NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2019 Grand Final | Reading The Play


NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2019 Grand Final

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Key Finals Factors

14 of the last 18 Premiers have won the comp off the back of a week off and then winning their Prelim final win

9 of last 11 Premiers were one of the Top 2 defensive sides that season

#1 and #2 Defensive sides this season – Storm then Roosters

6 of the last 7 grand finalists who had played 4 wks straight, have lost

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Grand Final : Game Preview

MrG’s Handicap

-8.5 Roosters v Raiders


1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Isaac Liu 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley

14. Angus Crichton 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 20. Jake Friend 21. Ryan Hall


1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Iosia Soliola 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine

14. Bailey Simonsson 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Dunamis Lui 19. Ryan Sutton 20. Siliva Havili

34.5 Total Points (market position)

Head to Head Roosters 34 Raiders 28

Roosters have won 5 of last 8 v Raiders

At ground – first meeting

Roosters have won 8 of last 10 at Homebush

Raiders have won 5 of last 10 at Homebush

Overall Roosters have a dominant record in Sydney v Raiders, since 2015 Roosters have won 22 of last 30 including winning 16 of the last 17

Record v Top6 (season to date)

Roosters 8 wins from 10 games

Raiders 3 wins from 10 games

Looks a very good clash with both teams coming through the strongest long term form reference there is – finishing top 4 then winning week 1, week off then winning the Prelim. Both teams also finished the season in the top 3 in defensive offering, the Roosters 2nd (15.1 against) and the Raiders 3rd (15.6).

The Raiders end of season run has been impressive winning 8 of their last 11 games to position themselves in the top 4 but their overall season record of just 3 wins from 10 v Top6 sides has to be  concern, as also their recent inexperience in finals and their away/Sydney record (in particular v Roosters with just 1 win from last 17).

Their strength has been their week in week out effort and willingness to dig in, built on the back of a much improved defensive offering this season. Across the last 7 weeks they have rolled the Storm twice in close contests, hanging in till the death (both 2 pt wins) and then similar efforts v Eagles and Rabbits – but both when at home. They match up well here through the middle, muscle and grunt and can be very physical, they have one of the better offload games through the middle which creates great second phase play options and helps break up their opponents defence structure plus they have some smarts out of dummy half with Hodgson; they finish well on their edges and are well led in attack by their #6 in Wighton. My concerns are the inconsistent offering and kicking game from Sezer (and his poor defence) and their defensive issues (and misses) on both edges, Croker on their left and in particular their right edge in Leilua and Rapana.

The Roosters have looked the team to beat and benchmark all season long, growing in confidence and belief off winning the title last year for mine they have gone to a new level and look to have a perfectly timed preparation from their coach, resting and rotating players at different times and then building up their momentum into these final weeks on the back of winning 9 of their last 10 games. They now get Wearea-Haargraves back fresh (cracking match up with Josh Papalii in the middle), they to have a good mix of muscle and grunt through the middle (and I think a far stronger bench) then class and quality at #7 (Cronk) #6 (Keary) and #1 (Tedesco) coupled with Mitchell and Manu on either edge. It’s a very formidable and exceptionally strong offering.

Experience through finals footy has to be a factor here. The Raiders come off finishing 10th last year, and 10th the year prior into a very good season but lacking this big game experience. They do have the benefit of some big game players in Hodgson, Papalii, Soliola, Bateman and Whitehead but their back 7 has considerable question marks over most of them, as to does the bench and mid game rotations. The Roosters have won their last 5 finals games (including a premiership) and importantly have defensively been outstanding conceding just 12, 4, 6, 6 and 6 at an average of 6.8 per game, very hard to fault.

