The following are previews with betting tips for Round 13 of the 2020 NRL season.
Dragons v Roosters
Thursday, Aug 6, 7:50 PM AEST
St George failed to capitalise on a half time lead against South Sydney last week but the struggling joint-venture club now face another massive challenge in the reigning premiers. The Roosters last avoided a shock upset to the Titans in a narrow contest as the injury depleted premiers continue to produce results on the field.
Star half Corey Norman has been dropped in favour of rookie Adam Clune in a massive call from Dragons’ coach Paul McGregor. Trent Merrin will also return from injury on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Roosters, veteran Josh Morris will return in the centres, pushing Nat Butcher to the bench and Daniel Fifita out of the squad. Lachlan Lam will replace Kyle Flanagan at halfback with Drew Hutchison also joining the interchange.
This game will be a massive test for a Dragons outfit that has found some form but still struggles to produce an 80-minute performance. Expect Luke Keary to direct proceedings for the Roosters in the absence of Kyle Flanagan with the reigning premiers performing admirably despite enormous inconsistency in their team. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons +10.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Warriors
Friday, Aug 7, 6:00 PM AEST
Manly failed to emulate their stunning round-10 upset of the Eels against the competition-leading Panthers last week in a devastating 30-point loss as the club’s injury toll continues to mount. They will face a Warriors outfit who are performing courageously in difficult circumstances with Todd Payten’s troops producing a stunning upset over Wests in a much needed morale boost for the Kiwi club.
Brad Parker and Dylan Walker are out injured for the Sea Eagles in a massive blow. Tevita Funa and Cade Cust will join the squad as cover. Following Blake Green’s surprise mid-season move for the Knights, Chanel Harris-Tavita will play halfback in an otherwise unchanged Warriors squad.
Manly will enter this match as firm favourites given their opposition’s form this season, but Des Hasler’s troops should not take their Kiwi counterparts lightly given the massive improvement under the tutelage of stand-in coach Todd Payten. Manly have proven time and time again they can perform in the face of a torrid injury toll, but they will have their work cut out for them this week against a Warriors’ squad buoyed by a victory. Expect Manly to get the win in a narrow contest.
Betting Tip: Warriors +11.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Rabbitohs v Broncos
Friday, Aug 7, 7:55 PM AEST
Broncos’ faithful were left heartbroken after conceding three tries in the last 10 minutes against Cronulla to lose the game in a somewhat improved performance from the struggling Brisbane club. They face a massive test against an in-form Rabbitohs outfit whose impressive last-start victory over the Dragons elevated the club into the top-eight.
Souths will be without Jaydn Su’A after the second-rower was banned for one-match by the judiciary with Jack Johns expected to join the squad as cover. For the Broncos, Anthony Milford will be absent after picking up a hamstring injury. Brodie Croft, Matt Lodge and David Fifita will return for Brisbane in a huge boost for the club.
Since the controversial coaching-swap between Brisbane and Souths, there has been a bitter rivalry between the two clubs that has produced some fantastic games of football. Despite their recent performances, the return of David Fifita is enormous for Brisbane, particularly with their opposition fielding an inexperienced second-row combination. This game could go either way but expect the composure and class in the Rabbitohs’ spine to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -10.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Storm v Bulldogs
Saturday, Aug 8, 3:00 PM AEST
Melbourne face the bizarre prospect of playing without superstar captain Cameron Smith this week, although the club performed admirably in his absence in their last-start victory over Newcastle. They will face a Bulldogs outfit who conceded a narrow loss to Parramatta in their last game with the Canterbury club finding plenty of positives to take into next-season.
Brandon Smith will cover the former Australian and Maroons captain at hooker for the Storm as Nicho Hynes was named at fullback for the rested Ryan Papenhuyzen. Justin Olam will return at centre as Ryley Jacks and Albert Vete join the interchange. Meanwhile, Canterbury have named an unchanged squad after an encouraging performance last week.
