NRL Round 19 Preview and Tips


Sharks v Cowboys

Fri 18 Jul, 7:40pm, Remondis Stadium

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jonathan Wright 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Jacob Gagan 6. Fa’amanu Brown 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Anthony Tupou
Interchange: 14. Pat Politoni 15. Siosaia Vave 17. Tinirau Arona 18. Sam Tagataese 19. Tim Robinson 20. Tupou Sopoaga
Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Tautau Moga 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Robert Lui  16. Johnathan Thurston 8. Ashton Sims 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Tariq Sims 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Glenn Hall
Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Scott Bolton 16. Sam Hoare 17. John Asiata


After two weeks of pushing their luck to the limits with near miraculous comeback victories, the Sharks tackled round 18 by travelling the more traditional path towards victory and getting out to an early lead in their game against the Knights. But if karma exists then the Sharks can attest to it after blowing their 18 point when the Knights did a ‘Sharks’ on the Sharks and won 31-18.

If their round 18 loss was indeed a karma strike then I’d hate to imagine what might be coming the Sharks way this week when they take on the Cowboys. For those who don’t remember, the last time these two sides met was in the first week of finals last year when the Sharks infamously beat the Cowboys in a game that included them scoring a try off a 7tackle set that somehow got past the referees.

Cowboys Captain Johnathan Thurston may or may not have revenge on his mind for that loss but at the forefront of his mind will be working on how to get his players performing at their best for a game on the road.

The Cowboys haven’t won on the road all year and it must pain supporters to see their side fail every time they leave Townsville and it must be frustrating for the captain and the coach to know that if they had simply acquired just one win on the road this year that they would be sitting inside the top 8.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and decide which side will win this clash. Can the home side, who are practically being Captained/Coached by Paul Gallen, pick themselves up off the floorboards after last week and apply the necessary grit required to win an NRL match? Or will last week’s loss remind them that any mathematical chance they had of making the finals is gone along with their previous coach?

I’m sure I’ve said this earlier in the season but this is a must win match for the Cowboys. Not in terms of being able to make the top 8 but in the context of proving they are better than the side that sits 16th on the ladder.

If the Cowboys can’t win this match then I can’t see them getting to a Grand Final.

Could you?


Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Best Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $1.61 (Pinnacle Sports)



Eels v Rabbitohs

Fri 18 Jul, 7:40pm, Pirtek Stadium

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Willie Tonga 5. Vai Toutai 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Junior Paulo 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Kenny Edwards 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. David Gower
Interchange: 14. Joseph Paulo 15. Peni Terepo 16. Pauli Pauli 17. Mitchell Allgood 18. Ben Smith
Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Lote Tuqiri 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Issac Luke 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Sam Burgess 13. Ben Lowe
Interchange: 14. Luke Keary 15. Joe Picker 16. Jason Clark 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Joel Reddy 19. Luke Burgess 20. Apisai Koroisau


A 48-0 drubbing was the end result of the Eels’ trip to New Zealand last week and they weren’t on the right side of it.

I can’t say I was surprised though. There were too many factors against the Eels and in my preview of that match I had the Eels as 26 point losers.

This week’s factors stack up much better for the Eels and I highly doubt they will cop a shellacking even if they are on the wrong side of the scoreboard once again.

Round 18 had them on the road without their superstar fullback and a not so good halfback whilst Chris Sandow was moved into fullback.

This week the Eels return to Pirtek Stadium and Jarryd Hayne returns to the fray in the number 1 jersey. Chris Sandow moves to his preferred halfback position restoring the overall balance to the entire seventeen man team.

It looks as if Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire is restoring a bit of order to his own team after some player shuffles saw them go down to the Titans two weeks ago in a lacklustre performance.

I couldn’t understand the changes to the side but then again I’m not the coach either. I’ve iterated the point in the past but the Rabbitohs went through the entire 2013 season as one of the best teams but early in 2014 Coach Maguire messed around with that winning formula and Rabbitohs fans watched on in horror as their side dropped to the bottom end of the ladder.

Then when Maguire reverted back to his winning line up with John Sutton back to five-eighth, the Bunnies promptly rose to 4th position.

