NRL Round 2 Preview

First round winners Manly  and Wests Tigers  clash at Gosford on Friday night and while the Tigers were lucky to win at home, the SeaEagles were highly impressive across the Tasman. Both have suffered key injuries with Manly’s Steve Matai and Glenn Stewart out as is the Tigers’ Keith Galloway and their absence will be felt. Manly might be a little travel weary but taking the 2.5 points start for the Sea Eagles could be the way to go. Manly 1-12  

North Queensland  can’t play as badly again as they did against the Gold Coast and they be expected to be fired up for their clash with “big brother” Brisbane . Jonathon Thurston has to adapt to his five-eight role as he looked out of sorts in the opening game. Brisbane showed great patience in their win over Parramatta and the fans will love seeing Petero Civoniceva back in the Broncos’ colours. Hard to see the Cowboys repeating their first round win at Suncorp last season. Brisbane 1-12  

Hard to judge just how good the Gold Coast Titans  were given that the Cowboys were so bad. Saturday night at Skilled Park could provide the answer as Canberra  will pose a sterner test. The Raiders didn’t have luck go their way in a close loss to Melbourne and will be heartened by that showing. The Titans have definitely improved markedly on last year and Jamal Idris could just prove the buy of the season and as well be back in the Blue jersey at origin time. Titans 1-12

The Bulldogs  weren’t overly impressive against Penrith but good sides find a way to win when they are not playing at their best. One thing is for sure, under Des Hasler’s guidance the Doggies will improve lengths as the season goes on. Englishman James Graham is a real plus. St George-Illawarra  has a good record at ANZ Stadium and hasn’t lost there to the Bulldogs since 2008.The Dragons were competent without being great in the emotional win over Newcastle and you would expect them to have a more settled preparation this week. Take the 4.5 start for the Bulldogs. Bulldogs 1-12

Cronulla  is entitled to feel miffed by their loss to the Wests Tigers but now has to put that disappointment behind and get ready for Newcastle . It’s been a long time since Cronulla last tasted a win and so much of their fortune will rest on the leadership of Paul Gallen and the on-field direction of Todd Carney. The Knights will also feel aggrieved at the golden point loss to the Dragons and will be anxious to open their account. This promises to be another close game and maybe the away side narrowly. Newcastle 1-12

Penrith  had a horror night losing to Canterbury and seeing goal kicking winger Michael Gordon break his ankle. Gordon’s kicking will be missed and coach Ivan Cleary has a big job in keeping the Panthers up to score. The Roosters  should all have taken Oz Lotto tickets on Tuesday after the miracle at Homebush but while they celebrate a famous win, some of their obvious deficiencies should not be overlooked. However they can get another win at home against the Panthers. Sydney Roosters 1-12  

Melbourne  should record win number two and keep the Rabbitohs  on zero at AAMI Park on Sunday. Michael Maguire’s knowledge of the Storm stars will help the Bunnies but the Storm will improve at home and should have too much class. South Sydney has a big job to mentally recover from the loss to arch rivals the Roosters and the Rabbitohs have never won in Melbourne. Melbourne 13+  

Monday night football at Parramatta Stadium should see the New Zealand Warriors  get their first premiership points of the year. Parra could score only one try against Brisbane and that from a Broncos’ mistake with a kick. The Eels  desperately need Jarryd Hayne back and in form while the Warriors will take plenty from their loss to Manly in a high standard grand final replay. The visitors look too classy and should win. New Zealand Warriors 1-12  

Click here to bet on NRL round 2 matches