The following are previews with betting tips for Round 12 of the 2020 NRL season.
Dragons v Rabbitohs
Thursday, Jul 30, 7:50 PM AEST
St George Illawarra’s new found form will be put to the test this week against a Souths outfit desperate to claw back into the top-eight. The Dragons performed admirably in their last-start loss to Cronulla but the club should be wary of a Rabbitohs team eager to avoid three consecutive losses.
Adam Clune and Trent Merrin will be absent for the Dragons as Tariq Sims’ return in the second-row pushes Tyrell Fuimaono to the bench. Tristian Sailor has also been included on the bench with Jordan Pereira set to replace Jason Saab on the wing. For the Rabbitohs, Latrell Mitchell will return at fullback in a huge boost for their team. Liam Knight and Patrick Mago will also return on the bench in a huge boost to the club’s middle rotation.
South Sydney played a tough game of football against the Raiders last week in difficult circumstances. The return of Latrell Mitchell will be a massive boon for their attack after they struggled to make an impact against the Raiders. St George have been forced to revert to the early-season spine combination that oversaw their form slump at the start of the season, and while Ben Hunt will be returning to the halfback position in form, expect the move to prove fruitless as the Rabbitohs take the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -4.0 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Tigers v Warriors
Friday, Jul 31, 6:00 PM AEST
The Warriors came agonizingly close to producing what would have been the upset of the season against the reigning premiers last week but the New Zealand club’s task has been made no easier coming up against the Tigers. Wests pushed the Eels to their limit in a narrow loss in their last match as the improved outfit looks to break into the top-eight.
Alex Twal and Luke Garner will return at lock and in the second-row respectively for the Tigers alongside Thomas Mikaele on the bench. Fullback Adam Doueihi has also been named to return from a concussion at fullback in a big boost for the club. With a number of departing players for the Warriors, loan players George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro are set to make their club debut on the wing and off the bench respectively with hooker Wayde Egan also joining the interchange.
The Warriors have improved enormously under Todd Payten’s coaching despite extremely difficult circumstances. Expect an intense performance from the Tigers after coming very close to defeating the highly-rated Eels last week. Wests to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors +13.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Broncos v Sharks
Friday, Jul 31, 7:55 PM AEST
Despite a brave first-half performance, Brisbane were again on the receiving end of an embarrassing 46-8 defeat to the Melbourne Storm in what shapes as the worst season in the history of the club. They will face an in-form Sharks outfit hunting for their third consecutive win after a courageous victory against the Dragons last week in difficult circumstances.
Brisbane’s injury woes continue with the absence of Brodie Croft forcing another spine re-shuffle. Richie Kennar will join the wing as Jake Turpin returns at hooker in a big boost. Issac Luke and Ethan Bullemor will also return on the bench. Meanwhile, Cronulla will welcome back Josh Dugan at centre with Connor Tracey set to replace the injured Chad Townsend at halfback. Briton Nikora will also return in the second-row in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Cronulla will enter this match as firm favourites given Brisbane’s recent form. While the Broncos have shown they are capable of producing periods of good football, their diabolical second-half performances are letting them down. Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks -4.5 @ $1.92 (Unibet)
Roosters v Titans
Saturday, Aug 1, 3:00 PM AEST
Despite a number of injury concerns clearly impacting their potency as a football team, the Roosters produced an extremely dominant second-half performance against the Warriors to keep their club inside the top-four. They will face a Titans outfit buoyed by the signing of superstar David Fifita for next season as Justin Holbrook’s rebuild starts to take shape.
Ryan Hall will join the Roosters’ wing to cover the injured Brett Morris with captain Boyd Cordner still out with concussion concerns. For the Titans, Keegan Hipgrave will return in the second-row alongside Sam Lisone on the bench. AJ Brimson will also make his long-awaited injury return at fullback in a huge boost for the club.
