There are some ripping games in round four of the NRL season and it all kicks off on Thursday night when the Roosters take on the Broncos. There are big matches right across the weekend, with Friday night’s Panthers and Tigers battle sure to be a highlight. Here’s The Wolf’s round four NRL tips.
|Roosters v Broncos|
SCG, Thu 4/4, 8.05pm
|Broncos +5.5||Broncos 1-12 ($3.80)|
|Warriors v Titans|
Mt Smart Stadium, Fri 5/4, 6pm
|Titans ($2.45)||Titans / Over 40.5 ($4.85)|
|Panthers v Tigers|
Panthers Stadium, Fri 5/4, 8.05pm
|Tigers +4 ($1.90)||Josh Reynolds to score a try ($4.33)|
|Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs|
Lottoland, Sat 6/4, 3pm
|Rabbitohs -5.5 ($1.90)||Rabbitohs / Over 43.5 ($2.70)|
|Cowboys v Raiders|
1300SMILES Stadium, Sat 6/4, 5.30pm
|Raiders ($1.90)||Raides 1-12 ($2.90)|
|Eels v Sharks|
ANZ Stadium, Sat 6/4, 7.35pm
|Sharks ($1.85)||Sharks 1-12 / Under 40.5 ($5.70)|
|Storm v Bulldogs|
AAMI Park, Sun 7/4, 4.05pm
|Bulldogs +16.5 ($1.90)||Storm 1-10 ($4.25)|
|Knights v Dragons|
McDonald Jones Stadium, Sun 7/4, 6.10pm
|Dragons ($2.08)||Dragons 1-12 ($3.20)|
Sydney Roosters ($1.52) v Brisbane Broncos ($2.50)
Close one to kick off round four
The Broncos will be looking to avoid a 1-3 start to the season when they face the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night. The Chooks have won two on the trot, despite being without half back Cooper Cronk. He is the big in for the tricolours this week, with Jake Friend out of the side through injury. Victor Radley steps up at hooker and Lindsay Collins comes onto the interchange. The Broncos have been forced to make a change at centre, with James Roberts missing with an Achilles injury. The speedster has not been 100 per cent fit this season and the week off could do him wonders. Kotoni Staggs replaces him, with Gehamat Shibasaki in line to play his second game for the Broncos. Brisbane won both games against the Chooks a season ago, including a 22-8 win in Sydney. Neither side has been at their best this season, but this one should be a cracker and The Wolf thinks its hard to turn down the Broncos with the start in what could well be a nail biter.
- The Broncos have never played at the SCG.
- The Roosters have only won twice in their last ten games at the SCG.
- Jack Bird is leading the way for the Broncos for try assists. He is the only Bronco with multiple try assists with three.
H2H: Broncos +5.5Value: Broncos 1-12 ($3.80)
New Zealand Warriors ($1.55) v Gold Coast Titans ($2.45)
Can the Gold Coast grab their first win of the season?
New Zealand have turned in two horror shows in consecutive weeks and will look to stop the rot against the bottom of the table Titans on Friday night. In a boost for the Gold Coast, Tyrone Roberts and Ash Taylor will pair up for the first time this season, in what is sure to be an injection of quality into their halves. There is a change at five-eighth for the Warriors as well after their 34-point hammering by Manly. Adam Keighran has been dropped, with Chanel Tavita-Harris to debut. That move is one of a number of changes made by Stephen Kearney, who is without starting hooker Isaac Luke through injury. The Titans stopped a run of 6 straight wins by the Warriors against them with a 36-12 win last season. The Titans are just 3-8 all-time in Auckland, but turned a corner last weekend when they lost narrowly to the Bunnies. The Wolf sees them as great value this week to snare their first win against a poor Warriors side.
- Even though the Titans haven’t won a game in 2019, they still concede less points then the Warriors. Titans 23 points per game, Warriors 28.7 points per game.
- There is only one different between the number of player involvements between the two sides. The Titans have had 1,192 and the Warriors have had 1,191.
- After only conceding one try in Round 1, the Warriors have conceded 14 tries in Round’s 2 and 3. The most of any team.
