The following are previews with betting tips for Round 15 of the 2020 NRL season.
Eels v Storm
Thursday, Aug 20, 7:50 PM AEST
The Storm produced a dominant victory over an injury-depleted Roosters squad last week with the Victorian club well placed to challenge for the minor-premiership. They will face an Eels outfit who were upset by the Dragons in a disappointing performance that typifies the club’s recent form slump.
Suliasi Vunivalu will be absent after suffering a broken jaw last week with Sandor Earl coming onto the wing as cover. Dale Finucane will also be missing in a massive blow for Melbourne with Albert Vete joining the bench and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui shifting to the starting side. Despite their loss last week, the Eels have named an unchanged squad.
Despite their recent form, Parramatta will enter this match as favourites given the key players absent for the Storm. Melbourne lack some of their usual play-making class without Smith and Munster in the squad, but they successfully executed a very simple and physically brutal game-plan against the Roosters last week. Expect the Eels to thrive on this contest with a full-strength starting line-up. This game could go either way but expect the Eels to return to their best to take the points.
Betting Tip: Storm +6.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Panthers v Sharks
Friday, Aug 21, 6:00 PM AEST
The Panthers staved off an upset last week from an improved Warriors outfit to remain outright first on the competition ladder with the Penrith club now looking to notch their 10th consecutive win. They will face an in-form Cronulla squad who have yet to impress against the competition’s elite teams after their solid last-start victory over the Titans.
Unsurprisingly, Penrith have named an unchanged squad given their recent form. Cronulla have similarly named an unchanged line-up in fantastic signs for the Shire club, particularly after their torrid injury toll earlier in the season.
This game shapes as a pivotal test for the Sharks, who have yet to win a match against a team inside the top-eight. Expect the Panthers to start the game fast as they typically do, but blessed with toughness and skill in equal measure, Cronulla are uniquely placed to produce an upset this week. Expect a big performance from the Sharks but the class in this Penrith squad should get them over the line in the final stages of the match.
Betting Tip: Sharks +10.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Broncos v Dragons
Friday, Aug 21, 7:55 PM AEST
Broncos fans were again left heart-broken after a second-half collapse saw the Brisbane club concede 28 unanswered points in a woeful performance against the Raiders. Their task will get no easier this week against an in-form Dragons outfit, who posted an impressive upset over Parramatta last week despite the departure of coach Paul McGregor.
Payne Haas and Tom Flegler will both be absent due to suspension and injury respectively for the Broncos in a massive blow to the struggling club. Jake Turpin will also be missing after breaking his hand with Isaac Luke joining the starting-side at hooker alongside Rhys Kennedy in the front-row. Ethan Bullemor and Jamil Hopoate will also join the bench. For the Dragons, interim coach Dean Young will recall Paul Vaughan in the front-row with a replacement for the suspended Tyrell Fuimaono yet to be named.
The Dragons will enter this match as firm favourites given their opposition’s woeful recent form. Expect St George to target Brisbane through the ruck with the Broncos missing a number of their best middle-forwards. Dragons to get the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons -10.5 @ $1.97 (Unibet)
Titans v Raiders
Saturday, Aug 22, 3:00 PM AEST
Canberra produced a stunning second-half blitz against Brisbane last week, scoring 28 unanswered points for an impressive 36-8 victory. They will face a resurgent Titans squad who conceded a narrow loss to Cronulla in a game mired in controversy after captain Kevin Proctor was found guilty at the judiciary of biting Kiwis team-mate Shaun Johnson.
The Titans will welcome Anthony Don and Phillip Sami back on the wing as Sam Stone joins the bench to cover the injured Jai Arrow. The replacement for the suspended Kevin Proctor has yet to be named. Meanwhile, the Raiders have named an unchanged squad heading into this clash.
