The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2020 NRL season.
Panthers v Rabbitohs
Thursday, Jun 25, 7:50 PM AEST
The Panthers produced a stunning upset victory over the Melbourne Storm last week in an impressive bounce-back from a disappointing round five loss to the Eels. Their opposition in the Rabbitohs also look to be continuing their rapid improvement after a dominant 40-12 victory over the Warriors.
Penrith have named an unchanged squad for this clash in a welcome luxury for coach Ivan Cleary. South Sydney will make only one change as James Roberts joins the bench in place of the injured Tom Amone.
With a number of clubs improving over the off-season, top-four positions will be in short supply come the finals series. Both squads will be pushing for premiership glory in 2020 and while Penrith will be looking to consolidate their top-four position sitting out-right second on the competiton ladder, Souths will be desperate to bank premiership points with only three wins to their name despite their red-hot form. This contest shapes as a good insight into the ‘Bunnies’ ability to match the competition’s best after conceding disappointing losses to the Roosters and Storm earlier in the season. This match could go either way but expect a clinical Penrith squad to notch another win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -1.0 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Storm v Warriors
Friday, Jun 26, 6:00 PM AEST
It has been a torrid week for the Melbourne Storm after the Victorian club’s disappointing loss to an in-form Panthers outfit last week was compounded by the forced relocation of the squad’s base due to Covid-19. They will face a similarly embattled Warriors after the club made the shock decision to sack coach Stephen Kearney in the aftermath of a devastating 40-12 loss to the Rabbitohs with assistant coach Todd Payten set to take the reins for the rest of the season.
The Storm will welcome Josh Addo-Carr and Jahrome Hughes back into the squad on the wing and at halfback respectively in a welcome boost for the club, while New Zealand will make a number of changes in Todd Payten’s first game as head coach. Ken Maumalo returns on the wing alongside Chanel Harris-Tavita and Isaiah Papali’i on the bench. Jack Murchie will also replace the injured Eliesa Katoa in the second-row.
The Warriors’ form can be difficult to predict at times and while the playing group could very well respond strongly to Kearny’s sacking, expect the clinical Storm to be burning after a narrow loss to Penrith last week. Despite the disruption to their preparation, Melbourne should get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Roosters v Dragons
Friday, Jun 26, 7:55 PM AEST
The reigning premiers continued to flex their considerable muscle in a clinical performance against a red-hot Parramatta Eels outfit in their last game and will face a St George team buoyed by consecutive victories in recent weeks, albeit against middling clubs in the Sharks and Titans. This match shapes as a fantastic test for an embattled Dragons squad who need to find form and quickly against the competition’s best if they are any chance of making the finals.
Superstar James Tedesco has been named to play despite suffering a concussion against the Eels last week. Sam Verrills and Lindsay Collins will join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Dragons, boom rookie Jason Saab will replace the suspended Jordan Pereira on the wing as Jackson Ford also comes onto the interchange.
St George will need to muster an almighty performance to upset the competition’s best team, but this Roosters squad continue to push from strength to strength under the NRL’s new rules and maintain their position as the dominant club in the NRL. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons +17.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Knights
Saturday, Jun 27, 3:00 PM AEST
Newcastle fans will be impressed by the consistency of their club under new coach Adam O’Brien after a fantastic response from the playing group following their narrow loss to the Storm in round five. Their opposition in North Queensland will be looking to arrest a concerning form slump that saw the club concede its third consecutive loss against the Tigers in their last match as coach Paul Green grapples with a bulging injury ward.
Newcastle will be without star rookie Bradman best for this clash, who will be replaced by Enari Tuala in the centres in the Knights’ only change. Meanwhile, North Queensland will be sweating on the return of Jordan McLean after the injured prop was included in the reserves as Reuben Cotter replaces Corey Jenson on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
The Knights will enter this match as firm favourites given their recent form. While the Cowboys have been forced to field rookies in key positions the Knights roster is thriving under Adam O’Brien’s tutelage. Newcastle to get the points.
