NRL Round 22 Previews and Betting Tips
Dragons v Broncos
Thu 5 Aug, 7:50PM, WIN Stadium
The Broncos will travel south to be hosted by the St George Illawarra Dragons this Thursday night with both clubs in similar predicaments in the most important part of the season. The Broncos were very poor against the Roosters last week and continued their woeful run of form that has seen an extremely talented roster consistently under-perform. The Dragons will also be desperate after a loss to the Bulldogs last week set them further adrift from the top eight.
Brisbane mentor Wayne Bennett will hope the return of representative trio Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire will jolt his team back into form. Kodi Nikorima may also be a late inclusion for Brisbane. The Dragons will be without Joel Thompson and Tyson Frizell due to suspension as Tyrone McCarthy joins the interchange.
Despite their recent performances, the Broncos are due to bounce back from their run of poor form and while they are unlikely to reach the dizzying heights of 2015, they may enter the finals with some momentum. The Dragons will be desperate as the club’s latest loss saw them drop to 12th on the NRL competition ladder and without both Frizell and Thompson, the joint venture will struggle against a Broncos outfit buoyed by the return of a trio of Queensland and Australian representative forwards. Expect the Broncos to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 36.5 @ $1.90 (Bet365)
Eels v Sea Eagles
Fri 6 Aug, 7:50PM, Pirtek Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will host the Manly Sea Eagles this Friday night in a match between two clubs that have fallen well short of the high expectations set for them at the beginning of the season. With the introduction of Trent Barrett as coach and a rejuvenated playing roster, hopes were high for Manly fans, while the Eels have suffered through both on and off-field controversy.
Matt Parcell and Nate Myles have been added to an extended bench for Manly, while the Eels will welcome back Beau Scott, Manu Ma’u and Michael Jennings in a massive boost for the struggling club.
The Sea Eagles look to be making a push for the top-eight after performing very well in their last few games. Sitting only one win outside finals contention, hope still remains for the Manly club. Their finals push will be a positive sign for fans heading into next season, which is exactly what the Eels will be hoping for as they look to give their long suffering fan-base a reprieve. The Sea Eagles will go into this game as heavy favourites and despite the inclusion of Scott, Jennings and Ma’u for the Eels, expect Manly to get the win.
Betting Tip: Eels +8.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Knights v Bulldogs
Sat 7 Aug, 3:00PM, Hunter Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs this Saturday afternoon with the ‘Dogs looking to bounce back after poor performances in their last few games. Momentum is critical heading into the finals, so Bulldogs coach Des Hasler will have his men primed to perform against a lowly Knights outfit.
Greg Eastwood is out with a hamstring injury for Canterbury with Tony Williams coming into the side as cover. Jarrod Mullen will return for the Knights at five-eighth in place of Jack Cogger, while Sam Mataora and Pat Mata’utia’s inclusion will relegate David Bhana to an extended bench.
The Bulldogs will go into this match as favourites and the Knights will struggle to compete with their talented opposition across the park. Jarrod Mullen is a huge inclusion for the Knights and the former skipper will give his team a boost in leadership and direction. Expect the Bulldogs to bounce back in style against the Knights to get the win.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -16.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sharks v Raiders
Sat 7 Aug, 5:30PM, Shark Park
The Cronulla Sharks will take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday evening in a match between two clubs who now find themselves massively over-achieving early season expectations. While commentators would agree both clubs were on the rise, few would have predicted this match to be first vs third in the latter stages of the season.
The Sharks have named an unchanged side, with James Maloney set to take the field after beating a dangerous contact charge at the judiciary, while the Raiders will replace Edrick Lee with Brenko Lee on the wing.
The Sharks will head into the match as favourites but after their winning streak was broken by the Titans last week, the Cronulla club will have to be on their toes against a Canberra outfit looking for its sixth consecutive win. On the back of their recent form expect the Sharks to get the points, but don’t be surprised if the Raiders cause an upset.
