NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting Grand Final

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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting Grand Final


MrG provides NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers.

2016 – Profit +32.9 units | 73 winners / 125 bets | Strike Rate 58.4%

NRL 2016 Results File > RTP_NRL_Results_POT_2016

NRL Grand Final 2016


MrG’s Ratings

-2.5 Storm


The Storm have spent all 26 rounds in the top 8, I started them in Rd 1 rated equal third on my personal team ratings (behind the Broncos, Cowboys and equal with Rabbits), they started the finals series equal top rated with the Cowboys and I have improved that rating further through their two finals wins (new peek season rating). The Sharks started the season rated in the bottom half of the top 8, achieved a season peek rating while on their long winning run but I have them positioned back short of that peek off a poor final season run and questionable depth through tehir finals run.

NRL Grand Final Recommended Bet List


Bet 3 units Storm to win premiership $2.40 Sportsbet BB (subscribers bet advice 24/09)

Bet 2 units Storm-Sharks under 34.5 $1.91 Sportsbet


BB – Indicates Best Bet

Market Odds Comparison – a quick link to assist with the available odds across many possible providers – nrl-odds-comparisons

Staking: The recommended units bet is indicated next to each bet in the above bet list. The base bet is 1 to 5 units (and is also a reflection of confidence).

Game Preview


Key Contest Stats

Kind thanks to Mark Hull a good friend and keen NRL follower who complies a weekly list of key stats and insights for each game. You can also follow Mark on Twitter here @FootyAssist


Finals Notes:

8 of last 9 Premiers were one of the Top 2 defensive sides that season. This yr that’s Storm & Cowboys

12 of the last 16 Premiers have won the comp off the back of a week off and then winning their Prelim final win

6 of the last 7 grand finalists who had played 4 wks straight, have lost. Cowboys broke this factor for the first time last year


Storm vs Sharks

-2.5 Storm



History – Played 31, Storm 21, Sharks 10

At ANZ Stadium – First Meeting

Finals History – Played 1, Storm 1, Sharks 0 Storm’s Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 17, Won 12, Lost 5 Storm’s Finals Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 8, Won 5, Lost 3 Sharks Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 22, Won 7, Lost 15 Sharks Finals Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 2, Won 0, Lost 2

The Numbers for the Storm


The Minor Premiers recorded 21 wins and 5 losses to this point to make the Grand Final, with a longest winning streak of 7 from Rounds 7-17. They have been the bench mark in 2016, spending 18 weeks in the Top 2 and were never positioned out of the Top 8. At the conclusion of the regular season their defensive efforts had them ranking at the top of the charts, conceding 302 points at an amazing average of 12.5, while their 261 point differential was also the best in the NRL. Their 563 points in attack ranked 4th at an average of almost 24 PPG. Only on 4 occasions this season have Melbourne conceded more than 18 points. Melbourne scored 96 tries after 26 Rounds to be ranked 4th, while their 51 tries conceded was the best in the competition, with only 6 of those conceded through their middle 3rd, which was also the best record in the league, for the 2nd year in a row. They finished the regular season with a 13-11 record ATS which ranked 5th, with a 7-5 cover record away from home, while they have covered in 5 of the last 6 clashes with the Sharks. In total match points they were the Number 1 Unders side, producing a 19-7 record, with 8 of their last 10 finishing that way, while 9 of their 12 games away from home also went Under. In 4 of their last 6 matches at ANZ Stadium the total match points have finished Under as well. Melbourne has won 18 of 19 in 2016 with a half time lead, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 3 of 7 and in their last 10 matches, only once have they been outscored in the 2nd half. The Storm has scored the 1st try of the match in 15 of their 26 matches and have gone on to win on 14 of those 15 occasions (93%), while a penalty goal has been the 1st scoring play in their last 3 matches, including their last meeting with Cronulla. Melbourne has played 6 games on a Sunday this season and have recorded wins in all 6 of them. This will be Melbourne’s 6th Grand Final appearance since entering the competition in 1998, they won in 1999, 2007 and 2009, but were stripped of the latter 2 for salary cap breaches before claiming another victory in 2012.

