Seven rounds down and the Roosters are shaping as the 2019 NRL Premiership winners. It could be because I spruiked them like nothing else at the start of the season, it could be because i’ve backed at least one winner in each of their seven games so far. Either way, they’re looking bloody good.
Round 8 of the NRL season is underway from Thursday night and there’s eight quality games to sink our teeth into. NRL Round 8 tips below.
It looks like being a pretty one-sided affair when Souths host the Broncos in Thursday night’s Round 8 opener. The Rabbits have been playing ugly football but importantly, they are still doing enough to win and enter this off the back of a scrappy win over the out of form Panthers.
The Broncos are in shambles but typically, a solitary win over the Sharks in Brisbane last week has 90% of the folks north of the border suggesting that the comeback is now on. It isn’t. Wayne Bennett knows the Broncos squad inside and out and this is where his superior people managing skills will come into their own. I hardly think that the imminent loss could possibly be blamed on Kodi Nikorima’s move to the Warriors – I’ve arguably had a bigger impact than the bloke this season, but I’m sure that will be retweeted thousands of times. Bunnies at a canter.
With little brother having already played by this points, Queensland’s two premiere clubs will meet in a Friday night derby when the mighty Neds Gold Coast Titans travel to Townsville to take on the Cowboys.
The Titans flew the blocks and looked like having the Tigers covered in the Neds Derby, but a few errors and a disappointing second half saw the wheels fall off. Their wins over the Panthers and Knights the two weeks prior were excellent and they will be quietly confident of getting the result on the road here.
The Cows are fast becoming the most difficult team to trust in the NRL, at least from a betting perspective. Their win over the Warriors was good, but they had no answers for an ordinary Dogs outfit last week and they strike me as the sort of club that will underestimate an opponent like the Titans.
It would be nice to think that we’ll be treated to a 2017 Grand Final rematch on Friday night, but perhaps a bit of hopeful dreaming on my part.
This isn’t the Melbourne Storm that we’ve grown accustomed to. Sure, they’ve been winning but they’ve had a pretty easy run of games and they’ve really only been falling in. Just beating the Bulldogs, Cowboys and Warriors isn’t form to set your watch to, and it isn’t form that would see you past the first week of the finals.
We toss a Sharks outfit into the picture that showed some spine to fight back into their game with the Panthers and ultimately win, but who then offered nothing against the lowly Broncos in Brisbane. How does this one shape up? The line currently sits at eight points and I’m happy to be with the Sharks to cover as outsiders at home.
Betting suggests that this will be one of the more intriguing games of the round and I tend to agree. Penrith have been knocking on the door of a win for weeks now and meet a Raiders side who have been good, but who were unable to take advantage of a Manly side minus Cherry-Evans and Tommy Turbo last weekend.
I don’t even think that Ricky Stuart would have been confident in saying that his side would be third in overall standings leading into Round 7, but that’s exactly what they were and they’ve only lost one place off the back of last week’s loss. The forward pack is immense and the backs have returned to the track in the same kind of prolific form that they’ve showed for the last couple of years.
The Panthers and more specifically, Nathan Cleary and James Maloney really need to start standing up to be counted and this shapes as a great opportunity for them. There’s value at the line but I’m eager to take the $2.10 on offer for them to win.
The Brookvale faithful can count themselves unlucky not to be chasing six in a row this week, but they’re offered another great opportunity to make it five wins for the season when the host the Dogs on Saturday evening.
Tommy Turbo is a huge loss, but for the Sea Eagles to then lose Daly Cherry-Evans midway through a game against a formed side and still emerge victorious tends to underline the legitimacy of their claims, in my humble opinion. Even against a team of battlers like the Dogs, this will be a real acid test for the Sea Eagles.
You can never tell what the Bulldogs are going to bring to the field, but if they can muster something similar to what they did against the Cowboys or the Storm, they’re a live chance here. I’m not sure they can or will at Brookvale, though.
The Roosters went on with the job in Round 7 and loom as a huge Saturday night task for last start winners the Wests Tigers. It’s going to be a real broken record-like scene in my Roosters previews each week but honestly, who beats them?
Latrell Mitchell could be the most exciting player in the league right now. Love him, hate him or blindly call him a ‘grub’ (from inside your maroon shirt), there is no denying his impact and he really does have the capability to single-handedly take a game away from the opposition. He doesn’t often need to do that, though because pretty much everyone around him is a star in their own right.
Some nice passages of play from the Tigers to beat the Titans last weekend but perhaps what was most exciting to witness was their ability not to panic and fight back into the game, despite trailing early in the piece. This is a whole new class of opposition, though.
There’s a few decent games slated for Round 8 but I think that the majority of the Rugby League community will take a sigh of relief when this one is in the history books. There hasn’t been a lot to like about what these two clubs have offered so far in 2019 and an early Mad Monday does look to be on the cards for both. Really not a lot else to say about this, Kodi Nikorima might step out for the first time? The Warriors should be winning, but they’re far too short at $1.58.
Focus returns to Western Sydney and this outstanding new stadium on Sunday afternoon when the Eels and Dragons go to war.
Half of the Eels seem to be off contract and it has become reasonably apparent this week that barely anyone wants to stay there. Understandable in some respects, but they really haven’t looked that bad so far this season and you’d think everyone would be eager to stay, ride this momentum and actually build something credible. Perhaps it was the loss to the Knights.
St George gave the Roosters a bit of a game last week and for many clubs this season, I think that prove to be a pretty good form reference. They’re in the eight and can strengthen their position by winning this.