NRL Round 19 Previews and Tips

NRL Round 19 Previews and Tips

Storm v Panthers

Fri 17 Jul, 7:35pm, AAMI Park

The Melbourne Storm will play the Penrith Panthers on Friday night as the Victorian club limps out of the Origin period short a superstar and short on NRL premiership points. Now facing their 5th consecutive loss this week, the absence of Billy Slater is telling for the Storm as a massive Origin series leaves the club’s four representative stars drained. The Storm have named an unchanged side for the clash.

In a rarity for the Panthers in 2015, coach Ivan Cleary has named an unchanged side as his squad’s momentum from two consecutive wins was halted by an embarrassing loss to the Roosters last week.


With both side’s struggling with consistency of late, the Storm go into the contest in 6th place on the NRL ladder, but also having lost their last four matches. The Panthers have two wins from their last four matches, but have looked far less dangerous in 2015 than their opposition and sit 11th on the competition ladder. Expect a five day turn-around to take its toll on the Origin-weary Storm, but the return home for the Victorian club should see them get the points against a struggling Panthers.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 37.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)


Eels v Bulldogs

Fri 17 Jul, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium

The Parramatta Eels will play the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs to kick off round 19 of the NRL premiership as the Eels have overcome a difficult period of on and off field drama to win three consecutive matches in a display that will surely placate the Parramatta faithful. The Eels have named an unchanged side for the game, with Darcy Lussick and Junior Paulo swapping between the run-on side and bench.

The Bulldogs will welcome back NSW Origin Halfback Trent Hodkinson at the expense of Tim Browne, with Moses Mbye moving to the bench.


The Bulldogs looked disjointed against the Broncos last week, despite the return of their inspirational skipper James Graham. The return of Trent Hodkinson should give the Bulldogs the level of control they are accustomed to as Mbye fills the bench impact role. While Parramatta won’t make it easy, Des Hasler will very likely have the Bulldogs getting serious about the NRL finals as the play-offs draw near.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 36.5 @ $1.90 (Centrebet)



Dragons v Rabbitohs

Sat 18 Jul, 7:30pm, Sydney Cricket Ground

Round 19 of the Telstra premiership NRL competition will see a super Saturday blockbuster between the Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons as the Dragons look to turn around their run of poor form that has seen the former competition leaders slump to 7th place. Having lost meekly to the Sharks, excuses are quickly running out for a Dragons outfit now in danger of slipping from the top-eight as they face their 6th consecutive loss this week.

Fortunately for the Dragons, reinforcements will be available on Saturday night with Josh Dugan, Benji Marshall, Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson all returning from injury. For the Rabbitohs, Greg Inglis and Tim Grant return to the side from Origin and injury respectively while the suspension of Isaac Luke brings Cameron McInnes into the side.


Given both clubs’ recent form, the Rabbitohs should go into the match as favourites, but with so many returning stars, the Dragons look set to capitalize on their reinforcements and draw a line in the sand to halt their recent streak of losses. Expect the Dragons to edge out a Rabbitohs outfit minus Issac Luke.

Ben’s Best Bet: Dragons +8.0 @ $1.91 (Crownbet)



Knights v Titans

Sat 18 Jul, 5:30pm, Hunter Stadium

The Newcastle Knights will play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday evening as the Gold Coast club summed up the Daly-Cherry Evans contract saga with last week’s poor loss to the Sea Eagles. Welcoming back veteran Greg Bird, the Titans will look to make a statement against a struggling Knights squad as Beau Falloon and David Taylor come into the side.

For the Knights, Beau Scott returns from suspension in the only change for the Newcastle club. In the wake of calls for a major shake-up of their playing roster, the Knights will be looking to salvage what remains of the 2015 season as they look to rebuild after the departure of Wayne Bennett last year.


The last placed Knights haven’t found a win since round 10 of the 2015 season and will be hoping to draw a line in the sand after finally fielding a strong squad after a period of injury issues. The Titans shape as the likely victors against the Knights as the Newcastle club continue to look for the missing ingredient.

