NRL Round 21 Preview and Tips





Panthers v Roosters

Friday, 02/08, 7:35PM, Centrebet Stadium
Panthers: Matt Moylan, James Roberts, Lewis Brown, Dean Whare, Dave Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Jeremy Latimore, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Clint Newton, Sika Manu, Adam Docker. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Cam Ciraldo, Mose Masoe, Ryan Simpkins, Josh Mansour
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Wearea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Luke O’Donnell, Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Aubusson, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Aidan Guerra, Sam Moa, Isaac Liu


The Roosters have moved into equal premiership favouritism with the Rabbitohs after their win last weekend over the Knights. They had no easy task in defeating the Knights and were forced to play until the end to seal the victory. I would confidently assume that they will have an easier task against the Panthers this week despite being without Sonny Bill Williams who copped a 2 week suspension for his hit on former team mate Willie Mason.

The Panthers had enjoyed a mid season winning streak against some of the lower ranked sides in the comp and have now fallen to 10th on the ladder after successive losses to the Sharks and the Knights. Their attacking game is lacklustre and they really bore me when watching them take it up in 5 tackles before Luke Walsh dispenses his usual cross field kick to the wingers on the last. It’s crunch time for the Panthers and if they are going to rely on Luke Walsh’s lack of imagination then they can start looking forward to 2014 with Jamie Soward at the helm of the halves.

As for betting on this game, I obviously expect the Roosters to win but they would be a bit bruised and battered after facing the Knights last week, and on the back of just a 5 day turn around they could be forgiven for only winning by a smaller margin than expected.

Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Roosters -11.5 @ $1.74 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Knights v Broncos

Friday, 02/08, 7:35PM, Hunter Stadium
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, David Fa’alogo, Danny Buderus, Zane Tetevano, Robbie Rochow, Beau Scott, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Craig Gower, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, Korbin Sims
Broncos: Josh Hoffman, Corey Oates, David Stagg, Justin Hodges, Lachlan Maranta, Scott Prince, Ben Hunt, Mitchell Dodds, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Peter Wallace, Lama Tasi, Dunamis Lui, Nick Slyney

Jarrod Mullen could prove to be the key in his Newcastle side’s clash against a desperate Broncos outfit. The Knights are definitely travelling better out of the two and as long as Mullen’s confidence is not left on the sideline come kick off, then he will be more than capable of  putting the Broncos all but out of finals contention.

Sam Thaiday’s Broncos would have taken some confidence out of last week’s win over the Cowboys, unifying the team once more after a heavily interrupted two months due to the Origin period. By bringing Ben Hunt into the side, coach Anthony Griffin would have seen his halves combination revelling in the new structure. But I can’t go past the fact that their opposition, the Nth Qld Cowboys, ignominiously ended their season with a horrible display of grounded passes and handling errors. For that reason, it’s fair to say the Broncos were made to look better than they were. They will need to add zeal to their overall game if they are to beat the Knights in Newcastle. The Knights themselves will be keen to hold their spot in the top 8 and I for one believe they will do it, ultimately ending Brisbane’s year.

Mike’s Tip: Knights

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Knights Head to Head @ $1.55 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Warriors v Sharks

Saturday, 03/08, 3:00PM, Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Ngani Laumape, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Suaia Matagi, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Dominique Peyroux
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Nathan Stapleton, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Bryce Gibbs, Jayson Bukuya, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen. Interchange Isaac De Gois, Chris Heighington, Sam Tagataese, Ben Ross, Tyrone Peachey


The Warriors’ finals charge continues to mount following a first class win over the Melbourne Storm to the tune of 30-22. The highly entertaining win takes their record in New Zealand in 2013 to 6 wins and 3 losses. Two of those losses were to competition leaders Rabbitohs and Roosters, both by a forgivable 2 points. Now they play their 10th game in New Zealand against the Sharks who have won 3 of their last 4 but do tend to struggle a bit away from home.

The Sharks are also bolstered by the return of Paul Gallen but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to counter the attacking flair the Warriors tend to display when playing at Mount Smart Stadium.

I like the Warriors as one of the picks of the round in my ratings.


Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Suggested Bet:

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Eels v Sea Eagles

Saturday, 03/08, 5:30PM, Parramatta Stadium
Eels: Jake Mullaney, Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Semi Radradra, Api Pewhairangi, Ben Roberts, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Reni Maitua, Daniel Harrison, Darcy Lussick. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Peni Terepo, Mitch Allgood, Junior Paulo
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, Jamie Buhrer, David Gower, George Rose, James Hasson, Peta Hiku


Perhaps I’m slightly sadistic, or maybe I’m old school. Or maybe I’m a Rugby League fan yearning a little more physicality in the game. Either way, I’ve been hanging out for Manly to meet Parramatta ever since Mitchell Allgood infamously fed Steve Matai a clenched fist at the end of their Round 16 clash at Brookvale Oval. Allgood received a lengthy suspension but many were quietly cheering when they realised that he would be back in time for the Round 21 rematch with the Sea Eagles.

When asked if he would try and put a hit on Allgood in Saturday night’s game, Matai cheekily replied

“I’ll try to, but it’s a bit hard when the guy only hits the ball up 3 or 4 times a game.”

Will Matai risk a lengthy suspension to gain his revenge?

In regards to the game play, one would expect Manly to roll the last placed Eels seeing as they have averaged a whopping 39.5 points in their last 4 matches. The Eels on the other hand have lost their last 9 games and after last week’s 40-12 loss they hardly look like improving.

As long as Manly don’t get too distracted by a potential Allgood V Matai grudge match, they should be able to put a decent margin between themselves and the soon to be wooden spooners.


