NRL Round 21 Previews and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 21 of the 2021 NRL season.

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Knights v Broncos

Thursday, August 5, 7:50pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium


Brisbane posted an impressive 37-18 victory over the Cowboys last week in an encouraging result for the club as their prospects for season 2022 look bright. They will face a Knights team who surged back into finals contention with a solid win over the Raiders, largely off the back of the return of a number of key players for the Newcastle club.

Kotoni Staggs and Jake Turpin both suffered likely season-ending injuries in a big blow to Brisbane as Danny Levi shifts to the starting hooker role and Jesse Arthars replaces Staggs at centre. While TC Robati was named to return on the bench, coach Kevin Walters has tipped Albert Kelly to take his place on the interchange after he was included in the reserves. Meanwhile, Newcastle will welcome back halfback Mitchell Pearce from a lengthy injury layoff in a huge boost to their squad. Jayden Brailey will be rested given the Knights’ four-day turnaround with Chris Randall set to come into the hooking role in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Newcastle have struggled with injuries to key players throughout the season and until now, they have been unable to field a team with Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce and Bradman Best in the 17. Expect a tight performance from the Novacastrians against an improved Broncos outfit with the Knights to get the win over their inexperienced opposition.

Betting Tip: Knights -11.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)



Raiders v Dragons

Friday, August 6, 6:00pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

Canberra’s quest for a finals berth suffered a major blow with a devastating 10-point loss to the Knights handing the Novacastrians a golden chance to leapfrog Canberra on the competition ladder with both clubs now on the same premiership points. They will come up against a struggling Dragons outfit who were outclassed by South Sydney last week in a poor 50-14 loss and with the St George club facing a brutal run for the rest of the season, the finals is looking increasingly unlikely for the joint-venture club.
Ryan Sutton will make his injury return at lock in a welcome boost to the Raiders’ middle rotation, pushing Hudson Young into the second-row and Corey Harawira-Naera to the bench. Meanwhile, the Dragons will welcome a number of top-line stars back from suspension with Josh McGuire, Jack De Belin and Blake Lawrie set to form a new starting-middle combination as Mikaele Ravalawa, Jack Bird and Zac Lomax also return on the wing, fullback and centre respectively in a massive boost. Their return is particularly good timing given captain Ben Hunt suffered a broken-arm last week in a huge blow.
Canberra will be rueing their loss last week as it could yet prove the difference in their finals chances. St George have suffered an enormous disruption to their playing group given the sheer number of suspensions in recent weeks, and while they will be fielding a relatively full-strength squad, expect Anthony Griffin’s troops to take some time to form effective combinations. This match could go either way but expect the Raiders’ desperation to get them over the line.

Betting Tip: Dragons +11.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)



Eels v Rabbitohs

Friday, August 6, 7:55pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

Friday night will bring a huge blockbuster clash between the Eels and Rabbitohs with Parramatta desperate to avoid their third consecutive loss and protect their tenuous grip on a top-four berth. South Sydney have lost only three games all year and their attack was at its scintillating best in an impressive 50-14 win over a struggling St George squad.
The Eels are firming to welcome back halfback Mitchell Moses in a huge boost to their team. Reagan Campbell-Gillard is facing at least a month on the sidelines in a blow to the Eels engine room as Oregon Kaufusi shifts to the starting front-row as cover and Marata Niukore and Bryce Cartwright join the bench. For Souths, Tevita Tatola and Benji Marshall have been named to return on the bench, with Cameron Murray also coming into the starting side at lock.
The Eels attack and fifth-tackle options have been poor in the absence of Mitchell Moses and coach Brad Arthur will be hoping the return of his marquee man proves the catalyst for a form resurgence leading into the finals. At their best, the Eels certainly have the firepower to down the Rabbitohs, but expect their attack to take some time to gel with South Sydney’s wonderful spine combinations to prove the difference. Souths to get the win.

Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -10.5 @ $1.90 (Playup, Bluebet, Sportsbet)



Warriors v Sharks

Saturday, August 7, 3:00pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

The Warriors produced a stunning upset victory over the Tigers last week in encouraging signs for the New Zealand club given the talent missing from their team. They will face a Sharks squad who were put to the sword by Manly in their last match and with the Knights, Canberra and Dragons behind them on the competition ladder only on points-differential – this Cronulla team need to win consistently to secure their finals berth.
The Kiwis will welcome some much-needed reinforcements with Addin Fonua-Blake and Chanel Harris-Tavita set to make their return from injury at prop and halfback respectively. Matt Lodge will also return from suspension at prop, with Josh Curran also set to join the second-row, pushing Eliesa Katoa to the bench. Meanwhile, Cronulla’s edge defence will benefit from the return of Jesse Ramien as Matt Moylan also nears a return from injury after he was again included in the reserves.
Cronulla will enter this match as clear favourites but should be highly cautious of a Warriors outfit boasting a star-studded forward rotation. Cronulla will need to be switched-on through the middle given Kodi Nikorima looks set to play at dummy-half off the bench. This match could go either way but with the disruptions to the Warriors’ 17, expect this more settled Sharks squad to get the points.

