Roosters ready to rock
Ian Millward previews this weekend's action, including England's game against the Exiles on Friday.
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He has gone for an Exiles victory and very much likes their chances on the handicap, along with a couple of first tryscorer bets.
The NRL is the other main focus this weekend and Sydney Roosters are the team to really catch the eye.
- 2.75pts Exiles (+6) to beat England at 10/11 (Betfred) - Good quality and strength and can prove too good for England.
- 1pt Pat Richards to be first tryscorer v England at 11/1 (Ladbrokes, Coral) - Great hands and worth a bet to cross over first.
- 1pt Joel Monaghan to be first tryscorer v England at 11/1 (Ladbrokes) - Similar theory to Richards and also worth support.
- 2.75pts Roosters (-10) to beat Warriors at 10/11 (general) - Tough defence at home and can end the good run of the Warriors.
England v Exiles (+4) (2000BST)
I think that the Exiles side have more quality and are stronger than England in each position - there are about half-a-dozen players missing from the latter who would be in their best team.
If the Exiles come with a never-say-die attitude and the ability to work hard for 80 minutes, they have won three out of the last four in this fixture and can win outright let alone with a start on the handicap.
They have got a lot of skill and a lot of size, which encourages offloads. For an opening tryscorer bet, the Exiles have the two best ball-catchers in Super League in Pat Richards and Joel Monaghan and I think it will be one of that pair who will cross over first.
There should be some points as well if the game takes place on a dry pitch.
Sharks v Eels (+14) (1035BST)
Cronulla were in a rich vein of form until last week and they were smashed by Melbourne Storm. I think going back to Shark Park, the return of inspirational captain Paul Gallen and the lessons learned from playing the Storm, this smacks of a return to their best for the Sharks. The Eels are mediocre and look destined for the wooden spoon so take the hosts to win and cover.
Storm v Knights (+14) (0605BST)
Melbourne have been very impressive in their last two games against the Sydney Roosters and then Cronulla. They are in the top three and have won their last eight at home games against the Knights and it is fixture where they invite all their former players to watch and form a guard of honour. So there is a fair bit of peer pressure on the current players but their defence last week was outstanding. Newcastle still have some key players out but there is a possibility former London Bronco Craig Gower could play for them. Melbourne at home look too strong though and I expect them to win and cover.
Roosters v Warriors (+10) (0935BST)
The Roosters' current defensive record at home is their best in 35 years and they are very miserly at the moment. A positive for the Warriors is their flair and the ability to offload the ball but it can be their dowfall as well as they can come up with a lot of errors. This could be a step to much after three wins in a row and I expect the Roosters to win and cover. They are my NRL special this weekend.
Leeds v Widnes (1945BST)
Widnes are improving every week and have equalled the total amount of points they scored all last season with eight games to go. The problems still remain away from home as they leak points and even though Leeds have a lot of top names out, they do have the back-up. As long as their players from the Exiles match are okay, I still think they can win and cover. They are the better team even though there is a lot of media hype over the injury situation.