folau combining on Brisbane's Right) and cut the Eels defence to ribbons. If the ball keeps coming for this combination then Ben Rogers or Scott Dureau and the three quarters Junior Sau and Akuila Uate - will have a rough night. Broncos to win. Raiders over Panthers > The frigid cold of Canberra with winter approaching is something that should help the Raiders but if David Furner keeps his game plan of playing off their big prop forwards and doesn't realise that ball movement not big men was the key to the Raiders surge in 2008 - then the Panthers are more than just in this. Canberra have played just two quality halves of football in fourteen and the Panthers are coming off their best win in some time over the Titans. If this is played in Penrith you only tip the Panthers, but it is in Canberra and that's huge for the Raiders. Dragons over Warriors > This tip could very well change by Friday as I am yet to be convinced the Dragons can play in a high scoring game and win. Take nothing away from the Dragons defence so far - it has been very good - but the attack has been opportunistic rather than well constructed and if it wasn't for Jamie Soward the Dragons might win their game against the Roosters via penalty goals. The Warriors will hit their stride soon and having Wade McKinnon back is a big boost to their attacking structure. Lance Hohaia needs to play and centre is the opening he fits best. If the Warriors pack has a good day and Price and Packer make inroads up the middle, the Warriors could pull off what would be a big upset. Dragons without confidence. Tigers over Bulldogs. > Firstly I can't believe Michael Ennis avoided suspension for his blatant rip on the free arm of a Canberra player. One week was sufficient punishment but the NRL Jokediciary did it again and a high profile player in rep calculations went free by appeal. I wonder why I even care anymore, we don't get each case treated equally and we never will. Anyhoo to the game. Ennis playing matches this game up a lot closer than it would've been without him. Farah is playing great football but Ennis has been the most important cog in the revamped Bulldogs makeup and the Dogs must have him to win. If those two cancel each other out it comes down to go-forward and the halfbacks. The Tigers are doing good things up front off the back of Keith Galloway who has really matured as a footballer and Benji Marshall won them a game they shouldn't have won over Newcastle last weekend. For the Dogs, Ben Hannant is leading a starting pack that has meshed nicely so far and has been given good service off the bench from Chris Armit (never thought I'd say that) and Greg Eastwood. Brett Kimmorley is going well and remains a top class organiser. What tips the scales here is the Dogs play in a fairly ordinary ground for any sort of home ground advantage and the Tigers can throw some serious attack at the Bulldogs defence. Got the Tigers at the moment. Just to quote from last week "So if I tip 5/8 this week I'll be doing well." - I got my wish and the Warriors-Storm draw cost me a chance at 6/8. AFL ROUND 06 - 2009 Finally picked the Tigers and got the result. Pity I picked the Swans, Hawks, Magpies and Bulldogs while I was at it. 4/8 and a poor week by any standards. This week: Magpies over Kangaroos - no Harvey, no Wells... umm hello Collingwood. Hawks over Blues - still yet to catch the Carlton love and don't think the Hawks are going that badly. Eagles over Dockers - West Coast are playing decent football and Sydney obviously are not to be run over by the Dockers last week. Lions over Bombers - Essendon continue to surprise but winning in Brisbane is tough stuff. Crows over Power - have been burned by the Power in almost every game they've played this year so far, each week they are good I back against them, each week they fire I take the opposition. May the burns continue. Swans over Tigers - going against what I said before about the Swans they will have Hall and O'Loughlin back and maybe, just maybe, Mike Pyke! (How good is that name??!?!) Cats by oh so many over the Demons - Gary Ablett Junior. That's three words and the margin could be three figures. Bulldogs over Saints - I'm either not watching enough of St.Kilda play this year or I can't get their apathetic 2008 form out of my head. Bulldogs have Akermanis and Cooney back and with it their run - Dogs in the twilight. SUPER 14 Week 12 - 2009 I'm so out of contention in Super 14 Tipping I'm not even going to give a reason for my tips this week beyond saying your reason should be to take the other team I pick. Hurricanes over Blues - about time we had a genuine headline game on a Friday Night in New Zealand. Crusaders over Lions - Lions are good and terrible and the Crusaders will be smarting big time for being dusted by the Cheetahs... YES THE CHEETAHS! Waratahs over Cheetahs - although the Cheetahs will be looking for arguably Australia's biggest Super 14 team scalp to go with their wins over the Sharks (SA) and Crusaders (NZ) - how can I pick the Cheetahs when the Tahs have such a potent backline... don't they?? I'm still believing what I read in the Season Preview... Reds over Brumbies - you don't get beaten by 50 odd points if you are a good team - I don't care who the Brumbies played last week - 50 points is ridiculous. While the Reds are no great side they are at home and like beating their compatriots especially with playoff positions on the line... it is just a shame it always seems to be the other team - not the Reds in contention at this time of year. Sharks over Highlanders - picked the Highlanders a few too many times this year and even still I give them no hope in Durban. Bulls over Force - key game for the Bulls to prove they are worthy title favourites as the Force are going okay. At home the Bulls will be too strong. Draw... well I'll probably pick the Stormers because they are at home but I can't believe the Chiefs are so high on the table having seen them play in Round 2 (albeit without Muliaina and Lauaki) and the Stormers look such a better team on paper than they have played. Good luck with your tips this weekend!

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