Betting Tip: Warriors +9.5 @ $1.90 (Winnersbet)



Roosters v Panthers

Saturday, August 7, 5:30pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium

Saturday night will bring a huge clash between the Roosters and Panthers as the tri-colours look primed to make a run into the top-four after a dominant win over the Eels last week, a result which saw them move to equal 4th on the competition ladder. The Panthers were on the receiving end of a red-hot Melbourne outfit in a disappointing 37-10 point loss but with a number of returning stars, Ivan Cleary will be expecting his troops to return to their best.
The Roosters will welcome Dale Copley back to the club on the wing after the veteran outside-back was signed from the Broncos before the August 2 roster deadline to help alleviate their injury crisis. Meanwhile, Penrith will be without Stephen Crichton and Robert Jennings but will welcome back a key group in Isaah Yeo, Nathan Cleary and Api Koroisau at lock, halfback and hooker respectively. Tevita Pangai Junior has also been included after his shift from the Broncos, allowing Kurt Capewell to provide injury cover at centre.
Penrith will go into this match as favourites, but missing Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Tyrone May and James Fisher-Harris, expect the Panthers to be below their best. The Roosters have been in wonderful form despite their injury woes and expect the likes of Dale Copley to slot into their squad relatively seamlessly. This match could go either way but the return of Cleary, Koroisau and Yeo will have a huge impact for the Panthers. Penrith to get the points.

Betting Tip: Panthers -9.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)


Sea Eagles

Sea Eagles v Storm

Saturday, August 7, 7:35pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium

Melbourne produced a powerful 37-10 victory over the Panthers last week to notch a club-record 16 consecutive wins. They will face their biggest test in some time in the form of a red-hot Manly outfit who will be looking for their fourth consecutive win after a comfortable victory over Cronulla with the Sea Eagles now sitting only one win outside the top-four.
The Storm will be missing Felise Kaufusi to suspension with Tom Eisenhuth set to join the bench as Chris Lewis shifts to the starting side in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Manly have named only one change with Josh Aloiai set to return on the bench in a welcome boost to their middle-rotation.
Des Hasler is the only NRL coach with a winning record against Craig Bellamy and expect the veteran mentor to have a clear gameplan in place to combat the Melbourne juggernaut. The Sea Eagles will be desperate to break into the top-four and sitting only one win behind the Roosters and Eels, every game is vital for the Manly outfit’s chances moving forward. This match could go either way but expect the Storm to get the win in a tight contest.

Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +12.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)



Bulldogs v Tigers

Sunday, August 8, 2:00pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

Wests’ showcased their frustrating inconsistency in a woeful last-start loss to a struggling and understrength Warriors outfit with the joint-venture club firming for a bottom-four finish. They will face a Bulldogs outfit who were put to the sword by the Titans last week as the Canterbury club face their 7th consecutive loss.
After losing Daine Laurie to a season-ending leg injury last week, Moses Mbye has been named at fullback with Michael Chee Kam set to return to the starting side at centre. James Tamou will add some much-needed experience into the Tigers’ middle-rotation as the skipper returns from a foot injury in a welcome boost with Zac Cini also set to return on the interchange. For the Bulldogs, exciting rookie Bailey Biondi-Odo has earned a start at five-eighth with Falakiko Manu set to come onto the wing. Ava Seumanufagai and Sione Katoa will also return at prop and off the bench respectively.
Expect a big response from the Tigers after they failed to secure what should have been a relatively easy win against an undermanned Warriors outfit. Pressure continues to mount on Michael Maguire, but expect the Bulldogs’ rookie halves combination to struggle to control the tempo of the match in their first game together. Tigers to get the win.

Betting Tip: Bulldogs +6.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)



Titans v Cowboys

Sunday, August 8, 4:05pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

The Titans have produced encouraging wins in consecutive weeks to breathe life into their finals chances after a dominant win over the Bulldogs has the Gold Coast club leading a group of five teams sitting on 18 premiership-points. They will face a struggling Cowboys outfit who were comprehensively beaten by the Broncos last week with Todd Payten’s troops struggling to finish season 2021 on a high-note.
The Titans will welcome Patrick Herbert back into the centres at the expense of Esan Marsters, with Erin Clark also set to make his return from injury off the bench. For the Cowboys, Valentine Holmes will return at fullback in a massive boost, while a broken-hand has ended the season of promising rookie winger Kane Bradley with Ben Hampton coming into the centres and Murray Tualagi shifting to the wing. Coach Todd Payten has also made a bold call to shift wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo to the second-row, with Coen Hess set to start at lock.
North Queensland will be desperate to avoid their eighth consecutive loss but they will come up against a Titans outfit whose wonderful form resurgence has largely come off the back of their halves in Ash Taylor and rookie Toby Sexton. Expect an intense physical contest between these two teams but expect the Titans dangerous and unpredictable attack to break-down the North Queenslanders’ defensive structures. Titans to get the win.

Betting Tip: Titans -11.5 @ $1.87 (Bet365)


Best Bet

Rabbitohs -10.5 @ $1.90 (Playup, Bluebet, Sportsbet)


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