2010 NRL Round 1 Match & Betting Previews

The 13th season of the National Rugby League is about to get underway this weekend, with eight brilliant matches set to start the season off with a bang. NRL enthusiasts and punters have been waiting months for this weekend to arrive, and the chance to win big with your NRL wagers is finally here!

Ladbrokes.com.au have all of your NRL betting needs covered this season, offering competitive odds and intriguing exotic wagers on every action-packed match. All odds mentioned below are provided by Sportsbet.com.au, Australia’s leading online bookmaker for the National Rugby League.

Match 1 – Broncos v Cowboys

The first game of 2010 will be a heated derby match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos and new coach Ivan Henjak fought hard last season to come from a dismal beginning to one match short of the grand final. This year the Broncos are missing three of League’s greats – Karmichael Hunt, Dave Taylor and Tonie Carroll – and the question will be can they do it without them.

Hunt’s fullback position has gone to 18-year-old Corey Norman making his NRL debut on Friday night. Norman is just one of a large number of young players wearing the Broncos jerseys this season.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, will have new signing Willie Mason aboard this year and an immensely more experienced squad that will give the green Broncos team, which includes three players in first-grade league for the first time, a run for their money.

It will be a telling match and an important season for the Cowboys in 2010 as they look to regain some of the confidence that saw them at the top of their game a few years ago. Another lacklustre season for the Cowboys began last year when they lost four of their first five matches, so a sneaky win first up here will go a long way in setting them up for their comeback season.

Current Head to Head Odds: Broncos $1.83 – Cowboys $2 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 2 – Eels v Dragons

The second game of round one will be an intriguing match-up where last season’s minor premiers St. George Illawarra will face off against the Eels, who had a sensational finals round last year working their way from eighth position to playing in the grand final where they finished runners-up to the Storm.

This blockbuster round one showdown will be the match to watch over the weekend as both teams will be desperate to do one better this season.

Parramatta has made just four changes to the team that nearly made it all the way in 2009, including two new recruits in Justin Poore and Shane Shackleton. There is more attention on the Eels this season following their unlikely grand final appearance, but will they buckle under the pressure?

The Dragons’ claims in this game and the entire season have also been marred by their loss of Justin Poor, Wendell Sailor and Chase Stanley. They need to make no mistakes and stay disciplined if they are to feature this year.

Current Head to Head Odds: Eels $1.78 – St George Illawarra $2.05 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 3 – Bulldogs v Knights

Newcastle are definitely the underdogs in game three as they come up against the team that knocked them out of the series in the qualifying finals last year. The Knights will be under the coaching of Rick Stone this year, Stone’s first full season as head coach, but are still the early wooden spoon favourites.

The Bulldogs have too many advantages here to see the Knights coming away with a first round win, including the benefit of playing at their home ground. The Knights look in more trouble still when you consider who they are missing, their stand-out player and captain Kurt Gidley as well as their controversial and talented back row forward Danny Wicks.

Canterbury on the other hand were just one match away from the grand final last year and they are looking to be on the up and up. They will also benefit from the sharpened skills and determination of coach Kevin Moore following his debut NRL year last season

Current Head to Head Odds: Bulldogs $1.25 – Newcastle Knights $4 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 4 – Panthers v Raiders

Penrith look well positioned to win their first game of the season as they play at their home ground, and if the Panthers are known for one thing it is their love of the home ground advantage. Despite Penrith sinking to 11th on the ladder last season, Canberra sunk even lower in 13th and with the two fairly evenly matched sides both needing improvement this season, the venue will be the deciding factor this match.

The Panthers will also enjoy the fresh new talent their junior players who are stepping up this season will inject into the team. Names like Michael Jennings, Jarrod Sammut, Tim Grant, Joseph Paulo and Lachlan Coote all add to the team’s chances this year.

Canberra are likely to do better when they play at home, they have an excellent strike rate at Canberra Stadium, a bit further into the season once they have Joel Monaghan back on board.

Current Head to Head Odds: Panthers $1.38 – Raiders $3.05 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 5 – Sharks v Storm

Sharks have the toughest of all first round matches here, the second last team on the ladder board in 2009 face off against last season’s brilliant and seemingly unstoppable Melbourne. Cronulla are currently the second favourite at $5.50 to pick up the wooden spoon this year, so for them to come up against the reigning premiers is a big blow in round one.

Nearly impossible to see the Sharks win here, but in the NRL you never say never, and they do have the home ground advantage plus an injection of fresh players including Adam Cuthbertson and the return of Reece Williams.

Current Head to Head Odds: Sharks $2.62 – Storm $1.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 6 – Titans v Warriors

The Titans had a brilliant season last year, right up until their dreaded semi final match against the Eels. Still, the newest team in the NRL look promising again this season and facing off against the Warriors, who finished well down the ladder last year, at their home ground will be a confidence boosting way to start the 2010 season.

The Gold Coast team is so far injury free and are a force to be reckoned with at Skilled Park, so it should be an easy win for the team who are looking set for a stella season with real premiership claims.

Current Head to Head Odds: Titans $1.33 – Warriors $3.35 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 7 – Rabbitohs v Roosters

Two Sydney clubs face off in game seven and the question will be whether last year’s wooden spoon team, the Roosters, will be able to fight back following their nightmare season in 2009. All the pre-match hype has been about the Rabbitohs and the sensational season they are expected to have in 2010, but this is another team that may find the pressure too much and the Roosters, with their new coach and some new talent too, could be tipped to claim an upset win here.

The Rabbitohs, however, do boast one of the best teams the South Sydney club has had in many years featuring plenty of ability and bulk with players including Michael Crocker and new recruits Dave Taylor and Sam Burgess. So, whether or not the Roosters get a shock win here it should still be the Rabbitohs in the finals this year.

Current Head to Head Odds: Rabbitohs $1.53 – Roosters $2.55 at Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 8 – Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles

Monday’s round one match could very well be the game to make some real money on. Bookies have the Tigers installed as the favourites, but others are tipping the Eagles, and rightly so. Manly are keen to prove themselves this season and the Wests are not known for performing well early in the season, so an upset could be on the cards.

The Sea Eagles, however, are missing the man that matters most Matt Orford. Orford captained Manly to their 2008 Premiership win but has now moved on to the English Super League. Without Orford the Eagles chances weaken, hence the odds.

Current Head to Head Odds: Wests Tigers $1.75 – Sea Eagles $2.10 at Ladbrokes.com.au

NRL Round 1 Draw

Day Date Time (local) Venue Home Team Away Team
Fri March 12 7:35pm Suncorp Stadium Broncos Cowboys
Fri March 12 7:35pm Parramatta Stadium Eels Dragons
Sat March 13 5:30pm ANZ Stadium Bulldogs Knights
Sat March 13 7:30pm CUA Stadium Panthers Raiders
Sat March 13 7:30pm Toyota Stadium Sharks Storm
Sun March 14 1:00pm Skilled Park Titans Warriors
Sun March 14 3:00pm ANZ Stadium Rabbitohs Roosters
Mon March 15 7:00pm Sydney Football Stadium Wests Tigers Sea Eagles