NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2020 Grand Final | Reading The Play


NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2020 Grand Final

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2020 Results: +21 units

121.2 units Profit on NRL since commencement in 2013!

MrG’s Ratings

+4.0 Panthers v Storm

Recommended Bet List

Bet 3 units Storm -1.5 $1.90 BB

Monday: Storm’s effort last Friday the best quality form of the season, they now all but full strength with Munster and Finucane playing, another effort at a similar level would make them very hard to hold, thought the line was closer to 4.0 given their key big game and rep experience

BB – Indicates Best Bet

Key Finals Factors

> 15 of the last 19 Premiers have won the comp off the back of finishing top 4, winning week one and having a week off into their Prelim final game (and then winning)

> 10 of last 12 Premiers were one of the Top 2 defensive sides that season – this year Panthers and Storm

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

> No Origin or International Rep #7 or #6 – No Chance

In the last 41 years 39 of the 41 Premiership winners had a rep (Origin or International) #7 or #6 – the only 2 teams in the last 41 years to have done so – 2014 Rabbitohs; 1980 Canterbury

Panthers – Yes
Storm – Yes
Eels – No
Roosters – Yes
Raiders – Yes
Rabbits – Yes
Knights – Yes
Sharks – No

Grand Final Stats and History

Panthers v Storm

HISTORY – Played 35, Panthers 9, Storm 26

AT ANZ STADIUM – First Meeting

FINALS HISTORY – First Meeting

Panthers Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 36, Won 17, Lost 18, Drawn 1 (47%)

Panthers Finals Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1 (75%)

Storms Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 22, Won 14, Lost 8 (64%)

Storms Finals Record at ANZ Stadium – Played 11, Won 6, Lost 5 (55%)

Melbourne holds a 26-9 all time advantage over the Panthers, with 18 of those 26 wins coming from the previous 21 encounters dating back to 2006. It’s the first time the two sides have ever met in a Grand Final, in fact, it’s the first time the two sides have met in any sort of Final Series match. The Panthers recorded a seven point victory when the sides last meet in Round 6 as they aim for back to back wins in a season over the Storm for the first time since 2005 and only the third time in their history. The team to score the first try of the match has gone on to win 11 of the last 12 clashes, while the half time leader has also won 11 of the previous 12 encounters. Recent meetings have been low scoring affairs and in 9 of the last 10 clashes the total match points have failed to surpass 38, while 12 of the last 17 have finished Unders. Both teams had the week off before their Preliminary Finals which has proven to be a huge advantage, with 16 of the last 20 Premiers since the year 2000 going on to win the Grand Final after the weeks break (80%).

Gerard Sutton has been appointed to his 5th Grand Final (as a lead). The Panthers have a 12-6 record with Sutton at the helm dating back to 2017, including 9 of their last 10. They are 6-4 ATS from those 10 matches, while 11 of the last 15 have finished Unders. In 13 of their 18 matches under Sutton since 2017, the first try of the match hasn’t been scored until after the 7th minute. The Storm has won 17 of their previous 20 matches with Sutton in charge, covering ATS in all but 5 of those, while their record under Sutton when starting as a favourite is even more impressive, winning 15 of their last 16 and covering in 13 of those. In total match points they are 13-7 in favour of the Unders with Sutton at the helm, with an average of 36. Starting favourites have won 17 of the 22 matches in 2020 with Sutton as the whistle blower, including 6 of the last 7, while favourites laying less than a converted try advantage have won 14 of his last 16 matches, with an 11-5 record ATS. In 8 of the last 11 Finals matches with Sutton at the helm the total points have finished Unders.

Past Grand Final Facts

The team to score the first try of the match has gone on to win 11 of the last 13 Grand Finals (85%)

In 17 of the last 20 Grand Finals, the team that led at half time has won the match

The team to score the last try of the match have been Premiers in 16 of the last 18 Grand Finals

Since 2000, there have been 10 matches with a margin of 1-12, 9 results of 13+ and 1 draw

The 10 x 1-12 margin outcomes have had a total match point average of 29.9

The 9 x 13+ margin outcomes have had a total match point average of 38.1

In 14 of the last 18 Grand Finals (78%), the first try of the match has been scored after the 7th minute

The side trailing at half time has not scored more than 6 1st half points in 20 of the last 21 Grand Finals (95%)

In the last 18 years, the side trailing at half time has averaged less than 7 2nd half points

10 of the last 13 Premiers have gone into the Grand Final as the outright favourite

Only twice in the last 18 Grand Finals has the Total 1st Half Points been more than 18

Only 5 times in the last 15 Grand Finals have the Total 2nd Half Points been less than 18

Only twice in the last 9 Grand Finals have the total match points topped 36, while 15 of the last 18 have failed to breach 40

In 9 of the last 13 Grand Finals there have been more points scored in the 2nd half than the 1st

The winner of the Clive Churchill medal has been a player from “the spine” in 11 of the previous 15 Grand Finals

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+4.0 Panthers v Storm

Ground: Homebush

35.5 Total Points (market position)

Weather: Saturday 90% chance of showers, up to 10mm. Sunday 90% chance of showers up to 15mm

Storm have won 18 of the last 21 head to head. Panthers won their clash in Rd6 earlier this year but have not won consecutive wins against them since 2005. 10 of the last 13 Premiers have gone into the Grand Final as the outright favourite.

We have the top two teams on the table, who were also the top two defensive teams. Both have also have the benefit of the week off.

