The following are previews with betting tips for Round 8 of the 2017 NRL season.
Raiders v Sea Eagles
Fri April 21, 6:00 pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders will take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles this Friday night to kick off the NRL’s ANZAC round with both teams looking to take their game to the next level. The Raiders have been patchy this year but look to be playing into form with three consecutive wins, while the Sea Eagles will hope to establish themselves as a genuine top-eight contender against quality opposition.
The Raiders will field the same 17 as last week, while the Sea Eagles will welcome back Martin Taupau in the front-row in their only change.
The Raiders should go into the match as favourites, particularly with their home-ground advantage. With both sides playing an attacking-orientated brand of football, expect the relative quality of the Raiders defence to be the difference as Manly will need time to work on their defence after many roster changes in the off-season. Raiders to get the points in a high-scoring affair.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 43.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Rabbitohs v Broncos
Fri April 21, 7:50 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday night after the Brisbane outfit won an epic Queensland derby against the Titans last week. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs will be disappointed with their poor performance against the Bulldogs last week, particularly after failing to post any second-half points.
Joe Ofahengaue has been named to replace the injured Tevita Pangai Jr on the Broncos bench, while Souths will remain unchanged with Sam Burgess successfully fighting a shoulder charge at the judiciary.
It will be an interesting match given how the Broncos noticeably struggled without usual-halfback Ben Hunt last week. While talented, stand in halfback Kodi Nikorima could not emulate the composure Hunt brings to Brisbane’s attack and defence. Expect Souths to use this to their advantage with halfback Adam Reynolds considered one of the most accurate kickers in the competition. Despite this advantage, it is hard to tip the Rabbitohs after their performance last week, so expect a Broncos outfit brimming with representative talent to get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 39.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Eels v Panthers
Sat April 22, 3:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Parramatta Eels this Saturday afternoon after the highly-rated Penrith outfit were humbled after failing to post a try in their loss against the Sharks last week. Their opposition in the Eels edged the Tigers in a seesawing contest last week as both teams will look to overcome poor starts to the season with a win.
For the Eels, Kenny Edwards will join the bench in their only change from last week, while the Panthers have named the same 17 to take the field.
The Panthers have had a few big losses this season, but usually step up in their next match. Despite both teams’ inconsistent form, the Panthers will go into the match as heavy favourites, but the Eels should not be completely written off for the clash. It is a tough game to pick but expect the Panthers to get the points.
Betting Tip: Panthers -2.5 @ $1.99 (Pinnacle)
Cowboys v Knights
Sat April 22, 5:30 pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will host the Newcastle Knights this Saturday evening in a sneak preview of star rookie Kalyn Ponga’s playing ability for Knights’ coach Nathan Brown. The Cowboys were again poor last week in their loss to the Dragons as the Queensland club struggles without captain Jonathan Thurston. Meanwhile, the Knights lost bravely against a dominant Roosters outfit in their sixth loss of the season.
Antonio Winterstein will return on the wing in place of Gideo Gela-Mosby in the Cowboys only change, while the Knights will welcome Anthony Tupou on the bench.
Based on their performance last week, the Cowboys chances don’t look good, but do not expect a rookie Knights outfit to put the Cowboys’ makeshift spine combination off their game to the same extent as the Dragons’ hard-hitting pack. The Knights squad is still very much imbalanced and coach Nathan Brown has been clear his team is under the salary cap by a significant margin. Expect the Cowboys still dangerous forward rotation to make the difference as the Queenslanders get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights +10.0 @ $1.90 (Madbookie)
Sharks v Titans
Sat April 22, 7:30 pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks will take on the Gold Coast Titans this Saturday night after the reigning premiers produced another dominant performance in their win over the Panthers last week. The Sharks kept their opposition try-less in their last much but they will face a Titans outfit very much improved after an epic derby with the Broncos saw them lose the game in the dying stages.
The Sharks have named an unchanged 17 to take the field, while the Titans will replace the injured Max King with Joe Greenwood on the bench.
The Sharks will go into the match as favourites, but Titans coach Neil Henry will be hoping for the return of Jarryd Hayne, Kevin Proctor and Konrad Hurrell – all of whom have been included in the Titans’ reserves and stand a change of returning from injury. If the experienced Titans trio return, there is certainly a chance of an upset, but don’t expect an in-form Sharks outfit to concede points easily. Cronulla to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sharks -10.5 @ $1.94 (Topbetta)
Tigers v Bulldogs
Sun April 23, 4:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Wests Tigers will play the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Sunday afternoon with the ‘Dogs form continuing to improve after a dominant win over the Rabbitohs last week. The Tigers will be disappointed after they were edged by the Eels in a tight game, but have also made a stark improvement under the tutelage of new coach Ivan Cleary.
Michael Chee Kam will join the centres for the Tigers to cover the injured Jamal Idris with Joel Edwards also joining the interchange. David Klemmer will return for the Bulldogs in their only change from last week.
The Bulldogs should go into the match as heavy favourites and Des Hasler will know his outfit needs to make up for their poor early-season form against middle teams like the Tigers. The ‘Dogs intensity has lifted in recent times, while the Tigers are still finding their feet under Cleary despite obvious improvement. Expect the Bulldogs to get the points.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -4.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Roosters v Dragons
Tue , April 25, 4:00 pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons this Tuesday afternoon in a massive ANZAC day clash between two highly rated outfits. The Dragons have stunned the competition with six wins in seven games but they face a Roosters outfit who last week returned to form against the Knights in their fifth win of the year.
Kane Evans will replace Ryan Matterson on the bench for the Roosters, while the Dragons will welcome back Josh Dugan at fullback in the only changes for both teams.
The Dragons position on the ladder can be put down largely to the form of their halves and forward rotation, but they will face a Roosters outfit whose game-plan is designed around a similar framework. Expect a big battle in the middle of the field and the forward pack who dominates to win. The Roosters will go into this match primed against the red-hot Dragons, and while their form is not as dominant as their opposition, expect the more experienced Roosters outfit to get the points.
Betting Tip: Roosters Head to Head @ $1.68 (Bet365)
Storm v Warriors
Tue , April 25, 7:00 pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm will host the New Zealand Warriors this Tuesday night in the final game of the NRL’s 2017 ANZAC round. Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will be disappointed with his squad’s current form after they were held try-less against the Sharks in round 6 and conceded 26 points against Manly last week. Their opposition in the Warriors were brought back to Earth after losing to the Raiders last week, but will hope their developing form will be enough to challenge the Melbourne machine.
Will Chambers will return in the centres for the Storm in the only change for the Victorian club, while the Warriors have named the same team from last week.
Despite their relatively poor form of late, the Storm are heavy favourites and there is little to suggest the Warriors can produce an upset. Melbourne have fallen short of the high expectations set by their coaching staff in recent weeks, and will hope to return to their clinical best against a still-developing Kiwi’s side. Melbourne to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -9.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Sharks -10.5 @ $1.94 (Topbetta)