The following are previews with betting tips for Round 24 of the 2018 NRL season.
Tigers v Sea Eagles
Thu, Aug 23, 7:50pm
The Tigers conceded a heart-breaking loss to the Dragons last week, which alongside Brisbane’s win over the Rabbitohs spells trouble for the joint-venture’s finals hopes. They will face an embattled Sea Eagles outfit who are facing a major coaching re-structure in the off-season with current coach Trent Barrett reportedly set to leave the club at the end of the season.
After their poor last-start loss to the Titans, Manly will be looking to aim up in support of their coach as Jack Gosiewski joins the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Tigers, Alex Twal and Josh Aloiai will also join the interchange with Jacob Liddle also likely to join the 17 from the reserves.
Wests will enter the match as favourites but would need to rely heavily on other results to make the play-offs. Both teams taking the field are capable of upsetting the NRL’s elite squads but on-field inconsistency and off-field drama have plagued their recent performances. Could go either way but the Tigers should get the points.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +4.5 @ $1.95 (Palmerbet)
Warriors v Panthers
Fri, Aug 24, 6:00pm
In the past month, the Panthers have managed a number of comeback wins but their form slump most recently produced a disappointing loss to an impressive Knights outfit in a significant blow for Penrith leading into the finals. They will face the eighth placed Warriors, who went down to a spirited Bulldogs team last week in a heart-breaking field-goal defeat.
The Kiwis will lose Blake Green in a massive blow with Mason Lino joining the halves as cover. Tohu Harris will also return from injury on the bench. The Panthers are set for a major reshuffle as Tyrone Peachey shifts to the halves with Wayde Egan joining the side at hooker. Christian Crichton and James Fisher-Harris will also return on the wing and interchange respectively.
Injury and poor form have robbed the Panthers of any continuity in their roster, which is impacting their execution relative to other clubs at this stage of the year. While the Warriors will be disappointed with the result last week, Canterbury have proven themselves a handful when they’re on. Stephen Kearney will be looking for his troops to bounce back against a Penrith team looking to save their season. Unless rookie coach Cameron Ciraldo’s reshuffle pays major dividends expect the Kiwis to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors -3.5 @ $1.95 (Palmerbet)
Cowboys v Eels
Fri, Aug 24, 7:50pm
The Eels will be disappointed with their result last week after conceding a poor loss to a Storm outfit who had a terribly unlucky injury toll during the match. Their opposition in the Cowboys will be similarly crestfallen after conceding four tries in the last 15 minutes to lose against a red-hot Sharks team.
North Queensland will welcome Matt Scott and Jason Taumalolo at prop and lock respectively in a huge boost leading into Jonathan Thurston’s penultimate NRL match. Meanwhile, the Eels have lost key forward Nathan Brown for the season with Kane Evans returning in the front-row as Tim Mannah and Cameron King join the bench.
North Queensland’s desire to send club legend Jonathan Thurston out as a winner is clear after a courageous performance last week. The return of Scott and Taumalolo should give the Cowboys the forward dominance their game-plan is based around with the Eels set to struggle in that department with the loss of Nathan Brown. Cowboys to get the win.
Betting Tip: Eels +6.5 @ $1.92 (BetEasy)
Raiders v Rabbitohs
Sat, Aug 25, 3:00pm
South Sydney will be looking to regroup after consecutive losses to the Roosters and Broncos. There are concerning signs for the Rabbitohs and the club will face a Canberra outfit who secured their own impressive but narrow victory against the Roosters last week in an uncharacteristically composed performance.
The Raiders will welcome Michael Oldfield back in the centres as Elliot Whitehead shifts to the back-row. South Sydney will receive a massive boost to their outside backs with Alex Johnston, Campbell Graham and Greg Inglis returning at fullback, wing, and centre respectively. Braidon Burns will also join the interchange.
