The following are previews with betting tips for Round 19 of the 2017 NRL season.
Warriors v Panthers
Fri July 14, 6:00 pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Friday night will bring a clash between two underperforming sides in 2017 who still have an outside chance of making the finals. Despite sitting 9th and 10th on the ladder respectively, the Panthers and Warriors both sit two wins outside the top eight and the result of this game could prove crucial in the makeup of the finals series. The Panthers bounced back with a win against a highly rated Manly outfit last week, while the Warriors will be looking for consistency returning from a bye after a disappointing loss to Manly again in their last game.
The Warriors will welcome back Issac Luke, Solomone Kata and Sam Lisone to their side in a big boost for the Kiwi club, while the Panthers will bring in James Fisher-Harris on the bench in their only change.
Their home-ground advantage will see the Kiwis installed as favourites, but expect the Panthers to back up their impressive win against Manly as the Penrith outfit keeps their finals hopes alive.
Betting Tip: Panthers +4.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Raiders v Dragons
Fri July 14, 7:50 pm, GIO Stadium
Friday night’s second game will be played by two teams whose current form belies pre-season expectations with the formerly highly-rated Raiders sitting 11th on the competition ladder with little hope of making the finals. Meanwhile, their opposition in the Dragons – who have been inconsistent of late – stand a chance of making the top four if they can rediscover their early season form. Both teams will come into the match fresh from a bye and raring to go.
Josh Hodgson will return at hooker in a boost for the Raiders side, while the Dragons will bring in Taane Milne, Jacob Host and Matt Dufty. Josh Dugan and Paul Vaughan were also included in the reserves, and could make a return from Origin III and injury respectively.
The Raiders’ home-ground advantage will give them the favourites tag and the return of Josh Hodgson combined with a bye last week could prove a potent catalyst for the Raiders to find form. The Canberra club have underperformed this season but if they can rediscover even a fragment of their 2016 form they stand a good chance of winning. With the Dragons’ squad sustaining a number of injuries, expect the Raiders to get the win.
Betting Tip: Raiders -5.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Knights v Broncos
Sat July 15, 5:30 pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
An Origin fatigued Broncos outfit will travel to the Hunter Valley this Saturday evening to take on a Newcastle Knights outfit who were left heartbroken again after conceding another come-back loss to the Bulldogs last week. Brisbane return from a bye but were dismantled by the Storm in their last game with a losing margin of 30 points. Both teams will go into the match fired up and eager to return to the winner’s circle, but it will be a tough match for both teams – particularly in the aftermath of Origin III.
Dane Gagai has been named to return from Origin III at centre in the Knights’ only change, while the Broncos have named Maroons trio Ben Hunt, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire to back-up with star half Anthony Milford also named in the reserves.
Physical fatigue won’t be an issue for either team with only three players heavily involved in Origin III taking the field across both squads. Expect Maroons enforcers Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire to have reduced minutes while Ben Hunt should be raring to go after playing limited minutes. Unless the Broncos are seriously off their game Brisbane should get the win – realistically by a significant margin. Don’t expect the Knights to make their opposition’s job easy however with the score-line likely to be much closer than it should be.
Betting Tip: Knights +10.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Titans v Sharks
Sat July 15, 7:30 pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Titans pulled off a significant upset last time they met the Sharks, but don’t expect a repeat of the round eight result with the Sharks fresh from a bye after producing an enormous 12-44 win over the highly-rated Roosters in their last game. The Titans sit 14th on the ladder and three wins outside the top eight but hope is still alive with a win over the Dragons last week as the club recovers from horror run of injuries.
The Titans will go into the match unchanged with Origin stars Jarryd Hayne, Jarrod Wallace and Nathan Peats named. The Sharks will replace Joseph Paulo with Kurt Capewell on the bench.
Cronulla will go into the match as favourites and with each side fielding three and four Origin players respectively don’t expect fatigue to play a huge part in the game. The Titans have shown they are more than capable of bringing down the competition’s best, but the Sharks have begun to find consistency in their form, particularly in defence in an ominous sign for Gold Coast fans. Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks -3.5 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Sea Eagles v Tigers
Sun July 16, 2:00 pm, Brookvale Oval
Manly’s five game winning streak was halted in controversial circumstances last week against the Penrith Panthers with coach Trent Barrett vocally critical of the game’s officiating. The Sea Eagles will face a 15th placed Tigers outfit who return from a bye after a big win over the Knights in their last game.
Lone Blues representative Jake Trbojevic will return to the Sea Eagles line-up in Manly’s only change, while the Tigers have named James Tedesco and Chris Lawrence to return with captain Aaron Woods also set to back-up from Origin III.
Manly should go into the match as heavy favourites and after last week’s disappointing loss to the Panthers – in which the Sea Eagles lost the penalty count 14-4 – Trent Barrett will have his outfit raring to go. Highly motivated to stay in the top four, expect the Sea Eagles to beat the Tigers in a dominant display.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -15.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Sun July 16, 4:00 pm, Cairns Stadium
Despite losing Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott to season ending injuries in 2017, the Cowboys have performed extremely well and still remain in the running for a top four position. North Queensland outclassed the Raiders in their last game but will go into this match fresh from a bye. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs will be disappointed after their narrow loss to the Roosters last week spells trouble for the spluttering finals campaign but the South Sydney club will hope to take advantage of the Cowboys’ Origin fatigue.
The Cowboys have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while the Rabbitohs will bring Robert Jennings into their backline in their only change from last week.
The Cowboys should go into the match as heavy favourites with former Penrith half Te Maire Martin providing some much-needed creativity in the absence of ‘JT’ in his debut match against the Raiders. The Rabbitohs will hope the Cowboys’ three Maroons forwards backing up for the clash will give them an advantage but expect the Queenslanders to get the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs Head to Head @ $2.29 (Topbetta)
Panthers +4.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)