The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2018 NRL season.
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Thu, Apr 12, 7:50pm
The Roosters chalked up another good win over the Sharks last week and will take a lot of confidence into their round six clash with the Rabbitohs after the South Sydney club conceded a last-minute loss to the Dragons in round five. Both teams have shown glimpses of their full potential so far this season and will be eager to produce a consistent performance heading into the rest of their respective 2018 campaigns.
The Roosters have named an unchanged squad for clash, while the Rabbitohs will welcome back Richie Kennar on the wing at the expense of Hymel Hunt.
The Roosters will go into the match as heavy favourites after a dominant win last week. The Rabbitohs performed admirably against the red-hot Dragons in their last outing but face an enormous challenge against a Roosters pack who fired last week after facing criticism for their early season form. Expect an arm-wrestle in the forwards with both teams’ form relying on the performance of their big-men. Souths stand a small chance but the Chooks should get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 36.5 @ $1.90 (Ladbrokes)
Storm v Knights
Fri, Apr 13, 6:00pm
The Newcastle Knights produced a wonderful victory over the Broncos last week but now face one of the toughest tests of their 2018 campaign in the Melbourne Storm. The Victorian club were bested by the Tigers for the second time in a month after an uncharacteristically sloppy start to the season has seen them post rare consecutive losses.
Craig Bellamy has dropped the struggling Brodie Croft in favour of Ryley Jacks at halfback as Kenny Bromwich and Tim Glasby swap between the interchange and starting side. Meanwhile, Jacob Saifiti will join the Knights’ bench to cover the suspended Mitch Barnett.
Despite the yawning gap in the quality of both teams’ performance last week, the Knights will enter the match as underdogs. This is uncharted territory from the Storm with Craig Bellamy’s outfit relying on the performance of inexperienced campaigners in key positions. Expect a high-energy performance from both teams that will be scintillating if they play at their best. Tough one to pick but expect Melbourne to snap their losing streak in a disciplined showing.
Betting Tip: Knights +10.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Dragons v Sharks
Fri, Apr 13, 7:50pm
The Sharks have been afforded an opportunity to avenge their round two loss to the Dragons, with the St George outfit going on to lead the competition in a flawless start to their 2018 campaign since their last meeting. After staving off a Rabbitohs comeback for their fifth consecutive win last week, the joint-venture club will be wary of a Sharks outfit who were humbled by the Roosters in round five.
Cronulla will welcome back Josh Dugan to the centres with Trent Hodkinson and Matt Moylan retaining the halfback and fullback positions respectively, while the Dragons have replaced Hame Sele on the bench in place of Luciano Leilua in their only change.
It is a rare sight for a team to play with such fluency in the early stages of the season but the Dragons continue to surprise the competition with the depth of their combinations. The Sharks will face a tough task in matching their opposition’s form and execution. Expect the Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -5.5 @ $1.91 (Sportsbet)
Warriors v Broncos
Sat, Apr 14, 3:00pm
The Broncos will face a huge task in their round six clash against the Warriors in New Zealand as pressure mounts on their spine to find form. Both the Broncos’ halves in Milford and Nikorima have failed to produce a single try assist for the season, a damning statistic on which the Kiwis will hope to capitalise after another dominant performance against the Cowboys last week.
Brisbane will welcome back Alex Glenn in the back-row at the expense of Tom Opacic on the bench. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors have named an unchanged squad for the clash.
The form of the Kiwi’s spine and their defensive resolve have given the New Zealand outfit a perfect foil for their typical enthusiasm and free-flowing style of play. This energy no longer results in poor execution but a willingness to compete in the physical contest. Brisbane are down on confidence at the admission of Wayne Bennett – and they will need a lot of it to take down their Kiwi opposition. Expect the Warriors to get the points.
Betting Tip: Warriors 1-12 @ $2.80 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Bulldogs
Sat, Apr 14, 5:30pm
The Cowboys entered the season certain to make the play-offs after their grand-final appearance last year – particularly with the addition of superstars Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott. The Queensland club are instead facing their fifth consecutive loss this week after a disappointing showing against the Warriors. Their opposition in the Bulldogs were rolled by a dominant Raiders outfit last week and will be raring to go as they have similarly won only a single game this year.
First-choice fullback Lachlan Coote will make his long-awaited return to the North Queensland line-up, while the Bulldogs have decided to name an unchanged squad despite last week’s result.
Expect Lachlan Coote to make a huge difference from fullback with the playmaking custodian a key pillar in the Queenslanders’ game-plan. Both teams will be eager for a win but expect a highly motivated Cowboys outfit to bounce back to post their second win for the year.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 36.5 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Raiders v Eels
Sat, Apr 14, 7:30pm
A struggling Parramatta outfit remain winless after producing a narrow loss to the red-hot Panthers in their last game. They will take on a Canberra Raiders outfit who well and truly earned their first win of the year last week in an encouraging victory over Canterbury.
Clint Gutherson will make his return from a serious knee injury in a huge boost for the blue and gold. Bevan French and Kane Evans will also join the squad on the wing and bench respectively. For the Raiders, Jack Wighton will return at fullback despite his recent appearance in court to answer an assault charge. Blake Austin will return at five-eighth to replace the injured Sam Williams as Josh Papallii has also been included on the interchange.
The Eels will be becoming increasingly desperate with their finals prospects diminishing as their season has progressed. Returning his troops to form will not be a simple task for Brad Arthur and his outfit will face a Raiders squad buoyed by their first victory of the year. Expect the Raiders’ home-ground advantage to give them the edge as Canberra gets the win.
Betting Tip: Raiders -4.0 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Panthers v Titans
Sun, Apr 15, 2:00pm
The Panthers are one of a number of teams that entered season 2018 with question marks over their coach and finals chances. The Penrith club have turned pre-season predictions on their head, producing wonderful form, including a gritty win over the Eels last week. They will face a Titans outfit who also surged back into form two weeks ago against the Broncos and followed that performance with a solid win over Manly in their last match.
Kaide Ellis will join the Penrith interchange to cover the injured Waqa Blake in a reshuffled squad, while the Titans have named Will Matthews and Jack Stockwell in the backrow and interchange respectively.
Both teams are enjoying the luxury of in-form halves, affording them an ability to execute not previously held in their arsenal. Expect a free-flowing, high scoring match with neither team struggling to post points this year. It is a tough one to call but on recent form Penrith should get the win.
Betting Tip: Titans +7.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Tigers
Sun, Apr 15, 4:10pm
After a disappointing loss to the Raiders last week, Manly will face a massive test in the Wests Tigers with the joint-venture club rated as one of the form teams of the competition. Wests were very impressive against the Storm last week, beating the reigning premiers for the second time within a month in another testament to their defensive prowess.
Tom Trbojevic will return in a massive boost to Manly as the young custodian looks to claim the NSW fullback jersey in an otherwise unchanged squad. Star-signing Josh Reynolds will make his club debut for the Tigers from the interchange as David Nofoaluma and Sauaso Sue join the wing and bench respectively.
Russell Packer suffered a knee injury last week and his absence will weaken the Tigers’ impressive forward-rotation. Expect the Sea Eagles to improve enormously with the return of Trbojevic as the Manly club look to produce an upset. Despite the weakened Tigers squad, it is difficult to tip against Wests with the defensive commitment and composure they are showing. Tigers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers Head to Head @ $2.30 (Ladbrokes)
Warriors 1-12 @ $2.80 (Sportsbet)
Tigers Head to Head @ $2.30 (Ladbrokes)