NRL Round 16 Previews and Betting Tips
Panthers v Rabbitohs
Fri 24 Jun, 7:50PM, Pepper Stadium
Round 16 of the NRL competition will kick off this Friday night with the Penrith Panthers facing the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Both clubs will be eager to put past inconsistency behind them with a win and with only four representative players backing up between both teams in the aftermath of Origin II, it should be a physical contest.
The Panthers remain unchanged for the clash, while Souths will welcome back Origin stars Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis as well as Patrice Siolo, Jack Gosiewski and Tautalatasi Tasi with Ed Murphy also coming onto an extended bench.
The Rabbitohs have been struggling for form of late and after a disappointing loss against the Eels last week, Souths will struggle to make their mark on this game against an underachieving Penrith club. While the Panthers are not face the same form crisis as the Rabbitohs, they will be eager for a win as the 9th placed club looks for a top eight berth. Expect Penrith to get the win.
UPDATE** Adam Reynolds has been ruled out having suffered an injury in State of Origin on Wednesday Night.
Betting Tip: Panthers -8.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Knights v Dragons
Sat 25 Jun, 3:00PM, Hunter Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will host the St George Illawarra Dragons this Saturday afternoon after another demoralising loss for the Hunter Valley club in round 14 after a bye last week. Similarly, the Dragons performed poorly in the same round of football but managed to overcome an under-strength Storm outfit last round.
Queensland’s hat-rick scoring winger Dane Gagai will back up from Origin at fullback for the Knights with Peter Mata’utia, Nathan Ross and Robbie Rochow also coming into the side. A clause in Tariq Sims’ contract for his transfer from the Knights will prevent the backrower from taking the field, with Dunamis Lui taking his place on the bench in the only change for the Dragons.
While the Dragons have been struggling for form recently, their opposition is in a world of pain having managed just one win from 14 starts this season. Knights coach Nathan Brown has used this season to blood a number of rookies, but don’t expect a miraculous surge of form from the Novacastrians. Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -7.5 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Sharks v Warriors
Sat 25 Jun, 5:30PM, Shark Park
The Cronulla Sharks will play the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday evening after the Cronulla club beat out the Cowboys in a close contest last round. The Warriors’ form surge will see the Kiwis looking for their fourth consecutive win but they will face staunch opposition in Cronulla as the outright competition leaders.
The Sharks have named an unchanged side for the clash, while the Warriors will welcome back Jacob Lillyman as Ben Matulino shifts to the bench with Ma’afoaeata Hingano and Toafofoa Sipley on an extended bench.
While the Warriors have been impressive in recent times, the Sharks are the new competition benchmark and outright competition leaders. The Warriors will surely be able to match the Sharks’ forward power but coach Andrew McFadden will hope the resurgent form of Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke will lead the Kiwi boys to a win. With a full strength outfit, the Shire club will be heavy favourites, so expect the Sharks to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Bulldogs v Broncos
Sat 25 Jun, 7:30PM, ANZ Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Saturday night as the former competiton leaders in the Broncos look to reestablish themselves as the form team of the competition. They will face a near full-strength Bulldogs outfit in Sydney, and with their heavy Origin representation, expect the Brisbane club to be stretched thin.
The Bulldogs only change will come with the inclusion of Danny Fualalo and Lloyd Perrett on an extended bench, while the Broncos have named Tom Opacic to make his NRL debut in the centres in place of the injured Jordan Kahu with Jaydn S’ua also coming onto the bench. Herman Ese’ese has been named at 18th man, but expect the young forward to play with Sam Thaiday facing a potentially lengthy suspension for a dangerous throw in Origin II on Wednesday night.
Coach Wayne Bennett will be well aware his Brisbane outfit must recover their form very soon if they are to keep their top-four spot, but with the Origin series wrapped up for Queensland, the Broncos will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel for what has been a difficult Origin period for the club. They will still face an in form Bulldogs outfit who have performed strongly in their last games against the Sharks and Dragons, but expect the Broncos to get the points.
Betting Tip: Broncos Head to Head @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)
Titans v Raiders
Sun 26 Jun, 2:00PM, Cbus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will take on the Canberra Raiders this Sunday afternoon with the Canberra club returning from a bye after a poor performance against the Broncos in round 14. They will face a resurgent Titans outfit who have won four of their last five games as the Queensland club has managed to sneak into the top eight on the NRL competition ladder.
The Titans will welcome back Greg Bird at lock with Agnatius Paasi reverting to an extended bench. For the Raiders, Shannon Boyd and Jack Wighton return from suspension at the expense of Zac Santo and Clay Priest.
Both teams are in good form heading into this match and will certainly be confident they can get the win. While their is no clear winner at this stage, the Raiders should go into the match as favourites on the back of the return of Jack Wighton and Shannon Boyd. It will be a tight contest, but expect the Raiders to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 45.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Storm v Tigers
Sun 26 Jun, 4:00PM, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm will play the Wests Tigers this Sunday evening after the Victorian club’s winning run was cut short against the Dragons last week. Despite the loss, coach Craig Bellamy won’t be unhappy with his squad’s performance missing their Origin stars and a number of other players.
For the Storm, Blake Green, Cameron Munster and Matt White will come into the side as well as Origin stars Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk. The Tigers have named Jordan Rankin to replace Josh Addo-Carr on the wing in the only change for the joint-venture club with Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah also backing up from Origin II.
The Storm will go into the match as heavy favourites after a run of wins saw them surge up the competition ladder to now sit at second but they should be on high-alert against a Tigers outfit capable of taking down the top teams. The Tigers were wonderful against the Broncos in round 12 and ended up downing the then competition leaders by a field-goal, and Wests will be looking to replicate that performance against the Storm. On the back of recent form and the return of four major stars, expect Melbourne to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -12.5 @ $1.93 (Ladbrokes)
Cowboys v Sea Eagles
Mon 27 Jun, 7:00PM, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will host the Manly Sea Eagles this Monday night after Trent Barrett’s struggling outfit produced a poor performance against the Titans last week. Failing to field a consistent 17 due to injuries has been a major issue for the Manly club, but with a near full strength outfit, the Sea Eagles will hope to string some form together.
The Cowboys are unchanged from their loss to the Sharks last week, while the Sea Eagles will welcome back Nathan Green, Dylan Walker, Daly Cherry-Evans and Addin Fonua-Blake in a massive boost for the Manly outfit.
The Cowboys will go into the match as heavy favourites, particularly playing at their home-ground. Despite their Origin stars all backing up, the Queensland club has almost a full week’s preparation, so their Origin stars should be relatively fresh for the match. The Cowboys will view this as an opportunity to reassert themselves on the NRL competition after a disappointing loss to the Sharks last week. North Queensland to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +16.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sharks v Warriors Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Storm -12.5 @ $1.93 (Ladbrokes)