The following are previews with betting tips for Round 2 of the 2017 NRL season.
Roosters v Bulldogs
Thu March 9, 8:05 pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Thursday night after both teams produced very different performances in round one. Coming up against a highly rated Titans outfit, the Roosters looked sharp with new recruits Michael Gordon and Luke Keary performing well in a good sign for Trent Robinson’s troops. Conversely, the Bulldogs struggled against a ruthless Storm outfit as Des Hasler looks to spark his squads’ spluttering attack.
Both teams have named unchanged sides from last round’s 17.
The Roosters will go into the match as favourites and while they were impressive against the Titans, they did let the Gold Coast club back into the contest in the second half. While a big improvement from the Bulldogs would not be surprising, expect the potency of the Roosters’ spine to make the difference. The Roosters’ new halves combination of Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary should lead from the front, with the ‘Chooks’ to get the points in a physical contest.
Betting Tip: Roosters Head to Head @ $1.45 (Sportsbet)
Warriors v Storm
Fri March 10, 6:00 pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will take on the Melbourne Storm this Friday night at the Kiwi’s home-ground in Auckland in a massive clash that may be a tighter contest than many expect. The Storm traditionally start their season strong while their New Zealand counterparts take time to warm into the new year, a home-turf advantage combined with a new captain and coach for the New Zealand side may help to reverse their slow starts.
Erin Clark will come in for Isaiah Papali’i on the Warriors bench in the only change for the Kiwi’s, while the Storm will replace the injured Jesse Bromwich with Tim Glasby in the front row.
The Storm should go into the match as favourites, but given their record against the Warriors, particularly at their home-ground, the result is no certainty. Most teams will still be getting used to the structures put in place over the pre-season, so while the Storm are certainly more likely, don’t be surprised if the Warriors upset their rivals at home. Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Mach Points over 35.0 @ $1.90 (Pinnacle)
Broncos v Cowboys
Fri March 10, 8:05 pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the North Queensland Cowboys this Friday night in a blockbuster clash and the first NRL game at Suncorp stadium for 2017. Both teams started the season last week in fine form after the Broncos downed the reigned premiers in the Sharks at their home-ground and the Cowboys bested an impressive Raiders outfit in Townsville.
The Broncos have named an unchanged side from last week, while the Cowboys will welcome back Antonio Winterstein on the wing with Javid Bowen relegated to the reserves.
Three of the past four games between these two clubs have gone into extra-time and with both teams harried by off-season doubts over their forward-rotations, expect pride to be an important factor in the motivation and intensity of the game. It is difficult to find a fault with either side, but the Cowboys still have a clear advantage in the halves. The brilliance of Jonathan Thurston and Michael Morgan is a stark contrast against the Broncos’ scrum-base who continue to struggle on their fifth-tackle options. With so little between the two clubs, it will be the team with the better execution to come out on top. Expect Jonathan Thurston to lead his team to victory against Brisbane once again.
Betting Tip: Cowboys Head to Head @ $2.00 (Ladbrokes)
Knights v Titans
Sat March 11, 3:00 pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will take on the Gold Coast Warriors this Saturday afternoon after both clubs started the season with disappointing but narrow losses last week. The Titans were poor against the Roosters despite a spirited come-back in the second half, while the Knights fell short of an improved Warriors outfit.
Brendan Elliot will come into the Knights’ team at fullback in place of the injured Dylan Phythian, while the Titans have named an unchanged squad heading into the game.
The Titans should go into the game as favourites and expect a much-improved start from the Gold Coast club after they were ambushed by the Roosters last week. It remains to be seen whether the controversy surrounding Jarryd Hayne’s work ethic will impact the Titans after an extended drama in the media, but a much improved Knights outfit is sure to capitalise on any weakness. Expect the Knights to fight hard but the Titans should get the win.
Betting Tip: Titans -4.5 @ $2.00 (Unibet)
Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs
Sat March 11, 5:30 pm, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Saturday evening after both teams kicked off the 2017 season with a disappointing losses last round. The Rabbitohs went down against an energetic Tigers outfit – their loss compounded by a long term injured suffered by captain Greg Inglis – while Manly lost to a dangerous looking Parramatta outfit, losing Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake to suspension in the process.
Alex Johnston will replace Inglis at fullback for Souths with Braidon Burns coming onto the wing as Angus Crichton also joins the side on the interchange at the expense of Tom Burgess. Nate Myles will start in the front row for Manly in place of the suspended Taupau, while Shaun Lane and Jarrad Kennedy join the bench.
Both teams will go into the contest significantly weakened by absences due to injury and suspension but Manly look to be the favourites. After falling short against the Eels, Manly still showed some good signs in their round one hit-out, while the Rabbitohs were poor without the leadership of Greg Inglis. Expect The Rabbitohs to struggle until the return of halfback Adam Reynolds with Manly to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -2.5 @ $1.95 (Unibet)
Raiders v Sharks
Sat March 11, 7:30 pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders will host the Cronulla Sharks this Saturday night in a blockbuster clash with both clubs producing tight losses in round one last week. The Sharks went down against a classy Broncos outfit at their home-ground, while the Raiders were pipped by the Cowboys in Townsville in an extra-time thriller.
The Sharks will go into the match unchanged from last week, while the Raiders will welcome the return of Jack Wighton at fullback. Junior Paulo will also return in the front-row to cover for the suspended Clay Priest as Scott Sorensen joins the interchange to replace Joseph Tapine due to injury.
Despite a loss for both clubs last week, expect a high quality contest between two of 2017’s heavyweight clubs. The Raiders should go into the match as favourites, particularly given their home-ground advantage, but it will be the Raiders’ spine that proves the difference. The return of Jack Wighton will restore the Raiders spine from their stellar 2016 season and against a Sharks spine who are still very much finding their feet, expect the Raiders to control the contest to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 40.5 @ $1.90 (Luxbet)
Tigers v Panthers
Sun March 12, 4:00 pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The Wests Tigers will take on the Penrith Panthers this Sunday afternoon after both teams produced very different results last round. The Tigers started their season with a bang against the Rabbitohs with an impressive attacking display for a round one match, while the Panthers slumped to a very poor loss against the Dragons.
The Tigers have named an unchanged squad heading into the clash, while the Panthers will replace the injured Peta Hiku with Dylan Edwards on the wing in their only change from last round.
It will be a difficult one to pick and despite the Panthers’ performance last week they should go into the contest as narrow favourites. Both teams have made their reputation in the NRL as attacking powerhouses with a lesser emphasis on structure and defence, so it will be the more organised and defensively sound team that gets the points. Expect the Panthers to bounce back from their last-start defeat in a high scoring contest.
Betting Tip: Panthers -1.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Dragons v Eels
Sun March 12, 6:30 pm, WIN Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons will take on the Parramatta Eels this Sunday evening after the joint-venture club produced a scintillating attacking display against the highly-rated Panthers last week. It was a fantastic sign the club has turned a new leaf and a just reward for Dragons faithful after sticking by their struggling club during their disappointing 2016 campaign.
Both teams will go into the match unchanged from last week.
The Dragons placed a big emphasis on recruitment for this season and new signings Cameron McInnes and Paul Vaughan looked slick in their new colours last week. Similar to the Dragons, the Eels will be looking for redemption this year after a horror 2016 season, with Parramatta’s last-start win against Manly a good first step. While the Dragons made short work of an ill-disciplined Panthers outfit, they will face a gritty Eels squad with far better defensive structures. While the result is no certainty, expect the Eels to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 39.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Dragons v Eels Total Match Points Under 39.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)