Liam Fulton’s NRL Round 7 Preview: No Easter Treat For Bunnies Against Bulldogs

Bulldogs v South Sydney | Friday, April 14, 4pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

Bulldogs are reportedly chasing Aaron Woods but the Dogs have so many good forwards, I can’t really see why they would want to splash out more cash on forwards. 

In saying that, Woods is an Australian forward that is building a great reputation on and off the field.

They’re lacking a fullback and they need a strike player in that position.

They have the Morris brothers who are amazing footballers, but having someone like James Tedesco back there with them would give the Bulldogs an amazing force.

Souths rolled up their sleeves against the Panthers and got the job done. It was good to see them get the win but the Panthers were undermanned. 

Josh Reynolds (pictured above) needs to step up again for the Dogs. He’s hit and miss lately, but if he’s consistent on the night, he’ll wreak havoc for the Rabbitohs.

For Souths, Sam Burgess is their number one player. He brings the players together and just works hard.

He needs help from his brothers, so he can be at his best. They need to get back to the form when they won the Grand Final in 2014.

The Verdict 

Bulldogs to win.

Souths are still missing GI and this will be a telling factor in this game.

Unibet Odds: Bulldogs 1.75 South Sydney 2.10

Tip: Bulldogs 

Newcastle v Sydney Roosters | Friday, April 14, 6pm (AEDT), McDonald Jones Stadium

Whenever I played, I never blamed the ref, but now that I’m coaching, I do bag the refs a little. I don’t agree though, that the Knights aren’t getting a fair go from the referees.

The refs are human and are going to make mistakes. All fans agree that some weeks you get the rub of the green and some weeks, you don’t. It all evens out through the season. 

The Roosters made a few mistakes last week. They’re coming of two losses and would have been working on these issues in training.

They would have tightened up these problems, so I don’t think the Knights will score a try at all in this game. I’d bet my house on it or maybe just 5.00 on my Unibet account. 

Knights half Trent Hodkinson  needs to step up and lead the troops. He has the most experience in the squad and needs to give the young Knights some direction.

He also needs to get the ball out to Dane Gagai, so he can keep getting these amazing line breaks. 

For the Roosters, Jake friend (pictured above) had a couple of weeks off and he’s a player that leads and runs the forwards.

The Roosters have been missing this and having him back will make a massive difference.

The Verdict

Roosters will take this home very comfortably. Well I hope so, I have my house on it.

Unibet Odds: Newcastle 4.10 Roosters 1.25

Tip: Roosters

Brisbane v Gold Coast | Friday, April 14, 7.50pm (ASEDT), Suncorp Stadium

Injured halfback Ben Hunt is the key player at the Broncos and they’re not going to have him for this weekend or next year.

This will give the team some time to push Milford and see how he goes directing the team. 

Until I was watching the game I didn’t realise the Titans had that many players out.

They have a decent team but they don’t have enough depth at the moment.

Peats is back this week so that will assist with some direction from the ruck, but I just can’t see any joy in the short term for the Titans.

The type of game we’ll see will depend on the weather as both teams like throwing the ball around. 

Gold Coast’s young players have no fear and this could be a positive in this clash against the Broncos. 

I think this will be a very high scoring game.

With no Hunt, Milford will step up and this game could be the next year's halves pairing for the Broncos.

This could be a look into the future for this team.

The Verdict

The Broncos will be too strong and will over-power the Titans all over the park.

Unibet Odds: Brisbane 1.21 Gold Coast 4.50

Tip: Brisbane

Manly v Melbourne | Saturday, April 15, 3pm (AEDT), Lottoland

Manly’s defeat to the Dragons last week was a disappointing loss. They’ve been getting off to good starts but they just weren’t there last week.

It will come done to Cherry-Evans (pictured above). He needs to put his stamp on this game and run the ball.

The forward pack didn’t help Manly last week and it didn’t help their backs get any space. Around this time of the year, some of the players will start pulling small injuries. 

The weather played a massive part in the Storm’s loss and I can’t see them losing two in a row.

They have a few players ou,t but they were still very competitive. Melbourne just have players that just keep turning up every week.

The Storm are strong everywhere on the field and he’s going to have to find space and early points if they are to win.

Outside of the Storm’s big three, I expect Felise Kaufusi (pictured below) to have a big game.

I love watching this guy play. He’s tough, puts pressure on kicks, takes tough carries and he has been in the Melbourne system and bought into what they are doing like every other player seems to do.

