NRL Round 20 Previews and Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 20 of the 2019 NRL season.

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Tigers v Cowboys

Thu, Aug 1, 7.50pm
Leichhardt Oval


The Cowboys’ will need to win all their remaining games and rely heavily on other results to make the finals after last week’s heart-breaking two-point loss to the Sharks. They will face a Tigers outfit who kept themselves in the race with a narrow last-start victory over Newcastle as Michael Maguire’s troops continue to produce mixed form for season 2019.

Captain Michael Morgan will return for North Queensland at five-eighth in a massive boost for the club in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Tigers have elected to name an unchanged team from round 19.

On recent form, the Tigers will enter this contest as clear favourites but the Cowboys should be confident of getting a win, particularly with the return of Michael Morgan. The skipper’s absence has come at the worst time of the year for the Queensland club but his inclusion will bring much needed experience – particularly with game-management. Both teams should be desperate for a win and this one could go either way. Cowboys to get the points.

Betting Tip: Cowboys +3.5 @ $1.95 (Pointsbet)



Warriors v Raiders

Fri, Aug 2, 6.00pm
Mt Smart Stadium


The Warriors last-start loss to the Eels was mired in controversy with a 9-2 penalty count providing their opposition a massive advantage. It will not get any easier for the Kiwis as they come up against an in-form Raiders outfit who last produced an impressive display against the desperate Panthers with a top-four berth looking increasingly likely for the Canberra club.

The Warriors will welcome back Kodi Nikorima at five-eighth after he was a late withdrawal against the Eels and coach Stephen Kearney has yet to name a replacement for the suspended Isaac Luke. Meanwhile, Canberra have unsurprisingly named the same squad that bested the Panthers.
While the Raiders have been tipped as clear favourites, they should be wary of a Warriors squad who produced an impressive performance against the Eels despite the refereeing controversy. Expect the frustrated Kiwi outfit to produce a big performance in this game, but they may struggle to match the class of the Raiders – particularly in defence with the Canberra club boasting the second-best defensive record in the competition. Raiders to get the win.

Betting Tip: Raiders -3.5 @ $1.85 (Beteasy)



Broncos v Storm

Fri, Aug 2, 7.55pm
Suncorp Stadium

The Broncos’ form has recovered well in recent weeks with their last-start victory over the Titans catapulting the Brisbane club back into finals contention. However, Broncos faithful will be hoping their inclusion in the top eight will not be a cameo appearance with the club facing a massive test against the Storm this week – particularly after Melbourne were beaten at the death in a stunning field-goal loss to Manly.
Matt Gillett has been named to make his injury return in the second-row for Brisbane in a massive boost. Tom Flegler will also return at lock to cover the suspended Tevita Pangai Jr in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Storm, Suliasi Vunivalu will return from suspension on the wing in coach Craig Bellamy’s only change.
The Storm have not been beaten at Suncorp Stadium since 2009 and their dominant record against Brisbane – winning 16 of their last 18 clashes – will mean the Victorians enter the match as heavy favourites. While Brisbane may have the power in their middle-rotation to match their opposition, expect the class of the Victorians’ spine to prove the difference against a Broncos squad without their preferred halfback. Storm to get the win.

Betting Tip: Storm +6.0 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)


Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Knights

Sat, Aug 3, 3.00pm

The Sea Eagles announced themselves as premiership contenders with a fantastic field-goal victory over the Storm last week as Des Hasler’s troops continue their push for a top-four berth. They will face a Knights outfit humbled by a narrow loss to the Tigers in a disappointing performance for the club, especially when a victory would have elevated the Novocastrians into the top-eight.
Manly have unsurprisingly named an unchanged squad for this match, while Knights coach Nathan Brown has swung the axe as Mason Lino, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Aiden Guerra and Jacob Saifiti join the side at the expense of Jesse Ramien, Herman Ese’ese, Danny Levi and Jamie Buhrer.
Newcastle are under enormous pressure to make the finals and will need to find form quickly with only six matches before the finals series. Fans will be hoping coach Nathan Brown’s roster changes produce a response from the playing group but expect the Novocastrians to struggle against a Manly outfit who have timed their rise to premiership contention well. Expect Manly to come away with the points.