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Jorge Taufua to score a try @ $1.55 (Luxbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Cowboys v Rabbitohs

Saturday, 03/08, 7:30PM, 1300SMILES Stadium
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Kyle Feldt, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott, Ray Thompson, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Scott Moore, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton, Rory Kostjasyn
Rabbitohs: Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Matt King, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, George Burgess, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Ben Lowe. Interchange: Luke Keary, Roy Asotasi, Jeff Lima, Thomas Burgess, Dave Tyrrell, Justin Hunt


This isn’t a game that holds much worth in the overall scheme of things now that we know the Cowboys won’t make the finals. Souths will want to win the keep their hold on 1st position on the ladder and if they decide to fire they will likely crush a demoralised Cowboys side despite still being without Greg Inglis. But stranger things have happened and in the wake of hearing that their Coach Neil Henry will not be reappointed for 2014, the Cowboys players might just relax and play some better footy. They were certainly guilty of trying too hard last week and the result was a plethora of errors which would have disgusted all from the purists to the weekend warriors.

The Rabbitohs have named the same players that easily wiped the floor with the Titans last week and should be able to do the same in this on. Taking them -5.5 seems like a very reasonable bet.


Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Rabbitohs -5.5 @ $1.67 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Raiders v Storm

Sunday, 04/08, 2:00PM, Canberra Stadium
Raiders: Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Sandor Earl, Terry Campese, Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Jarrad Kennedy, Brett White, Paul Vaughan
Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Maurice Blair, Justin O’Neill, Brett Finch, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Tohu Harris, Siosaia Vave, Slade Griffin


Storm Coach Craig Bellamy has hardly been impressed with his team’s schedule in and around the State of Origin period. His anguish continues as his side makes another away trip, this time to Canberra to take on the Raiders. The Storm lost 4 of their last 5games, and in fairness 2 of the losses were without their State of Origin stars.

The Raiders have won their last two games and although they only beat cellar dwellars the Eels and the Dragons, I was pretty impressed by how they managed to grind when necessary and play some very focused football. If they can produce more of that and hold their nerve, they can certainly beat the Storm in this one.

In the last 5 encounters between these two sides, the Raiders have won 3 and incredibly all 3 were in Melbourne.

The Raiders have played 2 games at home in the day this year for 2 wins whereas the Storm have played 2 games away from home in the day and lost both.

It’s a tough game to pick and if you’re trailing behind in your work footy comp, tipping the Raiders wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do.


Mike’s Tip: Raiders

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Raiders +4.5 @ $1.80 (Sportsbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Titans v Tigers

Sunday, 04/08, 3:00PM, Skilled Park
Titans: David Mead, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamie Dowling, Anthony Don, Ashley Harrison, Aidan Sezer, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles, Ben Ridge, Mark Minichiello, Greg Bird. Interchange: David Taylor, Ryan James, Luke O’Dwyer, Sam Irwin
Tigers: James Tedesco, David Nofoalumna, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Tim Simona, Benji Marshall, Curtis Sironen, Jack Buchanan, Robbie Farah, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Bodene Thompson, Sauaso Sue. Interchange: Ava Seumanufagai, Keith Galloway, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Braith Anasta


The Tigers and Titans are two teams currently languishing outside the top 8. The Tigers are on a 3 game losing streak which sees them second last on the ladder with nothing of much importance to play for.

The Titans however do still have a chance at making the finals at the end of the year but it would almost certainly mean that they have to win this game. With something of substance to actually play for, one would reasonably assess that the Titans will run out on to the ground the hungrier of the two teams for victory.

Both sides might be well out of form but with the aforementioned hunger factor involved I can’t see any other reason to go against the Titans in this one. The Titans have also won 3 of the last 4 games played against the Tiger at Skilled Park which solidifies my decision to take them head to head.


Mike’s Tip: Titans

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Titans Head to Head @ $1.71 (Pinnacle)

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Dragons v Bulldogs

Monday, 05/08, 7:00PM, WIN Jubilee Oval
Dragons: Josh Dugan, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Daniel Vidot, Jason Nightingale, Adam Quinlan, Nathan Fien, Jack de Belin, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Bronson Harrison, Ben Creagh, Trent Merrin. Interchange: Matt Prior, Leeson Ah Mau, Tyson Frizell, Jack Stockwell
Bulldogs: Sam Perrett, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Krisnan Inu, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Frank Pritchard, Tony Williams, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Josh Jackson, Sam Kasiano, Dale Finucane, Tim Browne


Wins are proving to be so crucial for teams fighting to make up the top 8 at the moment. This is a chance for the Bulldogs to keep away from the bottom of the 8 and slot themselves into 5th position. 5th position would see them just 3 competition points away from the top 4 and 3 points above 8th place which would be a handy buffer to have right now. To get that win they’ll have to do so without the help of Ben Barba who is injured right now, but it will be a good experience to learn to play without him. They can’t afford to rely on Barba in case he isn’t there come finals time.

The Dragons are all but out of finals contention but showed a couple of weeks ago that they are still prepared to fight when they upset the Rabbitohs in Golden Point.

The Bulldogs won’t have a problem winning this unless they succumb to the old ‘We should win easy, so let’s take it easy’. Play hard or face an upset.


Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Bulldogs -3.5 @ $1.67 (Luxbet)

Mike’s Best Bet: None

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2 Responses to "NRL Round 21 Preview and Tips"

  1. Well this has been a good weekend to leave any serious NRL betting alone. I only dropped a $20 fun bet on a 4 leg multi and am looking at that loss as a win!. My feelings go out to the guys who had a lash on teams that *should* have got up.

    1. You’re not wrong Dicer. That’s why for the first time this year I couldn’t find a best bet for the round. Was very, very tempted to put the Knights at $1.55ish. Luckily I didn’t. But they should have won nonetheless.


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