NRL Round 2 Previews and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 2 of the 2021 NRL season.

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Eels v Storm

Thursday, March 18, 8:05pm AEDT
Bankwest Stadium


Parramatta avoided a shock loss to Brisbane last week, running in four unanswered second-half tries for a narrow win over the 2020 wooden spooners. They will face a Storm outfit who once again proved they are no spent force after the retirement of another legend of rugby league. Melbourne dominated South Sydney throughout the opening exchanges of their round one victory and while Souths mounted an impressive second-half comeback, Melbourne’s fireworks in the opening quarter ultimately secured their victory.

Parramatta will make only one change as Marata Niukore returns on the bench in place of Keegan Hipgrave. Meanwhile, the Storm have named an unchanged squad heading into this match.

Brad Arthur’s troops trialled a curious on-field shuffle which saw their respective half-second row edge combinations swap to the other side of the field. The Eels’ attack looks like it has some distance to go, and they will need to be far more consistent across 80 minutes to threaten the Storm than they showed against Brisbane last week. Melbourne have continued to thrive under the new rule changes – expect the Storm’s experience and ability to control the ruck to prove the difference. Melbourne to get the points.

Betting Tip: Storm H2H @ $1.50 (bet365)



Warriors v Knights

Friday, March 19, 6:00pm AEDT
Central Coast Stadium

The Warriors began life under new coach Nathan Brown in style with an impressive upset over a much hyped Titans squad last week. The Kiwi club will now face a highly-rated Newcastle outfit who were very impressive against Canterbury. This game will be an important litmus test for both these teams going into season 2021, with fans of each club hoping they can go deep into the finals.
The Warriors were dealt an unfortunate injury blow with centre Euan Aitken set to miss half the season with an ankle injury. Nathan Brown has drafted Adam Pompey into the centres as cover in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Newcastle have named an unchanged squad.
The addition of Jayden Brailey and Tyson Frizell to this Knights squad has improved them enormously but there are still question marks over Newcastle’s ability to compete alongside top-four teams. The Warriors may have surprised fans and critics alike with their superb performance against the Titans with Nathan Brown’s tenure kicking off to the best possible start. The Kiwis should relish the chance to test themselves against the professionalism and discipline instilled into Adam O’Brien’s troops but expect the Knights to get the points.

Betting Tip: Knights -1.5 @ $2.00 (Playup)



Titans v Broncos

Friday, March 19, 8:05pm AEDT
Cbus Super Stadium

Despite failing to chalk up a victory against the Eels last week and conceding 24 unanswered points to lose the game, Brisbane were much improved on their 2020 wooden spoon season and gave fans some cause for optimism in the year ahead. They will face a Titans squad left dejected after a disappointing loss to the Warriors in a poor attacking display from the Gold Coast club.
Key prop Matt Lodge will be absent with a hamstring injury with Thomas Flegler shifting to the starting side and Rhys Kennedy joining the bench. For the Titans, Phillip Sami will come into the centres to replace the injured Brian Kelly in an otherwise unchanged squad.
With a team full of so many new faces, the Titans may take some time to gel together effectively in their attack. They will be looking to exploit Brisbane’s poor second-half form after Brisbane failed to score in the second-half against the Eels, albeit with only one man on the bench. Expect the Titans attack to improve and while the Broncos will not roll over, they have some distance to go before they can compete consistently for 80 minutes. Titans to get the win.

Betting Tip: Titans -7.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)



Bulldogs v Panthers

Saturday, March 20, 3:00pm AEDT
Bankwest Stadium

Canterbury’s era under new coach Trent Barrett got off to a mixed start after his Bulldogs showed promise against a classy Knights outfit early, but fell away from the contest as the game went on. They will face a red-hot Panthers squad who picked up where they left off last season after an impressive 24-0 win over the Cowboys.
Canterbury’s only change comes with the return of Jeremy Marshall-King on the bench, relegating Brad Deitz to the reserves. Meanwhile, Penrith have named an unchanged squad heading into this match.
This will be Trent Barrett’s first game coaching the ‘Dogs against his old club in Penrith with the protracted and public controversy concerning an early release for talented play-maker Matt Burton adding extra intrigue to this clash. Penrith will enter the match as firm favourites but Canterbury will be eager to test themselves against the competition’s elite. Panthers to get the win.

