NRL Round 18 Previews and Tips

NRL Round 18 Previews and Tips

Raiders v Knights

Fri 10 Jul, 7:45pm, GIO Stadium

The Canberra Raiders will take on the Newcastle Knights this Friday night as both clubs look to draw a line in the sand and make a concerted push for a finals berth. Both having had turbulent seasons thus far, the Knights will be boosted by the return of Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts. The return of both first choice halves should give the Knights the stability and control they have been lacking in recent weeks. The Knights will also welcome back Jeremy Smith and David Fa’alongo from injury, with Kade Snowden coming back from suspension.

Joey Leilua is the only omission for the Raiders as per the fine-print in his mid-season move to the Raiders.


The Knights’ last win came in round 10, but the return of their halves should see an improvement in the Newcastle club as they struggled with so many inexperienced players in key positions. Canberra will be looking to bounce back after consecutive defeats after disappointing losses to the Cowboys and Warriors means they have only had one win from their last six games. Despite this poor record, expect the Raiders to come away with the points.

Ben’s Best Bet: Raiders -6.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)


Bulldogs v Broncos

Sat 11 Jul, 7:30pm, ANZ Stadium

The Canterbury Bulldogs will play the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night in a match between two clubs with massive Origin contingents. The Broncos will welcome back four players from the interstate clash, with Captain Justin Hodges being rested, while the ‘Dogs will welcome back five.

Hodges’ absence for the Broncos pushes Jordan Kahu to Centre with Daniel Vidot coming onto the Wing, while Sam Thaiday will play Prop for the injured Josh McGuire. The Bulldogs’ Origin players are drafted straight back into the side after their bye last week, with Josh Jackson relegating Shaun Lane to 18th man.


The Bulldogs have struggled to find consistency in the absence of Captain James Graham, but seem to have found the right balance with usual five-eighth Josh Reynolds coming off the bench. The Broncos have won their last six games and will head into the match as competition leaders. With both teams demonstrating good form in their past few games, the reaction of each club’s Origin contingent will decide the game. While the ‘Dogs Blues will be out for Queensland blood, expect the class of the Broncos to bring them home.

Ben’s Best Bet: Broncos +4.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)


Warriors v Storm

Sun 12 Jul, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium

The New Zealand Warriors will play the Melbourne Storm in New Zealand on Sunday afternoon as the Melbourne club looks to recover from a difficult Origin period that sees them facing their fourth consecutive loss this week. With both clubs having a bye last week, the Warriors will be looking to take advantage of the Origin fatigued Storm, while the Melbourne club will be grateful for the return of Halfback Cooper Cronk from injury.

The Warriors have named an unchanged side, while an injury to Jordan McLean means Ben Hampton comes onto the bench for the Storm. Cooper Cronk also returns from a knee injury.


With the Storm still reeling from Billy Slater’s season ending injury, expect the Warriors to take advantage of their Origin fatigue. Playing at the Warriors’ home in New Zealand, the Storm will need to produce something special to come away with the points in this contest, so expect the men across the ditch to come away with the points.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 42.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Sharks v Dragons

Sun 12 Jul, 4:00pm, Remondis Stadium

The Cronulla Sharks will play the St George Illawarra Dragons this Sunday afternoon as the former competition leaders in the Dragons will need to turn around their run of bad luck if they hope to make the top four. Now facing their 5th consecutive loss, the Dragons will welcome back Josh Dugan, Jason Nightingale, Will Matthews, Joel Thompson and Heath L’Estrange as Trent Merrin is facing a lengthy suspension after an ugly tackle in the Origin decider.

For the Sharks, Paul Gallen and Michael Ennis are set to return from State of Origin in the only changes for the Cronulla club.


The Sharks have displayed good form in the past month, with three wins from their last four starts. Having overcome a turbulent season, the Sharks will face the Dragons in their own period of trouble as the former competition leaders face an uphill battle to retain their position in the top four. While the Sharks should threaten, expect the Dragons to come away with the points.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 38.0 @ $1.90 (Centrebet)



Titans v Sea Eagles

Mon 13 Jul, 2:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium

The Manly Sea Eagles will play the Gold Coast Titans as the Manly club have finally lifted themselves off the bottom of the competition ladder. Having named an unchanged side for the clash, Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey will be looking to get the best out of Origin reject Daly Cherry-Evans, naming an unchanged squad for the clash.

For the Titans, James Roberts returns to his usual Centre position, with Josh Hoffman moving to Five-Eighth. Daniel Mortimer will fill it at Halfback with Chad Redman playing Hooker. Ryan James returns for the Titans from injury, pushing Matt Robinson to the bench.


Having endured a difficult start to the season, their win over the Sharks last week should hold the Sea Eagles in good stead to make a desperate push for the finals. Expect the Titans to struggle with a makeshift halves pairing against a classy Sea Eagles. The Sea Eagles should come away with the points.

Ben’s Best Bet: Sea Eagles -7.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)



Panthers v Roosters

Sat 11 Jul, 5:30pm, Sportingbet Stadium

The Penrith Panthers will play the Sydney Roosters this Saturday evening with the injury plagued Penrith club riding high off their miraculous win against the Rabbitohs last week. With coach Ivan Cleary naming an unchanged side, the Panthers will be looking to get their season back on track and make a push for the top eight.

Similarly, the Roosters have also named an unchanged side for the clash, as their NSW Origin triplet of Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings will look to back up after their embarrassing loss in Origin III.


The Roosters look to be warming into good form, now sitting third on the competition ladder. Considering this, they rightly go into the match heavy favourites. Despite the Panthers’ win last week, expect injury to impact on their performance once again as they miss a number of first grade stars. The Roosters should come away with the points in this contest.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 38.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



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