Come Round 18 and Maguire chucks Keary back into the halves and had Sutton locking the scrum and instantly the side loses to a team outside the top 8.

The Rabbitohs are weighty favourites to win this game but regardless of the outcome I’m expecting a high scoring match. I can easily see the Eels scoring 18 plus points even if they are the losing side. 18 points can get you pretty far in any game and I’m keen to add the +6.5 to their final score which appears to be value in getting the Eels across the line.


Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Best Bets:

1. Eels +6.5 @ $2.00, 1 hour before the 7:45pm kick off. (Ladbrokes)

2. Total Match Points over 42.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Roosters v Panthers

Sat 19 Jul, 3.00pm, Allianz Stadium

Roosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Brendan Elliot 3. Mitchell Aubusson 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Nene Macdonald 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Aidan Guerra
Interchange: 14. Frank-Paul Nu’uausala 15. Isaac Liu 16. Dylan Napa 17. Remi Casty 18. Heath L’Estrange
Panthers: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Matt Moylan 7. Jamie Soward 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Brent Kite 11. Sika Manu 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Adam Docker
Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Nigel Plum 17. Bryce Cartwright

Two weeks ago the Panthers lost halfback Peter Wallace to injury but not all seemed lost with Tyrone Peachey getting the opportunity to strut his stuff in the halves in Wallace’s absence.

Unfortunately the backup plan went awry when Peachey injured his pectoral muscle in a moment that could see him out for the rest of the season.

Jamie Soward did his best at halfback but there wasn’t much he could do as his teammates dropped all around him with the side finishing the match with just 14 men however the Panthers were good enough to get up by a point.

This week there’s a good chance fullback Matt Moylan could step into the number 6 jersey and I wouldn’t mind that choice provided Soward distributes some early ball to him and gets him running.

This week they have the tough task of facing the Roosters at Allianz Stadium although the same task was put in front of the 16th placed Sharks two weeks ago and the Roosters lost after being up by 24 points.

Coach Trent Robinson, to put it simply, would not have been happy and ultimately took his team to the Central Coast for a four day bonding session or coaching clinic or whatever they call them these days.

80 minutes of committed play would have been the hot topic presented to the Roosters by the coach and with a rocket up their clackers they may be ready to wipe the floor with a Panthers side using their 4th choice five eighth.

I certainly think they will be and I favour the tri colours to cover the line and judging by the flow of money so do a lot of punters out there.

The line has moved rapidly from -8.5 to -10.0 but Pinnacle Sports currently has a juicy $1.98 on offer for that particular proposition.


Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Best Bet: Roosters -10.5 @ $1.98 (Pinnacle Sports)



Storm v Raiders

Sat 19 Jul, 5:30pm, AAMI Park

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Marika Koroibete 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Mahe Fonua 6. Ben Roberts 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby 15. Tohu Harris 16. Junior Moors 17. Jordan McLean
Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jarrad Kennedy 5. Sami Sauiluma 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joel Edwards 13. Shaun Fensom
Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Paul Vaughan 16. Dane Tilse 17. Shannon Boyd 18. Matt Allwood


The Storm head into this game as $1.23 favourites against the Raiders’ odds of $4.35 but if you were to look at the recent history between these two sides you could be forgiven for thinking the odds were the wrong way round.

The game takes place at AAMI stadium but believe it or not, the Storm have not beaten the Raiders at home since 2010 and in the Round 7 clash between these two teams, the Storm were rolled once more.

Since that Round 7 loss the Storm have hardly played like the team we’ve come to know so well in the last 8 years and they are looking like a 50/50 chance at best to make the finals as the logjam of teams aiming for the top 8 continues.

There may be some improvement in the Storm however, now that the State of Origin series has wrapped up for another year and I thought their performance against the Bulldogs, despite losing 6-4, was a solid effort and something worth building on moving forward.

The Raiders also put in a performance worth building on last week when they travelled interstate to the Gold Coast and beat the Titans fairly comprehensively by 36 points to 20.

