NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 3 | 2021

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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

MrG’s game previews and analysis for this weeks round of NRL are listed above. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Wednesday and list any early game ratings and thoughts. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Thursdays). All subscribers can also receive all key information and updates by direct sms message.

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NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 2 | 2021

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MrG provides our NRL Tips Previews and content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers. Further details on our NRL offering here
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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

MrG’s game previews and analysis for this weeks round of NRL are listed above. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Wednesday and list any early game ratings and thoughts. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Thursdays). All subscribers can also receive all key information and updates by direct sms message.

Subscription Options

A range of subscription packages are available to suit everyone (from as low as $16.25 a week), with various multi week and season pass options available – or various subscription combinations can also be taken with our Horse Racing offering.

NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 1 | 2021

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MrG provides our NRL Tips Previews and content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers. Further details on our NRL offering here
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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

MrG’s game previews and analysis for this weeks round of NRL are listed above. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Wednesday and list any early game ratings and thoughts. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Thursdays). All subscribers can also receive all key information and updates by direct sms message.

Subscription Options

A range of subscription packages are available to suit everyone (from as low as $16.25 a week), with various multi week and season pass options available – or various subscription combinations can also be taken with our Horse Racing offering.

NRL Season 2021 | Free Preview

MrG provides our NRL Tips Previews and content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers. Further details on our NRL offering here

Here MrG provides his annual pre season look at a table forecast, who looks to make up the top of table, likely improvers, who might be the risk, the log jam in the middle and then those forecast at the base of the table.

What’s an NRL Coach worth? And why Defence matters!

So what is a quality Coach worth? Experience, expertise and more often than not with longevity comes a successful record. For mine another key factor for success and longer term survival is an ability to understand and be able to coach defence, in my opinion the toughest things to do in this role. Some become very good at it, and understand it and how to coach it – most don’t. The stand out here is Craig Bellamy, not only has his sides played finals 16 out of 17 seasons his teams every season are either top 2 or top 4 in defence. Season after season of player list rotation over 16 seasons he gets it right. Add then to his long term resume season 2020 where the Storm lived out of a suitcase on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, remained undefeated at this new home base, still kept their weekly game defensive average at 13.8 and then went on to win the title!

CoachYearsFinalsPremierships
Bennett34297
Bellamy17165
Stuart1771
Hasler16132
Cleary1360
Robinson873

Why Defence Matters

Most coaches get it, but in my opinion most can’t actually coach it. Even in today’s structured and at times robot like game of physical chess (especially when those at the top of the table are matched up) the obvious begins to stand out with those who can (D) and those who can’t..

As already noted Bellamy’s long term record is just something else. Robinson has fast become another stand out. The penny finally dropped in Canberra at the end of 2018 that being attacking superstars was only half the battle and after some key coaching staff changes and 4 months of intensive off season focus into the 2019 season they to dropped near 6 pts a week off their defence and bingo – made a Grand Final. They again last year maintained this strength, even with such a horrible away draw. Another notable improver has been the Panthers, dropping last season to 11.9 pts a game (from a prior 19.8) and make the GF, they will be an interesting watch this season as the comp reverts to a normally home and away 25 week draw if this defensive quality can be maintained.

Some other interesting observations as we look at the table below. The other notable improver has been the Knights across the last 3 seasons, from 25.3 to last season 18.7. The Titans in the last 12 months have gone 27.1 to 23.2 but if they are to achieve the up table and into top 8 position this season as I expect then that defensive improvement needs to continue. The Sharks limped into the finals last year, but under Morris have defensively blown out across the last 3 seasons, 17.6 > 19.4 then 24.0 last year, if they continue leaking 24 a week with the likely competition for spots in the bottom of the 8 they are going to make it very hard for themselves.

Another of interest is the Tigers. Last season they blew out to 25.3 per week, very much unlike Maguire’s normal methods. They have made quite a number of list changes into this new season and I’m sure have also spent a lot of off season time on structure, patterns and technique to get this back to the 18 or 19 it was in the seasons prior.

The Eels are also an interesting discussion. They had a game average of 14.4 last season, but the season prior 19.7. They had a very soft draw last year due to Covid with 19 games in Sydney and 13 games at home. At the back end of the season when facing some to the teams at the pointy end of the table they conceded blow out scores like 38 (rd16 c Rabbits); 20 (rd18 v Panthers); and then in their final 3 games 24, 36 and 38. I expect this season they are back circa 18 to 20 per week.

