The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2017 NRL season.
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
Fri April 14, 4:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday night to kick off round seven of the NRL season in a match between two teams hoping to turnaround disappointing starts to the year. The Bulldogs enjoyed their second consecutive win last week against the Knights in a patchy performance, while the Rabbitohs won by a field goal against a depleted Panthers outfit.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Kerrod Holland and Francis Taulau will join the Bulldogs side after injuries to Brad Abbey and David Klemmer, while the Rabbitohs will go into the match unchanged from last week.
Winning is often a habit in the NRL competition, and while neither side were particularly impressive last week, both coaches will hope the win will be their catalyst to find good form. The Bulldogs will go into the match as narrow favourites and while their form of late has been anything but impressive, expect Des Hasler’s men to find a way to win.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -1.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Knights v Roosters
Fri April 14, 6:00 pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will play the Sydney Roosters this Friday night with the former competition leading ‘Chooks sliding to 4th on the ladder after consecutive losses against Manly and Brisbane. Trent Robinson’s men will be keen to make amends for their error-riddled performance last week, but they will face a Knights outfit desperate to notch just their second win of the season.
Sam Stone will join the Knights’ interchange, while the Roosters will replace Latrell Mitchell with Joseph Manu in the only change for both teams.
The Knights were brave against the Bulldogs last week but their opposition is an embarrassed Roosters squad that were de-throned by the Broncos last week. Expect a far more disciplined performance from the ‘Chooks with coach Trent Robinson putting his men on notice after dropping promising centre Latrell Mitchell from his squad. While the Knights are certainly a chance, the Roosters have them covered across the park, expect the Roosters to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 40.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Broncos v Titans
Fri April 14, 7:50 pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the Gold Coast Titans this Friday night with both teams in very different positions in the early stages of the season. The Broncos confirmed their status as competition heavyweights with a dominant performance against the Roosters last week, while the Titans are still enduring an injury crisis with 11 top-grade players unavailable for selection.
Kodi Nikorima will replace the injured Ben Hunt for the Broncos with Corey Oates also returning on the wing. The Titans will welcome back Nathan Peats and Chris McQueen to the starting side at hooker and second row respectively
The Broncos will go into the match as heavy favourites but it remains to be seen if their form will be impacted by the absence of Hunt. Utility Kodi Nikorima slotted in seamlessly against the Roosters last week, but expect the Titans to do everything they can to put Brisbane’s structures out of whack. Expect Brisbane to get the points in a high-scoring affair.
Betting Tip: Broncos -13.5 @ $1.90 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Storm
Sat April 15, 3:00 pm, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will take on the Melbourne Storm this Saturday afternoon after both teams’ run of good form was abruptly ended with disappointing losses last week. Still equal competition leaders, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will be unhappy with his troops after their patchy form resulted in their first loss of the season against the Sharks last week. The Sea Eagles will be equally disappointed after their poor loss to the Dragons last week snapped a three-game winning streak for the club.
Akuila Uate, Jackson Hastings and Lloyd Perrett will join the Sea Eagles side for Martin Taupau and Nate Myles. Cheyse Blair will join the centres for the Storm to cover the suspended Will Chambers in the only change for Melbourne.
The Storm will go into the match as heavy favourites particularly with Manly missing Nate Myles and Martin Taupau. Manly will be desperate to regain their winning momentum but expect the Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -4.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Raiders v Warriors
Sat April 15, 5:30 pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders will host the New Zealand Warriors in the Australian capital this Saturday night after both teams produced impressive wins last week in their effort to return to good form. The highly-rated Raiders outfit struggled to start the year, but coach Ricky Stuart will hope consecutive wins against the Eels and Titans will inspire his troops to their 2016 finals form. The Warriors also had a difficult start to the year but have looked a different side with superstar Kieran Foran in the halves.
Both sides have named unchanged squads leading into the match.
Both teams have eerily similar strengths and weaknesses in their style of play. Both produce scintillating attack but are let down at times in defence and discipline. It will be the team better able to overcome their deficiencies who takes the points. While the Warriors have improved with Kieran Foran, the Raiders’ top form should still be muscle memory after the finals series in 2016. The Kiwi’s still have a ways to go to get to their best and expect the Raiders to exploit their defensive structures that still require a lot of work. Raiders to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 46.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Dragons v Cowboys
Sat April 15, 7:30 pm, WIN Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons will host the North Queensland Cowboys this Saturday night in what will be a very interesting match. The notion that the Dragons could go into a game against the Cowboys as heavy favourites would have seemed ridiculous in the pre-season, but given the competition leading Dragons’ form and the Cowboys massive injury list the 2016 cellar-dwellers have the bookies’ tip.
The Cowboys will be without star halfback Jonathan Thurston, Lachlan Coote and Shaun Fensom in a huge blow for the Queensland club as Justin O’Neil returns in the centres. The Dragons have named an unchanged side from last week.
The Cowboys have a woeful winning record without Jonathan Thurston and with no established half to take his place, the Cowboys will be in trouble against a red-hot Dragons side. The Dragons have overhauled their attack but kept the defensive steel always present under coach Paul McGregor’s tenure at the club. Expect the Dragons to use both to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -9.5 @ $1.90 (Crownbet)
Panthers v Sharks
Sun April 16, 4:00 pm, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday afternoon after reports that star centre Jack Bird has signed with the Broncos. It will be a big blow for the Sharks but do not expect the Cronulla outfit to be off their game after a dominant win over the Storm last week in difficult conditions. Their opposition in the Panthers were edged by the Rabbitohs in a field-goal loss last week, but Penrith coach Anthony Griffin will hope the return of a number of key players will spurn his squad back to top-form.
Before the news of Jack Bird’s defection, the Sharks were stung by James Segeyaro’s broken arm as Kurt Capewell joins the side as cover. The Panthers will welcome back Matt Moylan, Waqa Blake, Tyrone Peachey and James Fisher-Harris in a massive boost for the Penrith club.
It will be a tough game to pick but the Panthers will go into the match as narrow favourites. Given the Sharks’ recent form they should be the expected front-runner, but a home-ground advantage and returning players have seen Penrith installed as favourites. The result is no certainty but expect the Sharks to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sharks Head to Head @ $2.20 (Crownbet)
Eels v Tigers
Mon April 17, 4:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will play the Wests Tigers this Monday afternoon with the joint venture club going through a great many changes under new coach Ivan Cleary. The Tigers were too good against the Cowboys last week in an impressive performance, while the Eels are struggling with only two wins from six games and facing their fifth consecutive defeat.
The Tigers have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while the Eels will welcome Daniel Alvaro to cover Frank Pritchard.
The Eels will go into the match as favourites despite four consecutive losses. It will be a difficult match to pick with Ivan Cleary’s influence on the struggling Tigers still unclear, while Parramatta face their own woes after four weeks of losing. The Eels will be desperate for a win but Brad Arthur has a knack for inspiring his troops to thrive in adversity. The result could go either way at this stage but expect the Eels to get the points.
Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $1.70 (Unibet)
Raiders v Warriors Total Match Points Over 46.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sharks Head to Head @ $2.20 (Crownbet)