2.00pm (AEST), Sunday, April 19
Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
The hallowed Leichhardt Oval sees its first NRL action of the season as emerging sides Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders both look to bounce back from agonising Round 6 losses.
The Tigers and Raiders are both unchanged from Round 6. Joel Luani and Jordan Rapana have been named 18th man for their respective sides. Shaun Fensom and Josh Hodgson have both been included for Canberra despite leaving the field injured on Sunday.
The Tigers boast a 17-11 record against the Raiders (their second-best against any current club), including 9-4 as the home side and 2-1 at Leichhardt. The Raiders’ 27-12 victory at home in Round 25 last season was just their second in 12 encounters with the Tigers, while they have won only one (at Campbelltown) of their last six away to the Tigers.
The Tigers went down 32-22 to the Warriors in Auckland last up, clawing back on several occasions but ultimately coming up short in an open, entertaining and scrappy game. After an impressive defeat of Manly in Albury in Round 5, the Raiders could not land the killer blow against Melbourne, giving up a 10-2 lead and eventually going down 14-10 as a levelling try proved just beyond them in the latter stages. The eighth-placed Tigers are ranked ninth in attack and fifth in defence, while the second-last Raiders are ranked 13th and 12th respectively.
These relatively inexperienced line-ups need a strong platform to work off the back of, which makes the front-row showdown between Tigers bookend Aaron Woods and Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii – the incumbent Kangaroos starting props – extra important. It is also a tremendous opportunity to push their case for retention when the Anzac Test squad is read out a week later.
Stats That Matter
The Tigers are 12-14 at home since the start of 2013 (14-12 against the line), including 6-3 as favourite (5-4 ATS), and 5-4 overall and against the start at Leichhardt Oval. The Raiders away record over the last three seasons is 8-19 (12-15 ATS) and just 6-16 (11-12 ATS) as underdogs on the road. The Raiders are 7-9 overall and against the line on Sunday afternoons from 2013-15 (including 3-5 overall and ATS away), while the Tigers are 6-7 overall and ATS in the timeslot (including 3-4 overall and 4-3 against the start at home).
Both sides haves shown plenty of promise after finishing in the bottom-four last season, but both have grappled with an inability to close out tight matches. The cloud hanging over Fensom and Hodgson is a concern for Raiders backers, and the home-ground advantage is a strong factor in the relatively settled Tigers’ favour. But the $2.95 available for the Raiders is generous and taking on the 7.5 start is worth considering. Buckle up for a topsy-turvy ride in suburban Sydney this Sunday.
How It’s Shaping Up
Wests Tigers by 4
Canberra +7.5 ($1.91)
Other Recommended Bets
Wests Tigers/Wests Tigers ($1.78)
2015 NRL Round 7 Betting Preview for Wests Tigers vs Canberra thanks to William Hill Australia.
Wests Tigers vs Canberra Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 7 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.