The following are previews with betting tips for Round 24 of the 2019 NRL season.
Cowboys v Bulldogs
Thu, Aug 29, 7.50pm
North Queensland chalked up an encouraging win over the Panthers last week, but now face a massive test against the resurgent Bulldogs, whose impressive last-start victory over the Eels has the Canterbury club in the hunt for their fifth consecutive win. The result typified the late-season turnaround for the ‘Dogs – particularly in their defensive structures after conceding only one try against Parramatta last week.
The Cowboys have named an unchanged squad for this clash, while Canterbury will make only one change as Jayden Okunbor joins the wing in place of the suspended Reimis Smith.
With both teams well out of finals contention, this match will be for pride. Canterbury have already shown enormous improvement from their problematic form at the beginning of the year, but with their opposition retiring club legend Matt Scott’s jersey and the fact that this match is likely to be their last at 1300 Smiles Stadium, North Queensland should be highly motivated for this match. Off the back of the emotional build-up, the Cowboys will head into the match as favourites. Whether the Bulldogs’ form is enough to overcome what will likely be a potent home-ground advantage remains to be seen. Could go either way but expect North Queensland to get the points.
Betting Tip: Cowboys -2.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Warriors v Rabbitohs
Fri, Aug 30, 6.00pm
The Rabbitohs’ gritty last-start win over the Broncos could be a major turning point in their season with Wayne Bennett’s troops struggling in the post-Origin period. Souths chalked up a narrow victory despite having two players sent to the sin-bin in a massive morale boost for the team. They will face a dejected Warriors outfit who showed few signs of improvement in a dismal performance against Cronulla in yet another disappointing result for the Kiwi club.
The absence of James Roberts to suspension will be largely offset with the return of Sam Burgess, Alex Johnston and Kyle Turner for South Sydney in a huge boon for their squad. Ethan Lowe will also return on the bench in an otherwise unchanged 17. Meanwhile, the Warriors have named only one change with Ligi Sao to come off the bench.
Souths will enter this match as heavy favourites, particularly after their morale boosting win over the Broncos. Their spine in particular produced a fantastic performance against Brisbane and expect the Warriors to struggle to compete with the class and composure within Wayne Bennett’s line-up. Rabbitohs to get the points.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -5.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)
Broncos v Eels
Fri, Aug 30, 7.55pm
The Broncos fell just short of victory over Souths last week in a disappointing result that has heaped pressure on the Brisbane club to make the finals. They will face an Eels outfit who were upset by the Bulldogs last week so expect a fiery clash from two teams desperate to enter the finals series in winning form.
Brisbane have named an unchanged squad for the clash, while Parramatta will welcome back star winger Blake Ferguson in a huge boost for their squad. Peni Terepo will also join the Eels’ bench in an otherwise unchanged 17.
Brisbane’s home-ground advantage will see them enter this match as favourites but they will be on high-alert against a Parramatta team that produced a massive 38-10 win over the Broncos in their last meeting. Expect a big response from an Eels squad who are still in contention for a top-four berth, particularly after the Bulldogs’ upset last week. Expect an intense match but the quality of the Eels’ spine should prove the difference. Parramatta to get the points.
Betting Tip: Eels Head to Head @ $2.25 (Bet365)
Knights v Titans
Sat, Aug 31, 3.00pm
While Knights fans were hoping their under-performing club would snap their finals drought this year, even critics would be surprised by how quickly the wheels have fallen off Newcastle’s season. They will face another club who have also sacked their coach before season’s end in the Titans after the Gold Coast club produced an encouraging first-half in their loss to Melbourne last week.
Interim Knights Coach Kristian Woolf has named an unchanged 17 heading into this clash, while the Titans will welcome Jarrod Wallace and Will Matthews at prop and off the bench respectively.
Their ladder position will see them enter this match as firm favourites, but the Knights’ woeful 46-4 loss to the Tigers last week gave an interesting insight into the morale within the Hunter Valley club – particularly with their season on the line. With both teams out of contention for the top-eight and missing a head-coach, this match could go either way. Expect the Knights’ class in key positions to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Titans +10.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Sea Eagles v Storm
Sat, Aug 31, 5.30pm
The Sea Eagles announced themselves as genuine premiership contenders with their last-start win over the Raiders – particularly impressive given the Manly club’s torrid injury toll throughout the match. Their opposition in the Storm have been inconsistent in recent weeks, relative to the club’s typical high-standards but an improved second-half performance against the Titans secured the Victorians the win after entering the second half 8-6 down.