The win was powered by some fantastic, free flowing attack but Coach Ricky Stuart might have been a little disappointed about leaking 20 points.

With all that covered you’re probably left with little idea as to which team will win this game and I know I certainly am.

If you are however looking for some invested interest in the match perhaps an overs bet in total match betting is the way to go.


Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.90 (Luxbet)



Broncos v Warriors

Sat 19 Jul, 7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Corey Parker 11. Alex Glenn 12. Corey Oates 13. Sam Thaiday
Interchange: 14. Ben Hannant 15. David Hala 16. Todd Lowrie 17. Jake Granville 18. David Stagg
Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Dane Nielsen 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Suaia Matagi 11. Ben Henry 12. Simon Mannering 13. Sebastine Ikahihifo
Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Ben Matulino 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Thomas Leuluai 18. Jayson Bukuya


The Broncos would be mighty disappointed in their performance last week when they went down by a point to the Panthers. They had their chances to win the match and even if they were capable of snatching the win, they would no doubt have been annoyed by the 35 points they leaked. Especially considering they are the 6th best defensive team on the ladder currently and are only conceding 2.7 points per game more than the best defensive side the Rabbitohs.

If it’s redemption they’re after then the Broncos will have to find it by getting past the Warriors who are currently one of the top 4 form sides in the comp. The New Zealand juggernaut that is the Warriors is charging towards the finals and now that they have won 7 from the last 9 their confidence has sky rocketed as was demonstrated in their 48-0 win over the Eels last week.

Fullback Sam Tomkins has a slight question mark hanging over his head thanks to a mild hip flexor injury but it’s the Broncos who will suffer hugely with the loss of Matt Gillett once more to an ankle injury.

To a best bet now and I strongly believe the Warriors can continue their winning run on Friday on Brisbane’s home turf and have a good chance of saluting despite being outsiders with odds that have now drifted from $2.18 to $2.38 following the news about Sam Tomkins.

We will play it safe however and back them at the line an hour before kick off with Ladbrokes.


Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Best Bet: Warriors +2.5 @ $2.00 1 hour before the 7:30pm kick off. (Ladbrokes)

Mike’s Casual Bet:



Knights v Titans

Sun 20 Jul, 2:00pm, Hunter Stadium

Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Kurt Gidley 8. Kade Snowden 9. Adam Clydsdale 10. Willie Mason 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Jeremy Smith
Interchange:  14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Chris Houston 17. David Fa’alogo 18. Korbin Sims 19. Adam Cuthbertson
Titans:  1. Kevin Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. James Roberts 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Maurice Blair 7. Daniel Mortimer 8. Luke Bailey 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Dave Taylor 13. Paul Carter
Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Luke Douglas 16. Tom Kingston 17. Albert Kelly 18. Mark Ioane


It’s ‘Rise for Alex’ round and the Knights’ motivation levels are going to be through the roof as the playing group attempts to notch up a special victory so that they can dedicate it to a special young man.

In the week after Alex’s devastating injury, the Knights rose to the occasion of playing for Alex and on the back of an emotional day in front of a full house at Hunter Stadium handed the Sharks a 30-0 defeat.

You can expect much of the same today and it’s highly likely the Knights will claim another emotional victory as they play for Alex McKinnon once more.

They are helped by the fact that their opposition are the struggling Titans who have dropped to 13th on the ladder and are hardly heading in the right direction at the business end of the season.

They have lost 7 of their last 8 matches and 4 of their last 5 against the Knights and if the Titans lose today I won’t hold much hope for them making the finals with them and 10 other teams currently in a logjam fighting for positions 4th to 8th on the ladder.

The choice here is simple; take the Knights minus the line and join the myriad of punters who are doing the same.