H2H: Titans ($2.45)Value: Titans / Over 40.5 ($4.85)
Penrith Panthers ($1.58) v Wests Tigers ($2.35)
Tigers to get revenge on Cleary
Two western Sydney foes battle it out on Friday night at the foot of the mountains when Penrith takes on Wests Tigers. There were double-digit losses for both clubs in round three, with the Tigers surprisingly beaten by the Dogs and the Panthers outclassed by the Storm. The big news for Wests is the loss of Benji Marshall to injury, with Josh Reynolds a handy replacement at five-eighth. Ivan Cleary has shuffled his pack as he prepares to face the club he walked out on at the end of last season for the first time. Penrith has racked up a double digit win in each of its last four games against the Tigers, but The Wolf senses this time things will be different. Wests will be chomping at the bit to get one over the coach who didn’t want to stick around. They’re the better team on form and will have a point to prove.
- Since 2008, the Panthers are the only side whose backline (1 through 7) haven’t scored a try in the first three rounds. Previous lowest was the Sharks in 2014 who had one try scored from their backline in the same period.
- The Wests Tigers have lost the first 20 minutes of all three games but have won the last 20 minutes of all three games.
- Robbie Farah’s early season form is as impressive as anyone in the competition. He has three try assists, three tries, two line break assists, 14 kicks for 365 metres and has played all 240 minutes.
H2H: Tigers +4 ($1.90)Value: Josh Reynolds to score a try ($4.33)
Manly Sea Eagles ($2.60) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.50)
Bunnies too classy for Sea Eagles
What a difference Tom Trbojevic makes to Manly. The full back was in fine form in his first appearance of the season last weekend, jagging two tries in a dominant performance in New Zealand. It will be a tough task for Manly to back that win up against the undefeated Bunnies at Lottoland on Saturday though. Souths add captain Greg Inglis and George Burgess to an already strong starting unit. Moses Suli has once again fallen foul of club standards at the Sea Eagles, with Brendan Elliot replacing him in the centres in their only change. The last three matches between the sides has sailed over the 13+ margin, with Souths winning two of those. The Bunnies should be motivated after a flat second half last week and are the better side and giving away less than a converted try start. The Wolf is going to back the Bunnies and enjoy an exciting game.
- The Sea Eagles have only won two out of their last eight at Lottoland.
- The Rabbitohs lead the competition in possession rates. The Rabbitohs average 54.9% of possession per game.
- Damien Cook is leading the competition for dummy half runs with 12 for 78 run metres. The next best is seven. Api Koroisau from the Sea Eagles has only run the ball from dummy half on five occasions.
H2H: Rabbitohs -5.5 ($1.90)Value: Rabbitohs / Over 43.5 ($2.70)
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.90) v Canberra Raiders ($1.90)
Raiders to grab rare win in Townsville
The Canberra Raiders can move to 3-1 with a win against a desperate Cowboys side, who will be looking to avoid being 1-3 after four rounds when the two teams clash on Saturday afternoon. Canberra beat the Cows in Townsville last season 18-8, notching their first win up north since 2006. A 17-10 win against Newcastle in round three doesn’t reflect their dominance and the green machine deserved to win by much more. The Cowboys took a lead into half time against Cronulla, but that was short lived as the Sharks piled on six tries to one in the second half in a 26-point hammering. A week is a long time in footy and The Wolf knows the Cowboys have a veteran side that won’t be thinking about last weekend. It’s hard to make a case for backing them based on their last two games without spearhead Jason Taumololo though, so it’s the Raiders in this one.
- Both sides have not won the opening 20 minutes of their three games thus far.
- The Cowboys have won nine out of their last ten clashes at 1300Smiles Stadium versus the Raiders.
- The Raiders are leading the way for field goal attempts with three already with two being successful.
