NRL Round 4 Previews and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 4 of the 2021 NRL season.

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Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Panthers

Thursday, April 1, 8:05pm AEDT


Manly’s winless start to their 2021 campaign was compounded by a woeful performance in a humbling 38-12 loss to an out-of-form Dragons outfit. The struggling Sea Eagles will face an enormous test in the Penrith Panthers with the 2020 grand-finalists going undefeated in the opening rounds – holding the Cowboys and Bulldogs to nil before an impressive, albeit narrow,  victory over Melbourne last week.

Penrith have fantastic depth in their roster and handled the absence of Dylan Edwards with class against the Storm after the fullback went down with a broken hand. Boom rookie Stephen Crichton will shift to fullback with Matt Burton moving to centre as Nathan Cleary returns at halfback from a concussion injury. Manly’s only change comes as Morgan Boyle joins the bench at the expense of Toafofoa Sipley.
Penrith will enter this match as firm favourites and while Manly will be looking to produce their first victory of the season, Des Hasler’s troops will do well to stay competitive based on their recent form. Hasler is a specialist of the ‘siege-mentality’ that has seen the Manly club enjoy enormous success but expect the Panthers to walk away with the points.

Betting Tip: Panthers -18.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)



Bulldogs v Rabbitohs

Friday, April 2, 4:05pm AEDT
ANZ Stadium


After a woeful performance against a struggling Broncos outfit last week, the Bulldogs are facing the prospect of four consecutive losses if they cannot find a way to defeat South Sydney. Coach Trent Barrett has his work cut out for him with his team the first in Canterbury history to be held scoreless in consecutive games. They will face a huge test against a red-hot Rabbitohs squad who dominated the Roosters last week with Wayne Bennett’s troops shaping as dangerous contenders for the 2021 premiership.

Canterbury have been dealt a huge injury blow with hooker Jeremy Marshall-King out for an extended period. Lachlan Lewis will come into the halves in place of Jake Averillo while Jackson Topine and Dean Britt will join the bench to cover the suspended Josh Jackson. Meanwhile, Souths have named an unchanged squad.
Souths will enter this match as firm favourites and will look to capitalise on the ‘Dogs poor form to bank premiership points early in the season. Canterbury will need to improve across the field to stay competitive with their opposition with coach Trent Barrett having an enormous job ahead of him to kickstart the Bulldogs’ attack. Souths to get the win.

Betting Tip: Bulldogs +21.5 @ $1.90 (Winnersbet)



Storm v Broncos

Friday, April 2, 8:05pm AEDT

The Broncos produced an important morale-boosting victory last week against a struggling Canterbury outfit but the Brisbane club will need to improve their performance markedly if they want to topple the Melbourne Storm.  The Victorians were classy in defeat against the Panthers last week in another rare loss for the club. Consecutive losses against the Eels and Panthers will have the Storm itching for victory against a vulnerable Broncos squad.
Brisbane will welcome Payne Haas and Matt Lodge to form a new starting-prop combination in a big boost as John Asiata also joins the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Storm, superstar fullback Ryan Papenhyzen will return from a neck complaint at the expense of Nicho Hynes with Tom Eisenhuth also named to play despite suffering a rib cartilage injury last week.
The Storm are still adjusting to life without Cameron Smith, but consecutive losses should motivate the Melbourne juggernaut and their performances against the Eels and Panthers have still been impressive. Brisbane will be hoping to match the Storm’s physicality with Melbourne still missing Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi, Brenko Lee and Harry Grant. Expect this game to be won in the middle of the field with Melbourne’s ruck defence to prove the difference.

Betting Tip: Broncos +19.5 @ $1.93 (Playup)



Sharks v Cowboys

Saturday, April 3, 5:30pm AEDT
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

With captain Michael Morgan facing the prospect of a medical retirement, the beginning of Todd Payten’s tenure as Cowboys head coach has been a baptism of fire with the North Queensland club’s woeful performance against St George last week their third consecutive loss to start the season. They will face a Sharks outfit who were courageous in defeat against the Eels last week as the club suffered an unprecedented injury toll that saw them finish the game with only 13 men.
Todd Payten has swung the selection axe with Jake Clifford and Esan Marsters dropped with Connelly Lemuelu and Ben Hampton joining the squad at centre and halfback respectively. Mitchell Dunn and Reuben Cotter will miss the match to injury with Ben Condon and Shane Wright forming a new starting second-row combination. Meanwhile, the Sharks depth concerns are only getting worse with injured winger Sione Katoa set to be replaced by Mawene Hiroti as Braydon Trindall joins the bench to cover the suspended Briton Nikora.
Cronulla will enter this match as firm favourites given their opposition’s recent performances. John Morris’ troops should be on high-alert for an upset however with Todd Payten making wholesale changes to his squad with Josh McGuire shifting to the starting side and Coen Hess given a simplified role off the interchange. Sharks to get the win.