This game copped some massive amounts of dollars that were bet in favour of the Knights which saw their opening quote of $1.50 getting smashed and the line moving massively from 7.5 to 12.0


Mike’s Tip: Knights

Mike’s Best Bet: Knights -12.0 @ $2.00 1 hour before the 3:00pm kick off. (Ladbrokes)



Tigers v Bulldogs

Sun 20 Jul, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium

Tigers: 1. Mitchell Moses 2. Keith Lulia 3. Tim Simona 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Blake Austin 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Keith Galloway 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair
Interchange: 14. Ava Seumanufagai 15. Martin Taupau 16. Dene Halatau 17. Sauaso Sue
Bulldogs: 1. Mitch Brown 2. Corey Thompson 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Josh Jackson 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Kasiano 9. Michael Ennis 10. James Graham 11. Dale Finucane 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood
Interchange: 14. Reni Maitua 15. Pat O’Hanlon 16. Tim Browne 17. Lloyd Perrett 19. Drury Low 20. Damien Cook


ANZ Stadium hosts the Sunday afternoon match between the Tigers and the Bulldogs which happens to be a neutral venue for both teams.

The Tigers have lost 3 of their last 4 matches as a result of a tough State of Origin period endured without Aaron Woods and Captain Robbie Farah. A promising start to the season has flipped on its head and the Tigers have tumbled to 11th place on the ladder and are desperately looking for form as the 2014 season reaches the business end.

If taking on the Sea Eagles last week was any indicator of where the Tigers stand then the signs aren’t good seeing as they were demolished by 40 points to 8.

The task ahead of them doesn’t get much easier against a Bulldogs side that only conceded 4 points last week and currently shares first place on the ladder.

The Bulldogs are becoming very good at close finishes this year and last week was no exception as a fantastic defensive effort saw them hold out the Storm 6-4.

The Bulldogs are the likely winners in this match but $1.40 is too short for my liking and I can’t have a bet here.

If you are determined to have a bet you may as well go for something with a higher price and back the Bulldogs at the line.


Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Bulldogs -8.0 @ Ladbrokes 1 hour before the 3:00pm kick off.



Dragons v Sea Eagles

Mon 21 Jul, 7:00pm, WIN Jubilee Oval

Dragons: 1. Adam Quinlan 2. Charly Runciman 3. Josh Dugan 4. Gerard Beale 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Ben Creagh (c) 9. Mitch Rein 10. Mike Cooper 11. Leeson Ah Mau 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.
Interchange: 15. Bronson Harrison 16. Shane Pumipi 17. Will Matthews  17. Jack Stockwell
Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11.Anthony Watmough 12.  Jamie Buhrer  13. Tom Symonds
Interchange: 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao 15. Dunamis Lui 16. James Hasson 17. Jason King


The weather in Wollongong is predicted to be a chilly 13 degrees during the Monday night match between the Dragons and the Sea Eagles and the Manly side can also expect a chilly reception from the locals who will be out in force cheering on their side which will be looking for a win to keep their spot on the premiership ladder within striking distance of the top 8.

Aside from being concerned with where they sit on the ladder, the Dragons would love to win this match being that it pits them against the side that is arguably the benchmark team of the competition to prove to themselves that they are capable of beating the best.
The Dragons have won four of the last six encounters against the Sea Eagles but are still finding their way a little bit under new Coach McGregor.

This week sees the return of Anthony Watmough to the Sea Eagles line up which boosts both their attack and defence immensely and no doubt Watmough will be champing at the bit to get involved.

I think the bookies have the odds spot on in this match and therefore I won’t be chancing my arm on any bets.

I have to tip the Sea Eagles but it wouldn’t exactly blow my mind if the Dragons could stay within 12 points.

Look for the Dragons to do most of their attacking out wide and persistently test the Sea Eagles’ three quarter positions.


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Sea Eagles -7.0 @ $1.87 (Pinnacle)



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3 Responses to "NRL Round 19 Preview and Tips"

  1. Dammit, was on the +2.5 for warriors even before seeing it was your recommended bet Mike. I jumped on it at SBO once I heard on Triple M that the 3 boys were out for drinking etc.

    Everything going swimmingly until the good ol’ Warriors absolutely gifted Brisbane the game when leading with less than 15 mins to go.

    Asking the warriors to hold onto the ball and kick to the corners for a couple of sets to ride a game out is like asking them to cut off a leg by the look of it. That’s all that was required and yet we saw the circus tricks and low percentage plays galore!

    That one stung. Ouch!


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