The Verdict

The Storm will win 1-12 in this game. They won’t lose two in a row and Bellamy would have had them watching the game to find their mistakes. 

Unibet Odds: Manly 2.43 Melbourne 1.58

Tip: Melbourne

Canberra v NZ Warriors | Saturday, April 15, 5.30pm (AEDT), GIO Stadium 

The Raiders have such a good team and they have strike power all aver the park and with Joseph Leilua in the backs and with Makahesi Makatoa in the forwards, they’ll smash the Warriors this week.

They have such a good balance in their team, with steady halves, great forwards and good players coming off the bench. Ricky has done such a great job with the team.

This will be a hard fought game from the front. They both have big forwards and that will be the big factor in the first 20 minutes.

If the Warriors can get some early points, we might see the Raiders change the way they play. Don’t miss the first 20 minutes of this game.

Warriors star Kieran Foran needs to take control and play direct as this gives him so many more options during the game.

Austin can score a try from anywhere and this guy should be in the mix for origin.

He's a game breaker and an all-round good player. Watch the ground he covers as the Raiders get into the opposition’s 20.

The Verdict

The Raiders’ attitude will determine the game. If they’re focused and don’t let in any points in the first 20, I think they’ll win comfortably.

Unibet Odds: Canberra 1.36 NZ Warriors 3.20

Tip: Canberra

St.George-Illawarra v North Queensland | Saturday, April 15, 7.30pm (AEDT), WIN Stadium

Everyone is still writing the Dragons off but they shouldn't.

The Dragons’ forwards were the biggest difference against Manly with de Belin (pictured above), Vaughan and Frizell working together and sharing the workload which is giving them a lot more power at the closing stages of the each game. 

Losing Thurston for only 10 minutes was a loss for the Cowboys but losing him for more games is devastating.

The Cowboys would have trained for this during the off-season and Green will come up with a game plan to test the Dragons even without Thurston.

They have to play differently now as Thurston normally floats whereever he wants during the game looking for breaks and options.

Morgan (pictured above) will step up and try to do the Thurston job. He won’t have the same impact, but will do enough while Thurston is missing. 

No one can do what Thurston does.

The Verdict

Cowboys for the upset and even without Thurston, they still have a good team. This will be a grinding win.

Unibet Odds: St.George-Illawarra 1.36 North Queensland 3.20

Tip: North Queensland

Penrith v Cronulla | Sunday, April 16, 4pm (AEDT), Pepper Stadium

Tough one for a coach to impose bans on three of your best players in Moylan (pictured above), Blake and Hiku!

You have to ask yourself is this the only time they have done it, was it their last warning?

I wouldn’t have done it and not having Moylan was the difference in last week’s game. He usually sets up two or three tries a game.

I feel for the Sharks now as they these boys will be fired up for this game and they’ll want to make it up to the team. Moylan will get man-of-the-match in this game.

Weather was a major factor in the Sharks’ win over the Storm last week. The Sharks are a grinding team and had a bad game the week before.

There was an attitude change from last week, it goes to show that Rugby League is a mental game and it’s just the small things that make a difference like the turnaround time from each game, fitness throughout the week and just standard preparation.

Moylan will want to show the team why he is captain. He’ll lead from the front and this could be one of his finest games.

The Verdict

Panthers will be getting the two points. The three players that were dropped will hit high stats for this game.

Unibet Odds: Penrith 1.70 Cronulla 2.18

Tip: Penrith

Parramatta v Wests Tigers | Monday, April 17, 4pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

Injured Eels star Bevan French is a star player who the X factor like former Dragons flyer Nathan Blacklock.

They have a makeshift five-eighth in Gutherson (pictured above), no wonder they are desperate to get Moses in the team ASAP.

I said last week the Wests Tigers would want to step up and show the coach what they can do as individuals.

When you’re fighting for your position, it’s always going to bring the best out of you. Now they just have to keep doing it.

The key battle in this game will be Corey Norman v Mitchell Moses

This is going to be a great game and Norman is the Eels’ leader and without him, they'll just struggle to get any points.

I think that after this week, Mitchell Moses (pictured above) will go to Parra.

It’s crazy he could play them Monday and then turn up to Parra’s video session Tuesday.

He could be reviewing his own game, which could be embarrassing if the Eels put many points on the board.

The Verdict

The Tigers will carry that winning form into this game.

Players will be making sure Cleary knows what they have and the off-contract players will be trying to increase their value before signing. 

Unibet Odds: Parramatta 1.61 West Tigers 2.33

Tip: Wests Tigers

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