The following are previews with betting tips for Round 8 of the 2018 NRL season.
Dragons v Roosters
Wed, Apr 25, 4:10pm
The Dragons will take on the Roosters this Anzac-day after the joint-venture club experienced their first defeat of the season last week against a resurgent Warriors outfit. Their opposition in the Roosters were very impressive in their last clash, keeping their opposition to nil in a tight 0-6 victory over the Bulldogs.
St George will replace Hame Sele with Jacob Host on the bench in an otherwise unchanged outfit. The tri-colours will welcome back Sio Siua Taukeaiaho to the bench at the expense of Frank Paul Nuuausala. Jake Friend is also in doubt – despite being named – after suffering a head knock against the Bulldogs.
The Roosters’ produced an amazing defensive performance last week to keep the Bulldogs to zero points, despite their opposition having ample opposition to score. The Dragons were not poor against the Warriors last week, but with the Roosters’ defensive form expect Trent Robinson’s men to bring their A-game against their competition-leading opposition. Chooks to get the points.
Betting Tip: Roosters +1.5 @ $1.95 (Bet365)
Storm v Warriors
Wed, Apr 25, 7:00pm
A red-hot Warriors outfit face a massive test this Wednesday as they take on the Storm in Melbourne. After a disappointing performance against the Broncos in round six, many critics began to doubt the sustainability of the Kiwis’ purple-patch of form to start the season. The New Zealand club responded strongly, handing the Dragons their first defeat of the season and taking equal leadership of the competition. Meanwhile, the Storm are finding form of their own after producing a vintage display against the Broncos last week in a dominant performance.
The Warriors will be without Tohu Harris and Shaun Johnson for the clash as Isaiah Papali’I and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad join the back-row and bench respectively. The Storm will miss Jesse Bromwich as Joe Stimson comes onto the interchange as cover.
Despite the Warriors’ fantastic recent form, facing Melbourne at their home-ground without Harris and Johnson is a tough test. Melbourne were fantastic against the Broncos last week and threatened from every position in the field. The Kiwis will bring a physical performance but expect the Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Rabbitohs v Broncos
Thu, Apr 26, 7:50pm
A red-hot Rabbitohs outfit will host a battling Brisbane team this Thursday night after the South Sydney club impressed in a dominant performance against the Raiders last week. The Broncos will be disappointed after a 14-point last-start loss to Melbourne was compounded by a serious injury to hooker Andrew McCullough that will see the highly-rated rake out for over a month.
Souths have lost Sam Burgess after the lock-forward was suspended for two weeks for a high-tackle against Canberra. Cameron Murray will join the squad at lock as Adam Doueihi replaces Hymel Hunt on the bench. Brisbane have named Josh McGuire at hooker in a curious move as Tevita Pangai Jr shifts to lock and Sam Tagataese joins the interchange.
Souths have impressed in their last few weeks of football with impressive displays against the Roosters and Canberra. The absence of Sam Burgess will be a huge blow for the club with Souths’ game-plan relying heavily on the dominance of their pack. Expect Brisbane’s forward rotation to fight fire with fire as they look for form from halves Anthony Milford and Jack Bird. It is a tough one to pick but expect Brisbane to take the win after a frustrating loss to the Storm last week.
Betting Tip: Broncos Head to Head @ $2.55 (Unibet)
Sea Eagles v Knights
Fri, Apr 27, 6:00pm
Two injury-hit outfits will clash this Friday night with a desperate a Manly squad looking to get their season back on track after a devastating 44-10 loss to the Eels last week. Conversely, Knights fans will be elated as their young outfit bested the highly-rated Tigers in a close contest in round seven but without star halfback Mitchell Pearce, the Novacastrians will need to look elsewhere for the direction Pearce has been key in providing.
The Sea Eagles will bring in Lewis Brown on the bench as Matt Wright shifts to the wing to replace the injured Brad Parker. For the Knights, Connor Watson will make his return from a shoulder injury to replace Pearce as Jack Cogger shifts to halfback in an otherwise unchanged squad.
