NRL Round 18 Previews and Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 18 of the 2019 NRL season.

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Broncos v Bulldogs

Thu, Jul 18, 7.50pm
Suncorp Stadium


Brisbane’s season hangs in the balance after a field-goal shoot-out against the Warriors last week resulted in the first draw in the NRL since 2016. They will come up against a Bulldogs outfit who sit second-last on the competition ladder but with Canterbury producing impressive upset victories over Cronulla and Newcastle in their last two performances, coach Dean Pay clearly will have his troops primed in their fight to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Bulldogs will cover the injured Aiden Tolman and Sauaso Sue with Chris Smith and Danny Fualalo joining the bench. For the Broncos, Corey Oates will return on the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad.

Brisbane will enter this match as firm favourites but with an inexperienced squad they should be wary of complacency against a Bulldogs outfit who have produced a number of upset victories this season. The Broncos should be desperate for premiership points as their season hangs by a thread, but their opposition won’t make it easy for the Brisbane club. Broncos to win by a narrow margin.

Betting Tip: Bulldogs +8.0 @ $2.00 (Bet365)



Warriors v Sharks

Fri, Jul 19, 6.00pm
Westpac Stadium


This match between the Warriors and Sharks could go a long way toward deciding the make-up of finals with both teams sitting just outside of the top eight. Cronulla will be eager for a big performance to avoid their fifth consecutive loss after they were humbled by an in-form Storm outfit last week, while the Kiwis will be equally frustrated with a field-goal shootout against the Broncos resulted in the first draw in the NRL since 2016.

The Sharks will welcome Matt Moylan’s return at fullback as Paul Gallen and Scott Sorensen also join the back-row. Meanwhile, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has named an unchanged line-up for this game.
While the Sharks’ uncharacteristic run of losses has largely come off the back of a massive injury toll, the Cronulla club will need to find form quickly with the finals nearing and competition for the top-eight heating up. The Warriors are under similar pressure but it’s difficult to back Cronulla with their recent results. This one could go either way but expect the Kiwis to get the win in a scrappy affair.

Betting Tip: Warriors H2H @ $1.94 (Beteasy)



Panthers v Dragons

Fri, Jul 19, 7.55pm
Panthers Stadium

The Panthers’ have surged to six consecutive wins after their dominant last-start victory over the Titans with Penrith managing to break into top-eight in a fantastic result for the club. They will come up against a desperate Dragons outfit who are feeling the pinch of representative fatigue with the St George club managing only two wins since round six of the competition.
The Panthers have unsurprisingly named only one change with Nathan Cleary returning at halfback. For the Dragons, Ben Hunt will be rested as Darren Nicholls joins the squad at halfback and James Graham returns at lock in a massive boost to their forward rotation. Patrick Kaufusi and Josh Kerr will also join the interchange.
Expect the return of James Graham to make a huge difference for the Dragons with the toll of representative football hitting their forward rotation hardest. The joint-venture club will need a big lift to halt the Panthers’ winning streak but expect an improved Penrith outfit to chalk up another win for seven consecutive victories.

Betting Tip: Panthers -4.0 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)



Roosters v Knights

Sat, Jul 20, 3.00pm
Sydney Cricket Ground

After producing a poor performance relative to their lofty standards last week against the Cowboys, Roosters’ coach Trent Robinson will be looking for a big response from his players, particularly coming up against a Knights outfit humbled by consecutive defeats. The reigning premiers’ ladder position is at risk with the in-form Manly and Eels sitting just one win below them, desperate to break into the ever-important top-four.
Kayln Ponga, Tautau Moga and Mitchell Barnett will all return to the starting side in a massive boost for the club. Meanwhile, the Roosters will also receive reinforcements with the return of Blues superstars James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner, who should make a big difference after their performance last week.
The return of two of the NSW Blues’ best players will improve the Roosters, particularly in defense after they made some uncharacteristic errors last week. Newcastle should be desperate for points with their top-eight position in serious doubt, but the Novacastrians will need a near-perfect performance to match what will likely be a big response from the reigning premiers. Roosters to get the win.

