NRL Round 23 Previews and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 23 of the 2021 NRL season.

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Titans v Storm

Thursday, August 19, 7:50pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium


Despite an unprecedented winning streak, Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy will have some concerns around his squad’s form after an underwhelming last-start win over the Raiders. The Victorian club should be wary of coming up against a Titans outfit who were fundamentally outclassed by Souths last week as Justin Holbrook’s troops continue their late-season charge into finals contention.

The Storm will rest both Jahrome Hughes and Dale Finucane after the duo suffered head-knocks last week. Ryan Papenhyzen has been named to start at fullback, allowing Nicho Hynes to cover Hughes at halfback. Brandon Smith and Justin Olam will also be rested with Cooper Johns, Jordan Grant and Tepai Moeroa set to join the interchange and George Jennings and Marion Seve joining the starting side at wing and centre respectively. For the Titans, AJ Brimson has suffered a fractured jaw in a devastating blow with rookie Jayden Campbell named as his replacement. They will also be missing Moe Fotuaika with Sam McIntyre drafting into the starting side as cover.
Melbourne will enter this match as firm favourites as the Titans face the daunting prospect of making the finals without star fullback AJ Brimson. Despite a number of Melbourne players being rested, expect this well-drilled Storm outfit to get the win.

Betting Tip: Storm -20.5 @ $1.92 (Unibet)



Raiders v Sea Eagles

Friday, August 20, 6:00pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium

Sea Eagles
Canberra produced a courageous performance to push Melbourne to their limit for a narrow loss in their last game, and the Raiders’ task will be no easier this week coming up against an in-form Sea Eagles outfit. Manly dealt a major blow to the Eels’ top-four aspirations with a dominant 56-10 win as Des Hasler’s troops jostle with the Roosters for a top-four berth.
There was surely a palpable sense of relief in the Sea Eagles’ camp after Tom Trbojevic was cleared of a fractured jaw. He could still be a late withdrawal but has been named to start. Moses Suli and Toafofoa Sipley will also return to the starting side at centre and off the bench respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Raiders, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been named to return from a long injury layoff on the bench in a huge boost given the absence of Tom Starling and Corey Harawira-Naera to injury and suspension respectively with Matt Frawley also coming onto the bench.
Manly will enter this match as firm favourites, particularly if their most important player in Tom Trbojevic takes the field. Canberra’s attack may struggle in the absence of the electric dummy-half play of Starling and expect the game-management and form of this Manly outfit to prove too much for their opposition.

Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -8.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)



Panthers v Rabbitohs

Friday, August 20, 7:55pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium

Friday night will bring a huge blockbuster clash between the Panthers and Souths in what could be a sneak preview of a key finals match-up. The Rabbitohs were humbled in a devastating 56-12 loss to Penrith in their last meeting, but have since gone on to win 10 consecutive games to entrench themselves deep in the top-four. Meanwhile, Penrith will back up from a solid win over the Dragons with Ivan Cleary’s troops looking to be building to their best before the finals.
Souths will welcome back-line reinforcements with Dane Gagai and Campbell Graham set to return from injury in the centres with Alex Johnston on the wing. Hame Sele will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For Penrith, Api Koroisau will return at hooker in a welcome boost alongside Kurt Capewell on the bench. James Fisher-Harris and mid-year recruit Tevita Pangai Junior could also return from personal leave after both players were included in the reserves.
This match shapes as South Sydney’s biggest challenge this season, and they can give themselves an enormous confidence boost with a victory over a team in Penrith that many view as likely grand-finalists. Souths’ newfound defensive resolve will be put under the microscope, and while this match could go either way, expect the Panthers to be up for the challenge off the back of captain Nathan Cleary’s return last week.

Betting Tip: Panthers -2.5 @ $1.97 (Unibet)



Tigers v Sharks

Saturday, August 21, 3:00pm AEST
Browne Park, Rockhampton

Saturday afternoon will bring a hugely important game in the context of both team’s respective seasons as the Tigers and Sharks continue their desperate campaign to make the finals. With both clubs sitting just one win outside the top-eight, every game is crucial, but Cronulla will be looking to recover quickly from a heartbreaking two-point loss to the Knights with a controversial refereeing call having a huge impact on the final result. The Tigers have notched solid wins over the lowly Bulldogs and Cowboys in recent weeks, but will need to lift their game against the likes of the Sharks.
Cronulla will be missing Andrew Fifita and Aiden Tolman to injury and suspension respectively with Mawene Hiroti and Teig Wilton set to join the squad at centre and off the bench in back-line reshuffle that will see Siosifa Talakai shift to the second-row. Meanwhile, Wests have named James Tamou to return from a foot injury in a welcome boost with James Roberts also earning a recall off the bench in Michael Maguire’s only changes.
Having lost two consecutive games by only two points, Cronulla will be extremely frustrated to be in the position they are. Expect a desperate clash between two teams desperate for success, but expect the Tigers to struggle against a higher quality opposition. Sharks to get the win.

