NRL Round 18 Previews and Betting Tips
Eels v Roosters
Fri 8 Jul, 7:50PM, Pirtek Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will host the Sydney Roosters this Friday night with Eels’ superstar winger Semi Radradra recently pleading not guilty to charges of domestic violence, further adding to the off-field controversy surrounding the club.
New signing Jeff Robson will return for the Eels after an almost four year absence as the veteran takes the halfback role. In addition to Robson, Brad Takairangi and Tim Mannah will also take the field in a massive boost for the struggling club.
The Roosters will replace the Origin bound Aiden Guerra and Blake Ferguson with Chris Smith and Joseph Manu with Ryan Matterson also coming onto an extended bench.
After both clubs went down in tight contests against the Bulldogs and Sharks last week, both teams will be rearing to go. Despite the controversy surrounding the club, the Eels have pressed on in good form, refusing to let their situation impact their results. Coach Brad Arthur has imbued his men under him at the Eels with a mental toughness that has served the club well, and with their reinforcements expect them to get the better of a struggling Roosters outfit on Friday night.
Betting Tip: Eels -2.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Bulldogs v Tigers
Sat 9 Jul, 7:30PM, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs will play the Wests Tigers this Saturday night with the joint-venture club coming up with a gusty win over the Panthers last week, displaying the Tigers’ attacking prowess.
That same attacking prowess will see James Tedesco receive his Origin debut as the talented youngster looks to have ousted Matt Moylan from the Blues’ custodian role. JJ Felise, Joel Edwards, Josh Addo-Carr and Michael Chee-Kam will all come into the Tigers squad in cover of Tedesco and other Origin stars Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah.
The Bulldogs will cover their Origin representatives David Klemmer and Josh Jackson with Greg Eastwood and Tim Brown, with Craig Garvey and Kerrod Holland on an extended bench.
The Bulldogs will go into this match as favourites but they should expect heavy resistance from a Tigers outfit desperate to turn their season around. After their dominating win over the Broncos last week saw the ‘Dogs sneak into the top four, expect the Bulldogs to be keen to hold onto their spot on the ladder. Bulldogs to get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Panthers v Sharks
Sun 10 Jul, 4:00PM, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will play the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday night after the Penrith club’s fans would have been disappointed with their poor loss against the Tigers last week. The Panthers will face a big test with the ladder-leading Sharks this week, so expect the Penrith outfit to be on their toes.
Josh Mansour’s Origin representation and an injury to Sam McKendry will see Suaia Matagi and Will Smith come into the side, while the Sharks will replace Origin players Andrew Fifita, Jack Bird, James Maloney, Paul Gallen and Wade Graham with Fa’amanu Brown, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Kurt Capewell, Matt McIlwrick and Valentine Holmes in big changes for the ladder leading premiers.
The Sharks have had a run of victories that has broken records at the club and coach Shane Flanagan will be confident going into the match against an inconsistent Panthers outfit. Though they will be fielding a heavily weakened squad, the Sharks have momentum at their backs so expect them to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sharks Head to Head @ $2.52 (Crownbet)
Raiders v Cowboys
Mon 11 Jul, 7:00PM, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders will play the North Queensland Cowboys this Monday night with the Raiders’ close win against the Knights last week propelling the club to within a hair’s breadth of the top four. The Raiders will face an undermanned Cowboys outfit minus their Origin stars.
Josh Papalii and Luke Bateman will be unavailable for the Raiders due to injury and suspension respectively as Clay Priest and Sia Soliola come into the side as cover. For the Cowboys, who are without Matt Scott, Justin O’Neill, Jonathan Thurston, James Tamou and Gavin Cooper due to Origin, will bring in Ben Spina, Coen Hess, Josh Chudleigh, Patrick Kaufusi and Tautau Moga as cover.
With the Cowboys poor record without their Origin players and the sheer level of talent missing for the Queensland club, the Raiders will go into this match as favourites as the resurgent outfit looks for a top four berth. Expect the men in green to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)
Raiders v Cowboys Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)