The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2017 NRL season.
Warriors v Bulldogs
Fri June 23, 6:00 pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Round 16 of the NRL competition will kick off the second half of the NRL season in earnest after a bye round last week as the Warriors host the Bulldogs in New Zealand this Friday night. Both sides enjoyed a rest last week and prior to that, an encouraging win with Canterbury taking down the Dragons and the Warriors besting the Titans in important wins for both teams. Despite patchy form this season, each club has a shot at making a run for the finals, but time is running out for a mid-season turnaround.
The Warriors will bring in Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Ata Hingano to their team at the expense of Solomone Kata and Nathaniel Roach. Kieran Foran has yet to be confirmed as a certain starter, so look for a last-minute shuffle if the Kiwis’ ace is ruled out. The Bulldogs will make only one change as Josh Reynolds returns in the halves at the expense of Kerrod Holland.
The Bulldogs will go into the contest as favourites and with an injury cloud over Kieran Foran and the return of Josh Reynolds, it is not hard to see why. Canterbury have named Origin stars Josh Jackson and David Klemmer to return from Origin II, and with only two players backing-up don’t expect the ‘Dogs to be heavily impacted. The Bulldogs will play their classic power game against a Warriors outfit who have yet to prove themselves and whoever wins the contest in the forwards will have the attacking advantage. Expect the Bulldogs to get the points in a tight contest.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +5.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Tigers v Titans
Fri June 23, 7:50 pm, Campbelltown Stadium
A desperate Titans outfit will travel south to Campbelltown Stadium this Friday night to take on the Wests Tigers at their traditional home-ground. Both teams took the field in last week’s bye round and were left disappointed after poor losses spell trouble for their respective premiership campaigns. The Tigers were brave in their second match against the Sharks this year, falling by two points, while a depleted Titans were outplayed by the Rabbitohs.
The Titans have named their full Origin trio to return with Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace coming back into the side alongside Anthony Don, Will Zillman and Tyrone Roberts in the starting side. The Tigers will similarly welcome Blues’ stars James Tedesco and Aaron Woods in the only changes to their line-up.
The Tigers have slumped to last place on the competition ladder, while the Titans sit only one win ahead at 14th. The odds look to be in the Titans’ favour, and with their returning players giving them a far stronger line-up than in recent weeks, expect the Queenslanders to get the win once again.
Betting Tip: Total match Points Over 44.5 @ $1.95 (Crownbet)
Cowboys v Panthers
Sat June 24, 3:00 pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
A resurgent Panthers will travel to Townsville this Saturday night in a bid to extend their winning streak to five consecutive games against the Cowboys. Penrith have produced impressive wins against the Bulldogs and Raiders in recent weeks and will hope to capitalise on the Cowboys’ fatigue through the Origin series with the Queensland club naming their full representative quartet to back up for the clash. The Cowboys will be on high alert against the Panthers, and sitting only two premiership points clear of 9th on the competition ladder, a loss could see the 2015 premiers slip from the top eight.
The Panthers have named an unchanged side for the clash, while the Cowboys will bring back Jonathan Thurston, Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Coen Hess. Star halfback Jonathan Thurston was named despite suffering a shoulder injury in Origin II. If the Queensland ace is ruled out of the game, mid-season signing Te Maire Martin could be making his club debut against his former side in the Panthers.
The Cowboys are a different team with Jonathan Thurston in their side. The odds look even at this stage, but if ‘JT’ takes the field, expect the Cowboys to get the win. Without JT, the Cowboys will rely on an untested halves combination and will be sloppy – which could play straight into the hands of the Panthers, who relish broken play – but expect the class within the Cowboys to get them home.
Betting Tip: Cowboys Head to Head @ $2.00 (Bet365)
Raiders v Broncos
Sat June 24, 5:30 pm, GIO Stadium
The Raiders will be looking to extract revenge against their Queensland opposition after the Broncos sensationally beat Canberra by a field goal in round four earlier this year. The Raiders will be ready to aim up against their fourth placed opposition in the Broncos after a disappointing loss against the Panthers in their last game. The Broncos were solid if unspectacular in their win over the Rabbitohs in their last match, with the fatigue of the Origin period clearly taking a toll on the Brisbane squad.
