The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2017 NRL season.
Sharks v Storm
Thu June 8, 7:50 pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks will take on the Melbourne Storm this Thursday night in yet another blockbuster rematch of the 2016 grand final between first and second on the competition ladder. The Storm are in form with their last loss an upset win by the Titans in round 10, but the Victorians have not faced an elite NRL side for a number of weeks. The Sharks have been in devastating form as the Cronulla outfit look to extend their winning streak to five consecutive games.
The Sharks will welcome back Origin quartet Jack Bird, James Maloney, Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham for the clash, while the Storm will bring back captain Cameron Smith in the only addition to their roster.
It will be a difficult one to pick between the 2016 Grand Finalists and with both sides boosted by their returning Origin players, expect a fiery encounter. While both teams have enormous attacking potential, this should be a low-scoring affair. Given their recent contests with Melbourne, expect Cronulla to have their opponents measure in a close game.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 30.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Sea Eagles v Knights
Fri June 9, 6:00 pm, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will play the Newcastle Knights this Friday night after the Manly side collected another scalp after they bested the Raiders in a field goal win last week. Their competition in the Knights played relatively well against the Storm, but were ultimately outclassed with their lack of experience and star-power a persistent issue for coach Nathan Brown.
Jonathon Wright will come into the side for the injured Jorge Taufua, while the Knights will bring back Josh King on the bench in the only change for both clubs.
The Sea Eagles have been a massive surprise for critics and fans alike this year, showcasing some wonderful football to spearhead their resurgence under Trent Barrett. With a wounded pride after a poor 2016 campaign, the Manly squad will be eager to maximise their newfound success. Expect them to get a win over the Knights in a high-scoring affair.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -14.0 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Broncos v Rabbitohs
Fri June 9, 7:50 pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday night with the Queensland club’s fans left disappointed for the second week in a row after a desperate comeback was cut short against the Roosters last week. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs could face their third consecutive loss this week so expect a fired-up performance from the Bunnies, particularly as they will come back fresh from a bye.
The Broncos will welcome back Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford on the bench and at five-eighth respectively in a return to their full-strength squad – a rare occurrence for the Broncos during the Origin period. For the Rabbitohs, Bryson Goodwin will return at centre in their only change.
Both teams will go into this contest highly motivated as the Broncos face their third consecutive loss to start the representative period. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs will be carrying the pain of their controversial round eight loss to Brisbane, and expect the ‘Bunnies’ to replicate the power-game they utilised effectively in that game. Brisbane will still be fatigued after a brutal game against the Roosters last week, but the class within Brisbane should be enough to overcome Souths’ powerful forward rotation.
Betting Tip: Broncos -11.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Titans v Warriors
Sat June 10, 3:00 pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will take on the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday afternoon in a match between two sides desperate to turn their season around. The Warriors failed to replicate their wonderful performance against the Broncos in round 12 against the Eels last week, while the Titans would be disappointed after going down to the Cowboys.
The Titans will be boosted by the return of Nathan Peats with Jarryd Hayne shifting to fullback and Will Zillman to the wing. The Warriors only changes come as Jacob Lilleyman returns to replace the injured James Gavet with Bunty Afoa also joining the bench.
The Titans and Warriors sit 11th and 12th respectively on the competition table, and while both squads are capable of wonderful football, inconsistency has hampered their progress. Despite the Titans’ woeful record against the Kiwi opposition, expect the return of Peats and Jarryd Hayne’s shift to custodian to give the Gold Coast the edge. Titans to get the points in a high-scoring affair.
Betting Tip: Titans -2.5 @ $1.98 (Topbetta)
Panthers v Raiders
Sat June 10, 5:30 pm, Carrington Park
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday evening in a match between two clubs who have endured a puzzling fall from grace in 2017. Both considered strong premiership contenders to start the year, both clubs sit just outside the top eight and will look to launch a mid-season surge for the top four.
The Panthers are unchanged from their massive 38-0 win over the Bulldogs last week, while the Raiders will bring in Luke Bateman and Royce Hunt to cover the injured Shannon Boyd and Dunamis Lui.
The Panthers will be looking for their fourth consecutive win heading into this match with coach Anthony Griffin rallying his troops to form. Penrith captain Matt Moylan’s shift to the halves is a major shakeup for the Panthers, but don’t expect easy competition from the Raiders after the Green Machine went down against Manly last week by a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal in extra time. It is a tough one to call at this stage, but expect the class within the Raiders to give Canberra the edge.
Betting Tip: Raiders Head to Head @ $2.05 (Ladbrokes)
Eels v Cowboys
Sat June 10, 7:30 pm, TIO Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will take on the North Queensland Cowboys this Saturday night with both sides performing admirably despite key absences from their squads. Boths team were impressive last week as the Eels held out a fast-finishing Warriors and the Cowboys outclassed the Titans. With both clubs sitting 7th and 8th on the ladder, their respective coaches will not be happy with their tenuous hold to a finals berth and will be pushing their troops to take their game to the next level.
The Eels will welcome Nathan Davis and Tim Mannah to the side with Corey Norman named in the reserves. For the Cowboys, Justin O’Neil will return in the centres with rookie Kyle Laybutt set to make his NRL debut in the halves.
With no clear frontrunner at this stage, this match will be a difficult one to pick with a number of unknowns. Rookie Kyle Laybutt is a big question mark for the Cowboys, but surrounded by a classy spine, don’t expect the youngster to overplay his hand. Tough one to pick but expect the Eels to get the win in a tight game.
Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $2.05 (Unibet)
Tigers v Roosters
Sun June 11, 4:00 pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The Wests Tigers will take on the Sydney Roosters this Sunday afternoon with the 2013 premiers once again proving their worth against the Broncos last week in a tight match to return to the top four. It was an impressive display from the Chooks, but they will face a Tigers outfit who came up just short of beating the 3rd placed Dragons last week in the club debut of Tuimoala Lolohea.
Both teams will make only one change with Sauaso Sue returning in place of the injured Chris Lawrence for the Tigers, while the Roosters will welcome back Mitchell Pearce in the halves.
The Roosters will go into the match as favourites, and rightly so, given their form. The Tigers should certainly not be written off as Origin stars Aaron Woods and James Tedesco are ever dangerous, but the Roosters should have the advantage in both attack and defence. The Tigers will hope to put their clinical opposition off their game in a scrappy contest but expect the class within the Roosters to get them the points.
Betting Tip: Roosters -12.0 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Bulldogs v Dragons
Mon June 12, 4:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons will take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Monday afternoon after the ‘Dogs were embarrassed in a 38-0 drubbing at the hands of the Panthers last week. Their usually strong forward rotation will have a big point to prove against an in-form Dragons pack, but lacking leadership and direction from their spine, expect the Bulldogs to struggle against their classy opposition.
Canterbury will be boosted by the return of Josh Reynolds, James Graham, Brett Morris and Chase Stanley in a huge boost for the team. The Dragons have elected to name an unchanged outfit for the clash.
The Dragons will go into the contest as favourites, but an upset may be on the cards with a number of star players returning for the Bulldogs after the embarrassing score-line last week. The effort of the Bulldogs is not an issue – although it has been an area of concern during their form slump – rather, it is the composure of their spine players. With no leaders to direct their attack or forwards in the ruck, the Bulldogs concede a major advantage to the Dragons, who field a particularly strong spine combination. Expect the Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -6.0 @ $1.94 (Crownbet)
Raiders Head to Head @ $2.05 (Ladbrokes)