RUGBY LEAGUE expert Kaine Greenwood (@KaineG23) shares his Super League NAP from the opening weekend of the 2017 season.
Castleford Tigers v Leigh Centurions | Friday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
Super League is back which means it is time to welcome the WeLoveBetting NAP as a feature to our coverage and the first instalment comes in the live televised fixture between the Castleford Tigers and newly-promoted Leigh Centurions.
It will probably be a relief for all those connected with the Tigers that the season is about to get underway and the dramas surrounding Denny Solomona’s departure from the club can be replaced in the minds of supporters with a desire to see a number of exciting new recruits.
Exciting and exotic is probably the mental picture you imagine when you hear that Daryl Powell has snared a New Zealand-born Samoan international from the NRL by the name of Jesse Sene-Lefao, until the end of 2018.
He was joined on a flight by Greg Eden after his Aussie experience with Brisbane Broncos although he should know the surroundings as a former Cas junior.
Zak Hardaker makes the switch from local rivals Leeds to re-unite with his former Featherstone coach – yet another transfer that should pay great dividends – but it is a player who was already within the Cas stable that attracts attention from a betting prospective this week.
Minikin the man
Greg Minikin was a consistent, try-scoring sensation in the lower leagues and attracted the attention of the West Yorkshire side enough to make a switch to Super League in 2015.
The 21-year-old’s emergence from the semi-pro game with York City Knights has continued on an upward trajectory since that point with a series of impressive performances across the Tigers’ backline.
The three-quarter back stacked up 16 appearances in 2016 (mainly from the centres) scoring six times; including a spectacular effort against near-neighbours Wakefield. Minikin has clearly made an impression on his coach ahead of this campaign after been handed the #2 shirt ahead of other options like the experienced Joel Monaghan.
High-scoring encounter expected
Considering the style both these sides play it is difficult to see this tie being anything other than a high-scoring affair – Castleford both scored and conceded the second-most points in first 23 rounds of last year and the Centurions amassed 881 points over the same period in the Championship (164 more than any other side) so it is very much in the DNA of both these to create and convert opportunities.
As a 10/11 shot with Ladbrokes, backing Minikin to cross on the opening weekend is something that will pay rather handsomely and as we have seen over the last few seasons he will be provided with plenty of opportunities to do so as part of the Cas structure.
Should he keep a wing spot over the season I would favour his production could surprise yet again. On two of the three occasions he played as a wide-man in the previous campaign it paid to hold an ‘anytime scorer’ ticket and it is that approach we favour here.
Castleford Tigers v Leigh Centurions – Greg Minikin Anytime Tryscorer (10/11 Ladbrokes)