2015 NRL Round 1 Betting Preview for North Queensland Cowboys v Sydney Roosters thanks to William Hill Australia.
9pm AEDT, Saturday, March 7
1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
Round 1 features some cracking matchups but none more compelling than the clash between heavyweights North Queensland and the Sydney Roosters in Townsville. The teams met in last year’s finals series where the Roosters blew a 30-point lead but hung on to win a controversial affair 31-30. Both teams have been popular picks for premiers with pundits this year and will be ready for a monster opening round clash.
Cowboys coach Paul Green has made a big call by leaving Lachlan Coote out of the side. Michael Morgan retains his fullback jersey while Robert Lui comes into the halves. Rory Kostjasyn has won the hooking role with Jake Granville to come off the bench. Ben Hannant starts at prop with James Tamou off the bench. Justin O’Neill debuts for the side on the wing. There are no surprises with the Roosters team with Blake Ferguson to debut in the centres while Matt McIlwrick plays his first game for the club at hooker.
The Sydney Roosters hold a 22-9 all-time advantage over North Queensland though the last six between the two teams have been split evenly with the Cowboys actually winning six of the last nine. The Cowboys thumped the Roosters 42-10 at home and have won three of the last five matches in Townsville but lost a controversial final 31-30 last September. The Roosters have been held to 12 points or fewer in their last four regular season matchups while the Cowboys have posted 20 plus in four of their last five. Cowboys coach Paul Green is a former Roosters assistant while Kane Linnett, Glenn Hall and Ben Hannant are all former Chooks.
North Queensland failed to repeat their heroics at the Auckland Nines this season but still performed strongly before they went on to defeat Brisbane and the Gold Coast in impressive trial victories. The Roosters played only one serious trial and thumped Manly 36-6. They also reached the semis of the Auckland Nines.
Both the Cowboys and Roosters possess two of the most lethal backrow combinations in the NRL and the battle between respective leaders Jason Taumalolo and Boyd Cordner will be immense. Taumalolo led all forwards in tackle breaks last season and is arguably the most devastating forward runner in the game while Cordner has already represented at the highest level despite his tender age and is widely viewed as one of the best edge runners in the NRL. This clash will have fans of the game salivating.
Stats That Matter
North Queensland were totally dominant at home last season going 12-1 straight and 10-3 ATS with an average winning margin of 17.7 points. The Roosters are 17-8 (13-12 ATS) on the road under Trent Robinson with an incredible 17-8 over record. Interstate they are 5-2 over with a 3-4 ATS number. The Roosters are 2-4 straight and ATS as an outsider over the last two seasons. The Cowboys are 3-1 straight and ATS when favoured by less than six points at home. The Roosters were 8-5 over when the total was set at 40 or higher last year.
What an incredible matchup! The Cowboys and the Roosters could well be meeting on the final Sunday of the season as well. North Queensland are the bet in this one though. They have an incredible team, top to bottom, and with their record at home they are going to be tough to beat. The loss of Jake Friend is also significant for the Roosters. He is a critical cog and will be missed. In what should be a free-flowing game, the Cowboys have the weapons to get the job done.
How It’s Shaping Up
North Queensland by 6
North Queensland -2.5 ($1.91)
Other Recommended Bets
Over 40.5 ($1.90)
North Queensland Cowboys v Sydney Roosters Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 1 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.