The big sliders become obvious, and again highlight why they sit where they sit on the table. Sea Eagles missed the finals last yr, much has been made of them losing many games when Tom Trbojevic wasn’t playing, but defensively they were rubbish conceding 25.5 per week. Cowboys 26 a week, Bulldogs 25 a week and the hapless Broncos 31 a week.

 NRLAv last 3 seasons 
  Av # winsAv D per gameD/game 2020
1Panthers14.617.011.9
2Storm17.313.813.8
3Eels11.619.014.4
4Raiders1319.515.5
5Rabbits13.618.015.9
6Roosters15.615.416.1
7Knights1021.918.7
8Dragons10.022.122.6
9Warriors10.621.822.9
10Titans7.024.823.2
11Sharks12.620.324.0
12Bulldogs7.021.625.2
13Tigers1021.625.3
14Sea Eagles9.323.425.5
15Cowboys7.322.826.0
16Broncos9.624.131.2
 Rating order based on D/game av. 2020

Table Forecast

These ratings are finalised using a whole range of performance data across recent seasons, team list changes (ins and outs), home and away advantage/records, MrG’s personal feel and opinion and then a forecast simulation of all weekly results for this coming seasons based on all of this criteria to finalise and forecast the likely final table positions. I have used this method for the past 8 seasons with it then normally providing an accurate forecast of those expected to perform well (top 2, top 4, top 8) and those who look at significant risk and likely in the bottom half or bottom 4 of the final table. The obvious longer term unknown now is the impact of a new coach, list overhauls and or new major signings, luck with the draw and the obvious unknown impact of key injuries or off field indiscretions, but in the final 8 weeks prior to the new season start I have worked through as much of this as possible to then piece together a ratings assessment.

2021

I have the top 4 rated all but side by side, and then a gap behind then. I then have the Raiders then Titans. Then a mid table log jam of seven teams all rated very closely together fighting it out for bottom of the 8 spots. Things then start to fall away back to Bulldogs, then Dragons then Broncos. As I have said elsewhere over recent weeks I have the Broncos rated as low a team at the bottom of the table as I have had in 10 years of doing this, I think they are a clear cut option for 16th.

The top 4 pick themselves. Panthers and Storm off Grand Final positions, each have a couple of key changes but look to have some quality depth. Both have been very good defensively longer term, and both have significant home ground advantage. The Roosters have been the benchmark for a number of seasons, some questions on whether some of their list are now in the twilight of their career and or what is resolved in the halves to partner Keary, but they also get a few key players back from longer term injury and have an outstanding coach and system. The Rabbits rating has improvement, Latrell Mitchell back, Mansour an in, and they had a number of younger forwards grow into their games last season and aim up. They also showed a key shift in the later part of last season to want to play some serious attack and ball movement, if they continue on this path they become a real contender.

Improvers

I have the Raiders mid table and similar to last season. They should be advantaged playing many more games back at home this season, but Bateman is a massive out, he’s a game changer. Time will tell but I’m not convinced that they now are as good as they were two seasons ago. I do see major improvement and table climb in the Titans, coach now has a clear run, he’ll prove to be a very good coach, they have recruited very well, cleared out some dead wood and wasted cap space and won their last 5 games to end last season playing some much improved attack.

Risk

I have question marks and risk watch noted on the Eels and Knights. As noted previously the Eels had the benefit of a very soft draw last year and then when it mattered quickly backdoored out of the competition. They have had key defensive issues down both outside edges which many opponents have now begun to really target, and have structurally now made the key change of swapping the left and right spots of their halves and back rowers. How does all of this come together? The Knights, made notable improvement under O’Brien last season but with Pearce stepping aside as captain and Klemmer it seems being on the outer I one has to wonder how this all gels week in week out into the season. Their attack needs plenty of work, they’ll also have a period to start the season with out Ponga, and last year showed some horrible inconsistency dropping games that they should have been winning like the Cowboys, Bulldogs, Warriors and Titans who all sat below them on the table. Both could well make the 8, but I have plenty of reasons why I have a cautious watch on them into the opening weeks.

Mid Table Log Jam

Eels, Knights, Warriors, Tigers, Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Sharks.

Not much separates the rating gap or spread across these teams and so these 7 plus the Titans I expect will be fighting it out for three spots to make up the finals. The Warriors and Tigers look to have made some positive recruitment and key list changes, Warriors and Cowboys have new coaches and approach. Sea Eagles are hard to place, they have some key outs (Fonua Blake and Thompson), still yet to resolve a quality #9, a heavy reliance on two or three key players and a cap list that looks out of balance. With their best list on the park, consistently, they can be competitive and challenge for the top 8 but for mine that has plenty of risk in it and defensively last year we saw them fall apart. New coach Payten’s influence at the Cowboys will be a very interesting work in progress, he did an outstanding job with a patchwork quilt Warriors last year and from all reports has done a major make over of how he wants this team to train and play. The Sharks limped into the top 8 last season, personally I think John Morris has done an excellent job in trying circumstances through recent seasons, and he has also been prepared to big some quality kids through, but he’ll need the best out of a few of his senior players and some major overall improvement in defence.

