NRL Bunker Review – Round 12

The Storm are back, the Titans are still the Titans, and Round 12 of the 2022 NRL season ended with two thrillers on Sunday afternoon.

Storm Bounce Back

It was only a matter of time, really.

The Melbourne Storm don’t lose games in bunches often and put an end to their two-game losing streak with a 28-8 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on Thursday night. As expected, Cameron Munster and the Storm left edge put a target on Manly’s right edge defence and ripped through it for three tries – Munster bagged two himself.

With State of Origin now depleting the best teams and the Storm preparing for a period without a host of star players, they needed to put an end to the losing ahead of a difficult six weeks.

Jahrome Hughes and a strong Kiwi-laden forward pack will keep Melbourne afloat in the coming weeks. The Penrith Panthers are in a similar boat at the top of the NRL ladder. Still, the Storm, ($3.75) and Panthers ($2.50) remain as significant favourites to win the premiership ahead of the Parramatta Eels on the third line of betting at $11.

Titans Blow Another One

Anybody that has seen the Gold Coast Titans play over the last three years sat there thinking the same thing when they led 24-4 after 37 minutes: “When are they going to start throwing this away?”

At their best, the Titans play with an exciting attack and one that is fearless all the way up the field. They’ll throw it around from the kickoff. When kicking off themselves, they’ll try to go short. But that fearlessness is often misplaced, and one short kickoff highlighted the Titans’ biggest problem.

With a 20-point lead and all of the running into halftime, the Titans couldn’t close the game out. Throughout a 40 minutes that required little more than a strong middle, a decent kicking game and error-free footy, the Titans conceded 31 unanswered points to the Brisbane Broncos to lose 35-24.

Despite how predictable it all is at this point, to see it happen time and time again beggars belief. They have the talent. Justin Holbrook has the game plan given what this side can do when they’re at their best. But something is going wrong elsewhere, and until they fix it, the Titans are destined to remain outside the Top 8.

Statement Game of Round 12:

Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 11 it was the Cowboys. This week it’s the Sydney Roosters.

Short sides.

The Sydney Roosters are at their best playing short and fast down the edges and ripped through the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to win 32-16 on Saturday night.

Looking like the team many expected them to be before Round 1, the Roosters are starting to get to the right positions on the field and dominate in the areas they’re best suited.

They started the 2022 NRL season poorly. The attack went too wide too early in a set and the defence slid with relative ease. However, with a newfound focus in attack and a better balance forming between Luke Keary and Sam Walker, the Roosters are humming. While the Sharks aren’t in spectacular form themselves, they’re one of the better teams in the competition this year and have performed well at home. The Roosters did it easy in the end.

A couple of interesting State of Origin selections may help the Chooks in the coming weeks. Daniel Tupou is a surprise inclusion while Angus Crichton missed out. Crichton is a huge in for Trent Robinson in the coming weeks as his side look to climb the NRL ladder. Currently 6th and only two points behind the North Queensland Cowboys at 3rd, the Roosters’ $2.75 to finish in the Top 4 deserves consideration.

Super Sunday

Round 12 of the 2022 NRL season produced Sunday afternoon footy at its best with two high-scoring but close games to wrap up the weekend.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and St. George-Illawarra Dragons went tit for tat throughout the 80 minutes. The Bulldogs looked better with the ball than they have done in recent weeks but a poor period in which they conceded three tries in six minutes ultimately cost them. While improving as the game went on, the Bulldogs left themselves too much work to do in the end. Still, there were a handful of encouraging moments throughout the 34-24 defeat as the Dogs looks to lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder.

The Bulldogs are currently $1.45 favourites to win the Wooden Spoon.

Later in the day, the Canberra Raiders and Parramatta Eels put on a thriller. The Raiders may have gone down 28-20 in this one but they’re certainly a better side now than they were 12 months ago. Joseph Tapine and Josh Papalii are laying the groundwork through the middle. Their carries and offloads to generate more yardage on second phase were particularly noticeable early on in this one. Jack Wighton is looking dangerous but Jamal Fogarty struggled in his return to first grade. Back from injury and in a new side it isn’t unexpected to see him slow to start. Still, he needs to improve at a rapid rate before the Raiders fall too far behind the pack.

The Raiders are at $3.25 to reach the Top 8.

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