Betting Tip: Knights -5.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Broncos v Titans
Saturday, Jun 27, 5:30 PM AEST
The Broncos produced another poor performance against the Knights last week and still missing a number key players, the Brisbane club will be desperate to avoid their fifth consecutive loss against the Titans. The Gold Coast are similarly struggling with injuries but fans and critics alike are turning up the pressure on the playing group after a poor showing against an out-of-form St George team last week.
Talented rookie Tesi Niu will get his first start at fullback for Brisbane as Jamil Hopoate, Rhys Kennedy and Tom Dearden join the interchange. For the Titans, Dale Copley and Mitch Rein will join the starting side at centre and hooker respectively with Jarrod Wallace coming onto the bench.
While Brisbane have conceded four consecutive losses, their defeats have come at the hands of the Eels, Roosters, Manly and Knights – all of whom will be pushing for a top-four position this year. The Titans will be looking to blow the Broncos out of the water early but lack the execution to deprive their opposition of possession. This match could go either way but expect Brisbane to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans +7.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Eels v Raiders
Saturday, Jun 27, 7:35 PM AEST
The Eels undefeated streak was broken with a bang against the Roosters last week and the Parramatta club face no easier task against the under-performing Raiders. Ricky Stuart’s men have struggled to kick-start their attack in recent weeks, scoring only one try in their last game against Manly in a disappointing 14-6 loss.
Parramatta will be without star lock Nathan Brown after the firebrand was suspended by the judiciary. David Gower or Daniel Alvaro are possible replacements to come onto the interchange alongside Brad Takairangi and Kane Evans. Meanwhile, Canberra have named an unchanged squad for this clash.
Expect an intense physical contest between two of the best defensive units in the competition. Despite their defeat last week, Parramatta are riding high on top of the competition ladder and this match shapes as a fantastic opportunity for the Raiders to topple their in-form opposition to prove they are still a premiership heavyweight. The Raiders certainly have the cattle to win this game but expect them to be outscored by the potent Parramatta offense.
Betting Tip: Eels -2.5 @ $1.95 (Pointsbet)
Sea Eagles v Sharks
Sunday, Jun 28, 4:05 PM AEST
Manly have made a habit of performing courageously in difficult circumstances in recent years and they will need to draw on that experience with a number of star players absent. They will face a struggling Sharks squad who managed a two-point victory over Canterbury in their last match.
Manly will be missing Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker in a massive blow. Brendan Elliot will start at fullback alongside Lachlan Croker at five-eighth. The club will also welcome back Martin Taupau and Jorge Taufua at prop and on the wing respectively in a big boost. Cronulla have named an unchanged squad in a welcome sign for a team that has struggled to build cohesion so far this season.
While the absence of Trbojevic and Walker is doubtless a huge blow for Manly, the return of Taufua and Taupau will provide coach Des Hasler some vital experience for his squad heading into this match. Cronulla will be looking to build on their victory last week but face an uphill battle against a classy Manly outfit. Sea Eagles to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -2.0 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Bulldogs v Tigers
Sunday, Jun 28, 6:30 PM AEST
The Tigers produced a dominant performance over North Queensland last week in some welcome consistency from Michael Maguire’s troops after a good performance against Canberra in round five, albeit without getting the win. They will face a struggling Bulldogs outfit who were brave in a two-point loss to the Sharks last week as the Canterbury club continue to grapple with their lack of star-power.
Wests will be missing key forwards Alex Twal and Zane Musgrove in a huge blow to their middle rotation. Oliver Clark and Elijah Taylor will join the team at prop and on the bench respectively as Tommy Talau replaces the injured Robert Jennings on the wing. For the Bulldogs, Kerrod Holland will come into the side at centre with Jack Cogger the new face on the interchange.
After a dominant performance against the Cowboys, the Tigers will enter this match as favourites as coach Michael Maguire continues on his war path to extract consistency from his squad. Canterbury will be looking to turn the game into a scrappy, low-scoring affair but expect another intense performance from Wests to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Tigers -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Storm -14.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Knights -5.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Titans +7.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)