2010 NRL Round 2 Match & Betting Previews

The opening round of the 2010 NRL Telstra Premiership is behind us, with the first games of the season setting the stage for a brilliant following few months of footy.

Round one saw a number of shock victories and incredible first match performances from debut players.

For a detailed review of all the NRL Round 1 results click here.

This weekend we move into the second round of Rugby League with eight more scintillating showdowns scheduled to take place.

As always Ladbrokes.com.au have a range of competitive and compelling odds and bet types open on all of round two’s games.

Below you will find a preview of all the Round 2 matches to help you make your selections.

Match 1 – St. George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs

The first game of round two on Friday night is one of the most exciting match ups. The Dragons showed they were ready to go all the way this season when they defeated the Eels last week in an impressive and focused game.

St. George Illawarra have the home ground advantage this week, which they will enjoy and are up against a slightly disheartened Bulldogs who went down to the Wooden Spoon favourites, Newcastle, last week.

The Bulldogs will be missing hooker Michael Ennis, who consented to a one-week ban for a high tackle charge. Blake Green, previously the captain for the Sharks, will step in and play his first match for Canterbury.

Nathan Fien is out for the Dragons this week but Luke Priddis is stepping in and should cover this loss.

The Dogs will need to improve their kicking game, especially when it comes to conversions while the Dragons will have to watch their defence, which nearly let them down in the second-half last week.

If both teams play similarly to how they did in round one, then the Dragons’ and their sensational ball possession will see them come away with a win here.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Dragons $1.53 – Bulldogs $2.55 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 2 – South Sydney Rabbitohs v Gold Coast Titans

The Rabbitohs will be out in force this week following their hard loss to the Roosters, who are back this season with a new attitude and plenty of ability. South Sydney will be heads down and focused looking to reignite some of that pre-season hype that they failed to live up to last week.

The Titans have received some good news and a big confidence booster, however, with fullback Preston Campbell cleared to play in Friday night’s match. Campbell was in doubt earlier in the week following a concussion he sustained in the Titans’ round one win over the Warriors, but has since gotten the all clear.

With Sydney determined to make amends for their poor performance last week and the Titans hugely disadvantaged with their less than impressive record playing away, the Rabbitohs will start as the favourites Friday night.

But, with a win under their belts and Sydney still getting their act together, an upset could be on the cards.

Update: Preston Campbell has been pulled out of Friday night’s match the risk of further injury following his head knock last week deemed too high by himself and Titan’s coach John Cartwright. William Zillman has been flown down to Sydney to take Campbell’s spot.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Rabbitohs $1.70 – Titans $2.15 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 3 – New Zealand Warriors v Cronulla Sharks

Both teams playing in this Saturday’s first match suffered round one defeats last week, but didn’t go down without a fight. The Sharks held their ground against the Storm and were just four points away from causing a massive upset, while the Warriors did well to go down by only six points to the Titans at Skilled Park.

The Warriors did well in their first 40 minutes of footy for 2010, but seemed to lose steam in the second half. The home ground advantage this week should make a big difference with the crowd behind them, but they need to keep up their stamina to get through the Sharks’ defence and score the points.

Predicting a tight finish if both teams step up to the plate with the Auckland venue likely to be the deciding factor.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Warriors $1.48 – Sharks $2.65 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 4 – Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm

The Knights shocked many when they defeated the Bulldogs in round one, but in spite of their victory last week Newcastle are still the favourites to take out the Wooden Spoon this season.

The Storm came close to a huge upset defeat against the Sharks last week, but this narrow win will have served as a wake-up call to the reigning premiers who should fight back strong here.

It will be an amazing credit to the Knights if they can manage another upset win, and they do have the benefit of playing at home. Also, Melbourne are missing Cooper Cronk to injury so will find it tougher to break Newcastle’s defence.

But the speed of Billy Slater and Greg Inglis when they play the ball is something to behold and Newcastle will need to keep an eye on this.

Another tight match, but a good one to consider backing the underdogs for a pretty payout.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Knights $2.25 – Storm $1.65 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 5 – North Queensland Cowboys v Penrith Panthers

Penrith are travelling up to Townsville this week to face off against the Cowboys in North Queensland’s first home match for 2010.

