The following are previews with betting tips for Round 8 of the 2021 NRL season.
Compare NRL bookmaker odds
View the NRL form guide
View NRL betting promotions (not available to NSW & WA)
Raiders v Rabbitohs
Thursday, April 29, 7:50pm AEST
Canberra fell to North Queensland last week in a disappointing performance as coach Ricky Stuart moves desperately to arrest a concerning form slump from his Raiders squad. They will face an enormous test against an in-form Rabbitohs squad whose scintillating second-half showing secured their victory as Souths show they are no one-man-band in the absence of Latrell Mitchell.
The Raiders have made a bold move by resting Kangaroos and Maroons stalwart Josh Papalii with Joe Tapine coming onto the bench as cover. Bailey Simonsson will return on the wing, pushing Sebastian Kris to centre in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, South Sydney have named an unchanged line-up heading into this clash after successfully deploying Cody Walker at fullback last week.
The Raiders will be looking to return to a tough, simple game-plan revolving around their dominant middle-rotation to get themselves back into the winner’s circle. While South Sydney’s attack didn’t look troubled without Latrell Mitchell last week, the defence of this Raiders squad could give Souths some headaches. The Raiders will need a massive form turnaround to get the points, expect this red-hot South Sydney outfit to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -6.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Storm v Sharks
Friday, April 30, 6:00pm AEST
Cronulla produced a woeful performance against Canterbury last week in their second consecutive loss since the sacking of John Morris. The Shire club will now face a massive test against an in-form Melbourne outfit who were classy in victory over a brave Warriors outfit in their last game.
New signing Will Chambers will line up for the Sharks in the centres in a welcome boost to Cronulla’s outside back stocks in an otherwise unchanged squad. Melbourne will bring Chris Lewis onto their bench as Tom Eisenhuth shifts to centre and Reimis Smith reverts to the wing to cover the injured George Jennings.
While the Storm will enter this match as firm favourites, the contests between these arch-rivals are traditionally brutal physical contests and expect Cronulla to bring that physical intensity with a view to putting their opposition off their game. The Sharks may attempt to target the new edge combination of Smith and Eisenhuth in attack but expect the power-game of the Melbourne forwards to get the Victorians the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -16.5 @ $1.87 (Winnersbet)
Broncos v Titans
Friday, April 30, 7:55pm AEST
Brisbane produced yet another woeful loss against the Eels last week as pressure builds on rookie NRL coach Kevin Walters. They will face a Titans squad coming off consecutive losses after a disappointing second-half performance against Souths with the Gold Coast club looking to avoid their third consecutive loss against their Queensland rivals.
Kevin Walters has made a huge selection call in dropping his halves, recalling Anthony Milford from reserve grade and promoting Tyson Gamble to halfback. Jesse Arthars will also come into the centres at the expense of David Mead in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Titans, Herman Ese’ese is set to make his club debut off the bench in Justin Holbrook’s only changes.
Brisbane were competitive in the first half-hour of play but continue to suffer concerning lapses that see their opposition scoring multiple tries in quick succession. The Titans are well placed to take advantage with their unique attacking style. Brisbane desperately need a win but expect the Titans to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans -10.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Panthers v Sea Eagles
Saturday, May 1, 3:00pm AEST
Manly have enjoyed a miraculous form turnaround and are now looking for their fourth consecutive win after a dominant 40-6 victory over the Tigers. They will face one of their biggest tests of the year against an unbeaten Panthers squad who looked comfortable in their last-start win over Newcastle.
Manly have unsurprisingly named an unchanged squad heading into this clash, while the Panthers will welcome back experienced rake Api Koroisau in a massive boost to an otherwise unchanged squad.
Manly’s form turnaround has come largely off the back of superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic but with their victories coming against teams outside the top-six, the Panthers represent their biggest challenge of their season so far. Expect Des Hasler to have his troops primed for a massive performance but his squad will have their work cut out for them against a Penrith team now fielding their preferred spine combination. The Panthers attack may take some time to hit top-gear but expect the return of Api Koroisau to add a new dimension to his team’s ruck dominance as Penrith get the win.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +14.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
Bulldogs v Eels
Saturday, May 1, 5:30pm AEST
Canterbury produced a narrow victory over the Sharks last week in their first win of the season under new coach Trent Barrett in a hugely important result for the whole club. Their winning form will be put to a massive test against a red-hot Eels squad who last dispensed with the Broncos with ease in a dominant 46-6 win.