At The Bottom

While the Bulldogs start a new era under Barrett and have some new signings I think they still have a lot of ground to make up and are a work in progress across the next few years. That list still looks bottom 4, and we are still yet to see Barrett make a real mark as a top line coach. Dragons and Broncos pick themselves at the base, the injury loss of McInnes for the Dragons looks significant, he has work rate and defensive commitment which they dearly need, they also are another who look to have an overall play list way out of balance and whack, they are not hard to oppose. I have the Broncos going further backwards on last year if that is at all possible, its a weaker list, key losses, poor recruitment, unsettled 9, 7, 6 and 1 combination, massive defensive problems, unproven coach and a horrible draw.

Bottom of the Table Forecast Article > Here

Longer Term Plays

I have mentioned many times through recent weeks my keenness to back the Broncos for the spoon / least wins a $5.00. The Storm look a positive option for top 4, and the Titans as the Top Queensland team. I could risk the Eels and Knights to miss the top 8. For mine season long bets are about looking for some value over an above how you might price the offer, and so I think the stand out play is the Broncos least wins.


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NRL – MrG

Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Gerard Condon is a long term avid student of the game. He’s coached sides to win titles at a senior level, run the football arm of a successful district club, managed professional players and worked in various development roles, so it’s fair to say the game of Rugby League is certainly in his blood and supports an experienced and unique offering.

Mr G’s NRL previews and betting tips combine this knowledge and ‘read’ of the current weekly form with a statistical and betting analysis to provide his followers with a unique and successful approach. He spends hours each week watching and reviewing each and every game assessing the strengths and weakness of the form to then weigh against that of the betting markets. His previews and betting tips have been published on the internet via two sports forums for 7 years prior to his public offering through Reading The Play. Full details on our NRL offering here

+24.4 units Profit @ 2020 season
+28.7 units Profit @ 2019 season
124.9 units Profit since commencement in 2013!
 BetsWin%Units BetUnits ReturnProfitPOT
20201056158.1181205.4424.413.5%
20191116255.9226.9255.5528.712.6%
Results Files here

“Best NRL opinion in the business. Love your work MrG. Not only a real Rugby League mind, but also so well spoken and cliche free! I’d buy you a beer just to talk footy any day mate!” Sayed F, Sydney


NRL Season 2021 | Bottom of the Table Forecast

MrG provides our NRL Tips Previews and content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers. Further details on our NRL offering here

Here MrG has a look at who he thinks anchors down the base of the NRL table for much of the coming season, and why he has been all over the Broncos to finish 16th! As the new NRL Season for 2021 fast approaches MrG has provided a series of previews toward then publishing his detailed Season Preview.

Broncos

BroncosForecastFinishedWonD AgainstD Av.Differential
202116     
2020816362431.2-356
2019281148920.3-57
2018461550020.8+56

Coach: Kevin Walters

Player List

Lost: Fifita, Ofahengaue; Bird; Boyd; O’Sullivan; McCullough

Gains: Asiata; Mead; Copley

Preview Thoughts

Let me open by saying I have been stunned (happily) that the markets have had the Broncos assessed as a $5.00 chance for the spoon / most losses through recent weeks. If they are not a $2.20 or there abouts chance I give up – and yes they are a bet!

The list management by the executive and coaching staff over the last few years has been diabolical, plummeting from 6th position to the spoon in two seasons, and having looked to have a highly promising list of kids coming though to now looking like they are walking around in circles in the dark with a blindfold on. They lost David Fifita (and a few others) and so out of whack is their cap now for this season they have had to patch up fringe positions with fill in players long past their best at this level.

After all the drama through the last two years Seibold was finally shown the door and now Kevin Walters gets the gig, but all but handed a hospital pass as I’m sure it will take at least 2 years to reshape the list and performance.

They will start the season without Hass and play a likely 10 or so weeks without arguably their best back and try scoring strike in Staggs. They need stability and some consistent play at #9 and #7 (the Croft experiment hasn’t worked); Milford has been terrible at #6 for the last three seasons (and progressively getting worse) and who now longer term does the job at #1? Coates looks a star, Oates now looks to be moved into the back row (does this then diminish what was left edge scoring power?). They’ll need the best out of Pangai, Carrigan and Flegler and hope that Lodge can stay injury free and perform.