The Roosters’ victory last week can be attributed largely to their star five-eighth but with Luke Keary showing no signs of slowing down as the season progresses, expect the Titans to struggle to match the composure of the reigning premiers’ spine. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -20.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Cowboys v Raiders
Saturday, Aug 1, 5:30 PM AEST
Canberra produced a tough game of football against the Rabbitohs last week, holding their opposition to two tries in a superb defensive performance. The emergence of rookie dummy-half Tom Starling has given the Raiders some much-needed strike in the absence of Josh Hodgson as the Canberra club look to an improved North Queensland outfit.
After their impressive last-start loss to Manly last week, North Queensland will welcome Jordan McLean back at prop while Connelly Lemuelu returns in the centres. For the Raiders, Jordan Rapana will shift to fullback to cover the injured Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad as John Bateman and Curtis Scott return in the second-row and at centre respectively in a huge boost. Mid-season recruit Corey Harawira-Naera will also make his club debut off the interchange in an otherwise unchanged squad.
North Queensland have displayed some encouraging improvement despite the loss of coach Paul Green earlier this year. With a number of injuries disrupting their spine-combinations, expect the Cowboys attack to struggle against the Raiders, particularly with the Canberra club welcoming back a number of key forwards to their
Betting Tip: Raiders -8.0 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)
Sea Eagles v Panthers
Saturday, Aug 1, 7:35 PM AEST
Manly have clawed back from a form slump with consecutive victories with their last coming against an improved North Queensland outfit. Des Hasler’s troops will need to bring a big performance against the competition leading Panthers with the Penrith club edging the Titans in their last game.
Viliame Kikau will return in the second-row in a huge boost for Penrith with stars Api Koroisau and Zane Tetevano also possible late call-ups as they return from injuries. For the Sea Eagles, Sean Keppie will join the bench in an otherwise unchanged outfit.
While the Panthers will rightly enter this match as firm favourites, Des Hasler’s troops have proven they are capable of ambushing elite teams with the northern beaches club desperate to keep in touch with the top-eight. Kikau’s return for Penrith will provide some valuable strike on their edges but the competition leaders are vulnerable without one of their most important players in Apisai Koroisau. This match could go either way but expect Penrith to take the win in a high-quality contest.
Betting Tip: Panthers -3.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Bulldogs v Eels
Sunday, Aug 2, 2:00 PM AEST
The Bulldogs produced just their second win in a what has been a very difficult season for the club against the Knights last week. The Canterbury club performed admirably, albeit against a Knights outfit that faced plenty of adversity through the game with injuries. They will face a tough challenge this week against the Eels as the club returned to the winner’s circle in style following a narrow victory against the Tigers.
Mid-season signing Tim Lafai has been named at centre as Jack Cogger and Sauaso Sue join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Eels, Oregon Kaufusi and Kane Evans will return on the bench in a huge boost for the clubs forward-rotation in Brad Arthur’s only changes.
Despite the lack of on-field results, Canterbury are a team that thrive on the physicality of playing teams like Parramatta. Expect a tough contest between these two forward packs with only the class of the Eels’ spine and back-three to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +17.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Storm v Knights
Sunday, Aug 2, 4:05 PM AEST
Melbourne were dominant against the hapless Broncos last week but will face a much tougher challenge against a Knights squad humbled by a disappointing loss to the last-placed Bulldogs in their last game. Despite a torrid injury toll, Newcastle mentor Adam O’Brien will be expecting a big response from his troops if they are to topple the high-flying Storm.
With season ending injuries to both Andrew McCullough and Connor Watson, Newcastle will field their fourth-choice hooker in Chris Randall in the starting side. Phoenix Crossland and Josh King will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Storm, Marion Seve will come into the centres as Tom Eisenhuth joins the interchange.
The script for the Knights’ run into the finals series could not be more dramatic with their injuries in the hooking position. Expect a massive response from Newcastle after their effort were lashed by coach Adam O’Brien but with Melbourne in form and relatively full-strength, expect the Victorians to come away with the points.
Betting Tip: Knights +10.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)