Betting Tip: Panthers -16.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)


Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs

Saturday, March 20, 5:30pm AEDT

While disappointed with their last-start round-one loss, Souths should be quietly confident after their narrow defeat to the Storm last week with critics and fans alike acknowledging the enormous potential in this Rabbitohs squad. They will face a struggling Manly outfit with a point to prove in the aftermath of a crushing 46-4 defeat to the Roosters in concerning signs for Sea Eagles faithful.
New recruit Josh Mansour has been dropped after just one game, with Jaxson Paulo coming onto the wing. Jacob Host will also be absent with Patrick Mago joining the bench as cover. For Manly, coach Des Hasler has named an unchanged squad with Jack Gosiewski and Andrew Davey switching between the bench and starting 13.
Souths looked dangerous in attack against the Storm and with much improvement to be found in their game, the Rabbitohs will look to establish themselves as premiership heavyweights following their round-one loss. Manly’s struggles will likely continue in the absence of superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic. While the Sea Eagles will likely produce an improved performance from their woeful loss last week, expect South Sydney to get the win.

Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -10.0 @ $1.90 (Winnersbet)



Cowboys v Dragons

Saturday, March 20, 7:35pm AEDT
QCB Stadium

North Queensland started life under new coach Todd Payten in the worst of ways after being held scoreless in a woeful 24-0 loss to the Panthers. They will face a St George outfit who were left similarly disappointed after their defeat at the hands of a classy Cronulla team in a poor start to Anthony Griffin’s tenure at the joint-venture club.
Cowboys coach Todd Payten has made the bold decision to make no changes to his squad after last week’s loss. For the Dragons, Corey Norman will return from suspension at five-eighth in Anthony Griffin’s only change.
North Queensland will enter this match as favourites but will need to improve markedly against an under-pressure St George squad desperate to chalk up their first win under their new coach. The Dragons’ attacking combinations may struggle with Corey Norman thrown into an already new spine-combination for the joint-venture club, while the Cowboys will similarly be focussing on their attacking game after failing to score last week. This match could go either way but expect a big response from the Cowboys with the Queensland club to get the points.

Betting Tip: Cowboys -5.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)



Tigers v Roosters

Sunday, March 21, 4:05pm AEDT
Campbelltown Stadium

The Roosters fired a warning shot to the competition that they are no spent force last week, impressing in a massive 46-4 victory over the Sea Eagles. They will face a Tigers outfit who showed some promising signs against the Raiders last week but were ultimately outclassed by the Canberra heavyweights in the second-half.
Adam Doueihi will return at five-eighth for the Tigers, relegating veteran utility Moses Mbye to the bench at the expense of Russell Packer in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Roosters, Angus Crichton will be absent due to suspension with Nat Butcher drafted into the second-row with Fletcher Baker set to make his NRL debut off the bench as cover. Freddy Lussick and Drew Hutchinson will also join the bench to cover the injured Jake Friend and Adam Keighran respectively.
Fielding a virtually brand-new spine combination, it may take some time for the Tigers’ attack to click. The joint-venture club were extremely competitive in the first-half, and will be looking to focus on performing across 80 minutes after conceding four tries in their second-half collapse against Canberra. The Roosters may not be at the height of their consecutive premiership power, but they should be good enough to get the win.

Betting Tip: Roosters -10.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)



Sharks v Raiders

Sunday, March 21, 6:15pm AEDT
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The Raiders kicked off their 2021 premiership campaign in style with a classy 30-12 win over the Tigers last week. Their opposition in Cronulla also produced an impressive attacking display against the Dragons as John Morris’ troops look to prove they can compete against the competition’s elite teams.
Raiders’ mentor Ricky Stuart has named an unchanged squad heading into this clash, giving injured captain Jarrod Croker more time to recover from a shoulder injury. For the Sharks, the suspended Jesse Ramien will be replaced in the centres by Mawene Hiroti in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
The Raiders will enter this match as firm favourites, but should be wary of a Cronulla squad with a good mix of youth and experience who look set to improve on their 2020 performances. The Sharks failed to win a single game against a top-eight team in 2020, so this match shapes as a vital test for John Morris’ squad to prove to the competition and themselves that they can go to the next level. Expect the Sharks to push their opposition but the Raiders’ big-game experience and cohesion within within the spine should prove the difference.

Betting Tip: Raiders -6.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)


Best Bets

Knights -1.5 @ $2.00 (Playup)

Rabbitohs -10.0 @ $1.90 (Winnersbet)


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