The following are previews with betting tips for Round 17 of the 2020 NRL season.
Broncos v Panthers
Thursday, Sep 3, 7:50 PM AEST
The Broncos were woeful in an embarrassing 58-12 loss to the Roosters last week, and they face no easier task against the competition leading Panthers with the Penrith club looking for their 12th consecutive win. Now out of finals contention, Brisbane will be playing for pride and will need to produce a Herculean effort to avoid a repeat of last week’s result.
Penrith will welcome back Viliame Kikau in the second-row while Moses Leota shifts to prop to cover the injured Isaah Yeo. Kurt Capewell will also make his return from a long injury layoff on the bench in a big boost for the Panthers. Brisbane will also welcome some returning big names in Payne Haas and Corey Oates at prop and on the wing respectively. Issac Luke will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Brisbane’s lack of cohesion as a team, particularly in defence, is a huge problem for the club. Expect the Panthers to dominate for their 12th consecutive win as the Penrith club takes another step towards the minor premiership.
Betting Tip: Panthers -22.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Knights v Sharks
Friday, Sep 4, 6:00 PM AEST
Newcastle’s top-four aspirations suffered a massive blow in their woeful loss to the Warriors last week in an embarrassing result for the club. They will face a Cronulla squad who will be eager to bank premiership points and consolidate their finals berth after a solid last-start win over North Queensland.
Cronulla will welcome back Chad Townsend in a massive boost to an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Newcastle mentor Adam O’Brien has named only two changes as Phoenix Crossland and Brodie Jones replacing Chris Randall and Pasami Saulo on the interchange.
Despite their poor performance last week, Newcastle will enter this match as narrow favourites. Expect a big response from the Novacastrians with coach Adam O’Brien sure to be working quickly to arrest any long-term form slump so close to the finals series. While Newcastle have struggled with the inconsistency in their spine, the Sharks have flourished in similar circumstances with rookie half Braydon Trindall earning his place in the starting squad. Expect a tough battle between two sides who play with plenty of intent, but the attacking strike of the Sharks should get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Sharks H2H @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)
Rabbitohs v Storm
Friday, Sep 4, 7:55 PM AEST
South Sydney announced themselves as genuine premiership contenders with a massive 38-0 win over the highly-rated Eels last week in an impressive result for the club. They will face another huge test against the Storm, particularly with the Victorian outfit in superb touch after a dominant victory of their own against Manly.
The jubilation of Souths’ last-start victory was tempered by a season-ending injury to superstar Latrell Mitchell in a devastating blow. Wayne Bennett has named Alex Johnston to return to the custodian role with Dane Gagai also returning at centre in place of Steven Marsters. Meanwhile, Melbourne will replace the injured Marion Seve with Brenko Lee at centre. An injury to Nelson Asofa-Solomona will mean Chris Lewis starts in the second-row as Tino Fa’asuamaleaui shifts to lock. Ryley Jacks will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
While Souths have been building into some wonderful form, the loss of Latrell Mitchell is a massive blow. While Alex Johnston is a handy replacement, the Rabbitohs will need to tweak their attack in the absence of Mitchell’s ball-playing ability. South Sydney certainly will not make it easy for their opposition but expect the Storm’s class to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Storm -4.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Bulldogs v Titans
Saturday, Sep 5, 3:00 PM AEST
Canterbury were left heart-broken after conceding two late tries against the Raiders last week in a narrow but disappointing loss. They will face a Titans squad who last overcame the Dragons in an impressive performance with Justin Holbrook’s squad continuing to display enormous improvement under the first-year NRL head-coach.
Canterbury will welcome back Luke Thompson and Jake Averillo on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Titans, Moeaki Fotuaika has been named to return from suspension in the front-row while Jai Arrow and Anthony Don could also be late inclusions as they near their return from injuries.
The Titans will enter this contest as narrow favourites but should be wary of a Bulldogs outfit who have displayed courage in spades at times this season. While Canterbury often lack the play-making nous to effectively close out a match – as seen in their last-start loss to Canberra last week – the Titans have a new-found strength in that department with the likes of Alex Brimson, Ash Taylor and Jamal Fogarty combining very well in their spine. This game could go either way but expect the Titans to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans -1.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
Sea Eagles v Tigers
Saturday, Sep 5, 5:30 PM AEST
Wests produced a poor showing against a red-hot Panthers outfit last week, conceding 30-points in a disappointing result for Michael Maguire’s troops. They will face a Manly outfit who were left equally disappointed when the northern beaches club was outclassed by the Melbourne Storm in a score-line that mirrored their opposition’s last-start loss.