Melbourne will enter this match as firm favourites but with a number of changes in their back-line, they should be on high-alert against Canterbury’s improved attacking game. Expect the Bulldogs to target the inexperienced Tom Eisenhuth and Nicho Hynes in particular but the class of the Storm’s monster forward rotation should prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +13.5 @ $1.95 (Beteasy)
Knights v Tigers
Saturday, Aug 8, 5:30 PM AEST
Newcastle will be desperate to arrest a concerning form-slump and avoid their third consecutive defeat after a disappointing loss to Melbourne last week. Their opposition are also under pressure after the in-form Tigers outfit conceded a shock upset to the Warriors as the club desperately seeks to break back into the top-eight.
Mid-season signing Blake Green will start at five-eight for Newcastle as Kurt Mann shifts to hooker. Gehamat Shibasaki and Star Toa will join the backline with Brodie Jones also included on the bench. Meanwhile, Wests have instituted mass changes following their woeful performance last week. Harry Grant and Alex Twal are injured in a massive blow as Matt Eisenhuth and debutant Asu Kepaoa join the starting side. Russell Packer and Joey Leulua will also join the squad at prop and centre respectively in a welcome boost for the club.
Both clubs have shown glimpses of elite form at times but have been unable to perform consistently so far this season. As injuries and fatigue mounts towards the end of the year, expect a brutal physical contest between these two desperate teams. Could go either way but expect the Tigers to struggle in the absence of Grant and Twal with Newcastle to get the points.
Betting Tip: Knights -3.5 @ $1.80 (Unibet)
Panthers v Raiders
Saturday, Aug 8, 7:35 PM AEST
Canberra have continued their mid-season form revival with their narrow last-start victory over the improved Cowboys, but Ricky Stuart’s troops now face a huge test against the competition leading Panthers. Penrith were dominant against Manly last week in a 30-point victory in which Ivan Cleary’s team completed over 90% of their sets with the ball.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will make his return from injury at fullback in a welcome boost for the Raiders, pushing Jordan Rapana to the wing. Penrith have named only one change after their performance last week as Malakai Watene-Zelezniak replaces injured winger Charlie Stains.
Canberra have displayed enormous resilience this season to be placed equal fourth on the competition ladder, particularly given their travel schedule and injury toll. Both these football teams possess impressive defensive structures but expect the point-scoring form of the Panthers’ spine to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Raiders +6.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Titans v Cowboys
Sunday, Aug 9, 2:00 PM AEST
The Gold Coast came close to producing the upset of the season against the Roosters last week in a supremely impressive performance from the Titans. They will face a Cowboys team who pushed the Raiders to the limit in their last match but were unable to come away with the result as the North Queensland outfit look to avoid their sixth consecutive loss.
The Titans only change comes with the return of Sam Lisone on the bench in some welcome continuity for the Gold Coast club. For the Cowboys, captain Michael Morgan will return at halfback in a massive boost alongside Tom Opacic in the centres.
Despite their recent form, North Queensland will enter this match favourites. The return of captain Michael Morgan will be massive for their team and will add some valuable on-field leadership as well as improve their fifth-tackle options. The Titans look to have embraced the game-plan of new coach Justin Holbrook and off the back of their performance last week, expect the Gold Coast club to get the win.
Betting Tip: Titans H2H @ $2.23 (Unibet)
Sharks v Eels
Sunday, Aug 9, 4:05 PM AEST
Cronulla produced a stunning comeback against the luckless Broncos last week in a fantastic performance in difficult circumstances. Having lost their centres and halfback heading into the game, the Cronulla club will be looking the emulate that energy against Parramatta. The Eels were solid in a narrow victory against Canterbury last week but the club will be looking to arrest a concerning form slump, albeit one during which the club has only lost one game.
Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan and Jesse Ramien will all return from hamstring injuries in a big boost for the club, pushing Siosifa Talakai to the second-row at the expense of Briton Nikora. Meanwhile, the Eels will replace Brad Takairangi with Ray Stone on the bench in Brad Arthur’s only changes.
Despite consistently winning games of football, the Eels form has slumped drastically relative to their early-season dominance. Coach Brad Arthur will be pushing his troops to rediscover top-form soon or run the risk of dropping out of the top-four. The Sharks’ toughness and physical resilience has them well-placed to produce an upset but expect the class in this Eels outfit to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Eels -6.0 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Knights -3.5 @ $1.80 (Unibet)
Titans H2H @ $2.23 (Unibet)