The following are previews with betting tips for Round 3 of the 2019 NRL season.
Broncos v Dragons
Thu, Mar 28, 7.50pm
Brisbane’s cohort of young forwards produced a masterclass against the Cowboys last week in a performance that saw them rocket back into discussions of premiership contention. Their opposition will be a Dragons outfit yet to chalk up a win after back to back losses to North Queensland and Souths. Still missing Jack De Belin and Tyson Frizell, St George have a tough task ahead of them if the Broncos can repeat their effort from last week.
Despite consecutive losses, Paul McGregor has only named one change to his line-up with Korbin Sims replacing Josh Kerr on the bench. Brisbane have named an unchanged squad for this clash.
St George will be desperate for a win to kick-start their season but have struggled to produce consistent form across 80 minutes in their first two performances. The absence of Jack De Belin and Tyson Frizell is having a huge impact Paul McGregor’s bench rotation and Brisbane will be sure to capitalize on their lack of stability in the spine. Expect Brisbane to play simple football to hand the Dragons their third loss of the season.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 36.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Raiders v Knights
Fri, Mar 29, 6.00pm
Canberra produced a brave performance against a red-hot Melbourne Storm outfit last week and will look to muscle up against a Newcastle outfit who failed to back up their impressive round one performance with a narrow loss to the Panthers. Both teams entered the season under pressure to turn out consistent performances to make the finals but still have a long way to go at this stage.
An injury to Joe Tapine will mean Ryan Sutton shifts to lock with Hudson Young joining the Raiders’ bench. Meanwhile, Newcastle have opted for an unchanged squad.
Knights coach Nathan Brown is entitled to expect far more from his middle-rotation after they were out-muscled by the Panthers last week. After the Raiders went down in a narrow contest with the Storm, the Knights may struggle against a Canberra outfit with solid defensive structures. Could go either way but expect the Green Machine to get the points.
Betting Tip: Raiders -2.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Eels v Roosters
Fri, Mar 29, 7.55pm
An unbeaten Eels outfit will face the biggest test of their season so far in the reigning premiers with the Roosters backing up from a fantastic performance without key players against Manly last week. Parramatta look like a different team to 2018 and their performance against the Roosters will be an interesting litmus test for their form against quality opposition.
The Chooks will welcome Cooper Cronk and Jake Friend back into the side at halfback and hooker respectively with Matt Ikuvalu joining the wing to cover the injured Brett Morris. For the Eels, Michael Jennings will re-join the side at centre at the expense of Josh Hoffman.
While the Roosters will head into the match as firm favourites, Trent Robinson’s men have been well below their best and will be wary of the resurgent Eels. The Roosters’ strength lies in the class and experience of their spine, and they will seek to capitalise on this against the Eels’ less-settled combinations. Expect a tough, physical game but the Roosters are hard to tip against for this one.
Betting Tip: Roosters -6.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Sea Eagles v Warriors
Sat, Mar 30, 3.00pm
Warriors fans were left deflated after a 34-6 loss to the Tigers last week overshadowed their massive win over Canterbury in round one. They will look to make amends against a Manly outfit yet to score a win for season 2019 as pressure mounts on the club to return to the winner’s circle.
Tom Trbojevic will be rushed back into the Sea Eagles’ line up in a massive boost alongside Addin Fonua-Blake, who will also return from suspension in the front-row in an otherwise unchanged squad. Despite their last-start loss, the Warriors named an unchanged outfit but will need a replacement for the suspended Sam Lisone who is yet to be named.
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney will be hugely disappointed with his troops’ defensive efforts against the Tigers last week, but the Warriors have bounced back well from losses during his tenure as coach. Manly will need a big improvement to start earning the favourites tag and while Tom Trbojevic will give them some extra strike, expect the Warriors to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors -3.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Cowboys v Sharks
Sat, Mar 30, 5.30pm
The Sharks produced an impressive turnaround after their round-one loss to the Knights in an encouraging win over the Titans last week. It was a return to the hard-hitting defence the club is known for, but they will face a Cowboys outfit humbled by Brisbane last week who will be desperate to return to form without superstar Jason Taumalolo.