Despite conceding consecutive losses, the return of Inglis, Johnston and Graham will improve Souths’ enormously, particularly in their edge defence – which has been lacking in recent weeks due to inexperienced cover players. While Canberra were composed and played a fantastic game against the Roosters last week, expect South Sydney to be highly motivated to produce a form turnaround and their returning captain in Greg Inglis should inspire exactly that.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs 13+ @ $3.25 (Neds)
Titans v Storm
Sat, Aug 25, 5:30pm
The Storm showcased their premiership credentials last week with a courageous win over the Eels in which they lost three players to injury during the match with Queensland five-eighth Cameron Munster also sin-binned at one point. They will face a Titans outfit who displayed their attacking nous against a hapless Manly outfit last week as they seek to build their combinations leading into he back-end of the season.
The suspended Will Chambers will be replaced by Justin Olam at centre with Cheyse Blair also joining the side on the wing to cover the injured Suliasi Vunivalu. Tui Kamikamica and Ryley Jacks are set to return on the bench with Cameron Smith also a possible late drop-out after suffering a back injury against the Eels.
Melbourne will enter the contest as favourites but find themselves in the unlikely position of vulnerability given their injury concerns this late in the season, particularly if their captain Cameron Smith does not take the field. The Titans could cause an upset but the experience and class without this Melbourne side should prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Roosters v Broncos
Sat, Aug 25, 7:30pm
Brisbane are once again in their fans’ good books after a dominant performance against the struggling Rabbitohs last week, but now face a massive challenge in the second placed Roosters. The tri-colours were left disappointed after a narrow loss to the Raiders but the return of key players will give them confidence as they look to build momentum for their finals series.
Brisbane will replace Patrick Mago with Kotoni Staggs on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Roosters, Luke Kearey will return in a big boost to his team’s attacking potency with Jarred Waerea-Hargreaves also a possible late inclusion.
The Roosters will enter the match as heavy favourites given their ladder position but Brisbane will be confident after their dominant performance last week. Trent Robinson’s troops will be eager to build momentum with Luke Kearey’s return a key boost in their premiership campaign. It will be a massive forward contest but with both teams capable of fantastic form it will be their consistency across the 80-minute contest which decides the game. Could be a close match but expect the Roosters to return to their best with a win.
Betting Tip: Broncos +6.5 @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Sharks v Knights
Sun, Aug 26, 2:00pm
A dangerous Cronulla outfit on the edge of a top-four position highlighted their ability to close-out tight games after scoring four tries in the last 15 minutes in their last-start win over the Cowboys. They face a Newcastle Knights team who impressed against the Panthers last week with their spine looking increasingly dangerous as they build their combinations.
Edrick Lee will return on the Sharks’ wing to cover the injured Jesse Ramien with Josh Dugan shifting to centre. Jayden Brailey and Wade Graham will also return at hooker and the second-row respectively. Newcastle have made only one change as Chris Heighington replaces Luke Yates on the bench.
Cronulla will enter the contest as favourites but need to be wary of complacency against non-elite opponents. Despite their potential to beat any team in the competition, Cronulla are still looking to nail an 80-minute performance and the Knights should look to play a controlled game for an advantage. Expect the Sharks’ physicality to prove the difference as they beat the Knights through the middle to take the win.
Betting Tip: Knights +12.0 @ $1.92 (BetEasy)
Dragons v Bulldogs
Sun, Aug 26, 4:10pm
St George breathed life into their premiership aspirations last week with a vital win over the Tigers as coach Paul McGregor moves to restore his struggling squad’s confidence leading into the finals. They will face a young Bulldogs outfit who are producing some very encouraging results to end their tumultuous year and after a courageous field-goal win over the Warriors last week, there are a number of rookies standing tall against the adversity at the club.
Jason Nightingale will join the Dragons’ wing with Jordan Pereira coming onto the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. The Bulldogs have elected to make no changes to their 17 this week.
Their ladder position will see the Dragons enter the contest as favourites but after losing star Blues prop Paul Vaughan to a season-ending injury, the Dragons still have a long way to go to reach their early-season form. Canterbury have shown massive improvement and will certainly make their opposition work for victory but expect desperation from the Dragons after they showed some good signs last week. St George to get the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons -4.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Rabbitohs 13+ @ $3.25 (Neds)