RUGBY LEAGUE expert Kaine Greenwood (@KaineG23) highlights the best try-scoring value from the weekend’s action in both the north and south hemispheres.
Castleford Tigers v Wigan Warriors | Friday 20.00
There was quite a bit that was impressive about Castleford’s victory over at Hull FC last week and, while the result didn’t overly surprise me, I was slightly struck by the fact the result was achieved without much call for hot-shot wide-out Denny Solomona.
It isn’t often that a Cas performance doesn’t involve the former London Bronco in large part, unless he isn’t in the side.
The Tigers and Daryl Powell in particular have found a knack of recruiting talent that is unwanted, untested or completely unknown and getting them to produce. The likes of Mike McMeeken, Grant Millington, the returning Rangi Chase and, more recently, Greg Minikin are perfect examples of this and yet Solomona is perhaps the best.
The New Zealand-born points-getter has made a mark in real style since his 2015 signing, scoring 48 tries for the Tigers. That total includes his efforts against the Warriors this season with three tries in the two regular season fixtures.
Eight of the last 10 Tigers fixtures have seen Solomona produce the goods for the team; seven of those have seen him cross for a double or more so he really can produce against anyone.
Quite simply, Solomona is the best strike-player in the competition at the moment, his total of 30 tries in 2016 (the most by a Castleford player in a season since St. John Ellis (93/94) leads all and he has only failed to find the line in 14/37 club appearances (excl. Cup).
The even-money slated at SkyBet has to be snapped up.
St Helens v Catalan Dragons | Friday 20.00 | Sky Sports 2
It’s only the second week of Super 8s but this tie could be the ‘decider’ already.
It would take someone braver than me to suggest that Hull, Warrington and Wigan won’t (or haven’t already) confirm a semi-final match-up by finishing in the 1-4 spots.
The remaining spot is a different story; St. Helens currently sit happily in fourth but will be well aware the Dragons sit just two points behind in fifth and are looking at them dead-on.
As the two sides meet here the most vital positional battle in the 8 gets even more fascinating. This game calls for an experience head and established names like Jon Wilkin, Dave Taylor or Todd Carney to produce results then?
No, in Fouad Yaha, the French club look to have found a real talent. The 19-year-old is just two seasons and 23 appearances into his Dragons career but is already a productive winger with scope to become one of the league’s best in the next few years.
Yaha has the size and physique of forward combined with the dash of a back and is fast becoming just as problematic for the opposition as his partner on the opposite wing, Jodie Broughton, in my opinion at least. His 10 efforts this campaign show significant improvement from the four recorded in 2015.
Catalans are no strangers to putting on points at any time, especially it seems, at Langtree Park with four of the last six visits seeing them produce 22 points or more. That means there is always reason to get involved with their points/tries markets.
Last week’s victory versus Widnes could’ve seen Yaha chalk up a three-score effort for the Perpignan-based outfit but for the edge player’s fumble over the line.
A double, however, sets him up nicely for the visit to Saints and should he only produce half as much this week it will satisfy us – 13/8 at Sky Bet is must-take considering his 14-in-23 record to date.
Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm | Monday 10.00 | Premier Sports
Canberra welcome the table-topping Storm to GIO Stadium after knocking Cronulla off their perch at the top with a 30-14 win just last week.
The Green Machine will certainly be hoping they can return favour and complete the task for the second week running – it would also mean the Raiders take grip on third place in the ladder from the Bulldogs.
Up against a formidable Melbourne pack, however, that will be a challenge with the Raiders having their work cut out to produce a result.
It would be no shock to see Elliott Whitehead stand up to that challenge though, the 26-year-old England international will be recognisable name to many having spent time in three of the four major league nations with Bradford, Catalans and has now begun to be a catalyst for Canberra.
Whitehead has so far scored five times in the 20 NRL games this season and while being an ever-present he has also been versatile, a spell in the halves while covering injuries saw Canberra post 20+ points in both games – Whitehead also managed a try.
His exploits in a 54-4 mauling of South Sydney just two rounds ago were a real reminder to all of the attacking back-row threat that he possesses and developed so well, with great results (32 tries in 68 apps) in Catalan, claiming two tries.
The Green Machine’s pack has contributed 19 tries to the cause over the 20 competition rounds, with 15 from the second-row, so there is certainly effectiveness in there.
I’m happy to take the 5/1 Paddy Power quote that Whitehead improves that and finishes the 80 with more points to his name.
*The above treble pays out at handsome 30.44/1 odds with SkyBet*
Castleford Tigers v Wigan Warriors – Denny Solomona to score a try at anytime (1/1 SkyBet)
St Helens v Catalan Dragons – Fouad Yaha to score a try at anytime (13/8 SkyBet)
Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm – Elliott Whitehead to score a try at anytime (5/1 Paddy Power)
That’s right. We’re giving away £10 instant cash if Mesut Ozil touches the ball in Sunday’s game against Liverpool at the Emirates.