Looks a great match up of the two teams who in the end have been the best all season. Unfortunately the wet weather is likely to play some role. My longer term view across the last few seasons has been that nobody really plays wet weather as well as the Storm do, we only have to go back to Rd17 when they played the Rabbits in Sydney, Rabbits the better side through the first 30 mins but as the rain came and then got heavier Storm’s discipline and field position took control and they came from behind to then go on and win by 6 points. Overall I think the Storm have an edge in likely game composure, a combination of having the likes of Smith and a few experienced older heads around him plus the nature of how Bellamy coaches, hard heads, game focus on, roll sleeves up, get on with it approach.

In addition to this (Bellamy’s approach), we only have to go back to last weeks game and look at how the Storm started, jumped straight out of the blocks and when whack, full tilt tempo, very physical and prepared to shift the ball, and then just kept at it all through the first half. The second half started on the back of the Raiders obviously getting a big rev up at half time, and to their credit they really lifted for the first 10 or so minutes but the Storm also went with them, held them, and then just got on with the job. I thought this game was the strongest form reference of the season, I thought the Raiders could well have gone with them here and it have been much closer, the Storm just lifted the bar. Interestingly, in a pressure prelim the Storm only made 3 errors, it was a quality effort.

The Panthers have won 17 straight, one can’t but respect the form they have put on the board. Their defence has been very good (overall), Nathan’s kicking game is outstanding, the 9, 6 and 1 have been in clever form. But my worry is that they made 13 errors last week, scored 2 tries from high kicks (not normally a successful tactic in finals footy against the better defensive teams) and lost the second half 10-6. In their prior game they the Roosters put 20 points on them in teh second half and nearly stole the result. I thought early into the second half last week with the field position that they had and the errors and some poor D that the Rabbits kept offering up they should well have gone on for a very comfortable 20 point margin win, yet at 20-16 in the last 5 minutes the Rabbits (like the Roosters) nearly stole it, and the talking point this week would have been all about a major choke by the Panthers having dominated the game but not the scoreboard.

I think the Storm will target the air and both Panthers wingers. Conversely the Storms right hand edge D while good last week has had some issues, and is an edge the Panthers via Kikau like to target. Luai has also been a spot target in defence through the last 3 to 4 games, in particular in both semi finals and I’m sure the Storm once again target something similar. Both teams have been good through the middle, overall its a good match up (and so any significant or repeat errors will play a major advantage to the opponent). Through both recent semi’s Bellamy has also shown his hand in wanting to shift and spread on earlier plays, and also out of their own end, I’d suggest this probably becomes unlikley in wet conditions but the fact that the Storm have trained this and have it up their sleeve is a nice ace to play if required.

If I look back across the last 3 weeks, we could see into week 1 the Sharks were shaky and the Eels up against, and so it played out. In week 2 the Eels looked on shaky form into their game (Rabbits) and folded way too quickly. Into last week the prior evidence suggested the Rabbits had way too many errors and defensive lapses in them, and so it unfolded (yet they ended up way to close).

Not only have the Storm have won 18 of the last 21 clashes they have covered 13 of those last 18 wins, a significant record (72%). Interestingly the Panthers have failed to cover the line in their two semi final wins. The Storm’s record as a fav (covered 12 of 15) and also a short line fav (covered 6 of last 7 when fav at line less than 4 pts) is very good.

Think the evidence on the field through the last two weeks to my eye suggests the Panthers have done very well but might now be ready to be really tested. Had 20 put through them in the second half two games ago, again a poor second half last week (lost 10-6), and in both games (in particular in the second halves of both games) came up with way too many errors. Also, last week two of their tries were off high kicks which in finals footy I don’t rate highly. Package this all up and I have some serious questions of them under pressure here handling the Storm’s normal physical presence (over 80 minutes), discipline and control. Very wet weather and Cleary kicking time and time again into the corners and some quality field position could well take them a long way into the game, but I’m happy to stick with what and where I think this finals series overall looks up to.

We can’t but take the Storm on what we have seen over these last few weeks, literally went up a few gears for 30 to 40 minutes to dispose of the Eels and then just went whack last week to really put it to the Raiders. They just look to have had a lovely tapered prep and to be peaking at the right time, so very typical Bellamy. I’m keen the Storm show us something similar to last week and get on with getting the job done.

Storm 22-12

Total points, I think all the indications are (two best defensive sides, tight game in wet weather on likely slippery ground) that the total points falls under 35.5

Man of the Match (Clive Churchill Medal) I want to be with Cameron Munster $9.50 Topsport (already shortening from $11.00). He and Smith look the obvious, Munster is due in a big Grand Final.

Any time try scorer options, looks perfect conditions for a Cameron Smith set up crash ball to one of his big men close to the line, and so Nelson Asofa-Solomona $9.00 (Tabcorp) and Jesse Bromwich $12.00 (Topsport) would be my speculators.

2020 Longer Term Recommended Bets

Bet 3.5 units Eagles to miss top 8 @ $3.50 Tabcorp or Topsport

9th July – Have another 4 to 5 weeks to get through without Turbo, difficult draw and now in a clump of 4 sides that will battle it out for final two spots in the top 8, happy to now take them on

To Make Grand Final Bet 3.5 units Panthers $2.25 Tabcorp

10th August – Form team at present, expect they will finish with Minor Premiership if not top 2 then opportunity for home semi final & week off & be box seat for a spot in the final game

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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, FAQ – Why do you talk and bet in units? > answers here).

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. Everyone chooses to bet in different bet sizes, from differing betting banks (the personal funds they put aside for betting). Some will bet $20 per bet, some $200 per bet. So as to keep things simple and clear for everyone to follow we then talk in bet units. Our advice is to decide what size betting unit is likely to work for you and call this your betting unit, remembering that you may have approx. 5 to 10 units of recommended outlay per week per sport and that you also run the risk of losing.


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Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Mr.G (aka Gerard Condon) 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 NRL 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 now provides our subscribers with his NRL tips game previews and recommended NRL sports betting tips.

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