2017 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 16/24 (67%) [Last week: 3/8]
Margin Betting: 4/7 (57%) [Last week: 2/4]
2016 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 71%
Margin Betting: 54%
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NRL Round 4 Tips and Previews
[Editor’s Note: Before beginning this week’s previews, we wanted to address the “performance” of the officials in last week’s Panthers/Roosters game. Here at The Obstruction Rule, we typically abstain from criticising the match officials, because we understand that it’s often a thankless task; and without them, there’d be no game at all. On this particular occasion however, we’d have been better served with no game. The four on ground officials – and in particular, head referee Grant Atkins and touch judge Jeff Younis – robbed a crowd of 11,044 people, and many thousands more watching at home, of a game of football. The NRL has since admitted that the infamous match-winning pass was indeed forward, but that one play was just one in a litany of errors served up by the officials, turning the match from a contest into a farce. It would take longer than we’d wish to address them all, so we’ll just say this: if a horse performed that badly, they’d shoot it.]
Rabbitohs v Roosters
Offense VOA: Rabbitohs 6.54% (8th), Roosters 7.14% (7th)
Defense VOA: Rabbitohs 27.67% (13th), Roosters -13.21 % (6th)
Through the first two weeks of the season, South Sydney looked mediocre at best, getting toweled up by the so-bad-their-coach-got-fired Tigers, and snatching a comeback win from a depleted Manly. Some pointed to the absence of halfback Adam Reynolds for Souths’ woes, but his return only saw the Rabbitohs to an unconvincing win against an improving, but nevertheless poor, Newcastle Knights side. The Bunnies’ forward pack isn’t what it used to be, and the loss of George Burgess is only going to hurt them more. Add in the stifling Roosters defense (who rank 3rd in Run Metres Conceded VOA) and it could be another long night at the office for the South Sydney engine room.
The Roosters on the other hand, are sitting pretty alongside the Melbourne Storm at the top of the NRL Premiership ladder. Sure, they’ve been patchy at times during games, but they’ve still done enough to win their 3 matches so far, and that’s nothing to be sneezed at.
Against the Panthers, two of the Roosters back three looked sketchy under the high ball, and if the Rabbitohs are to be any chance here, they’d do well to repeat the Panthers’ tactic and kick it early and often to Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Michael Gordon. You can usually tell within minutes whether or not the enigmatic Kenny-Dowall has soaked his hands in dishwashing liquid for the game, and Gordon looked totally uncomfortable waiting for Cleary’s bombs, allowing the ball to bounce several times (he was spared an embarrassing try concession when Tyrone Peachey was ruled a step offside on one such occasion).
The Roosters look a long way from unbeatable, but they’re likely only just clicking into gear. If they get going, it’s difficult to imagine the Rabbitohs having any answers for them.
Our tip: Roosters