Betting Tip: Raiders +6.5 @ $1.94 (Pinnacle)
Storm v Rabbitohs
Sat 7 Aug, 7:30PM, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm will host the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Saturday night after a disappointing showing from Souths last week summed up what has been a difficult season for the 2014 premiers after being beaten by a margin of 50 points. Their opposition in the Storm once again proved their top four credentials with a win over the Cowboys, although the Queensland club were without Jonathan Thurston.
The Storm have named an unchanged side with Matt White joining an extended bench, while the Souths will welcome back Greg Inglis, Hymel Hunt, Joe Burgess and Thomas Burgess in big changes to their 17.
The Storm will be heavy favourites for this match and against a Souths outfit minus Cameron McInnes and Luke Keary, the Melbourne club should be a safe bet. Unless the return of skipper Greg Inglis can buoy the Rabbitohs to a special performance, expect Melbourne to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -18.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Titans v Warriors
Sun 8 Aug, 2:00PM, Cbus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will host the New Zealand Warriors this Sunday afternoon after revelations Jarryd Hayne has signed with the Queensland club and is set to take the field against the Warriors. The signing of Hayne is a massive boon for the Titans both off and on the field, and the Warriors will undoubtedly be wary of the man who led the Blues to a series win in 2014.
The Titans named Nathan Peats to return on Tuesday with Ryan Simpkins relegated to an extended bench, while the Warriors have included Bunty Afoa and Nathaniel Roache on an extended interchange at the expense of Jazz Tevaga.
With their performance against the Sharks last week, the Titans displayed their finals credentials and now with Jarryd Hayne at the club, the Queenslanders will head into the match as favourites. The Warriors bounced back from consecutive losses with a win against the Panthers last week, and the Kiwi club will be keen to consolidate their tenuous grip on 8th position.
Despite his talent, Hayne’s impact on the contest should be limited with coach Neil Henry indicating he will play from the bench but don’t expect big things from the former Blues fullback in his first game of Rugby League since 2014. Titans to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans -4.5 @ $1.95 (Unibet)
Tigers v Cowboys
Sun 8 Aug, 4:00PM, Leichhardt Oval
The Wests Tigers will play the North Queensland Cowboys this Sunday evening with the joint venture club extending their finals hopes after a win over the Eels last week. The Tigers face stiff competition from the Warriors and Penrith, but if they manage to win all their remaining games, they are a chance of making the top-eight.
Jack Littlejohn will replace an injured Luke Brooks for the Tigers as Michael Chee-Kam joins an extended bench. The Cowboys have named an unchanged side for the clash.
The Cowboys will head into the match as favourites despite the absence of Jonathan Thurston and their last start loss against the Storm. Cowboys fans will be hoping Thurston returns soon with momentum critical heading into the finals. While their chances seem bleak, the Tigers will go into this match with a home-ground advantage and the knowledge that North Queensland aren’t fielding their best player. Expect the Cowboys to get the points.
Betting Tip: Cowboys -6.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)
Panthers v Roosters
Mon 9 Aug, 7:00PM, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will host the Sydney Roosters this Monday night with the Penrith club looking to keep their season alive after a disappointing loss against the Warriors last week. Their opposition in the Roosters were dominant against the Broncos last round and with a wounded pride from their lacklustre results this season, expect the Roosters to make life difficult for Penrith.
Both teams will go into the match unchanged from last week in a change of pace for both clubs who have struggled to field consistent squads this year due to injury.
While the Panthers will go into the match as favourites, they will face a Roosters outfit who are returning to the habits that saw them win three consecutive minor premierships. However, the ‘Chooks roster will need work before they threaten for the premiership. Expect the Panthers to get the points on the back of their desperation to keep their season alive, but don’t be surprised if the Roosters cause an upset.
Betting Tip: Roosters +4.5 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Bulldogs -16.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)