The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2018 NRL season.
Tigers v Cowboys
Thu, May 10, 7:50pm
North Queensland will travel to the Tigers’ spiritual home of Leichhardt Oval this Thursday night after the joint-venture conceded their third consecutive defeat in a poor loss to the Warriors last week in concerning signs for the resurgent club. They will face a Cowboys outfit desperate to continue their form-turnaround after an impressive last-start victory over the Panthers.
Russell Packer will return in Wests’ front-row in a massive boost for the club as Jacob Liddle replaces Pita Godinet on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. The Cowboys have elected to name an unchanged outfit for the clash with Scott Bolton set to reprise his role in the starting side despite recent allegations of indecent assault.
The Tigers will be disappointed with their performance last week but will hope the return of their forward-leader in Packer will be the catalyst for a turnaround in form. North Queensland will be desperate to win but will be confident after displaying some encouraging signs against Penrith in their last outing. Both teams are capable of playing fantastic football but the contest will be decided by desire. Tough one to call but expect the Queenslanders to take the win once again.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 38.5 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Knights v Panthers
Fri, May 11, 6:00pm
Now placed third on the competition ladder with six wins from nine games, Penrith will be disappointed with their narrow loss to the Cowboys last week despite their massive injury toll. Their opposition in the Knights are still finding their feet without Mitchell Pearce and have been forced to make changes yet again with a poor loss to a dominant Rabbitohs outfit last week.
Jarome Luai and Kaide Ellis will join the Panthers’ bench with Trent Merrin named in the starting side despite suffering a nasty dislocation of his finger last week. For the Knights, Brock Lamb returns at halfback at the expense of Jack Cogger as Josh King, Luke Yates and Danny Levi also join the squad.
The Knights have been forced to make wholesale changes for the clash and will hope their reinforcements find form quickly against a Penrith outfit with a lot of heart. The Panthers have proven they can perform well despite their injury toll and expect the Knights to struggle against their more resilient opposition.
Betting Tip: Panthers -3.5 @$1.91 (William Hill)
Bulldogs v Eels
Fri, May 11, 7:50pm
The two bottom-placed teams in the competition will face off this Friday night in a desperate bid to kickstart a form turnaround to get their seasons back on track. The Eels have improved in recent weeks after their atrocious start to the year but will be disappointed with a narrow last-start loss to the Sharks, while Canterbury fans were similarly heart-broken with a controversial two-point loss to Brisbane.
The Eels will be without Kaysa Pritchard and Tim Mannah with Beau Scott and Siosaia Vave joining the interchange as cover. The Bulldogs have named Renouf Toomaga to replace Clay Priest on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Despite their position on the ladder, there is enormous potential within both these outfits and they have both enjoyed improved form over their last few performances. While structural problems still remain, both teams will be aiming for a gritty win to build confidence heading into the State of Origin period as they look to capitalise on the higher-placed teams’ greater representative toll. It’s a tough one to pick but expect the Eels to improve again to take the points.
Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $1.85 (Bet365)
Warriors v Roosters
Sat, May 12, 3:00pm
The Warriors again flexed their muscles against the highly-rated Tigers last week in a comprehensive 26-4 win for the New Zealand club. It was an encouraging response from the Kiwi outfit after they were beaten by the Storm in a disappointing 40-point loss. They will face a Roosters outfit burning from a 24-8-point loss to the Dragons with the tri-colours eager to break back into the top four.
The Warriors will be without Shaun Johnson in a big blow for the club as Mason Lino joins the side at halfback. Isaac Luke has also been named despite suffering a dislocated shoulder last week in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Roosters have made no changes to their 17, though Victor Radley has been ruled out after being suspended for a high-tackle. Frank Paul Nuuausala is the likely replacement to come from the reserves.
The Warriors continue to demonstrate their transformed culture on the field while the Roosters struggled to match the Dragons in their last outing. Few predicted both clubs to be in the position they are heading into the Origin period, but don’t expect an inconsistent Roosters’ outfit to be disheartened not to be heading into a game as favourites. It’s a tough one to pick but expect the Warriors to take the win at their home-ground, despite the absence of Shaun Johnson.