Eels’ utility Will Smith has been sidelined with a broken finger with Haze Dunster set to join the squad as cover. Ryan Matterson has also been named on the bench as the club looks to ease him back into first-grade after a number of head-knocks. Meanwhile, Canterbury have named an unchanged squad but veteran Dallin Watene-Zelezniak could be a late inclusion after he was named in the reserves.
The Eels will enter this match as firm favourites and while the Bulldogs have every chance of summoning the tough, physical performance required to challenge Parramatta, expect the class of the Eels’ backline to ultimately prove the difference
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +19.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)
Knights v Roosters
Saturday, May 1, 7:35pm AEST
McDonald Jones Stadium
The Roosters dominated a poor St George Illawarra outfit last week with Trent Robinson’s troops continuing to showcase superb form despite the loss of veterans Luke Keary and Jake Friend. They will face an inconsistent Knights squad who are coming off a relatively narrow loss to the Panthers in their last match with the Newcastle squad showing encouraging improvement with the return of some key players.
While named, superstar fullback James Tedesco is unlikely to play after a nasty concussion last week. Expect Joseph Manu to shift to the custodian role with Matt Ikuvalu on standby to join the squad. Meanwhile, Newcastle have named an unchanged squad in encouraging signs after a number of injury concerns earlier in the season.
This game shapes as a massive test for Newcastle after an inconsistent start to their season. With a very promising squad, Newcastle fans will be hoping their team can take their form to the next level and start challenging the competition’s best but the form of this Roosters squad will make it a tough task, even with the likely absence of James Tedesco. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -6.0 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Warriors v Cowboys
Sunday, May 2, 2:00pm AEST
Mt Smart Stadium
An understrength Warriors team fell well short of the Storm last week and will now face a huge test against an in-form Cowboys squad who have turned their poor early-season form around to now be in the hunt for their fourth consecutive win. North Queensland produced a narrow victory over the Raiders in a stunning upset and the biggest scalp of their 2021 season so far.
The Warriors are set for a huge boost as Tohu Harris, David Fusitu’a and Adam Pompey return at lock, wing and centre respectively. Josh Curran will also take his place in the second-row after successfully arguing for the downgrading of a high-tackle at the judiciary. For the Cowboys, Jason Taumalolo has been named to return at lock in a massive boost to their middle-rotation alongside Jordan McLean at prop.
The Warriors produced an impressive display against the Storm last week given the players missing from their team, and the Kiwi club shapes as a fascinating test for a North Queensland outfit finding their feet under new coach Todd Payten. This match could go either way but expect a big performance from the Warriors off the back of their returning troops to get them the points.
Betting Tip: Cowboys +3.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet, Playup)
Dragons v Tigers
Sunday, May 2, 4:05pm AEST
St George will be eager to avoid their third consecutive loss and rediscover the early-season form that saw them topple the likes of Parramatta as the club now looks to a struggling Tigers squad backing up from a 40-6 drubbing at the hands of Manly. The Tigers have made some astute improvements to their roster and pressure is building on coach Michael Maguire to convert their recruitment success to premiership points.
Dragons captain Ben Hunt has been named to return at halfback, pushing Adam Clune to the bench. Max Feagai will also come onto the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Tigers, destructive centre Joey Leilua will return to the starting squad after being dropped, while Thomas Mikaele will join the interchange.
St George will enter this match as firm favourites but should be highly cautious against a Tigers outfit sure to produce a big response to an embarrassing loss last week. This match could go either way but expect St George to get the points off the back of the return of their captain and halfback in Ben Hunt.
Betting Tip: Dragons -10.0 @ $1.91 (Winnersbet)
Titans -10.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Bulldogs +19.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)
Roosters -6.0 @ $1.95 (Playup)