Betting Tip: Sharks -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet, Bet365)



Bulldogs v Knights

Saturday, August 21, 5:30pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

The Knights notched a narrow, two-point victory over the Sharks last week in a hugely important result that catapulted the Newcastle club into the top-eight. They will face the likely wooden-spooners in the Bulldogs with the Canterbury club looking to snap an eight-game losing streak and build momentum for season 2022.
Newcastle will be missing Daniel Saifiti in a massive blow to their middle rotation. Tyson Frizell will also miss this game due to a suspension with Chris Randall and debutant Jirah Momoisea set to join the interchange. Meanwhile, Canterbury will bring in some reinforcements with Corey Waddell, Luke Thompson and Corey Allan set to return to the starting side in the second-row, prop and wing respectively. Rookie Jackson Topine will also start at hooker in Trent Barrett’s only changes.
Newcastle will enter this match as firm favourites and the Bulldogs would need to conjure a Herculean performance to topple the seventh-placed club given their desperation to make the finals. Knights to get the win.

Betting Tip: Knights -16.5 @ $2.00 (Bluebet)



Eels v Cowboys

Saturday, August 21, 7:35pm AEST
Cbus Super Stadium

Parramatta suffered a humbling 56-10 loss to Manly last week in a result which saw the club drop out of the top-four in concerning signs for coach Brad Arthur. The veteran coach will be desperate to turn his squad’s fortunes around, and they will face a struggling Cowboys outfit who are staring-down their 10th consecutive loss in a horror season for the North Queensland club.
Parramatta will be missing Tom Opacic to a rib-injury with Will Penisini named as his replacement at centre and Haze Dunster also coming in for Michael Oldfield. Oregon Kaufusi will return on the bench after he missed last week’s game with a concussion. For the Cowboys, Reuben Cotter will return from a long injury layoff on the bench in a welcome boost, while key players Jason Taumalolo and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow could also be late inclusions after being named in the reserves.
Given the on-field struggles of their opposition, the Eels will be eager to return to the simple power-game that saw them enjoy much success earlier this year. While they will struggle to emulate that style of play in the absence of Reed Mahoney, expect the class across their 17 to prove too much for the Queenslanders. Eels to get the win.

Betting Tip: Eels -10.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)



Dragons v Roosters

Sunday, August 22, 2:00pm AEST
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba

The Roosters notched a crucial win against an improved Brisbane Broncos outfit last week and despite some controversy around the adjudication of the match, the result elevated Trent Robinson’s squad into the top four in a huge outcome for the club. They will face a Dragons squad who face an uphill battle to make the top-eight, having lost their past five games.
The Roosters will be missing Victor Radley a three-week suspension in a huge blow, but the timely return of Jarred Waerea-Hargreaves should somewhat offset his absence. Ben Thomas will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Dragons, captain Andrew McCullough’s season is over with Blake Lawrie also missing with a hand injury. Tariq Sims and Matt Dufty will return at lock and fullback respectively as Daniel Alvaro joins the bench.
Having finally broken into the top-four, Trent Robinson will press his squad on the importance of consolidating their ladder-position. Expect a clinical performance from the tri-colours as the veteran mentor primes his squad for a massive finals series. Roosters to get the win.

Betting Tip: Roosters -11.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)



Broncos v Warriors

Sunday, August 22, 4:05pm AEST
Suncorp Stadium

The Broncos fell agonisingly close to producing a massive upset in a one-point loss to the Roosters last week with the Brisbane club finishing their season strongly in encouraging signs for next year. They will face a Warriors squad who last notched a solid win over the Bulldogs with the Kiwi club finding some stability after a period of team disruption due to injuries and suspensions.
Brisbane will welcome Herbie Farnworth’s return at centre, pushing David Mead back to the bench. Anthony Milford has been promoted to five-eighth with Tyson Gamble suspended as Ethan Bullemor also joins the interchange. For the Warriors, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Bailey Sironen will return on the wing and at lock respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Both these clubs have struggled with injuries and a lack of continuity in their respective squads this season. Expect a brutal clash through the middle but the enormous disruption to their opposition’s season should see the Broncos get the win at home.

Betting Tip: Broncos H2H @ $2.00 (Playup)


Best Bets

Sharks -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet, Bet365)

Broncos H2H @ $2.00 (Playup)


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