Betting Tip: Tri-Bet – Either Team By 6 or Less @ $3.04 (Sportsbet)



Bulldogs v Panthers

Sat, Aug 3, 5.30pm
Western Sydney Stadium

The Panthers’ came up short against the fourth-placed Raiders last week in a testament to their opposition’s defensive resolve. Coach Ivan Cleary will be eager for his squad to return to the form that saw them post seven consecutive victories and will expect no less against a Bulldogs outfit sitting second-last on the competition ladder.
Both teams have elected to make no changes to their respective squads for this match, despite their losses last week.
Canterbury have been underdogs all season and this match will be no different as the club is in the middle of a major rebuilding phase. There are still question marks over the Panthers’ ability to match the competition’s elite and coach Ivan Cleary will be looking for a big response from his troops to inspire some confidence leading into the finals. While Canterbury have shown glimpses of form throughout the year, their inexperienced roster leaves them at a significant disadvantage. Expect Penrith to get the points.

Betting Tip: Panthers -6.0 @ $1.90 (Unibet)



Sharks v Rabbitohs

Sat, Aug 3, 7.35pm
Shark Park

Cronulla kept their season alive with a desperate last-gasp victory over the Cowboys last week, and the Shire club will need to match that effort against an in-form Rabbitohs squad hunting for their fourth consecutive victory after a solid win over the struggling Dragons.
Both teams will welcome back some key players with Andrew Fifita named on the Cronulla bench. Matt Moylan and Wade Graham will also return to the starting side at fullback and second-row respectively in an enormous boon for the club. The Rabbitohs’ only changes will be the return of inspirational skipper Sam Burgess in a massive boost for Souths leading into the finals.
The return of such important players for Cronulla has limited Souths to narrow favourites, despite their recent form. Expect Wade Graham and Andrew Fifita to play an enormous role for the Sharks, particularly against a Souths outfit led by Sam Burgess. Cronulla will need to improve on a sloppy performance against the Cowboys last week and while they look set to do exactly that, expect the Rabbitohs to get the win.

Betting Tip: Rabbitohs Head to Head @ $1.90 (Pointsbet)



Roosters v Titans

Sun, Aug 4, 2.00pm
Sydney Cricket Ground

The reigning premiers’ path to defend their title hit a major snag last week with a number of key players absent for a few games. It was a performance mired by uncharacteristically poor discipline for the Roosters, who will now face a Titans outfit who have failed to produce a response in the aftermath of former coach Garth Brennan with a woeful 34-12 loss to Brisbane in their last match.
Roosters faithful will be thankful enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will only miss one game with a suspension, but his absence compounds injuries to captain Boyd Cordner and Siosiua Taukeiaho with Nat Butcher, Poasa Faamausili and Lindsay Collins joining the bench as cover. For the Titans, Ryley Jacks and Brian Kelly will join the squad at halfback and centre respectively with Brenko Lee coming onto the bench.
While Titans fans will draw hope from the clubs’ recent appointment of Justin Holbrook for the 2020 season, they will have little joy for the remainder of the season unless their team can produce a major form turnaround. While the Roosters will likely be far from their best without the likes of Cordner, Waerea-Hargreaves and Taukeiaho, expect the reigning premiers to get the win, however with so much uncertainly currently surrounding both sides, we will take the safe option and sit this one out.

Betting Tip: No Bet



Dragons v Eels

Sun, Aug 4, 4.05pm
Jubilee Stadium

St George have been struck by yet another mid-year fade-out with the club’s last-start defeat against South Sydney their eighth loss from their last 10 games. They will face an Eels squad who were buoyed by a narrow victory over the Warriors last week, albeit in controversial circumstances.
The Dragons will welcome Patrick Kaufusi and Jeremy Latimore onto their bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Michael Jennings will return from a knee injury at centre for the Eels with Shaun Lane set to come off the bench.
Parramatta have battled inconsistency all season but have done well to put themselves in the position such that they can afford to drop a few games and still make the finals. The Dragons’ remaining matches will be a major test for the club with Paul McGregor’s under-performing squad all but guaranteed to miss the finals. Parramatta’s away record will see them enter this match as narrow favourites and St George will be desperate to extract a silver lining from a difficult season. Could go either way but expect Parramatta to get the win.

Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $2.00 (Topbetta)


Best Bets

Cowboys +3.5 @ $1.95 (Pointsbet)

Raiders -3.5 @ $1.85 (Beteasy)


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