2022 NRL Round 1 Betting preview & predicted score

raiders
raiders

As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Each week on the blog we’ll feature some of his match previews from the eight games. Check out his Raiders v Sharks preview below

For the rest of Steve’s previews plus all of his best bets, join NRL Tips now!

Raiders v Sharks: NRL Round 1

Members had an early bet on the Raiders and since I put that out the home team have lost their new half back, who has been ruled out for months. The Sharks have also lost their new lock, with McInnes ruled out for a few weeks. Although Fogarty is a more central player for the Raiders, the Sharks will also be missing Wade Graham and Jack Williams from the backrow, so I think the market has read too much into the loss of Fogarty.

The Sharks will also be without the underrated Connor Tracey in the centres, who will be replaced by Mulitalo. While I think he is a great player, Mulitalo has not played much centre and with Ikuvalu debuting for the club on the wing, this is a new-look Sharks outfit that can could be lacking cohesion for the opening rounds.

Making matters even more difficult for the Sharks is the loss of new Coach Fitzgibbon due to a positive COVID test. Although modern technology will enable the new coach to give all the directions he needs to, this is just another factor that could hurt the cohesion of the Sharks in this one.

For the Raiders, young gun Brad Schneider has been given first shot at making the Raiders 7 jersey his for the first half of the season and I like what I saw from him in the trials. With Hodgson always very creative around the ruck and Wighton now an experienced five eighth, the inexperienced half will be well taken care of in this Raiders line up.

A lot of the enthusiasm for the Sharks seems to have come after they demolished the Bulldogs in week 2 of the trials, but I thought that performance was more a reflection of the horrid completion rate and defence of the Bulldogs.

The Raiders on the other hand looked fit and tough in their trials. With lots of depth, they have genuine competition for every spot besides the number 6 and at home, I am a little surprised the money has not come for the Raiders. The Raiders starting pack, features internationals such as Papalii, Tapine, Harawira-Naera , Whitehead and Hodgson, while young guys like Starling, Horsburgh and Guler looked great in the trials. Matt Elliott is a great addition, while Young is a dangerous edge runner and aggressive back rower.

Although it is sad to see Jarrod Croker lining up in reserve grade, it was a call that had to be made. James Schiller will get is NRL debut in Croker’s place and I really like what I have seen of Schiller in both the trials this year and playing for the Dragons in the NSW Cup last year. The nephew of Canberra legend Brett Mullins, Schiller actually displays many of the attributes of his uncle and I think he will not relinquish this jersey and will become a permanent feature of the Green Machine for years to come.

The Raiders were very disappointing in 2021 and that is why I think punters are so gun-shy here, while the recruitment of Hynes and Finucane from the Storm, and new coach Fitzgibbon is seeing a lot of people picking the Sharks to make the 8 in 2022.

I have a different opinion to the market on these two teams. While I think the Sharks will be improved and they have a great talent at fullback and at five-eighth, I am still a little unsure how Moylan will go and think Brailey at 9 will be outplayed by the Hodgson / Starling combination.

Although the Raiders had a horrid 2021, a lot of that stemmed from internal issues flared up by the George Williams saga. It feels as if those issues have been resolved and the Raiders have trimmed down their squad to make themselves more adapted to the modern speed of the game.

I’m happy to be with the Raiders here.

Raiders v Sharks: Predicted score

Raiders 22
Sharks 16