The following are previews with betting tips for Round 15 of the 2018 NRL season.
Eels v Rabbitohs
Thu, Jun 14, 7:50pm
A Rabbitohs outfitting sitting comfortably inside the top four will take on the last placed Parramatta Eels this Thursday night in a good demonstration of the volatility in the NRL. The Eels were premiership fancies in the pre-season, while Souths were under pressure with a rookie coach, but a last start win against the Titans for the South Sydney club extended their winning streak to six games. Meanwhile, the Eels earned just their third victory of the year against the Cowboys in their last game.
Souths will welcome back Greg Inglis, Damien Cook and Angus Crichton in a huge boost to an otherwise unchanged side. For Parramatta, Manu Ma’u slots into the back-row with Mitch Moses also a possibility to return from injury.
Souths will head into the match as heavy favourites and with pressure from the Storm, Roosters and Sharks for a top four spot, the Rabbitohs will be eager to maintain their winning form. Barring a major upset expect the Bunnies to get the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -9.5 @ $1.89 (Topbetta)
Cowboys v Warriors
Fri, Jun 15, 6:00pm
Despite sitting comfortably inside the top-four, there has been some concerning inconsistency in the Warriors’ form that coach Stephen Kearney will be eager to stamp out in the latter stages of the season. After an encouraging win over Manly, the Cowboys may prove a wildcard at home and the Queenslanders should be highly motivated after another poor loss to the Eels in their last game.
Kane Linnett and Michael Morgan will return to the Cowboys backline from the bench and injury respectively with Javid Bowen and Scott Bolton also set to start. For the Warriors, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returns at fullback in a big boost to an otherwise unchanged squad.
Despite being capable of matching it with the competition’s best, confidence has become an issue for the North Queenslanders. Warriors’ coach Stephen Kearney will be preparing his outfit to push deep into the play-offs and will impress the importance of a top-four spot on his finals-starved squad. Facing pressure to retain their ladder position, expect a motivated Kiwi outfit to get the points.
Betting Tip: Warriors -1.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Roosters v Panthers
Fri, Jun 15, 7:50pm
After struggling to meet lofty pre-season expectations, the Roosters will view their contest with Penrith this week as a chance to prove they can match it with the competition’s best. Penrith should be on high-alert for this game after a very narrow field-goal win over the Raiders last week as coach Anthony Griffin looks to stave off complacency during the Origin period.
The Roosters have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while the Panthers will replace the injured Viliame Kikau with Jack Hetherington on the bench.
While the Roosters fight to break into the top-four, the Panthers’ coaching staff will be looking to ensure their outfit peak at the right time leading into the finals. The Roosters’ patchy form this year was on display in their narrow win over a spirited Knights team last week but expect the tri-colours to put on a physical, intense performance against the equal competition leaders. Could go either way but expect the composure of the Panthers’ to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Panthers H2H @ $2.05 (Bet365)
Bulldogs v Titans
Sat, Jun 16, 3:00pm
Two struggling outfits in the Bulldogs and Titans will meet this Saturday afternoon with the finals prospects of both clubs looking slim. Canterbury will be disappointed with another narrow loss against the Dragons last week as the club’s hierarchy focus on managing the salary cap crisis, while the Titans were similarly frustrated with a two-point loss to the third-placed Rabbitohs.
The Bulldogs have named an unchanged squad for the clash after an encouraging performance against St George last week, while the Titans will bring Will Matthews and Morgan Boyle onto the bench to cover the suspended Jarrod Wallace and injured Max King.
The Bulldogs will enter the match as favourites on their recent form. While they have conceded a number of narrow losses in recent times, these results have come against high-quality opposition. Rookie coach Dean Pay will be frustrated with his squad’s inability to close out a match so expect a fired-up performance from the ‘Dogs. This one could go either way but expect Canterbury to get the win.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -4.0 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Dragons v Sea Eagles
Sat, Jun 16, 5:30pm
A dejected Sea Eagles outfit slumped to their third consecutive defeat against the Warriors last week in a disappointing 20-point loss, but the Manly outfit now face another huge challenge against a Dragons team who have lost only three games this year after staving off a Canterbury fight-back in round 14.
Manly’s player-shortage has worsened with Api Koroisau set for an extended stint on the sidelines with a broken foot. Manase Fainu is set to make his NRL debut at hooker with rookie Moses Suli also returning in the centres. Meanwhile, the Dragons have named an unchanged squad heading into the game.
The Dragons will enter the contest as heavy favourites but the joint-venture’s form has been down in recent weeks relative to their early-season. Coach Paul McGregor will be hoping the host of representative rookies in his outfit handle the pressure well as fatigue and complacency become the biggest enemy. Manly will compete hard but will miss Koroisau’s presence in the ruck. Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -8.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Sharks v Broncos
Sat, Jun 16, 7:30pm
Brisbane’s rocks-and-diamonds form continued last week after a second half capitulation saw them lose to the Storm after leading the Victorians at half-time. They now face a Cronulla outfit who have won seven of their last eight games after showing their class in an impressive second-half comeback last week against Wests.
The Broncos will welcome back Blues centre James Roberts at the expense of Tom Opacic in an otherwise unchanged squad, while the Sharks have the luxury of naming the same 17 that took the field in round 14.
Brisbane still look to be searching for answers as they struggle to perform across 80 minutes of football. Coach Wayne Bennett will be hoping his squad find their composure against a dangerous Cronulla outfit who will be eager to capitalise on their momentum to push for a top-four berth. Expect a physical contest between two very effective forward rotations, but the class of Cronulla should see them take the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks -4.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Knights v Storm
Sun, Jun 17, 2:00pm
Sitting at fifth position on the competition ladder, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will have his outfit pushing for a top-four berth as he looks to stamp out some uncharacteristic ill-discipline. The Storm produced an impressive last-start victory over the Broncos, while their opposition in the Knights were brave in a narrow loss to the Roosters.
Melbourne will welcome back Billy Slater as well as Will Chambers and Curtis Scott in the centres in a massive boost for the Victorian club. The Storm will be without star forward Jesse Bromwich for the game as Kenny Bromwich shifts to the starting side. The Knights have been forced into making one change as Luke Yates replaces the injured Jamie Buhrer on the bench.
Poor execution has plagued Melbourne this year but with the club finally looking to have a settled halves combination, Craig Bellamy will be looking for consistency from his troops. Newcastle were brave in defeat against the Roosters and will bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy, but the Storm should get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -10.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Tigers v Raiders
Sun, Jun 17, 4:10pm
The Tigers will be desperate to avoid their third consecutive loss after narrow defeats at the hands of the Roosters and Sharks in recent weeks, and they will now face a Raiders outfit left heart-broken after a field-goal loss to the Panthers. Often criticised for their inability to close out games, Ricky Stuart’s outfit will be desperate for points during the representative period to snag a top-eight spot.
Canberra will welcome back a key player in Josh Hodgson after the English hooker tore his ACL during the 2017 World Cup. Michael Oldfield will come onto the wing in place of the injured Jordan Rapana as Joe Tapine also returns from suspension in the second-row. Meanwhile, the Tigers will welcome back Malakai Watene-Zelezniak on the wing as Matt McIlwrick also joins the interchange.
Hodgson’s return for the Raiders will be massive with the rake set to take an enormous amount of pressure off Canberra’s halves. Ivan Cleary is still looking for consistency from his men as he continues his policy of dropping players for ill-discipline. This one could go either way but expect Hodgson’s return to buoy Canberra to a win.
Betting Tip: Raiders H2H @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)
Panthers H2H @ $2.05 (Bet365)
Raiders H2H @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)