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Warren Smith's round two preview

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14

    WITH round one behind us, you'd think round two would prove a much easier proposition for tipping winners. But without much form on the board, it's still a challenge to predict outcomes with much confidence.
                        Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos
    It's the traditional Easter clash between these two sides. The Roosters looked really sharp in the first part of last week's game against the Bunnies – Anthony Tupou and the forwards really stood out and their attack was crisp. The Broncos surprised me with the way their forwards went last week but I think the Roosters may prove a touch too strong at home this week.

    South Sydney Rabbitohs v Bulldogs
    Craig Wing's loss is obviously massive for the Rabbitohs but if they can pick up from where they left off in the final 20 minutes against the Roosters last week – where they showed what they really can do – they will cause the Bulldogs plenty of problems. I think the Rabbitohs might bounce back from last week's disappointment – they were very flat in the first half – and with Isaac Luke getting out from dummy half and with a little more combination play in the forwards, I think their little men may prove too tough to contain in the second half.

    Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders
    Both these sides are really under pressure to produce something in this game, especially the Panthers who are at home. They were very disappointing last week in Brisbane and it was like 2007 all over again: dropped ball, giving away too many penalties and some pretty poor options in attack as well. Joe Williams has been given the sack as a result and Jarrod Sammut comes in to the half-back role. The Raiders are capable of surprising on the road, despite their poor away record, but I'm going to tip the Panthers at home.

    Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles
    The Knights were terrific last week, given the fact they lost Steve Simpson to a knee injury, which will keep him out of action for at least six weeks. At home, and with the halves combination now more settled, I think they'll go OK again. I just don't know how many points the Sea Eagles have got in them in 2008. We're only one game into the season, but it's already obvious that they miss Michael Monaghan's creativity around the ruck yet they'll still be favourites here. It's a tough to line up, so I'm going to stick my neck out and go for the season's first golden-point game.

    North Queensland Cowboys v Wests Tigers
    The big Cowboys forward pack was a bit slow out of the blocks last week and that could be a problem against the mobile Tigers unit. The Tigers used that advantage well last week and Robbie Farah was just sensational for them out of dummy-half. But they'll be without Benji Marshall and I expect the Cowboys to be a bit tough for the Tigers now they’ve had a week to work on combinations.

    Warriors v Parramatta Eels
    Which Eels will we see in New Zealand this week? The Eels from the first half against the Bulldogs when they were dreadful: dropping ball and conceding penalties? Or the Eels from the second stanza, who were outstanding with Brett Finch leading the way forward? The Warriors, though, at home, will probably be thinking back to the first week of last year's finals series against the Eels, in which they threw away a great chance to have a second home final the following week. Their form wasn't too bad last week; they showed plenty of aggression in defence early, and if they can maintain that and limit their mistakes (Manu Vatuvei had one for those games only he seems to have) they can cause an upset. I'm tipping the Eels in a very, very close one.

    Melbourne Storm v Cronulla Sharks
    Storm were as impressive as we thought they would be last week but I think they'll face a slightly tougher defensive side in the Sharks. Storm are perhaps a little flat after their northern exposure – they had less than two weeks to recover from that – they played on Monday night so they also have a shorter preparation this week. I expect the Sharks to ask some questions but with 17 consecutive wins at home, you'd think Melbourne will have the answers.

    St George Illawarra Dragons v Gold Coast Titans
    I know the Dragons have given coach Nathan Brown six weeks to prove himself but this one is almost a crunch game for him and for some of the players after last week's performance. They were just terrible against the Tigers and if the Dragons can't fire up for their first home game of the season, with the additional attention of Monday night footy, I think they're in all sorts of trouble for 2008. It's not a great time to run into the Titans, though, who were just dynamic against the Cowboys. The Dragons can't get any worse but I don’t see them improving enough in this one.

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