Liam Fulton’s NRL Round 8 Preview: Roosters v Dragons, Storm v Warriors Clash On Anzac Day

Canberra v Manly | Friday, April 21, 6pm (AEDT), GIO Stadium

The Raiders are growing as a team with this young squad. They have a few older players but still young in terms of the NRL with Croker.

The Raiders are a top four team and they’re showing that each week, they’ve never gone down easily in any of their loses.

Ricky wouldn’t have been happy with the way they played but still happy with the win.

Manly’s Brian Kelly (pictured above) is a fantastic player, who wasn’t really known on the Gold Coast. Barrett has given him a go and he has taken it with two hands.

He must have had a great off-season as he started the season in the starting line-up.

It goes to show you what can happen in the off-season when you’re training hard.

He has a bit self-belief and Barrett has been a contributor to that.

I bet the Titans wish they had seen the talent when he was playing with them. Someone at the Titans would be kicking themselves he is gone.

I would assume this’ll be a free-flowing game. The Raiders move the ball around and look for gaps in the line.

Dylan Walker and Cherry-Evans like to move the ball across the field, but not sure they should do that this game, as the Raiders will shut them down.

The Verdict

Canberra will be too strong in this game. Get on Canberra 13+

Unibet Odds: Canberra 1.23 Manly 4.25

Tip: Canberra

Line tip: Canberra -11.5

South Sydney v Brisbane | Friday, April 21, 7.50pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

Souths are doing a lot through Damien Cook (pictured above) off the bench rather than starting him.

Alex Johnston is getting better at fullback but you can’t replace GI. Keep doing what you’re doing and with time, the combinations will get better. 

Broncos flyer James Roberts (pictured below) is explosive. Everytime he gets the ball you think that something is going to happen.

He has the benefit of having strong players around him that give him the options. Great players shine brighter when they have a good team surrounding them. 

For Souths to win, it has to be the halves, Walker and Reynolds who need to step up. 

Souths’ forwards are going to give you bang for one’s buck. They need to start both Burgess brothers and put on the pressure from the start.

The Verdict 

Broncos have the momentum at the moment and Souths are still trying to find some form.

Jump on the Broncos as they’ll win by a higher margin than the line. 

Unibet Odds: South Sydney 2.70 Brisbane 1.48

Tip: Brisbane

Line tip: Brisbane -5.5

Parramatta v Penrith | Saturday, April 22, 3pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

Corey Norman (pictured above) is organising everything and runs the ship.

Their forwards know their job and if they can get Moses before the end of the season, they could be a chance of going somewhere.

They need an experienced hooker like Peats and they would be one of the strongest teams in the comp if they could fill that spot.

They can’t leave Nathan Brown there, he is a good a lock but not meant to be in that position.

The Panthers’ club suspensions to Moylan (pictured above), Blake and Hiku has had an effect on the team. 

The guys won’t be saying that, but it’s reality. We all expected them to step up when they came back but they just aren’t firing.

They’ve had a lot of pressure on them this season but when you want the top money, people expect results.

The entire Panthers team needs to step up and start working as a team, but Moylan needs to lead from example.

The Verdict

Eels’ backs will fire and run away with this at home. Easy money at +3.5 start on the Eels. 

Easy money at three and half start on the Eels.

Unibet Odds: Parramatta 2.20 Penrith 1.70

Tip: Parramatta

Line tip: Parramatta +2.5

North Queensland v Newcastle | Saturday, April 22, 5.30pm (AEDT), 1300SMILES Stadium

I’ve always known John Asiata (pictured above) has had ball playing ability.

When I talk to Todd Payton, he tells me this kid has skills. They’re missing the front row at the moment, so I don’t think we’ve seen what he really could do with a full team.

The Cowboys’ second half last week will give them some confidence this round against the Knights. 

They need to keep it simple. When you’re missing key players in so many positions, you need to keep it simple, roll your sleeves up and push for the win.

The Knights have a chance here but highly unlikely they’ll be flying home with the points. 