Ben’s Best Bet: Titans +4.0 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle Sports)



Raiders v Sharks

Sat 18 Jul, 3:00pm, GIO Stadium

The Canberra Raiders will play the Cronulla Sharks this Saturday afternoon as the Cronulla club finally looks to be hitting their straps with four wins from their last five starts. Enigmatic star Ben Barba looks to have found his place as an impact bench player as the Sharks named an unchanged squad for the game.

For the Raiders, chief shot-caller Sam Williams is out with usual bench Hooker Kurt Baptiste moving to halfback and Joey Leilua coming onto the bench.


Of the two teams playing, the Sharks have displayed better recent form, but expect the Raiders big win over the Knights last week to spurn the 10th placed team into action as they make a push for the finals. The Sharks face a difficult assignment playing in the Canberra cold so to come away with a win against the Raiders would be huge for them this year. Despite this, the Raiders’ exciting recent home-ground form should get them over the line against the Sharks.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Over 41.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Roosters v Warriors

Sun 19 Jul, 2:00pm, Allianz Stadium

The Sydney Roosters will play the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday as both clubs look to be building momentum heading into the 2015 finals series. With the Roosters now sitting on four consecutive wins and the Warriors on three, expect both an exciting match between two imposing forward packs, and two skilful back lines.

For the Roosters, Aiden Guerra returns at Lock as Isaac Liu returns to the bench in place of Jackson Hastings. The Warriors have named an unchanged squad, with Jacob Lillyman and Albert Vete swapping between the run on side and bench.


Both sides are capable of putting on a stack of points so it will be the more defensively disciplined team that comes out on top. The Roosters recent form has seen them sky-rocket to Premiership favouritism as confidence builds in the club heading into the finals. Expect the composure of the Roosters to get the Roosters home against a Warriors side who have struggled in defence in 2015.

Ben’s Best Bet: Total Match Points Over 39.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Broncos v Tigers

Sun 19 Jul, 4:00pm, Suncorp Stadium

A high flying Brisbane Broncos will play the Wests Tigers this Sunday evening as the Brisbane club came through the Origin period with no losses for the first time in over 10 years. With veteran Lock Corey Parker crediting their competition leading position on the NRL ladder with unity in the playing group and their recognition of their role within the squad, the Broncos’ current squad are in the best position after 17 rounds in the club’s history.

The Broncos Captain returns in Justin Hodges, pushing Daniel Vidot from the side as Jordan Kahu moves to the wing while the Tigers will likely be without skipper Robbie Farah for the clash as they welcome Tim Simona back to the centres from injury.


After a good start to the year, the Tigers now find themselves in the unenviable position of being second-last on the competition ladder. Struggling for consistency without their Origin Stars, they will struggle to get around a phenomenal Broncos defence as the competition leaders warm for the NRL finals.

Ben’s Best Bet: No bet



Sea Eagles v Cowboys

Mon 20 Jul, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval

The North Queensland Cowboys will play the Manly Sea Eagles this Monday night as the Queensland club looks to refocus on the NRL finals after a massive commitment to the Origin series. The Sea Eagles look to have recovered from their early-season form slump as they have three wins from their last four starts to make a serious push for the NRL finals.

Dunamis Lui returns for the Sea Eagles at Lock as Ligi Sao drops back to the bench. For the Cowboys, Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan return in the halves while Matt Scott comes in at the expense of Glenn Hall.


A timely bye last week prevented the Cowboys’ State of Origin players from backing up for the club, so the star trio should be well rested after a 12-day hiatus since Origin III. It will be hard to tip against the Cowboys, whose momentum didn’t slow over the Origin period. While Manly are certainly improving toward the back end of the season, expect the second placed Cowboys to come away with the points.

Ben’s Best Bet: Cowboys Head to Head @ $2.00 (Crownbet)



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