The following are previews with betting tips for Round 23 of the 2019 NRL season.
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Eels v Bulldogs
Thu, Aug 22, 7.50pm
Western Sydney Stadium
Despite their dominant last-start victory over the Titans – their eighth victory from their last 10 games – Parramatta should approach this contest with the Bulldogs very cautiously given the form of their opposition. Canterbury produced an impressive win over Souths last week and will be looking for their fourth consecutive win against the Eels.
The Bulldogs have elected to field the same 17 players from their last game, while Parramatta will welcome Junior Paulo back to the front-row in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Astute mid-season signings and continuity in their playing group – particularly in the spine positions – have been the basis of the Bulldogs’ late-season form resurgence. Coach Dean Pay seems to have given particular emphasis to his team’s completion-rate and their new-found discipline with the ball has allowed a gritty, defense orientated style of play to come to the fore for the Canterbury club. The Eels will enter the match as heavy favourites but Brad Arthur’s squad has been guilty of complacency at times this season. If Parramatta are at their best they should get the win, but do not be surprised if their opposition push them all the way. Eels to get the points.
Betting Tip: Eels -7.5 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)
Cowboys v Panthers
Fri, Aug 23, 6.00pm
The Panthers suffered a brutally disappointing loss to Brisbane last week in a result that could prove the difference to the Penrith club’s exclusion from the finals series. Ivan Cleary’s troops will need to win all their remaining matches for a chance to make the top-eight and will face a struggling North Queensland outfit who are short on confidence and healthy players both.
Retiring Cowboys’ enforcer Matt Scott has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke, which is sure to have a big impact on North Queensland’s morale. Murray Taulagi will join the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Penrith will cover the absence of the injured Josh Mansour with Stephen Crichton on the wing. Jarome Luai will also make his injury return off the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Penrith will enter this match as heavy favourites and barring a major form-turnaround from their opposition should handle the Cowboys comfortably given their recent form. Ivan Cleary will be expecting a big response from his troops after the disappointment of last week’s result. Panthers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -2.0 @ $1.80 (Unibet)
Broncos v Rabbitohs
Fri, Aug 23, 7.55pm
Friday night will bring the next chapter of the NRL’s newest rivalry between the Broncos and Souths with both clubs desperate for victory less than a month out of the finals. Brisbane produced an impressive victory over the Panthers last week – albeit at a significant cost – while Souths were poor in a disappointing loss to the Bulldogs, a result which cost them their top-four position.
Brisbane will be without Jake Turpin and Tevita Pangai Jr due to suspension, but their absence will be somewhat offset by the return of Alex Glenn and Matt Gillett at centre and in the second-row respectively. Sean O’Sullivan will also join the squad at halfback with no further changes. For South Sydney, captain Sam Burgess is under an injury cloud despite being named in the squad. Kyle Turner and Mark Nicholls will also join the 17 at centre and off the bench respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Brisbane will enter this match as narrow favourites but should be on high-alert against a Souths outfit who will likely produce a big response after their poor performance last week. This match could go either way, but expect the class and experience of the Rabbitohs spine to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Broncos -1.5 @ $1.90 (Ladbrokes)
Sharks v Warriors
Sat, Aug 24, 3.00pm
Their solid last-start win over St George has kept Cronulla in the top-eight, but John Morris’ troops will be looking for a big performance against a New Zealand Warriors squad who were humbled in a disappointing 42-6 loss to the Roosters in their last match. While the Kiwis look unlikely to make the finals, they have produced a number of impressive performances towards the end of this season to give them confidence they can produce a win.
The Warriors will welcome David Fusitu’a, Patrick Herbert and Isaac Luke on the wing, centre and at hooker respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, an injury to Matt Moylan will give Ronaldo Mulitalo an opportunity on the wing as Andrew Fifita makes his injury return off the bench in a huge boost for Cronulla.