Betting Tip: Warriors -2.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Storm v Titans
Sat, May 12, 5:30pm
It is a rare sight to see the Melbourne Storm beaten as comprehensively as their 34-14 defeat at the hands of the Dragons last week. Now sitting inside the top four but far from comfortable in that position, the Storm will look to dominate a Titans outfit struggling for cohesion after yet another disappointing last-start loss to the Raiders.
Curtis Scott will return at centre for Melbourne in an otherwise unchanged squad, while Titans coach Garth Brennan has been forced to make wholesale changes to his struggling outfit. AJ Brimson will make his NRL debut in the halves at five-eighth as Dale Copley and Brenko Lee join the centres. Will Matthews will also join the second-row in a reshuffled forward-pack.
The Storm will enter the contest as heavy favourites against the struggling Titans given the Gold Coast’s recent form. AJ Brimson is set for a baptism of fire in his NRL debut and expect Melbourne to spoil his celebration with a dominant performance in front of their home-crowd.
Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Sea Eagles v Broncos
Sat, May 12, 7:30pm
The respective last-round results of both clubs taking the field this Saturday night were decided by two points, with the Broncos managing a controversial win over the Bulldogs and Manly falling just short of victory over the Roosters. The match will be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, despite being considered a Sea Eagles home-game but Manly will be focussed on a win with the Sydney club desperate to lift themselves from equal-last position on the competition ladder.
Jack Bird will shift to centre for Brisbane as Kodi Nikorima and Tom Opacic swap between the starting side and bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Manly have similarly named an unchanged squad with Moses Suli retaining his position in the centres after a solid club-debut last week.
Brisbane will enter the contest as heavy favourites but will need to be on their toes against a desperate Manly outfit. The Sea Eagles were not poor against the Roosters last week and will hope to bog down a very structured Brisbane squad with ad-lib play and dominance in the ruck. Expect Brisbane’s improving forward pack to prove the difference however as they win the contest in the middle of the field and the game.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.91 (Topbetta)
Rabbitohs v Dragons
Sun, May 13, 2:00pm
South Sydney have the unenviable task of taking on the competition leading Dragons this Sunday afternoon with the St George club proving their premiership credentials with a dominant performance against the Storm last week. Souths will take confidence from their own dominant win over the Knights in their last game, but will need a special performance to take down a red-hot Dragons outfit.
Sam Burgess will return at lock for the Rabbitohs in a massive boost for the club in an otherwise unchanged side. The Dragons have similarly made one change with Zac Lomax included on the bench.
The Rabbitohs power-game in their forwards and specialty for ad-lib attacking football have made them one of the best attacking teams in the competition. Their strengths will be directly challenged by St George however, who excel in all aspects of their game. Expect a massive contest between two of the most effective forward rotations in the competition but the skill and execution of the Dragons back-line should prove the difference. St George to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -5.5 @ $1.94 (Topbetta)
Raiders v Sharks
Sun, May 13, 4:10pm
The Sharks seem to be slowly returning to the gritty style of football that saw them win a premiership, particularly after producing a gritty win over a resurgent Parramatta outfit last week. They will face a Raiders squad who have recovered from the terrible start to the year to find form, most recently in a dominant last-start win over the Titans.
Jayson Bukuya and Paul Gallen will return in the back-row in place of the injured Wade Graham and Scott Sorensen as Kurt Dillion also makes his NRL debut on the bench. The Raiders have been forced into one change as Charlie Gubb joins the interchange to replace the injured Junior Paulo.
With both teams’ recent form, the Raiders will enter the contest as favourites against an injury depleted Cronulla outfit. Gallen and Bukuya are important reinforcements for the Sharks but with both teams struggling for cohesion in their spine and back-line this year expect the contest in the ruck to decide the victor. Tough one to call but expect Cronulla to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks Head to Head @ $2.50 (Ladbrokes)
Tigers v Cowboys Total Match Points Under 38.5 @ $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Sharks Head to Head @ $2.50 (Ladbrokes)