After a rocky start to the season, the Raiders attack is improving in leaps and bounds, despite the absence of captain and key play-maker Josh Hodgson. The Titans will relish the test against quality opposition with their recent form resurgence yet to transfer into on-field results. The Gold Coast are certainly capable of producing an upset in this match after improving drastically under new coach Justin Holbrook, but expect the fantastic defensive structures of the Raiders to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Raiders -10.5 @ $1.95 (Bet365)
Tigers v Roosters
Saturday, Aug 22, 5:30 PM AEST
Wests kept their finals hopes alive after a narrow field-goal victory over the Bulldogs last week, but the joint-venture club now face a massive test in the Roosters, albeit while the reigning premiers endure a torrid injury crisis. The Roosters were out-muscled by the Storm in a brutal contest in their last game with the dual-premiers desperate to stay inside the top-four.
Wests’ coach Michael Maguire has named an unchanged squad heading into this clash, although Alex Twal and Thomas Mikaele could be late inclusions after they were named in the reserves. For the Roosters, Luke Keary and Mitchell Aubusson will be missing with injuries in a massive blow. Their absence is somewhat offset by the return of Brett Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves as the club’s injury struggles continue.
While the Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites, the Tigers will be confident they are capable of causing an upset given the quality that is missing for their opposition. The loss of senior play-maker Luke Keary in particular is a massive blow. This match could go either way but expect a big response to their disappointing loss last week with Trent Robinson’s troops to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -6.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Saturday, Aug 22, 7:35 PM AEST
The Rabbitohs produced a miraculous comeback-victory against the Cowboys last week for their third consecutive win despite some patchy recent form. They will face a Manly outfit desperate to drag themselves back into the top eight but after three consecutive losses and a mounting injury toll, Des Hasler’s troops face a massive challenge.
The suspended Liam Knight will be replaced by Bayley Sironen in the second-row for Souths with Jack Johns joining the bench in Wayne Bennett’s only changes. For the Sea Eagles, Jorge Taufua will return on the wing after a season-ending knee injury to Brendan Elliot forces Reuben Garrick into the fullback role. Marty Taupau will also return in the front-row in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Manly were courageous in defeat against Newcastle last week but pressure is mounting on Des Hasler’s troops to turn their bravery into wins lest they miss the finals. This match will be a tough contest but expect the cohesion of Souths’ squad relative to their opposition to secure them the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -7.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Bulldogs v Warriors
Sunday, Aug 23, 2:00 PM AEST
Canterbury faithful were left heart-broken after conceding a field-goal victory to the Tigers last week, but after displaying an enormous amount of courage and toughness, fans should be excited for what this squad is capable of in the next few years. They will face the Warriors, who were equally brave in their narrow last-start loss to Penrith as the Kiwi club continues to produce quality football in difficult circumstances.
The Bulldogs will welcome Will Hopoate’s return at fullback with Jake Averillo joining the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Hayze Perham will return in the centres for the Kiwis as Jack Mirchie returns on the bench to cover the suspended Eliesa Katoa in Todd Payten’s only changes.
On recent form, the Warriors will enter this match as favourites given the club’s fantastic performances in recent times against the competition’s best. With Canterbury still struggling to execute in key moments of the game, expect the Warriors to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors H2H @ $1.73 (Unibet)
Knights v Cowboys
Sunday, Aug 23, 4:05 PM AEST
North Queensland produced a frustrating field-goal loss to the Rabbitohs last week with extremely poor decision making in the dying stages of the match costing them victory. They will face a Knights squad who have surged back into top-four contention on the back of consecutive victories, the most recent being their narrow victory over the injury depleted Sea Eagles.
Cowboys’ interim coach Josh Hannay has named Reuben Cotter to replace Jake Granville on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Newcastle have similarly named only one change as Pasami Saulo returns on the bench to cover the injured Daniel Saifiti.
The Cowboys’ have continued to be their own worst enemies in recent performances and coach Josh Hannay will be desperate to improve his troops’ clutch calls before the end of the season. Newcastle will be desperate to bank premiership points in order to make the top-four with the club rebounding well from their recent hooking injury crisis. Knights to get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights -8.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Dragons -10.5 @ $1.97 (Unibet)