Betting Tip: Roosters -9.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)



Raiders v Tigers

Sat, Jul 20, 5.30pm
GIO Stadium

Canberra will look to build on their dominant victory over the Dragons last week as the club comes up against a Wests team who will be desperate to avoid their third consecutive loss with the joint-venture club sitting only one win outside the top-eight.
After a nasty spear-tackle resulted in the suspension of Nick Cotric, Michael Oldfield will join the Raiders’ starting 13 at centre in an otherwise unchanged squad. The Tigers have similarly named only one change with Paul Momirovski coming onto the wing.
Given their recent form, Canberra will enter this contest as firm favourites against an inconsistent Tigers squad. Wests should be eager to make amends for the 28-nil defeat the last time they faced the Raiders in round 13, but the ‘Green Machine’ will be similarly motivated to consolidate their top-four position as they sit only two wins clear of the in-form Manly and Parramatta clubs. Raiders to get the points.

Betting Tip: Raiders -6.5 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)


Cowboys v Rabbitohs

Sat, Jul 20, 7.35pm
1300Smiles Stadium

The Cowboys will be looking to back-up their heroic performance last week after a Jake Clifford field-goal gave the North Queenslanders a massive confidence boosting victory against the reigning premiers. They will face a depleted Rabbitohs outfit who produced an impressive field-goal victory of their own against Manly last week in a crucial result for the club.
Murray Taulagi will make his NRL debut on the Cowboys’ wing in Paul Green’s only change, while Souths will welcome back Ethan Lowe in the second-row with Mark Nicholls also set to join the interchange.
Last week’s victory over the Roosters will be a crucial confidence booster for North Queensland, particularly for rookie halfback Jake Clifford in the absence of captain Michael Morgan. Expect the Cowboys to focus on the contest in the middle with South Sydney missing a number of key forwards, particularly in their middle rotation. For the Rabbitohs, the boot of Adam Reynolds will be key to their contest for field-position. This one could go either way but expect the experience of Souths’ spine to prove the difference.

Betting Tip: Cowboys +3.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)



Titans v Storm

Sun, Jul 21, 2.00pm
CBus Super Stadium

The Titans’ on-field struggles have finally claimed the position of coach Garth Brennan with the club announcing his departure after a woeful last-start defeat to the Panthers. They will face a massive test against an in-form Melbourne Storm outfit with the Victorians celebrating Cameron Smith’s 400th NRL match in style with a dominant victory over the Sharks last week.
Melbourne will rest Will Chambers, Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr and Felise Kaufusi as Sandor Earl and Tui Kamikamica join the starting side with Tino Faasuamaleaui and Tom Eisenhuth coming onto the bench. For the Titans, Brenko Lee and Dale Copley will form a new centre-wing combination with Leilani Latu, Sam Stone and Michael Gordon joining the interchange.
Despite their missing representative stars, the Storm will enter this match as heavy favourites. It is difficult to predict the response of this embattled Titans outfit in the aftermath of Garth Brennan’s departure, but with the experience of Mal Meninga at the club there could be a big response from the playing group. With the likes of Cameron Smith, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Jesse Bromwich still set to take the field, expect the Storm to scrape home and get the win.

Betting Tip: Titans +7.5 @ $1.92 (Unibet)


Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Eels

Sun, Jul 21, 4.05pm

Manly’s hunt for a top-four position hit a snag last week after a disappointing field-goal loss to the Rabbitohs. They will face an Eels outfit who have found some welcome consistency leading into the finals series as the Parramatta club chases their fourth consecutive win.
Tom Trbojevic will return at fullback in a massive boost for the Sea Eagles in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Eels coach Brad Arthur has named the same rosters from his team’s last-start victory over the Tigers.
This contest will be crucial to the make-up of the finals series with both clubs sitting on 20 competition points – one win outside the top-four. The result will put the loser two wins behind the winner of this match so both clubs should be highly motivated to get the result. Manly will enter the contest as favourites but should be wary of an improved Parramatta squad. This one could go either way but expect the Sea Eagles to get the points off the back of Tom Trbojevic’s return.

Betting Tip: Eels +6.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)


Best Bet

Panthers -4.0 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)

Eels +6.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)


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