In a fascinating change to what was a largely settled spine combination, Storm mentor Craig Bellamy has promoted boom rookie Ryan Papenhuyzen to the starting side at fullback with Jahrome Hughes shifting to halfback and Will Chambers and Tino Faasuamaleaui joining the 17 at centre and off the bench respectively. Meanwhile, Manly have been dealt a massive blow in the absence of Joel Thompson to a broken arm. Curtis Sironen will join the second-row as cover to an otherwise unchanged squad.
Dropping his halfback two weeks out of the finals series is a fascinating move from Craig Bellamy. Manly produced a stunning field-goal upset of the Storm in round 19 and expect veteran Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler to bring another effective game-plan to this match. At their best, Manly are capable of matching the Storm, but it remains to be seen if they can get back to that level after last-week’s brutal contest against Canberra. Expect Melbourne to come prepared for this match and Craig Bellamy’s men to regain bragging rights in this fierce club rivalry.
Betting Tip: Melbourne -1.5 @ $1.90 (Beteasy)
Roosters v Panthers
Sat, Aug 31, 7.35pm
Sitting just one win outside the top-eight, the Panthers last-start loss to North Queensland was a massive blow to the club’s top-eight chances. They will now face a huge test in the in-form Roosters as the reigning premiers looking for their seventh consecutive win.
The Panthers will miss Isaah Yeo for the rest of the year in a massive blow. Jarome Luai will return off the bench alongside NRL debutant Billy Burns. The Roosters have made only one change to their squad with Latrell Mitchell returning to the centres at the expense of Billy Smith.
The Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites, but expect a big performance from the Panthers with their season on the line. Penrith produced an impressive victory against the reigning premiers earlier in the year but with their opposition inching back to a full-strength roster, the Panthers should struggle to emulate that result. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -14.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Sharks v Raiders
Sun, Sep 1, 2.00pm
The Raiders were brought back to earth with a loss to the Sea Eagles last week, a particularly disappointing result given their massive win over Melbourne in round 22. They will face a huge test against an in-form Sharks squad, whose last-start victory over the Warriors elevated the Shire club to seventh on the competition ladder.
The suspended Joey Leilua will be replaced with Siliva Havili on the bench in an otherwise unchanged Raiders squad. Cronulla have named two changes with Sione Katoa and Jayson Bukuya joining the 17 on the wing and off the interchange respectively.
Canberra were unable to capitalize on their opposition’s woeful injury toll last week, so expect a big response from the ‘Green Machine’ after that disappointment. Cronulla’s massive win over the Kiwis has the club in the hunt for their third consecutive win, but this shapes as a huge test for Cronulla against quality opposition. The Sharks are definitely capable of producing an upset but expect Canberra to bounce back to get the points.
Betting Tip: Raiders -1.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)
Dragons v Tigers
Sun, Sep 1, 4.05pm
The Tigers’ desperation to break into the top-eight was obvious in their massive last-start win over the hapless Knights last week and the club will now look to dominate an under-performing Dragons squad who were touched-up by the Roosters in their last match. The Dragons have struggled since being ruled out of finals contention with the morale of their squad clearly an issue for the club.
Tigers mentor Michael Maguire has named an unchanged squad for this clash, while the Dragons will welcome Patrick Kaufusi on the bench in their only change.
Wests will enter this match as clear favourites and against a St George outfit who are clearly struggling for motivation and playing well below their best, fans will be hoping for another big win. If Wests can produce another clinic like last week, it will do their for and against wonders but sitting one premiership-point behind Brisbane in ninth position, the club will need to rely on other results. Unless the Dragons produce a massive turnaround in a very short period of time, expect the Tigers to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers -1.5 @ $1.80 (Ladbrokes)
Rabbitohs -5.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)
Eels Head to Head @ $2.25 (Bet365)