The Sharks will enter this match as firm favourites but their attacking structures will suffer in the absence of Matt Moylan. At their best, the Kiwis can be confident of securing a victory in games like this, but the New Zealand club has been struggling to perform consistently across 80 minutes. Expect the experience and football nous of the Sharks’ key men to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Warriors +7.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)
Tigers v Knights
Sat, Aug 24, 5.30pm
Unlikely top eight hopefuls in the Tigers and Knights will face off on Saturday evening in the aftermath of Newcastle’s shock announcement that coach Nathan Brown will depart the club at season’s end. Wests suffered a humbling 20-point defeat to Manly last week, putting a major dent in their top-eight chances, while the Knights snapped a worrying losing streak in style against North Queensland.
Josh Reynolds, Chris Lawrence and Robert Jennings have been named to return to Wests’ starting 13 at hooker, second-row and on the wing respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Knights, exciting rookie Bradman Best will make his NRL debut after the late withdrawal of Tautau Moga with Danny Levi also returning at hooker. Tim Glasby could also make his return from a concussion after the veteran lock was named in the reserves.
Despite the Knights being tipped as favourites, so many changes to each club’s 17 means this match could go either way. Newcastle’s response to the sacking of Nathan Brown is yet to be seen, but expect a big response from Michael Maguire’s troops after a disappointing performance last week. Tigers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers Head to Head @ $2.10 (Sportsbet)
Dragons v Roosters
Sat, Aug 24, 7.35pm
The Dragons will be looking to recover from their narrow last-start loss to the Sharks but face a massive test this week in the Roosters. The reigning premiers are in scintillating form as their massive 42-6 win over the Warriors last week has the club in the hunt for their sixth consecutive win.
Both teams have elected to make only once change to their 17. Jonus Pearson will join the wing for the Dragons, while the Roosters will welcome Siosiua Taukeiaho’s return on the bench in a big boost to their middle-forward rotation.
The Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites and barring a major turnaround from the Dragons, the result should go the reigning premiers’ way. Complacency has rarely been an issue for the Roosters so far this season and the club should be wary of a Dragons outfit capable of performing at a much higher level than their recent performances has indicated. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -12.5 @ $1.92 (Unibet)
Storm v Titans
Sun, Aug 25, 2.00pm
The Titans face the daunting challenge of playing the Storm after Melbourne were accused of complacency by coach Craig Bellamy following their narrow loss to the Raiders, in which the likely minor-premiers conceded 22 unanswered points. The Titans do not look like a team likely to extract any value from their remaining games after a disappointing 36-12 loss to Parramatta last week.
Craig Bellamy has named only one change to his squad with Brandon Smith joining the interchange. For the Titans, Jarrod Wallace will return on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Melbourne will head into this contest as heavy favourites given both teams’ recent form. Expect a massive response from the Storm after they produced an uncharacteristically poor second-half performance against Canberra – particularly after leading 18-0 heading into half-time. While the result of this match is fairly predictable, the discipline and intent of both squads will be under the microscope and should provide a good insight into how each club is tracking. Storm to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -20.5 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)
Raiders v Sea Eagles
Sun, Aug 25, 4.05pm
Rugby League fans will be treated to yet another top-four clash between the Raiders and Manly after both clubs recorded impressive performances last week. Canberra produced a stunning second-half against Melbourne to pile 22 unanswered points on the likely minor-premiers – recording the biggest comeback victory over Melbourne in history. Their opposition in Manly did well to push themselves into the top four last week with an impressive 20-point victory over the Tigers.
Hudson Young will join the bench in an otherwise unchanged Raiders squad. Meanwhile, Manly have named an unchanged 17 from their last game.
Canberra’s more consistent form will see them enter this contest as favourites. While the result last week against the Storm proved the club is capable of matching the competition’s best, Ricky Stuart will be eager to continue their winning momentum – particularly with his squad’s poor record against quality opposition this year. Manly’s surge into the top-four has come off the back of their damaging forward rotation and class in the back-line and their contest against one of the best defensive teams in the competition should make for fantastic viewing. This match could go either way but expect the Raiders’ class around the ruck to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 40.5 @ $1.88 (Neds)
Panthers -2.0 @ $1.80 (Unibet)
Tigers Head to Head @ $2.10 (Sportsbet)
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