The Numbers for the Sharks


The Sharks will be looking to end a 50 year drought when they contest just their 4 th Grand Final since entering the competition in 1967 and if successful, will end the longest Premiership drought in history of any side still playing in the competition. They recorded 19 wins, 6 losses and a draw to get to the big dance, their 1st since making the 1997 Super League Grand Final and their 1st in a unified comp since 1978. They set a new club record of 15 consecutive wins from Rounds 4 to 20 before recording just 1 win from their last 6 on the run home. They ranked 3rd in both attack (580 points for at an average of 24.2PPG) and defence (404 points against at an average of 16.8PPG) at the conclusion of the regular season, while their differential rated 4th . In 4 of the Sharks last 7 matches they have conceded 20 points or more. The Sharks scored 99 tries after 26 Rounds to be ranked 2 nd behind the Raiders, while their 67 tries conceded saw them rank 3rd . Their record ATS is 15-11 season to date and they are 9-5 when covering away from Shark Park, while they have covered in 11 of their last 14 when getting a start. Cronulla has a 14-12 total match points record in favour of the Under, with 4 of their last 6 played away from Shark Park totaling 36 or less. The Sharks have won 13 of 16 matches when going to the half time break in front, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 5 of 9. They have given up the 1st try of the match in 5 of their last 7, but have opened the scoring with a penalty goal in 3 of those, while a penalty goal has been the 1st scoring play in 3 of their last 5 Finals matches. Cronulla has the 2nd highest average in the comp for the time of the 1st try and in 14 of their 26 matches the 1st try has been scored after the 7th minute and this has also been the result in 10 of the last 13 Grand Finals. Like Melbourne, the Sharks are undefeated in Sunday matches this season, winning 8 from 8.

Head to Head


Melbourne has a dominate record over Cronulla, having won 11 of the previous 13 encounters. They also have a very good record at ANZ Stadium, winning 5 of their last 9, including victories in the 2009 and 2012 Grand Finals. A Melbourne try has been the 1st scoring play in 11 of the last 13 meetings with the Sharks, while they have scored the 1st try in all 13 of those matches. The home side has won 8 of the last 9 clashes but that will count for little as they meet on neutral ground for only the 2nd time. Both sides had the week off before their Preliminary Final wins which will guarantee that the percentage improves with sides going on to win the Grand Final after the weeks break which currently sits at 75% since 2000. In 5 of the last 6 meetings, the winning margin has been by 13+, with the Storm winning all of those, while the margin result in Grand Finals has been split evenly since 2003, along with last years draw after 80 minutes. Only once in the previous 13 encounters have the Sharks led the Storm at half time, while the half time leader has won 10 of the previous 13 Grand Finals. The Sharks haven’t scored more than 12 2nd half points in their last 17 matches against Melbourne at an average of less than 6, while on average, Melbourne has scored more than two and a half times more points than Cronulla from the past 12 match ups. In 11 of the last 14 meetings the total match points have resulted in Unders, with 8 of the last 11 failing to top 38. Matt Cecchin has refereed 6 Melbourne matches in 2016, with the Storm winning 3 of them and covering a line only twice, while 5 of them have finished Under, with all of those totalling 30 or less. The Sharks have a perfect record under Cecchin this year, winning 4 from 4 and covering in all of them, while they are 3-1 Under. Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is a former assistant coach of Craig Bellamy’s. Jesse Bromwich has scored in 3 of his last 5 matches against the Sharks.

Mr.G’s Preview


Storm have set the benchmark this season winning 15 of their last 18 games and elevating their performance rating month after month on their way to this the ultimate game (and have been top 2 for 20 of the last 28 weeks. As much as many look to pot them for one reason or another this week the facts don’t lie; they finished the minor premiers with an outstanding defensive record having conceded just 12 points a game in today’s modern game across 28 games, a remarkable offering. While you consider those deeds also then consider that 8 of the last 9 premiership titles (and a similar % over time the last 30 years) have been won by one of the top two defensive sides of that season.

