NRL Round 25 Preview and Tips – Saturday Fixtures

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights

ANZ Stadium, 5:30pm.

Bulldogs $1.72, Knights $2.15 (Sportingbet)

Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Jonathon Wright, Joel Romelo, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Josh Reynolds, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan (c), David Stagg. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Mickey Paea, Gary Warburton, Kris Keating

Knights: Kurt Gidley (c), James McManus, Keith Lulia, Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate, Ryan Stig, Jarrod Mullen, Evarn Tuimavave, Isaac De Gois, Antonio Kaufusi, Zane Tetevano, Neville Costigan, Chris Houston. Interchange (from): Marvin Karawana, Richie Fa’aoso, Joel Edwards, Mark Taufua, Cameron Ciraldo

WITH PLACES IN THE TOP 8 UP FOR GRABS, this game will play a major part in deciding who might finish where. The Knights sit in 8th on 26 points and the Bulldogs are not far behind in 10th on 24 points. In between them are Souths on 26 points. The Bulldogs have been given favouritism for the game which is no surprise with a few Knights players either missing or in doubt thanks to injuries. If last week’s form is anything to go by then it’s not so good for the Knights who struggled against ruthless Broncos outfit. The Bulldogs on the other hand were in a genuine fight with 2nd placed Manly before Manly won that arm wrestle.

With so much to play for, expect an extremely tense clash. (and maybe some fisticuffs!)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks

Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7:30pm.

Cowboys $1.13, Sharks $6.00 (Sportingbet)

Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Johnathan Thurston (c), Matthew Scott (c), Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson.  Interchange (from): James Segeyaro, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton

Sharks: Isaac  Gordon, Stewart Mills, Dean Collis, Colin  Best, John Williams, Albert Kelly, Wade Graham, Kade Snowden, John Morris, Luke  Douglas, Jeremy  Smith, Anthony Tupou, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange: Sam Tagataese, Johnny Mannah, Paul Aiton, Josh Cordoba

A SPOT IN THE TOP 4 IS ON THE LINE for the Cowboys tonight with teams 4 through 7 all competing to finish the season in the top half of the eight. The Cowboys could have been outright 4th if it were not for a stunning 13 point comeback from Souths last week in the final 10 minutes to pip the Cowboys to victory. The loss was the Cowboys’ third in as many weeks and they will be desperate to stop the rot against a less than stellar Sharks line up.

The Sharks have nothing to play for and should be easy pickings and don’t the bookies know it having posted them way out at around the $6.00 mark.

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers

Canberra Stadium, 7:30pm.

Raiders $1.56, Panthers $2.45 (Sportingbet)

Raiders: David Milne, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Reece Robinson, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, Brett White, Alan Tongue (c), David Shillington, Danny Galea, Bronson Harrison , Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Michael Picker, Joe Picker, Josh Papalii , Sam Mataora, Jarrad  Kennedy

Panthers: Lachlan Coote, David Simmons, Junior Vaivai, Brad Tighe, Adrian Purtell, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Sam Mckendry, Nafe Seluini, Petero Civoniceva (c), Trent Waterhouse, Nigel Plum, Nathan Smith. Interchange (from): Kevin Kingston, Dayne Weston, Tim Grant, Blake Austin, Mathew Bell

ON A COLD WINTER’S NIGHT we see two teams with little to play for go head to head in a battle for pride. It won’t be nice for the panthers. Playing in Canberra on a freezing cold night is bad enough when you actually have something on the line so finding some solid motivation for this one might prove difficult. It’s always good to have a bet against a team that will have trouble finding motivation, but the form lines of these two teams are so ordinary that I’m going to play it safe keep the cash in the pocket.

Both teams have won only one game from their last seven matches.

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2744.73

(Team lists sourced from

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