H2H: Raiders ($1.90)Value: Raides 1-12 ($2.90)
Parramatta Eels ($1.95) v Cronulla Sharks ($1.85)
Veterans to prove the difference for Cronulla
The Sharks are quietly going about their business with two wins and a loss this season under new coach John Morris, but will arguably face their toughest test this weekend against Parramatta. The Eels lost to the Roosters in round three, despite leading midway through the second half, in a performance they will take plenty away from. Five-eighth Dylan Brown’s back injury sees Jaeman Salmon make his first appearance of the season for Parra. The Sharks took the two competition points against the Cows last weekend but lost Matt Moylan to a hamstring strain, with Josh Dugan to fill in at full back. Paul Gallen is named to start this one, despite going off in the first half with a rib injury a week ago. The Wolf knows The Sharks have won five on the trot against Parra, but none of those have been by more than 14 points. It should be another close one on Saturday night, with Cronulla’s veteran experience to prove the difference.
- The Sharks have won the last five meetings between the two sides and have scored first in four out of those five games.
- The Eels have only conceded 12 penalties in three rounds which is equal best, The Sharks on the other hand have conceded 31 penalties, seven more than any other team.
- Blake Ferguson leads the competition for run metres with 600. If he maintains his average of 200 metres per game, he will run his 1,000th metre in Round 5.
H2H: Sharks ($1.85)Value: Sharks 1-12 / Under 40.5 ($5.70)
Melbourne Storm ($1.13) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($6)
Storm to get past Dogs at home
The undefeated Storm take on the wooden spoon favourites in the biggest mismatch of the season so far. Melbourne is giving up a near three-try start to the Dogs, who grabbed their first win of the season a week ago against the Tigers. They have been dealt a cruel injury blow though, with Kieran Foran to miss several weeks with an ankle injury after arguably his best performance for the club a week ago. Former Newcastle Knight Jack Cogger will debut in blue and white in the six jersey. Melbourne has the luxury of going into this match unchanged, but will be wary of the Dogs, who have an impressive record against Melbourne. Canterbury has won its past three games at AAMI Park by 6, 24 and 2 points, so will be full of confidence heading down south. With that in mind, The Wolf looks at the big points start and can’t help but wonder if the Storm will be complacent, a bit like the Bunnies were against Gold Coast a week ago. Melbourne can be ruthless on their day, but The Wolf is taking a chance on the Dogs to keep it respectable.
- The Bulldogs are the only team with a positive win rate against the Storm. They have won 54% of their games (21 wins, 18 loses). At AAMI Park they are three from seven.
- In Round 1, the Bulldogs had only three players who ran over 100 metres, six in Round 2 but 11 in Round 3. Will Hopoate who has run the most metres for the Bulldogs with a combined 532 metres, was only the fifth highest last round running 132 metres.
- The Storm have broken 95 tackles, second best for the competition compared to the Bulldogs who have only broken 49 tackles which is the lowest for the competition. The Storm’s back three have broken 39 tackles between them (Josh Addo-Carr – 15, Suliasi Vunivalu – 14, Jahrome Hughes – 10).
H2H: Bulldogs +16.5 ($1.90)Value: Storm 1-10 ($4.25)
Newcastle Knights ($1.75) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.08)
Dragons to continue strong record against Knights
The final match of the round is a good one with the Knights hosting the Dragons. Both sides will be eager to square the ledger at 2-2 after four rounds, despite showing patchy form this season. Newcastle have been in both of their losses to the Panthers and Raiders, but the magic formula might be moving Kalyn Ponga back to full back, which Nathan Brown has opted to do for this game. Mason Lino makes his club debut for Newcastle in the halves, partnering Mitchell Pearce. Just as the Dragons season looked to have turned a corner against the Broncos thanks to a last second Corey Norman field goal, full back Gareth Widdop suffered a nasty shoulder injury that will see him miss a number of games. Speedster Matt Dufty is his replacement at the back in an otherwise unchanged side. The Red V has an imposing 7-1 recent record against the Knights, although this is the best Newcastle side in some time. The Wolf thinks that the Dragons as underdogs looks enticing value and they’ll be well rested after playing on Thursday in round three.
- The Dragons feel very at home at McDonald Stadium with an overall 16 wins and four losses and have won eight of the last ten games there.
- David Klemmer leads the competition in hit ups. After three rounds he has had 56 which is an average of 19 for 172 metres per game. He leads the competitions for run metres for forwards (516 metres).
- The Dragons lead the competition in tackle breaks with an average of 33 per game.
H2H: Dragons ($2.08)Value: Dragons 1-12 ($3.20)