The Cowboys fought back well in the second half of their opening game last week and nearly beat the Broncos at home.

This week with the home ground advantage and a team they are better able to read, without all those stunning young players on debut mixing it up, sees the Cowboys looking good to secure a win.

Penrith totally smashed Canberra 34 – 16 last week, but the margin would have been even larger had the Panthers not let down their defence in the second half. This week they face a tougher level of competition and are away from home.

Sure to be a high scoring game either way, but if Thurston can lead the Cowboys to play with the same intensity as they did in their second half game last week, then North Queensland will finish on top.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Cowboys $1.67 – Panthers $2.20 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 6 – Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles

The Eels, despite their defeat to the Dragons last week are still equal favourites with Melbourne at $6.50 to take out the Premiership this year, and with a game at home against Manly this round they look set to further improve their premiership claims.

However, Parramatta have lost forward Shane Shackleton. Shackleton, in his first match for Parramatta after signing over from the Roosters in the off-season, sustained a serious hamstring injury in the second-half of last Friday night’s match and he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Manly too are missing players and have a weakened backline with fullback Brett Steward and David Williams both sidelined due to injury. Steward was injured when he made a daring and dramatic tackle to bring down Lote Tuqiri in the final moments on last Monday night’s game against Wests Tigers.

Worse news still for the Sea Eagles, the seriousness of Steward’s left knee injury, which requires surgery, leaves him little chance of returning to the NRL at all this season. As a pivotal player and motivator for Manly, the club’s chances of making the finals look low this year. Winger Michael Robertson has been shifted to replace Steward’s position.

Manly did put in a strong first-half performance against the Tigers last week and will make the Eels fight for the win.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Eels $1.38 – Sea Eagles $3.05 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 7 – Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers

The Roosters were a force to be reckoned with last week when they charged onto the field as the underdogs but showed they were not keen to finish at the bottom of the ladder ever again, impressing and surprising many with their emphatic victory over South Sydney.

The Wests Tigers are coming off a round one victory as well making this match-up one of round two’s best. The Tigers’ team were strengthened with the return of Lote Tuqiri who had a sensational first match back in the NRL following his seven year stint playing Rugby Union. Tuqiri is already drawing the attention of Queensland State of Origin selectors.

The Roosters have the home ground advantage here and this may be the one thing that makes the difference in a game sure to be full of great moments and impressive plays from both sides.

But, Sydney have to prove that their round one victory was not just a fluke and that they can bring that out every week no matter who they face off against.

Wests will start the favourites and with some real gems like Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah playing their best, will be hard to beat.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Roosters $2.15 – Tigers $1.70 Ladbrokes.com.au

Match 8 – Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos

The final match of round two looks one of the easier ones to pick if you only look at last week’s form, but with the Raiders playing their first home game of 2010 and a number of other factors, it becomes a lot harder.

Canberra, despite getting back in the game for a while in the second half, were well beaten by the Panthers last week. Meanwhile, the Broncos opened the 2010 NRL season with an unbelievable first half and a tough finish holding off a gallant Cowboys to win last week.

The Raiders do play better at home and have an impressive record at Canberra Stadium in their Monday night matches that will see them start as the odds-on favourites. But the degrees Canberra would have to play better by to beat the brilliant Broncos is a bit too much for many.

Canberra fans braving the cold will have their money on the Raiders and with the new Brisbane players yet to travel and win, they could be right.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Raiders $1.65 – Broncos $2.25

NRL Round 2 Fixtures

Day

Date

Time (local)

Venue

Home Team

Away Team

Fri March 19 7:35pm WIN Stadium, Wollongong Dragons Bulldogs
Fri March 19 8:35pm ANZ Stadium, Sydney Rabbitohs Titans
Sat March 20 5:30pm Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland Warriors Sharks
Sat March 20 7:30pm EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Knights Storm
Sat March 20 9:30pm Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville Cowboys Panthers
Sun March 21 2:00pm Parramatta Stadium, Sydney Eels Sea Eagles
Sun March 21 3:00pm Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney Roosters Tigers
Mon March 22 7:00pm Canberra Stadium, Canberra Raiders Broncos