The Raiders will welcome Shannon Boyd back to their front-row in their only change for the clash with Josh Papalii also set to back up from Origin II. The Broncos have lost Anthony Milford to a shoulder injury in a huge blow to their side as Benji Marshal moves to five-eighth with Ben Hunt joining the bench. Origin stars Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Darius Boyd have all been named to return.
The Broncos’ halves depth is the envy of the NRL competition and the performance of the untested halves combination of Marshall and Nikorima could be a big indicator of the success of the Broncos’ season. The Raiders will go into the contest as favourites, but despite Milford’s absence and the Broncos’ returning stars – expect the Brisbane halves to fire and the class within this Broncos side to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Broncos +4.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Roosters v Storm
Sat June 24, 7:30 pm, Adelaide Oval
Saturday night will bring a massive clash between first and second on the competition ladder and with a number of representative stars ruled out after the brutal contest of Origin II, this match will provide another good insight into the Storm’s rookie contingent. The Roosters enjoyed a rest last week and were dominant in their last match against the Tigers. The Storm were equally impressive in their field goal win over the Cowboys last week but will be missing a number of stars for the clash.
Despite being named, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater have all been ruled out of the match with Brandon Smith, Brodie Croft and Curtis Scott the likely replacements. Tim Glasby and Will Chambers will also return for Melbourne in the front row and centres respectively.
The Roosters have named their Origin contingent to return but captain Boyd Corner has been ruled out with a calf injury with Daniel Tupou also returning on the wing.
Fielding a much stronger side, the Roosters should go into the match as favourites against the inexperienced opposition but with the recent performance of Melbourne’s rookies, this is no guaranteed result. The Storm will fight bravely but expect the Chooks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -8.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Dragons v Knights
Sun June 25, 2:00 pm, UOW Jubilee Oval
Dragons’ fans have endured consecutive losses against the Bulldogs and Eels with the joint-venture club slumping to sixth on the ladder after leading the competition earlier in the year. They will take on an inexperienced Knights side sitting equal last in the NRL. The Knights have been brave but against a Dragons outfit wary of becoming irrelevant, the Novocastrians will have their work cut out for them after disappointing losses against the Storm and Manly.
Tyson Frizell has been named in the reserves for St George with lock Jack de Belin also out of the clash due to suspension. Josh Dugan will also return from Origin duty at the expense of Kalifa Faifai Loa. The Knights have elected to name an unchanged side heading into the clash, with Dane Gagai backing up from Origin II.
The Dragons form slump is a concern with their formerly scintillating attack looking flat in recent weeks. Coach Paul McGregor will view this game as a confidence booster against the lowly Knights, but the Dragons shouldn’t expect an easy game. St George to get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights +11.5 @ $1.96 (Topbetta)
Sharks v Sea Eagles
Sun June 25, 4:00 pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Round 16 of the NRL competition will be concluded with a game nobody would have picked as a blockbuster in the pre-season. The form of the Sea Eagles has seen the club surge to equal fourth on the competition ladder as Trent Barrett’s side look for yet another scalp in 2017. Manly will be ready for another close contest after tight victories over the Knights and Raiders in their last games while the Sharks edged the Tigers last week minus their Origin stars.
Cronulla have named their Origin players to return as Jack Bird, James Maloney, Andrew Fifita, Valentine Holmes and Wade Graham come back into the side. Manly have named Darcy Lussick to replace Jackson Hastings on the bench in their only change.
The Sharks will go into the match as favourites and while fatigue may be a factor in their performance, expect their five Blues representatives to be burning after their loss to Queensland on Wednesday. The quintet will be keen to make amends for the Blues’ result but they will face a Manly outfit who will relish the contest. Sharks to get the points in a sloppy affair.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +4.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Bulldogs +5.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)