The following are previews with betting tips for Round 22 of the 2017 NRL season.
Bulldogs v Eels
Thu Aug 3, 7:50 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Eels made an enormous statement with their impressive win over the Broncos last week, even after losing star fullback Clint Gutherson to a season ending knee injury. The win rocketed the Eels into top four contention but the Parramatta club will be looking to maintain their intensity against the Bulldogs leading into the finals. Canterbury were poor last week after their loss to the Panthers has them languishing in the bottom-four.
Parramatta will go into the match unchanged, while the Bulldogs will welcome back Brett Morris on the wing in place of Kerrod Holland in their only change.
The Eels’ performance last week showed they can match the competition’s best and with many in the squad eager to snap a lengthy finals drought, expect another disciplined performance from the Parramatta club. The Bulldogs will struggle to match the Eels in the basic areas of the game with errors and completion rates a consistent issue for them this year. Eels to get the win in another dominant performance.
Betting Tip: Eels -5.5 @ $1.943 (Pinnacle)
Dragons v Rabbitohs
Fri Aug 4, 6:00 pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
After a dominant performance against the Sea Eagles in round 20, Dragons faithful were given hope the club could emulate their early-season form, but a controversial loss to the Knights last week looks to be a major blow for the joint-venture’s finals hopes with increasing pressure from the Panthers in ninth position. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs sit 14th on the ladder, but with coach Michael Maguire putting a positive spin on their season, a Souths squad with nothing to lose could produce an upset.
The Dragons have elected to go into the match with an unchanged squad, while the Rabbitohs will welcome back Zane Musgrove at the expense of David Tyrrell.
The Dragons will go into the match as heavy favourites but with both teams failing to produce consistent form this year, the result could go either way. Expect Souths’ coach Michael Maguire to use the remainder of this season to tinker with his line-up and establish his preferred combinations for 2018. This could prove dangerous for the Dragons, but expect their desperation to get them the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons +6.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Cowboys v Storm
Fri Aug 4, 7:50 pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The Cowboys will be disappointed after their first real test against a top-four side without Jonathan Thurston resulted in a loss. Their second-half performance was a bad sign after leading the contest 16-6 going into the sheds, and the Queensland club face an even tougher task this week against a red-hot Storm side.
The Cowboys will welcome back Shaun Fensom on the bench at the expense of Braden Uele, while the Storm will bring back Billy Slater to cover the injured Cameron Munster as Ryley Jacks joins the halves.
The Storm were dominant in their 40-6 win over the Sea Eagles last week and show no signs of slowing down as they edge closer to another minor premiership. With a host of talented rookies providing wonderful cover for their veteran spine, expect Melbourne to put another dent in the Cowboys’ top-four hopes with the Queenslander’s likely to struggle to match the competitions best without their best two players. Melbourne to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -4.5 @ $1.94 (Topbetta)
Knights v Warriors
Sat Aug 5, 3:00 pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Knights will be eager to remain in the winner’s circle after their last-start win over the Dragons snapped an eight-game losing streak for the battling club. The Novacastrians will host a dejected Warriors outfit after a loss to the Sharks last week for the New Zealand club all but ended their finals hopes.
Newcastle have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while the Warriors will bring in Isaiah Papali’i to cover the injured Bodene Thompson in their only change.
The Warriors will enter the contest as narrow favourites but with the Kiwis highly-unlikely to make the top eight they risk being out enthused by an in-form Knights outfit. Newcastle have lacked experience this year, but will be eager to post consecutive wins for the first-time this season, while their opposition may struggle to get up for the game with only mathematical finals chances. Unless the Warriors can produce a stirring performance, expect the Novacastrians to get the best of their dejected opposition.
Betting Tip: Knights Head to Head @ $2.20 (Ladbrokes)
Titans v Broncos
Sat Aug 5, 5:30 pm, Cbus Super Stadium
It was only a short time ago when the Broncos’ were lauded by some as the only team capable of matching Melbourne this year. That aspiration is now in tatters after the disappointment of their loss to the Eels last week was compounded by a season-ending injury to workhorse dummy-half Andrew McCullough – casting major doubt over their premiership credentials. Meanwhile, Titans fans will be hoping their squad lifts for the local derby after an embarrassing loss to the Tigers last week all but ended their finals campaign.
The Broncos will bring Kodi Nikorima back into their halves with Ben Hunt shifting to hooker. David Mead has been named on the wing, but Corey Oates could return in his place after being named in the reserves. For the Titans, Kevin Proctor and John Olive will both return in a big boost for the Gold Coast club.
The Broncos will enter the contest as favourites but may be patchy without stalwart Andrew McCullough. The Titans typically lift for derby matches but if Brisbane can play at their best they should get the win. Broncos to get the points.
Betting Tip: Broncos -4.5 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Sharks v Raiders
Sat Aug 5, 7:30 pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Cronulla are well placed for a top-four berth and stand a chance of being the first team in over a decade to win consecutive premierships. After an impressive performance against the Warriors last week, the Sharks will face a Raiders outfit fresh from victory over a lowly Rabbitohs team but with their top-four position far from certain, expect Cronulla to be on their toes.
Jack Bird will return at centre in a boost for the Sharks, while the Raiders will welcome back Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii in a big boost for their side as they cling to a mathematical chance of making the play-offs.
The Sharks have performed well without star five-eighth James Maloney and will hope to post their third consecutive win against the Raiders. Cronulla’s 2017 line-up is one of the best teams backing up from a premiership in a number of years, and the club has a chance to make history by winning consecutive titles. Expect another dominant performance with the Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks -5.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Roosters
Sun Aug 6, 2:00 pm, Lottoland
The Sea Eagles will hope to resurrect their spluttering season in the most difficult circumstances as they face a Roosters outfit pushing for the minor premiership. After producing wonderful form at the start of the season, Manly have conceded over 30-points in their last two games in a worrying sign for the premiership credentials. A depleted Roosters squad was impressive against the Cowboys in their last game and will be hungry for their fourth consecutive win.
Manly will bring in Brad Parker and Lloyd Perrett on the bench in the only changes to their 17. The Roosters have named the same line-up from last week, with Jake Friend a chance of returning after being named in the reserves.
The Roosters will enter the contest as favourites and unless Manly can produce a massive turnaround in form their chances of victory look slim. The Chooks continue to perform well despite a number of key players missing and expect that trend to continue against the Sea Eagles.
Betting Tip: Roosters -2.5 @ $2.04 (Topbetta)
Panthers v Tigers
Sun Aug 6, 4:00 pm, Pepper Stadium
Ivan Cleary’s Tigers outfit will take on his former club in a bizarre faceoff between the Tigers coach and his son and Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary, but the younger Cleary will be focussed on the game with the Panthers desperate to break into the top eight. The Panthers will be looking for their fifth consecutive win against the Tigers, while the joint-venture club will look for continued improvement after a dramatic turnaround in form recently.
Moses Leota comes into the Penrith side at lock with Matt Moylan also a chance to return from injury. The Tigers have named an unchanged side for the match.
The Panthers will go into the match as heavy favourites, and have shown a will to win in their last month of football. Penrith still look defensively fragile and may struggle against the competitions’ heavyweights, but against the less experienced Tigers expect the Panthers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.91 (Crownbet)
Knights Head to Head @ $2.20 (Ladbrokes)
Panthers v Tigers Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.91 (Crownbet)