The Sharks have named an unchanged squad for the clash. Meanwhile, Paul Green has drafted a significant shake-up of his squad. Centres Justin O’Neill and Tom Opacic have been dropped in favour of Ben Hampton and Jordan Kahu, with Te Maire Martin set to take the custodian role and rookie Jake Clifford joining the halves. Corey Jensen will take Coen Hess’ interchange position with Hess shifting to the starting side to cover Jason Taumalolo.
Despite the strength of their opposition last week, the Cowboys are well below their best – particularly in their defence. It is a sign of Paul Green’s discontent with his edge-combinations that both his centres from last week have been dropped. The Sharks look to be improving under the guidance of Shaun Johnson and if they can stick to the defensive structures they implemented last week, expect Cronulla to get the win in a scrappy affair.
Betting Tip: Sharks -1.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Panthers v Storm
Sat, Mar 30, 7.35pm
The Storm will be searching for their third consecutive win against the Panthers this week, after Penrith chalked up their first win of the year against the Knights in their last game. The Panthers will be eager to lift their game to meet pre-season expectations after some patchy form over the first two rounds – and while Ivan Cleary’s troops should improve as the season progresses – they will need to play near-perfect football to challenge Melbourne.
The Storm have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while the Panthers will welcome back Josh Mansour on the wing in a big boost for the club. Tyrell Fuimaono has been included on the bench to cover the injured Isaah Yeo with Frank Winterstein set to shift to the starting side.
Melbourne have played very simple football over the opening rounds to great effect. The Panthers will struggle to match their control of the football, particularly through their kicking. Expect another disciplined performance from Melbourne as the Storm get their third win of the year.
Betting Tip: Storm -4.0 @ $1.80 (Pointsbet)
Tigers v Bulldogs
Sun, Mar 31, 4.05pm
Many Wests’ fans were understandably left seething after Ivan Cleary’s defection from the club, but his replacement Michael Maguire has inspired his squad to consecutive wins to start the season with veterans Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah in superb form. Coming up against a Bulldogs outfit already struggling after consecutive losses against the Warriors and Eels, the Tigers should be wary with Canterbury coach Dean Pay naming a re-vamped squad to spark the club’s season.
The Tigers have named an unchanged team from their last-start win over the Warriors, while the Bulldogs have elevated Nick Meaney, Corey Harawira Naera and Jayden Okunbor to the starting side as Chris Smith, Ofahiki Ogden and Rhyse Martin join the interchange.
The Tigers are clearly responding well to Michael Maguire’s disciplined coaching style with key players in their squad firing. Dean Pay will be expecting far more from his squad after another woeful performance against the Eels last week, but Canterbury will likely struggle against an in-form Tigers outfit.
Betting Tip: Tigers -6.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Rabbitohs v Titans
Sun, Mar 31, 6.10pm
After consecutive losses to open their season, the Titans face a huge test against Wayne Bennett’s unbeaten Rabbitohs squad after Souths produced a dominant performance against the Dragons last week. The Gold Coast are having a difficult time with Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts still injured but will need to aim up and start producing consistent performances if they want to contend for a finals berth.
Both teams have named an unchanged squad for the clash.
Bennett has walked into a Rabbitohs rosters ready made to threaten for the premiership. He already has his squad firing with Souths looking like one of the most dominant teams in the competition over the opening rounds. Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds in particular have provided a fantastic controlling presence for the team. For the Titans to win, their forwards need to produce a huge turnaround. Beyond Jai Arrow – who produced a mammoth performance last week – the Titans pack have underperformed all year despite looking like one of the best in the competition on paper. If the Titans can hold their ground in the middle, they are a chance but expect the class of the Rabbitohs’ spine to get them the points.
Betting Tip: Titans +12.5 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)
Warriors -3.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)