There are concerning signs coming out of the Manly camp as the glamour club has conceded over 110 points in their last three outings. The Knights face a big test without the experience of Mitchell Pearce, but their opposition are clearly being impacted by the off-field controversy regarding their salary cap and disunity of the playing-group. Unless Manly can recover form very quickly, the Knights should get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights Head to Head @ $2.60 (Bet365)
Panthers v Bulldogs
Fri, Apr 27, 7:50pm
Both clubs taking the field conceded narrow but disappointing losses in their last performances as the Bulldogs failed to capitalise on many scoring opportunities against the Roosters in a 0-6 defeat, while the Panthers were edged by an injury-depleted Sharks squad. Penrith are sitting comfortably within the top-four but will be eager to continue their good start to the season, while the Bulldogs have won only two matches this year and will be desperate to turn their campaign around.
Both teams have elected to name unchanged squads for the clash, despite their respective round seven losses.
Canterbury’s biggest concern at the moment is their attack, with their defensive play looking solid. Extracting the best form from every member of their spine is still a challenge that is eluding coach Dean Pay, which is something their opposition will be sure to capitalise on. Expect the Panthers to weather their opposition’s attacking raids while still producing the scintillating offense they are becoming known for. Penrith to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -5.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Titans v Sharks
Sat, Apr 28, 5:30pm
An injury-depleted Sharks produced a massive upset after they beat the Panthers in a narrow but impressive performance last week. They will now face a struggling Titans outfit who lamented a missed opportunity after a terrible performance against the Cowboys in round seven. A poor completion rate troubled the Gold Coast club until the dying stages of the match, but their late come-back was too-little too-late.
Titans coach Garth Brennan has made the big-call to drop highly rated half Kane Elgey after his defensive lapses cost his team last week. Bryce Cartwright will shift to five-eighth as Morgan Boyle and Brendan Elliot join the team on the bench and at centre respectively. The Sharks will welcome back Wade Graham to replace the injured Luke Lewis as Jayson Bukuya also joins the interchange in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Cronulla will enter the contest as clear favourites and unless the Titans can properly execute their game-plan the bookies will get it right. The Gold Coast looked to be a different side in the dying stages against the Cowboys but are still struggling to perform consistently across 80 minutes of football. Sharks to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sharks -2.5 @ $1.91 (Topbetta)
Cowboys v Raiders
Sat, Apr 28, 7:30pm
The Cowboys snapped a five-game losing streak against the Titans last week and will look to make-up for their woeful start to the season with a strong performance in front of their home-crowd. Meanwhile, Raiders fans were again left disappointed after a 20-point loss to Souths last week has the Canberra club languishing at 12th on the competition ladder.
North Queensland will welcome back Shaun Fensom from a long-term knee-injury in place of the injured John Asiata, while the Raiders have swapped Josh Papalii and Luke Bateman between lock and the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
The Cowboys will head into the match as heavy favourites, despite both teams sitting with a 0-2 win-loss record this season. Both teams have played poorly for a long time now and while the Cowboys look to be improving after their performance last week, the Raiders still look to be searching for answers. Expect the Queenslanders to get the win.
Betting Tip: Nth Qld Head to Head @ $1.44 (Ladbrokes)
Eels v Tigers
Sun, Apr 29, 4:10pm
Parramatta chalked up their first win of the season last week in style in a dominant 44-10 victory over a lowly Manly outfit. They will face a much tougher test this week against the Wests Tigers with the joint-venture club sure to be burning from their narrow last-start loss to the Knights.
The Eels will welcome back Bevan French to replace the injured Jarryd Hayne in an otherwise unchanged squad. The Tigers will similarly make only one change as Chris Lawrence’s injury return displaces Alex Twal.
Despite the form of both outfits throughout the season, the Tigers will only enter the contest as narrow favourites. The Eels have certainly improved but don’t expect the points to flow as easily, or their forward rotation to dominate Wests’ proven defensive line. Both teams will focus on their defence, which may lead to a lack of attacking opportunities or poor execution. It is a tough one to pick but the Eels have a lot to prove before they’re a safe bet against the Tigers. Wests to get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 38.5 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Knights Head to Head @ $2.60 (Bet365)