Betting Tip: Sharks -8.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Titans v Raiders

Saturday, April 3, 7:35pm AEDT
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Saturday night will see the Titans face their biggest test of 2021 against a highly-rated Canberra squad after an impressive performance against North Queensland last week. The Raiders were left heartbroken after failing to protect a significant lead against the Warriors last week, albeit with a brutal injury toll that saw their bench reduced to one player.
The Titans have named an unchanged squad, although they have named Tyrone Peachey to start at lock with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui reverting to the front-row – mirroring their last-minute change before kick-off last week. For the Raiders, Dunamis Lui and Hudson Young will return in a massive boost to their forward rotation, particularly in the absence of Joe Tapine. Sebastian Kris and Ryan James have both been named but will need to pass concussion protocols before they take the field.
The Titans exciting up and coming squad face their first major test of 2021 against the Raiders and after a heart-breaking yet enormously impressive performance last week, expect the Canberra club to be highly motivated to get the win. It will be a fascinating insight into how elite defensive teams work to contain the likes of Fifita and Fa’asuamaleaui. Expect a brutal contest between these forward packs but the game-management and experience in this Raiders squad should get them over the line.

Betting Tip: Raiders -4.0 @ $1.85 (Playup)



Knights v Dragons

Sunday, April 4, 4:05pm AEST
McDonald Jones Stadium

After concerning signs in a disappointing round-one loss, St George have produced some impressive attacking football in consecutive victories over the Cowboys and Manly in positive signs for Anthony Griffin’s tenure. The joint-venture club will face their biggest test this year in the Knights with the Newcastle outfit coming off a poor loss to the Tigers in their last match – particularly disappointing after impressive victories over the Bulldogs and Warriors.
Bradman Best was a late withdrawal before kick-off last week, and will be covered by Starford To’a on the wing as Gehamat Shibasaki shifts to centre. Blake Green has also been named to make his return from an ACL injury on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, St George will be missing Ben Hunt to a fractured leg in a devastating blow to the club, with Jack Bird also absent with suspension. Adam Clune and Brayden Wiliame will join the starting-squad as cover in Anthony Griffin’s only changes.
Much of St George’s attacking resurgence has come off the back of the form of Ben Hunt, so the newly crowned skipper’s absence will be a big test for the Dragons with rookie Adam Clune coming into the squad. This match could go either way but expect a big response from this classy Knights outfit after a poor loss this week. Newcastle to get the points.

Betting Tip: Dragons +7.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)



Roosters v Warriors

Sunday, April 4, 6:15pm AEST

After a disappointing 2020 finals exit, the Roosters’ supremacy as one of the NRL’s most dangerous teams is on the line in the wake of an injury crisis that last week claims Luke Keary to a season-ending knee injury in a devastating blow. The club will now face a resurgent Warriors outfit who secured an impressive comeback win against the Raiders last week, albeit after the Canberra club was reduced to one man on the bench.
Luke Keary’s absence will give boom rookie Sam Walker an opportunity to make his NRL debut at halfback. Despite being named differently on the team list, Joey Manu is tipped to shift to five-eighth to form a new halves combination with Walker with Brett Morris moving from the wing to centre and Matt Ikuvalu coming onto the wing. Victor Radley will return at lock in a welcome boost for the Roosters with Drew Hutchison also set to play hooker. Meanwhile, the Warriors only change comes as the injured Peta Hiku is replaced by Marcelo Montoya in the centres.
Despite their horror injury-toll, the Roosters will enter this match as favourites but will need to be wary of a Warriors outfit keen to claim their first big scalp of 2021. This will be the Kiwi club’s biggest test so far under new coach Nathan Brown but the Roosters still have the class and experience to take the win. This match could go either way but expect the Roosters to get the points.

Betting Tip: Warriors +6.5 @ $1.85 (Bluebet)



Tigers v Eels

Monday, April 5, 4:00pm AEST
Stadium Australia

The Tigers produced their first win of the season in an impressive performance over a highly-rated Knights squad in an important morale-boosting victory for Michael Maguire’s troops. They will face an Eels outfit who dominated an under-strength Sharks squad last week with the Tigers keen to avoid a repeat of their woeful round-two performance against the Roosters.
The Eels will welcome back Mitchell Moses and Ryan Matterson at halfback and second-row respectively in a huge boost to an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Michael Maguire has named no changes to his squad in an encouraging sign.
The Eels will enter this match as firm favourites, but should be wary of a Wests outfit desperate to prove they can be competitive against the NRL’s elite clubs. Michael Maguire will be desperate to see his team emulate the form they showed last week and while they may not get the win against heavyweights in Parramatta – it is vital the team begins to perform consistently. Eels to get the win

Betting Tip: Eels -10.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)


Best Bet

Broncos +19.5 @ $1.93 (Playup)


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