Over the last three seasons their defence has gone from conceding 18 a week to 31.. If you want a measuring stick then compare that to a Bellamy coached side at the Storm who each season (for 15 or more seasons..) concede between 12.5 to 14 pts a week, or any top 4 side each season who are somewhere around 14 to 16 per week. The Broncos need three new sandpits out the back at Red Hill to get this into shape and it’s not going to happen this season. And in attack how the once mighty have fallen, now to less than 14 pts a game, and some weeks last season looking all but devoid of what or how to execute.

Their Away record over recent years is now shocking, putting even further pressure on them as a unit as to cop sizeable and or regular losses when away for half the season sure as hell shoots through the confidence of your young potential players. Two years ago they won 4 of 12 Away games, and closed out the season with two hammerings in Sydney conceding 30 to the hapless Bulldogs and then 58-0 to the Eels. This then compounded further last year with just 1 Away win from 10 games, lucky this didn’t get more embarrassing due to the Covid interruptions. For so many years this club set the gold standard in Away travel professionalism and winning record, now you could all but bet against them any Away week.

Looking a little deeper at their draw also then highlights two key points (and further negatives). Firstly their Away draw, they face > Titans, Storm, Rabbits, Eels, Cows, Eagles, Roosters, Dragons, Raiders, Panthers, Knights, Sharks – you’d be very hard pressed to pencil them in for more than 2 wins against that list? But a bigger factor then is that against the 6 sides around whom I think the top of the table winning form will come from (the pointy end) they play these teams 13 times! (they play some of these teams twice, some once). For comparison the Dragons play these same teams 9 times, the Bulldogs just 7 times. For a team that finished 16th last season and are looking to get themselves up off the canvas and rebuild they have one hell of a task against the draw (on paper) that they face this season.

Oh. And as for the Home record, well clearly when finishing 16th with 1 Away win its also not pretty – 2 wins last year. For a club that used to average 35,000 to a home game and a (past) longer term home win record of circa 7 out of every 10 (or 70% on average most seasons) – they now certainly look days of old!

The Broncos are the lowest rating I have had for a team at the bottom of the table to start a new season in 10 years. Much of that is to do with these two recent years, but it looks a big mess to clean up. Maybe Walters is the man, I’m not convinced but hopefully he brings some calmness and unity as a starting point. But after all of the dust has settled on the coaching changes and what is now their player list I can’t but mark them down further as a rating position. And that’s without factoring in with any further harshness the Away record and horrible draw. If they avoid 16th spot Kevin Walters deserves a gold medal.


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Dragons

DragonsForecastFinishedWonD AgainstD Av.Differential
202115     
20201112745222.6-74
2019615857523.9-148
2018671547219.7+47

Coach: Anthony Griffin

Player List

Lost: Aitken; Saab; Sailor; Graham; Frizell; Host; K Sims

Gains: Bird; Alvaro; Ellis; Faamausili, McCullough

Preview Thoughts

Even with the new coach there just looked to be lots of question marks all over this, and they are another that I have marked down a little further on the end of 2020.

Including the last season departures of Lafi and Graham and now the recent long term injury to McInnes there is a 9 person change around on their list from one season to the next without imo any credible signings. Included in this the major loss of Frizell, it is now a much weaker playing list than last season. Bird as we know can play, but unfortunately he has been dealing with a busted body for three seasons now and so poses as a wait and see proposition. Aside from this there is then the internal hope that either a number of their younger ones begin to shine or that some of the older more experienced ones who have been disappointing through recent seasons aim up and perform under the new coach, but overall it looks a weaker starting point than a year ago.

Certainly performance and quality questions in key roles at #9, #7, #6 and possibly #1. Lets hope that the space and freedom that Dufty was finally provided with late last season is enhanced this year, he has speed and looks an attacking weapon and strike from the back that they so desperately need. Dragons fans would also be hoping that the past relationship of Griffin, Hunt, McCullough and Norman (at Broncos) can come to the fore here and shine, off the back of very disappointing offerings in 2020 Hunt and Norman will be under significant focus.

I’m not a huge fan of Griffin as a coach, for mine his general communication and attack execution (in particular last red zone attack set up and play) has left a lot to be desired, he was propped up at the Broncos by an outstanding Lockyer and then at the Panthers by some quality individual talent – and in both instances regardless of how one wants to spin it (winning percentage) he was shown the door at both clubs. He’s had the benefit of a few years away from the game and hopefully for the RedV army can now find his feet here and guide their performance upward.

