The following are previews with betting tips for Round 19 of the 2020 NRL season.
Rabbitohs v Bulldogs
Thursday, Sep 17, 7:50 PM AEST
South Sydney fought off a fierce comeback to secure a vital victory against the Wests Tigers last week as a top-four spot looks unlikely for the Redfern club. They will face a Bulldogs outfit who were unable to beat Manly last week with the Canterbury club desperate to chalk up a win in order to avoid the wooden-spoon.
Souths will replace the suspended Dane Gagai with Jaxson Paulo on the wing as Hame Sele also joins the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Bulldogs, Tim Lafai’s return at centre will push Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to the wing at the expense of Nick Meaney. Luke Thompson will also return in the front-row alongside Sione Katoa on the bench.
Souths will be looking to maintain their form heading into the finals and will be eager to practice their attacking combinations in the absence of Latrell Mitchell. Canterbury will be looking to spoil their oppositions’ party, but the class in this Souths line-up across the park should get them over the line comfortably.
Betting Tip: Souths -16.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Panthers
Friday, Sep 18, 6:00 PM AEST
Penrith showcased their premiership credentials with a dominant victory against the third-placed Eels last week as the competition leading Panthers will now be looking to tie-up the minor premiership and potentially give some of their key players a rest heading into the finals. They will face a Cowboys outfit who were outclassed by the Melbourne Storm in a disappointing defensive performance.
North Queensland will be without Josh McGuire and John Asiata in a massive blow to their middle rotation, which is already missing Jason Taumalolo. Taumalolo could be a late inclusion after he was named in the reserves, with Murray Taulagi replacing Justin O’Neill at centre and Emre Pere named on the bench alongside debutant Ben Condon. For Penrith, Mitch Kenny will replace Api Koroisau at hooker with the classy dummy-half being rested for this game alongside James Tamou and Zane Tetevano. Kurt Capewell and Jack Hetherington will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Both teams will be short of troops in the middle, so expect the contest in the ruck to play a major role in the outcome of this game. While North Queensland have shown plenty of class in their attack throughout the year, expect their defense to let them down with Penrith to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -14.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Eels v Broncos
Friday, Sep 18, 7:55 PM AEST
Brisbane slumped to their ninth consecutive loss against an ever-improving Titans last week as the club struggles for confidence and cohesion. They will face a massive test in the Eels, who started their miserly run of poor form with an embarrassing 28-point victory in round three this year. Parramatta will be looking to bounce back from a concerning form-slump which saw them fail to score a try against Penrith last week.
Reed Mahoney has been named to make his return from a shoulder injury in a massive boost to an otherwise unchanged Eels team. For the Broncos, Payne Haas and Rhys Kennedy will be absent in a massive blow to the club’s already weakened middle-rotation, as Ben Te’o shifts to prop alongside the returning Joe Ofahengaue. Tyson Gamble has been named at five-eighth with Jamil Hopoate and Ethan Bullemor on the bench.
Brisbane would need to summon a Herculean effort to overcome the Eels, who will be looking to regain their attacking mojo before the finals series. Parramatta displayed some wonderful defensive play against Penrith last week despite their loss. Expect that defensive edge to prove the difference as the Eels get the win.
Betting Tip: Eels -18.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Titans
Saturday, Sep 19, 3:00 PM AEST
With the shock revelation that star front-rower Addin Fonua-Blake will depart the club, Manly face a massive test against an in-form Titans outfit after they outclassed the lowly Bulldogs last week. The Titans recorded their third consecutive win against the hapless Broncos last week in the first time the Gold Coast club have beaten their Brisbane rivals twice in one season. Justin Holbrook’s troops have continued to improve in leaps and bounds under his tutelage and their form at the back-end of this year will be a big confidence boost heading into the off-season.
Both Tom Trbojevic and Reuben Garrick were included in the reserves and would be a huge boost for Manly if they were late inclusions into their squad. For the Titans, Kevin Proctor will return from suspension in the second-row with Tanah Boyd included on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
The importance of Tom Trbojevic to the Sea Eagles’ cannot be understated and coach Des Hasler will be desperate for his star fullback to return to the field. Expect another focused performance from the Titans with the Gold Coast outfit to notch their fourth consecutive victory.
