The following are previews with betting tips for Round 18 of the 2017 NRL season.
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Fri July 7, 7:50 pm, Allianz Stadium
Round 18 of the NRL competition will see a depleted Roosters outfit take on the Rabbitohs this Friday night after the fourth placed Chooks were humbled in an uncharacteristic capitulation against the Sharks last week. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs sit two wins outside of eighth position but will hope to capitalise on a Roosters squad weakened by Origin representation after an impressive attacking display against the Panthers in their last game.
Souths will go into the match with an unchanged squad, while the Roosters will bring in Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Lindsay Collins and Mitch Cornish as cover for their Origin players.
The Roosters are still a dangerous force without their Origin quartet, particularly after a poor loss to the Sharks last week. The Rabbitohs will be brimming with confidence after an attacking masterclass against the Panthers, but expect the Roosters to bounce back after last week’s performance fell far short of their lofty standards. This one could go either way but expect the Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters +4.0 @ $1.92 (Madbookie)
Panthers v Sea Eagles
Sat July 8, 5:30 pm, Pepper Stadium
The Panthers’ season is still alive despite consecutive losses to the Cowboys and Rabbitohs in recent weeks and the Penrith club will continue their premiership campaign this Saturday night against the third placed Sea Eagles in a massive test for Anthony Griffin’s men. Their opposition in Manly have enjoyed a meteoric rise this year and have climbed the ladder with the advantage of limited Origin representation. The Sea Eagles have benefited from a five-game winning streak with their last loss coming against the Broncos in round 10, but against an unpredictable Panthers side, expect Manly to be ready for anything.
Mitch Rein will join the Penrith squad at hooker in the Panthers’ only change, while the Sea Eagles have drafted Jarrad Kennedy, Cameron Cullen and Shaun Lane into their side after an injury to Lewis Brown and Jake Trbojevic’s Origin absence.
The Sea Eagles will go into the game as favourites, and lead by captain Daly Cherry-Evans – who will undoubtedly be burning after his omission from the Maroons squad – Manly will match the Panthers’ attacking potency. The Penrith club have pulled off some remarkable performances this year but don’t expect a win for the Panthers on Saturday night.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Storm v Eels
Sat July 8, 7:30 pm, AAMI Park
With their entire spine set to be transplanted straight into the Maroons line-up for Origin III, Melbourne continue to consistently provide an enormous number of players to the interstate series. The Storm’s rookies will look to back up their team’s powerful performance against the Broncos last week with a win against an Eels outfit who look to be finding form after a horror start to the season. Mid-season signing Mitchel Moses has been a revelation for Parramatta and is quickly developing into a club hero after kicking the winning field goal against the Bulldogs last week.
Jahrome Hughes, Cheyse Blair, Ryley Jacks, Brodie Croft and Slade Griffin will join the Melbourne line-up while the Eels have named an unchanged squad for the clash.
The Storm’s rookie playmakers performed admirably against the Roosters in their last match without their Origin players, but question marks still remain over their maturity in the NRL. The Eels will look to capitalise on the inexperience of their opposition and control the game, but don’t expect the Storm’s discipline to depart with their Origin players. It will tough one to call but the more experienced Eels outfit should get the win.
Betting Tip: Eels -4.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Bulldogs v Knights
Sun July 9, 4:00 pm, Belmore Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will be dejected after a poor performance in the NRL’s awkwardly marketed ‘battle for the spoon’ match against the Tigers last week. Pressure continues to mount on coach Nathan Brown despite the circumstances behind the Knights’ poor form. The Bulldogs will be disappointed with their performance against the Eels last week with every win vital to their finals campaign, but will look to this game against the Knights as a confidence builder leading into their round 20 clash with the Brisbane Broncos.
Kerrod Holland, Asipeli Fine and Andy Saunders will join the Bulldogs side to cover their Origin trio, while the Knights will welcome back Chanel Mata’utia and Brendan Elliot in their backline with Luke Yates also joining the bench.
The Bulldogs should go into the match as favourites, but expect Newcastle to lift after being embarrassed by the Tigers last week. It has been a difficult year for the struggling club, but they have rarely lost their pride with a number of losses coming down to the wire throughout the year. The Bulldogs should get the points, but expect the Knights to make them work for the win.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -7.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)