NRL Round 2 Previews and Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 2 of the 2018 NRL season.

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Sharks v Dragons

Thu, Mar 15, 7:50pm
Southern Cross Group Stadium


Round two of 2018 starts with a clash between two clubs that had very different season openers. St George made a strong statement last week with a 34-12 drubbing of the Broncos as new recruits Ben Hunt and James Graham were impressive in their club debut. Meanwhile, Sharks fans will be disappointed after a sloppy round one performance has commentators calling for fullback Valentine Holmes to be shifted to the wing.

The Dragons will replace Jeremy Latimore with Hame Sele on the bench after their slick round one performance, while the Sharks have named Aaron Gray to cover the injured Sione Katoa on the wing as Paul Gallen and Kurt Capewell swap between the back-row and bench.

Despite the results of round one, the Sharks will enter the match as narrow favourites, and after their performance last week expect an intense performance from Shane Flanagan’s troops. The Dragons displayed composure and attacking fluency in their match against the Broncos and expect that trend to continue with the joint venture club winning a close contest.

Betting Tip: Dragons H2H @ $2.16 (Unibet



Roosters v Bulldogs

Fri, Mar 16, 6:00pm
Allianz Stadium


After a disappointing round one performance, both teams will be looking to avoid consecutive losses at any cost. While displaying some encouraging signs, the Bulldogs gave the reigning premiers far too many opportunities while the Roosters combinations looked sloppy in a low-scoring loss to the Tigers.

The Chooks will hope Luke Keary’s return will help them execute their attacking plays with Boyd Cordner also returning to the starting side after coming off the interchange in round one. The Bulldogs have named an unchanged side for the clash.

The adjustments made to Canterbury’s spine look to have ignited their previously ineffective attack, but work remains for the Bulldogs to become a consistent and disciplined football team. The Roosters were ambushed by a massively improved Tigers outfit in round one, and coach Trent Robinson will have his troops primed for a physical performance. Expect the Roosters to have the edge defensively as the Bulldogs are yet to nail down their defensive structures with so many changes to their squad. If both teams take advantage of their attacking opportunities, the Roosters’ discipline without the ball will get them the win.

Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.0 @ $1.90 (Crownbet)



Broncos v Cowboys

Fri, Mar 16, 7:50pm
Suncorp Stadium


Another Queensland derby is upon us, but it is a rare match in which both teams are in extraordinarily different positions to start the year. After a horror round one performance, the Broncos will be desperate to find some composure after they were poor across the park last week. Meanwhile, the Cowboys won a narrow victory against the Sharks and still look as though they will be one of the teams to beat this year.

Despite their loss last week, the Broncos have made few changes to their squad. Andrew McCullough and Tevita Pangai Jr will come into the starting side from the interchange as Tom Opacic also joins the bench to cover the suspended Jaydn Su’a. The Cowboys have made no changes to their squad from last week, but star five-eighth Michael Morgan remains a chance to make a late injury return.

The Cowboys will go into the match as heavy favourites and with star power across the park, Brisbane will be hard pressed to take the win. These derby matches are often intense and unpredictable games but expect the North Queenslanders to get the points.

Betting Tip: Cowboys -4.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)



Warriors v Titans

Sat, Mar 17, 3:00pm
Mt Smart Stadium


Both the Titans and Warriors went through a massive number of changes in the off-season, and that hard-work is evident in their respective round one upsets. The Kiwis were solid against the Rabbitohs, displaying an attacking flair that could take the competition by storm, while the Titans again found comfort in their underdog status with an impressive come-from-behind win against the Raiders last week.

In encouraging signs for both clubs, neither has named any changes to their squad for round two.

Early signs indicate both teams have found a match-winning spine combination that can execute an up-tempo, attack oriented play-style – but their defensive play will be the key factor in the success of each club’s season. Defense often comes down to culture, discipline and communication and both teams have coaches who will be eager to set good habits early in the season. The Kiwis will enter the contest as heavy favourites, and while it may not be such a one-sided match, the New Zealanders should come away with the win.

Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $1.90 (Crownbet)



Panthers v Rabbitohs

Sat, Mar 17, 5:30pm
Panthers Stadium


With an enormous amount of pressure on coach Anthony Griffin, the Panthers started their season well last week with a solid win over a highly-rated Eels outfit. They will face a Rabbitohs side that were out-pointed by the Warriors in round one – so both teams should go into the contest highly motivated to chalk up a win.

The Panthers have named an unchanged side for the clash, with some player-swaps between the starting line-up and bench still possible. The Rabbitohs will replace the injured Adam Reynolds with Adam Doueihi at halfback as Tyrell Fuimaono also joins the interchange.

Souths will miss the calming influence of Adam Reynolds at halfback enormously, with the pint-sized half being a key pillar of their game-plan. The Panthers will be eager to capitalize on their opposition’s weakness and should emphasize controlled football.  Penrith will enter the match as heavy favourites, and the bookies look to have this one right. Expect the Panthers to get the points.

Betting Tip: Rabbitohs +8.0 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)



Storm v Tigers

Sat, Mar 17, 7:30pm


The Wests Tigers will face their second heavyweight NRL team in the same number of weeks after produced an impressive upset win over the Roosters in round one. Under new coach Ivan Cleary, the Tigers displayed a defensive resolve not seen at the club for quite some time, but they will need to reach another level again to challenge the Storm in Melbourne.

Billy Slater will return for his 300th NRL match in a massive boost to the Victorians as Cameron Muster moves back to the halves. The Tigers have named an unchanged squad for the clash.

In order to beat the Storm machine, a football side needs to do virtually everything correct. While Tigers fans will hope their opposition have an off-day – which has been know to happen to the Storm on occasion – the joint-venture will be hard pressed to take the win. In the emotion of Billy Slater’s 300th game, expect Melbourne to be on-song and comfortably get the win.

Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)


Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Eels

Sun, Mar 18, 4:10pm


After falling victim to an upset at the hands of the Knights and Panthers last week, both Manly and the Eels will be desperate for a win to avoid consecutive losses at the start of the season.

Manly will replace Matthew Wright with Brad Parker in the centres as Lloyd Perrett and Jackson Hastings join the bench. The Eels have named no changes for the match but look set to continue experimentation with the fullback position to make best use of Jarryd Hayne.

Manly will enter the contest as narrow favourites, with the Eels performance last week clearly shaking punters’ confidence in the Parramatta club. After a lackluster performance against the Panthers, the ‘Blue and Gold’ have some work ahead to re-establish their reputation of last season but expect them to do so against a Manly side who will again miss the influence of Blake Green.

Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)



Raiders v Knights

Sun, Mar 18, 6:30pm
GIO Stadium


A resurgent Knights outfit started their season with a bang last week after star-signing Mitchell Pearce sealed the game for the Hunter Valley club with a field goal. It was a just reward for long suffering Knights fans, but they will find no quarter from a Raiders outfit burning after their last-minute loss to the Titans in round one.

Charlie Gubb will join the interchange to cover the injured Joseph Tapine for the Raiders, while the Knights have elected to name an unchanged side for the clash.

After many seasons suffering one embarrassing loss after another, the Knights finally converted the enormous heart displayed through their 2017 season into success on the football field. Their reputation has clearly still not recovered, with the Raiders heading into the match as favourites, but while the Canberra outfit can be expected to put on a far better performance, the result could be much closer than the odds indicate.  Expect the Knights to open their 2018 season with consecutive wins.

Betting Tip: Knights Head to Head @ $2.30 (Sportsbet)


Best Bet

Knights Head to Head @ $2.30 (Sportsbet)


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