Betting Tip: Titans +7.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Storm v Tigers
Saturday, Sep 19, 5:30 PM AEST
Melbourne are hitting top-form at the perfect time of the year with the Victorian club on the hunt for their fourth consecutive win after a dominant victory against North Queensland last week. They will face a Wests outfit who last mounted a courageous second half come-back up against the Rabbitohs in a disappointing loss for the club that typifies their frustrating season.
The Storm will welcome Christian Welch’s return in the front-row in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Tigers, Joey Leilua and Josh Reynolds will join the squad at centre and five-eighth respectively with Russell Packer and Zane Musgrove also joining the bench.
While the Storm will enter this match as firm favourites, their recent record against the Tigers should have Craig Bellamy’s troops on high alert for an upset. Expect the Tigers to make an intense start to this game of football but they will struggle to match the Victorians for 80 minutes. Storm to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.90 (Bet365)
Roosters v Sharks
Saturday, Sep 19, 7:35 PM AEST
Cronulla secured their finals berth in a crucial win over the Warriors last week as the club now faces a baptism of fire heading into the finals series with back-to-back games against the Roosters and Raiders. Their opposition will be the reigning premiers, who were dominant in a 30-point victory against Newcastle last week as Trent Robinson’s troops strive for an unprecedented three premierships in a row.
Cronulla have named an unchanged squad after their victory last week, while the Roosters have named a number of unforced changes. James Tedesco will be rested, with Joseph Manu to shift to fullback and Mitch Aubusson lining up at centre. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will also return in the front-row to cover the rested Siosiua Taukeiaho with Freddy Lussick set to join the bench.
Cronulla’s ability to compete with the competition’s elite will come under enormous scrutiny against the reigning premiers this week. It will be vital for the Sharks’ confidence to produce a competitive performance heading into the finals. While the Roosters will be missing several key players heading into this match, expect the class of their spine and back-line to prove the difference. Chooks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -17.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Raiders v Warriors
Sunday, Sep 20, 2:00 PM AEST
The Raiders were dominant against the Dragons last week in an impressive performance from the 2019 grand-finalists heading into the finals series. Canberra are still a chance of breaking into the coveted top-four, although they will be relying on other results in order to do so. They will face a Warriors squad whose finals dream was shattered with a crushing loss to the Sharks last week, a particularly disappointing outcome for the club given the massive improvement in their form in the back-half of this season.
Canberra have named an unchanged squad heading into this game as Siliva Havili swaps with Tom Starling for the starting hooker role. Sia Soliola is also a chance of returning from a nasty facial fracture after he was included in the reserves. For the Warriors, loan players George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro will return to their respective clubs with Adam Keighran lining up in the centres and Hayze Perham joining the wing. Eliesa Katoa will return from injury on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Canberra will need to win both their remaining matches for a chance to make the top-four. Expect the Warriors’ morale to suffer without the possibility of finals football with Canberra to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors +16.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Knights v Dragons
Sunday, Sep 20, 4:05 PM AEST
Knights’ mentor Adam O’Brien made the controversial call to rest a number of stars against the Roosters last week and was repaid for his risky call with a woeful 30-point loss to the reigning premiers on the eve of the finals series. They will now face a similarly disappointed Dragons outfit who were dominated by Canberra last week in a disappointing performance from the joint-venture club.
Kayln Ponga will return at fullback for the Knights, but Adam O’Brien will make mass changes to his spine with Tex Hoy shifted to five-eighth and Chris Randall to hooker. Hymel Hunt will replace Gehemat Shibasaki in the centres as Mitch Barnett returns at lock. For the Dragons, Tariq Sims will return on the bench alongside NRL debutant Max Feagai in a big boost.
Newcastle will be looking to bounce back from their woeful performance last week with Adam O’Brien surely desperate to nail-down his preferred spine combination. Expect the returning Kayln Ponga to inspire his team-mates to victory. Knights to get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights -8.5 @ $1.92 (Unibet)
Titans +7.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)