Wests’ mentor Michael Maguire has been vocal about his desire to trial combinations for next season, so it should be no surprise he has shifted Adam Doueihi to centre and captain Moses Mbye to fullback. Josh Aloiai will return in the front-row as AJ Kepaoa also comes onto the wing at the expense of Tommy Talau. Manly will be without Reuben Garrick and Joel Thompson in a massive blow to the already struggling club. Abbas Miski has been named on the wing as Corey Waddell joins the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Manly will enter this match as narrow favourites and with Wests’ fielding a new-look backline, expect the Tigers’ struggle for confidence to impact them against the more experienced Manly outfit. Sea Eagles to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -2.5 @ $1.95 (Unibet)
Raiders v Roosters
Saturday, Sep 5, 7:35 PM AEST
The Roosters flexed their considerable premiership muscle in a devastating victory over Brisbane last week, but the reigning premiers will now face a big test heading into a grand-final rematch against the Raiders. Canberra were solid in victory against the Bulldogs last but the Ricky Stuart’s troops will need to lift their game to challenge a Roosters outfit whose form is building each week.
Corey Harawira-Naera will join the Raiders’ bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Curtis Scott could also be a late withdrawal due to injury, in which case Matt Timoko would join the squad as cover. Meanwhile, the Roosters will welcome back two superstars in Luke Keary and Sonny Bill Williams in a massive boost for the tri-colours given their recent injury struggles.
Expect an intense physical contest between these two in-form squads with both teams embracing the up-tempo pace of the NRL this season with aplomb. While Sonny Bill Williams’ third stint in rugby league will doubtless grab all the headlines, the return of Keary is the more significant boon for the reigning premiers and will give his squad an edge in play-making experience and execution. This will be a close contest but expect the result of the 2019 grand-final to be repeated with the Roosters to take the win.
Betting Tip: Raiders +6.0 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Warriors v Eels
Sunday, Sep 6, 4:05 PM AEST
Parramatta’s premiership aspirations suffered a devastating blow last week in a woeful 38-0 loss to the Rabbitohs that left the club reeling on the eve of the finals series. They will face an in-form Warriors outfit who demolished the Knights in their last performance as Todd Payten’s troops make a last-gasp play for a finals berth having won four from their last five games.
Eels’ five-eighth Dylan Brown faces a lengthy injury layoff in a huge blow to the Parramatta club. Jai Field will return at five-eighth as cover as Marata Niukore also returns on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Warriors, Gerard Beale will join the wing as Isaiah Papali’i and Josh Curran come onto the bench in Todd Payten’s only changes.
The Eels will enter this match as firm favourites but need to be wary of an in-form Warriors outfit desperate to make the finals. Sitting only two wins outside the top-eight, the Kiwi club will be highly motivated to produce an upset, while the Eels will need to adjust to life without Dylan Brown very quickly so close to the finals. This match could go either way but expect the Eels to get the points, particularly with the Eels’ loan players in George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro unavailable for the New Zealanders.
Betting Tip: Warriors +7.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Dragons
Sunday, Sep 6, 6:30 PM AEST
North Queensland were poor against the Sharks last week in a disappointing loss as the club inches closer to appointing a new head-coach. They will face the Dragons, who face similar struggles in the absence of a head-coach after the joint-venture club conceded a narrow last-minute loss to the Titans last week in a crushing result.
Jake Clifford has earned an NRL recall after an injury to Michael Morgan. Interim Cowboys’ coach Josh Hannay has also named Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the wing as Valentine Holmes shifts to the custodian role once again. Esan Marsters has also been recalled on the bench with Scott Drinkwater shifting to five-eighth. For the Dragons, Tyrell Fuimaono will return from suspension on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
St George will be extremely disappointed with their performance last week after the Titans scored two tries in the final five minutes of play to win the game. The Cowboys have struggled with inconsistency in their defensive combinations all year with their team selection this week presenting the same challenges. Expect the Dragons to win off the back of a big response to their loss last week.
Betting Tip: Dragons -3.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Sharks H2H @ $2.05 (Sportsbet)
Titans -1.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)