NRL Round 24 Previews and Betting Tips
Broncos v Bulldogs
Thu 18 Aug, 7:50PM, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will play the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Thursday night after the Broncos gave their suffering fan-base cause for hope with an extremely dominant win over the Eels last week. With consecutive wins over the Dragons and now Parramatta, the Broncos are on track to return to the form that took them to the 2015 grand final, but with a top four spot looking unlikely for the Brisbane side their form heading into the finals is crucial.
The Bulldogs have named Greg Eastwood to return in the back row, pushing Danny Fualalo to an extended bench alongside Kerrod Holland, while the Broncos will welcome back Jordan Kahu on the wing in place of last round debutant Jonus Pearson.
The Bulldogs are likely to snag a top four spot, sitting two wins clear of their next rival, however with patchy recent form coach Des Hasler will be eager to build some momentum heading into the finals series. Both teams will view this match as a turning point in their respective seasons, but with the improvement in the Broncos in recent times, expect Brisbane to come out on top.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +5.5 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Panthers v Tigers
Fri 19 Aug, 7:50PM, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Wests Tigers this Friday night after the joint-venture club’s season was put on life support after an exciting golden-point loss to the Titans last week. While still in a position to reach the finals, Wests will need to win all their remaining games and rely heavily on other results to make the top eight.
Moses Leota will join an extended bench for the Panthers, while the Tigers will include Josh Addo-Carr and Luke Brooks with Michael Chee-Kam joining an extended bench.
The Panthers have been impressive in recent weeks and have seemingly rallied in an effort to push for finals selection. They will play a Tigers outfit minus their best player in Blues fullback James Tedesco and while the Tigers will be playing in the knowledge they likely won’t reach the play-offs, the Panthers will be desperate to secure their own position. Expect the Panthers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -8.5 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)
Knights v Titans
Sat 20 Aug, 3:00PM, Hunter Stadium
Queensland club getting immediate value from the signing of superstar Jarryd Hayne after the former NFL player kicked the winning field goal in the Titans’ win over the Tigers last week. Hayne has had an instant impact on the Titans, and their opposition in the Knights will be on high alert after their poor loss to the Panthers last week.
The Titans only change comes with Leivaha Pulu joining an extended bench, while the Knights will include Jeremy Smith, Josh King and Nathan Ross with Jacob Saifiti and Pat Mata’utia joining an extended interchange.
The Titans have a tenuous grip on 8th position and will view this game as an opportunity to consolidate their finals spot. They will be confident they can produce a big win over the Knights, and coach Neil Henry will have them set for a good performance. Titans to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans -13.0 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)
Sea Eagles v Storm
Sat 20 Aug, 5:30PM, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Sea Eagles will host long-time rivals in the Melbourne Storm this Saturday night at their traditional home of Brookvale Oval after the competition leaders were upset by the Raiders last week. While the loss won’t be a concern for the Victorian club’s fanbase, the last three games of the season are crucial to build momentum heading into the finals.
With Dylan Walker injured, Lewis Brown will shift to centre for Manly as Nate Myles, Matt Parcell and Blake Leary join an extended bench. The Storm have elected to make no changes from their last round loss to the Raiders.
As competition leaders, the Storm’s top four spot is assured, however veteran coach Craig Bellamy will know good form is crucial heading into the finals. He will be looking to build momentum this week to take into games against the Broncos and Sharks. With their opposition playing for pride, expect the Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -8.0 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Cowboys v Warriors
Sat 20 Aug, 7:30PM, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will play the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday night in a massive clash between two clubs who will be desperate for a win heading into the finals. A loss for the Warriors could spell the end of their season as the Kiwis need to rely on other results to make the top eight. Their opposition in the Cowboys will be similarly eager for a win and with a top four position unlikely, the Queensland outfit will be focused on building momentum heading into the play-offs.
Antonio Winterstein and Coen Hess will join the Cowboys squad in place of Javid Bowen and John Asiata, while the Warriors have included Bunty Afoa and James Gavet on an extended bench.
The Cowboys will head into this match as heavy favourites but on the back of three consecutive losses, the North Queenslanders will need to rediscover their mojo quickly. The Warriors’ recent form has been inconsistent but they are a side still capable of producing very dominant performances. The Cowboys will hope that they can get back to top form against the Warriors and with their home-ground advantage, expect the Queenslanders to get the points.
Betting Tip: Warriors +12.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Raiders v Eels
Sun 21 Aug, 2:00PM, GIO Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will take on the Canberra Raiders in the Australian capital this Sunday afternoon with the ‘Green Machine’ showing their premiership credentials in a dominant win over the competition leading Storm last week. It has been a steady rise to the top for the Canberra club, and not many would have expected them to entrenched in the top four heading into the finals.
The Raiders will lose star hooker Josh Hodgson for the clash as Adam Clydsdale and Jarrad Kennedy join an extended bench as cover, while the Eels will welcome back Beau Scott and Semi Radradra in a massive boost for the struggling club.
The Eels ran out of heart against the Broncos last week and struggled to keep pace with the attacking ability of Brisbane’s spine. They will face a similarly dangerous attacking outfit in the Raiders and even without Josh Hodgson, expect Canberra to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 43.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Roosters v Dragons
Sun 21 Aug, 4:00PM, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will play the St George Illawarra Dragons this Sunday evening after the 2015 minor premiers impressed in their last round win against the Cowboys. Having been ruled out of finals contention relatively early in the year, the Sydney club will view this period of the season as an opportunity to build for 2017. They will face an inconsistent Dragons outfit that have all but been ruled out of the finals race.
Aidan Guerra will join the Roosters as 18th man in the only change for the club, while the Dragons will welcome back Jacob Host and Leeson Ah Mau on an extended bench to cover for the injured Tariq Sims.
Despite their lower position on the competition ladder, the Roosters will go into this match as favourites. The wayward Dragons have been struggling for form of late, particularly in attack, while the Roosters seem to have benefited from the ease of pressure and coach Trent Robinson will be particularly happy with the development of such young prospects as Latrell Mitchell and Connor Watson. Expect the Roosters to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons +6.5 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)
Rabbitohs v Sharks
Mon 22 Aug, 7:00PM, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will take on the Cronulla Sharks after Souths look to have rediscovered their mojo after an impressive attacking display against the Warriors last week in a dominant win. The South Sydney club had previously been struggling but after a number of heavy losses and poor performances, the Rabbitohs look to be coming out of their form slump.
The Sharks will welcome back captain Paul Gallen for the clash in place of Sosaia Feki, while the Rabbitohs have included Cameron McInnes and Nathan Brown on an extended bench.
The Sharks will go into this contest as heavy favourites but after consecutive losses to the Raiders and Dragons, the Shire club will be looking to return to good form heading into the finals. Souths’ resurgence has come at an inconvenient time for the Cronulla club, but boosted by the prospect of winning their maiden premiership and the return of captain Paul Gallen, expect the Sharks to get the points.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs +8.0 @ $1.90 (Crownbet)
Titans -13.0 @ $1.93 (Pinnacle)