Both teams have gone up a level as you would expect with finals footy across the last 3 weeks but its the Roosters attack that has been impressive. They have wanted to play fast with a high game tempo, very physically from the outset and much like what they unleashed on the Rabbits (blew them off the park) and then into the Storm last week (high quality game and form reference), and then bring it in waves given the back up they have off the bench. They like to keep ramming this tempo at their opponent and build their field position and then individual attack options, but the Raiders have developed some very good ruck management and middle defence (wrestle and slow down) so the latitude given and general match up here from both sides will be key. Cronk, now into his 9th Grand Final is the General while Keary and Tedesco have gone to a new level this season their natural talent snaps open a half opportunity and turns it into an attacking raid which they then have so many options with which to then finish.

Where do the Raiders points come from? Their strength through recent months has been in winning the arm wrestle in tough tight games, and that works against each of those opponents but not against the Roosters, you need points, at least 20. Back in Rd 21 (in Canberra) with the Raiders at all but full strength and the Roosters missing 4 players the Roosters still won 22-18, a key mental and confidence plus for the Roosters (we were away, down on troops and they still couldn’t get us) but against the undermanned Roosters defence the Raiders could still only manage 18 points. Last week against the Rabbits they came up with just 2 line breaks, in the game prior against the Storm just 3. They are going to need to make the most of every half opportunity, yet the Roosters defensive record dictates this won’t be easy.

I have the game handicapped at 8.5 between them. The Roosters have continued to improve their rating week after week into the second half of this season and now sit at a similar high level as the Storm side of 3 years ago (who won their GF 34-6). Playing at Homebush and in Sydney is a key advantage to the Roosters (or disadvantage to the Raiders), plus the defensive record (in September) and finals experience. Which ever way I put together the key handicap factors here the Roosters have a clear advantage.

The Roosters have looked to go up a gear and on the up through their last two outings with some serious intent of a job to do, they whacked the Rabbits and then played some high quality against the Storm last week and look primed and ready for this. No knock on the Raiders, clearly they had had an outstanding season but this is one tough opponent to beat on a pressure stage, against a very good defence and an attack that can quickly rip you apart. I’m with the Roosters and keen they get the job done pretty comfortably.

Recommended Bet Options

Roosters to win, score line 28-12

Total points over 34.5 $1.90

Roosters -7.5 $1.90

Roosters 13+ $2.75

Best Bet option > Any time try scorer + Roosters win – take your pick either Latrell Mitchell $2.70 or Joseph Manu $3.75

Man Of The Match / Clive Churchill Medal – Cooper Cronk $6.00

2019 Longer Term Recommended Bets

Premiership (July 12th)

Bet 3.5 units Roosters Premiership Winner $3.00 Tabcorp

I think the top 3 teams (Roosters, Storm, Rabbits) are the only 3 real contenders in a likely thin finals series, with Storm and Roosters likely to finish top 2 and end up on opposite sides of the draw and in the box seat. Roosters have to break recent history (back to back) but if at full strength they look a gap above anyone else, certainly by far the best 9, 7, 6 and 1 in the comp coupled with stand out key individuals across many other roles. We have a healthy position running for minor premiership, happy to lock this in now for the major title and we can then decide how we play our hand through September as and if need be.

Minor Premiership (June 27th)

Bet 4.5 units Storm $1.70 Minor Premiership

Storm now sit 2 pts clear at the top of the table and while they might find some quality challengers who measure up in September right now they look to have the rails run to the Minor Premiership, they have 5 of remaining games at home and have already won 5 of 6 when travelling, now look a solid bet for this angle

Premiership (Feb 9th)

Bet 1.5 units Broncos to win Premiership $9.00

Bet 1.5 units Panthers to win Premiership $11.00


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Mr.G provides our NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Mr G is an 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 web for the last 13 years initially via two sports forums prior to this public offering through Reading The Play (last 7 years). Mr.G can also be heard on Talkin Sport each week across the 2sm and Super Radio network providing his opinion on all things rugby league (Monday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s at 5.10pm Sydney time).

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 prior to the first game of the round and all recommended bet details and updates advised by free sms messages.

Full details can be found here

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