Broncos to extend Aussie domination
Wolves start as big underdogs
World Club Series
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Saturday
Since rugby league’s World Club Challenge morphed into a multi-match series two years ago, it’s been totally dominated by the Australian clubs.
The NRL sides have won all six games by an aggregate scoreline of 189-52, although Brisbane needed extra-time to see off Wigan in 2015.
Warrington came close to defeating St George Illawarra that year, leading the Dragons 12-10 at half-time before succumbing 18-12.
The Wolves get a chance to restore Super League pride when they take on the Broncos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and are rated 9-2 underdogs against Wayne Bennett’s side.
Bennett’s tenure as England coach may not have got off to a spectacular start but as a club boss his record remains second to none.
The Broncos are without Adam Blair, Benji Marshall and Korbin Sims – brother of Warrington’s Ashton – but can still boast top–class talent in the shape of halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt, full–back Darius Boyd and winger Corey Oates.
Oates topped Brisbane’s try charts with 18 last season and is 15-2 to open the scoring, a feat he achieved in the Broncos’ 42-12 rout of Wigan last year.
Warrington are boosted by the news that new signing Kevin Brown will make his debut after shaking off a hamstring strain, but key forward Chris Hill is still sidelined as the Wolves seek a big improvement on their opening-weekend loss at Catalans.
A repeat of that ordinary performance will almost certainly result in a hiding so it’s no surprise that punters have backed the Broncos to such an extent that bookmakers have hiked the handicap from an initial eight points to 14.
Based on last year’s series, it may pay to speculate that the Aussies can clear that line with something to spare.
The winning margins in the three games last February were 26, 30 and 34 and some hefty prices are available about something similar tonight. Covering the bands between 26 and 40 points could be a lucrative strategy, as could backing a Brisbane penalty to be the first scoring play.
Under Bennett, the Broncos’ strategy has been to take any points on offer early on. So much so that in NRL games last season, layers were offering 7-2 about the opening score being a Brisbane two pointer.
They had to pay out five times in 26 matches so the 8-1 on offer looks generous.
Brisbane to win by 26 to 30 points
1pt 10-1 Hills
Brisbane to win by 31 to 35 points
0.5pt 14-1 Hills, Paddy Power
Brisbane to win by 36 to 40 points
0.5pt 18-1 Hills
Brisbane penalty first scoring play
2pts 8-1 Betway