Defensively they have regressed through each of the last 3 seasons, with a new coaching staff start I’m sure that will have been a key focus. Notably tho their attack has been painful to watch through the last two seasons, seemingly obsessed with flat sideway and or block play execution and an inability to score points, struggling to muster just 18 most weeks for the last two seasons. It to I’m sure has seen some focus and overhaul. Of what comes of all of this will be interesting to watch.

The Dragons Home and Away record has been poor through each of the last two seasons and very much that of a bottom of the table team, even their once highlight record at either of their two Home grounds has evaporated.

I expect this season that we will see a log jam of teams fighting it out for mid table positions (6th downward) all competing for the likely final spots in the top 8 and so it looks very difficult to see how a side like the Dragons on the facts of what we know climb rapidly up the table. Even without trying to be harsh I have marked them down further on where I had them finish last season on the basis of their list changes and or questionable key player form. It’s going to take a significant make over and reinvention for them to be anywhere toward the mid table mix, and I expect a least 12 months away.


Best NRL opinion in the business, knows his stuff and consistently finds the right angles to bet. Back for my 5th year, thanks again” – Ron, Charlestown


Bulldogs

BulldogsForecastFinishedWonD AgainstD Av.Differential
202114     
20201315350425.2-222
201915121047719.8-151
20181212847419.8-46

Coach: Trent Barrett

Player List

Lost: Foran, Cogger, Lafai, Holland, Montoya, Remis Smith, Tolman, Sue

Gains: Flanagan, Cotric, Allan, Hetherington, Waddell

Preview Thoughts

While there has been plenty of positive talk and happenings in and around the Bulldogs across the offseason it is also hard to see (or rate) them that much higher into 2021 than where they have been. There is improvement, but it is off what was a very low base.

They have the coaching change with Barrett and additions of Flanagan, Cotric and Allan into their backline, notably they hope with significant influence from Flangan at #7. But this is also a list that has sat at the wrong end of the table for a number of years, struggled to ball play and or score points and consistently leak plenty.

Barrett will now have far more experience for this assignment a) having been a head coach at the Eagles (along with then all of the scars that might have gone with the job), and b) then a positive stint as assistant coach directing the attack at the Panthers. I think the later has the potential to help him a lot here, many of his attack plans and execution at the Eagles was in my opinion well thought out as then was much of his work in polishing things at the Panthers. In now taking over a team list that could hardly but points on most weeks through recent seasons (14 a week last year) his restructure and direction will be desperately needed. Defensively tho there will also need to be a lot of work, concentration, attitude and or just the quality of personal they have worked with through recent seasons performed poorly consistently falling away in games and overall across 2020 were conceding 26 pts per week.

One thing that should be to their advantage this season is that they will have a lot of games in Sydney, and of this a lot of games at Homebush. They also have a far softer draw than some of those around them at the bottom of the table (like the Broncos) with just 7 games against those who I expect to be making up the winning, pointy end of the table (by comparison the Broncos have 13).

Does Allan play #1, and stand out? Is Cotric in the centres? Who partners Flanagan in the halves (Averillo) and with what success? Who makes #9 work? Averillo shows much promise, Barrett will be looking for him to have a break out year. Still many questions across the quality and depth of their overall list, but some positive steps for the coming season while they also look to recruit further into 2022.

They look a work in progress but with some likely green shoots. I’m sure the focus this season is around getting much of their foundations right, but which ever way we slice it the Bulldogs still look for now a bottom 4 contender.


NRL – MrG

Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Gerard Condon is a long term avid student of the game. He’s coached sides to win titles at a senior level, run the football arm of a successful district club, managed professional players and worked in various development roles, so it’s fair to say the game of Rugby League is certainly in his blood and supports an experienced and unique offering.

Mr G’s NRL previews and betting tips combine this knowledge and ‘read’ of the current weekly form with a statistical and betting analysis to provide his followers with a unique and successful approach. He spends hours each week watching and reviewing each and every game assessing the strengths and weakness of the form to then weigh against that of the betting markets. His previews and betting tips have been published on the internet via two sports forums for 7 years prior to his public offering through Reading The Play. Full details on our NRL offering here

+24.4 units Profit @ 2020 season
+28.7 units Profit @ 2019 season
124.9 units Profit since commencement in 2013!
 BetsWin%Units BetUnits ReturnProfitPOT
20201056158.1181205.4424.413.5%
20191116255.9226.9255.5528.712.6%
Results Files here

Best NRL opinion in the business“Love your work MrG. Not only a real Rugby League mind, but also so well spoken and cliche free! I’d buy you a beer just to talk footy any day mate!” Sayed F, Sydney