The Verdict

Cowboys. Better pack and they still have Michael Morgan playing.

Cowboys will cover the start and put many more points on the Knights. 

Unibet Odds: North Queensland 1.32 Newcastle 3.50

Tip: North Queensland

Line tip: North Queensland -8.5

Cronulla v Gold Coast | Saturday, April 22, 7.30pm (AEDT), Southern Cross Group Stadium 

Valentine Holmes (pictured above) could potentially turn into a good fullback. He has loads of potential, but potential gets coaches sacked.

At the moment, he’s a couple of lengths behind the fulltime players in that position.

Titans hooker Nathan Peats (pictured below) is a tough guy and very competitive.

This is a tough game to come back to but he’ll make a difference and straighten up the line for the Titans and make some metres from dummy half. 

The Verdict

Looking at the current team sheets, Cronulla will be too strong for the Titans.

If Hayne and a few other players come back which has been rumoured, then the line will change very quickly.

I would put a few dollars on the Gold Coast just in case. 

Unibet Odds: Cronulla 1.26 Gold Coast 4.00

Tip: Cronulla

Line tip: Gold Coast +10.5 

Wests Tigers v Bulldogs | Sunday, April 23, 4pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

The Mitchell Moses saga would be on the Tigers’ players minds all of the time.

Players will say “I don’t know…I don’t ask him’’. They would know and they know he’s going and they will just want to know when. 

The club should have quashed it then but they didn’t.

It would have been easy for the CEO to come out and say he’s staying until the end of the season, but the Tigers haven’t said a thing like they usually do and that’s’ why I think he’s going sooner rather than later. 

Hard to say if Josh Reynolds (pictured above) can become a consistent player for the Bulldogs for the rest of the season.

He’s up one week, then off the next.  If he keeps going strong over the next few weeks like he was when he played Origin for NSW, then he could be one of the most dominating halves in the game. 

Reynolds is a fan favourite, but how long will they love him if they’re not winning. 

The Verdict

Too many distractions for the Tigers and until the Moses issue is resolved, the Dogs will get this over the line.

I would take the +5.5 start if Brooks is back for the Tigers, that’s how close this game could be.

Unibet Odds: Wests Tigers 2.60 Bulldogs 1.51

Tip: Bulldogs

Line tip: Wests Tigers +5.5

Sydney Roosters v St.George-Illawarra | Tuesday, April 25, 4pm (AEDT), Allianz Stadium

This traditional ANZAC Day game is a great game.

The players talk about it and they say it’s one of their favourite games of the whole season.

The huge crowd, helicopters flying the trophy in and then the last post is played. It’s giving me chills and I have never played in this occasion.

With both teams firing at the moment, it's going to be a great game. 

Boyd Cordner (pictured above) will be leading from the front for the Roosters. He has been the driving force for Roosters and they’ll feed off his energy.

If they keep playing the way they are, the Dragons could repeat Cronulla’s season last year.

The Dragons are all playing for each other at the moment and that flows through at training and then repeats itself again game day. 

The Verdict

Dragons. Roosters are better on paper but the Dragons are just going to be too good.

Unibet Odds: Sydney Roosters 1.64 St.George-Illawarra 2.30

Tip: Dragons

Line tip: Dragons +3.5

Melbourne v New Zealand Warriors | Tuesday, April 25, 7pm (AEDT), AAMI Park 

The Storm’s second half against Manly wasn’t good, they just dropped some ball and their completions were poor.

Manly played well and put the pressure on the Storm, which made this happen.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (pictured below) is a great player but he hasn’t played at his best since he has moved over to the Warriors.

I would like to see him get more ball on the attacking line.

The Verdict

Storm at home and with a full team, it’s just going to be too hard for the Warriors to get the points.

Long flight home for the Warriors.

Unibet Odds: Melbourne 1.28 New Zealand Warriors 3.75

Tip:  Melbourne

Line tip: Melbourne -9.5

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