The Storms last 3 games have all been pressure contests, Rd 26 to decide the minor premiership (vs Sharks), then a home semi vs defending title holders (Cowboys) then last weeks GF qualifier vs the comps #2 side (Raiders). In those 3 games, 3 big end of season pressure cookers they again have been to the fore defensively conceding just 6, 10 and 12 pts. Yes they have had some significant advantage playing these last 3 games at home, zero travel, but for mine that only then becomes a further advantage into this weeks game. For mine they also come through (hardened further) the tougher side of the draw through quality title contenders in through these last 3 games, Sharks, Cowboys then Raiders.

The Storm also hold a significant head to head advantage, winning 11 of the last 13 contests vs the Sharks.

Certainly they have weakness: they’ve had defensive issues on their left edge (in particular Blair); they like to play a compressed defensive line and can get caught with quick creative ball shifts to the outside (but one has to execute well and prone to error); and they don’t like offload or second phase ball play through and or in behind middle or ruck. But a history of winning 15 of your last 18 and consistently only conceding 12 pts suggests they learn well from their weaknesses and don’t make these mistakes all that often.

The Sharks have also had a super season, and are certainly a real live chance here. They finished top 4, rolled into seasons end on the back of a long quality winning streak and have a significant shot at history here. The joy of getting here (and subconscious acceptance that we have done real well) worries me, as does that big Silverback Ape sitting on their back (no longer a monkey) of nervous expectation in possibly winning their first premiership. Ennis, Lewis and Maloney have been stand outs in their last two finals games, with Gallen they bring plenty of experience and hunger, they are not greenhorns but this is a high pressure week when we are playing for keeps.

A further concern for mine is what depth is really around their recent form. At Rd 20 they sat ranked 3rd in both attack and defence yet across the next 8 weeks slid quickly to mid table. Sure they had numerous half chances in Rd 26 vs the Storm but in another major pressure game (minor premiership) they conceded 26 and were rolled by 20. Their 2nd half effort vs Raiders was nothing but courageous but the Raiders blew that game decisively then they rolled through the Cowboys with what looked ease last week, a side that then looked well out of petrol and limping with injury. And lets add some perspective on that game, the Sharks had 67% of the ball by the 50 minute mark yet only led 14-6 (should well have been 30-6) and lost the 2nd half 18-20.

Technically the Sharks also have their issues. They consistently lack discipline from key players like Ennis, Fifita and Gallen – fine against the also rans but major momentum swingers in these big games. They also prone to cheap handling errors (completion rates) and have their own defensive issues in Townsend and Bird who I expect will see significant traffic and spotting.

The Sharks have to play footy to upset here. They have to ball play, they have to unload, they have to shift and get the tempo of this game quick and rolling – the Storm are near impossible to beat at their own game, to beat them you have to move them around quickly, consistently and shake them up (aka Broncos game plan / win Rd 25). If its to be achieved ball play and ball spread is the name of the game.

I can’t go past the Storm, for mine they hold all the aces. Best defensive team, through quality tough form line and the tougher side of the draw and they hold a decisive edge head to head over their opponent. High discipline, low errors, masters at strangling opponents out of the contest.

Into last weekend and the likely results I expected (and rated) the Storm approx. $1.50 favs, the $1.85 looks very generous.

Also keen on a low scoring game and like the under 34.5 In 11 of the last 14 head to head contests between these two the points have finished under while the Storm longer term are 14-5 under in finals since 2008. Tough tight night GF with defence the likely winner, keen to be with the under 34.5

Suggested Game Plays

Storm $1.85

Under 34.5 $1.90

Clive Churchill Medal (Man of the Match) Cooper Cronk $5.50 or Jesse Bromwich $15.00

Winning Horse Racing Tips



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MrG’s recommended weekly game by game previews and any recommended betting plays for this individual round are listed here. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Thursday and list any early game ratings and betting plays. 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 (Fridays). All subscribers can also receive all recommended bets via sms message.

NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2016 Grand Final

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