The following are previews with betting tips for Round 4 of the 2022 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Titans v Tigers
Thursday, March 31, 8:05pm AEDT
The Gold Coast produced a woeful second-half against the Raiders, conceding five unanswered tries after building a 22-point lead as the Titans continue to frustrate fans with their inconsistency. They will face a Tigers outfit similarly frustrated after a poor showing against the Warriors as pressure builds on the joint-venture club to notch their first win of the season.
For the Titans, former Bronco Jamayne Isaako has been named to make his club debut at fullback to cover the injured Jayden Campbell with Corey Thompson also set to join the wing to cover Phillip Sami’s forced absence. Meanwhile, Wests will receive a welcome boost in James Roberts, Ken Maumalo and Kelma Tuilagi at centre, wing and second-row respectively as Zane Musgrove covers the injured Stefano Utoikamanu as starting prop.
The Titans will enter this match as firm favourites given the troubles of their opposition, but coach Justin Holbrook will be expecting a huge response from his squad after such a poor showing in the second-half last week. The Gold Coast need to be more consistent across 80 minutes to compete with quality opposition. Wests have been poor to start the season and their ailing defensive systems should struggle to contain this dynamic Titans outfit. Gold Coast to get the win.
Sharks v Knights
Friday, April 1, 6:00pm AEDT
Newcastle suffered their first loss of the season last week against the reigning premiers despite the massive improvement Adam O’Brien’s squad have shown this year. They will face a resurgent Cronulla outfit backing-up from a dominant win over the Dragons as Craig Fitzgibbon’s new-look team move from strength to strength after consecutive wins.
Kalyn Ponga has been named to return from a knee injury for Newcastle, with Brodie Jones set to come into the second-row in place of the suspended Mitchell Barnett. Sauaso Sue will also join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Sharks, Siosifa Talakai will shift to centre to cover the injured Connor Tracey, with Tieg Wilton and Aiden Tolman joining the team in the second-row and off the bench respectively.
Cronulla’s impressive resurgence of form has been spearheaded by new recruit Nicho Hynes, who has transitioned to the halfback role with aplomb. While the Knights have clearly made serious strides over the off-season, Newcastle still look to have a lot of improvement in their game. This match could go either way but expect the Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights +6.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Panthers v Rabbitohs
Friday, April 1, 8:05pm AEDT
Souths responded to consecutive losses to start their season in style with a dominant win over arch-rivals the Roosters last week. Jason Demitriou now faces the biggest test of his head-coaching career in a grand-final rematch against the reigning premiers, who managed a powerful win over the Knights despite missing a number of top-line stars.
Souths have the luxury of naming an unchanged squad heading into this clash, although Blake Taafe could make a return from injury after the boom rookie was included in the reserves. For Penrith, superstar captain Nathan Cleary has been named to return in a massive boost with Lindsay Smith also set to join the bench in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Penrith will enter this match as favourites but should be wary of a Rabbitohs outfit burning from their grand-final loss last year. After a shaky start to the season, Jason Demitriou’s troops made massive strides against the Roosters and will be looking to redeem themselves for last year’s defeat. While Souths will likely be a contender come the finals series, expect this Penrith team to produce a massive performance off the back of the return of their best player in Nathan Cleary. Panthers to get the points.
Betting Tip: Panthers -6.5 @ $1.95 (Winnersbet)
Warriors v Broncos
Saturday, April 2, 3:00pm AEDT
Brisbane’s promising start to their season came crashing down after a woeful performance against the Cowboys last week saw some concerning bad habits creep back into their game. The Queensland club will face a Warriors outfit buoyed by their first win of the season, albeit against a struggling Wests Tigers outfit.
Brisbane will be missing second-rowers Kurt Capewell and possibly Jordan Riki to injury in a huge blow to their edge defense. Keenan Palasia is set to shift to the middle with Teui Robati set to join the starting side if Riki is unavailable. Maroons prop Tom Flegler will also return from suspension on the bench in a welcome boost. Meanwhile, the Warriors have named only one change with Jack Murchie set to replace the injured Bailey Sironen on the bench.
Despite their poor performance last week, the troubles of their opposition will see Brisbane enter this match as firm favourites. Expect a big response from Kevin Walters troops after their first loss of the season but the Warriors should struggle to match the composure and game-management of Brisbane’s halves, particularly in the absence of Shaun Johnson. Brisbane to get the win.
Betting Tip: Broncos -3.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Sea Eagles v Raiders
Saturday, April 2, 5:30pm AEDT
Manly kicked off their premiership campaign with a scrappy field-goal win over the Bulldogs last week to the great relief of coach Des Hasler after losing their first two games. They will face a spirited Canberra outfit who produced a wonderful second-half comeback against the Titans last week despite the massive injury disruptions to their squad this season.
Des Hasler has the luxury of naming an unchanged squad heading into this clash in positive signs for the club. Meanwhile, Canberra have named Nick Cotric to return from a quad injury on the wing in Ricky Stuart’s only changes.
In ominous signs for their rivals, Manly’s start to this season has parallels to their campaign last year with a poor start and slow build into form. With the absence of the experienced duo Jamal Fogarty and Josh Hodgson, the Raiders may lack some polish but more than compensate with their courage. Expect a fiery contest but the desperation of this Manly squad to avoid a one and three start to their season should get Des Hasler’s troops over the line.
Betting Tip: Manly -6.5 @ $1.95 (Unibet)
Cowboys v Roosters
Saturday, April 2, 7:35pm AEDT
The Cowboys produced a hugely dominant performance over an improved Broncos squad last week in positive signs for the Queensland club as coach Todd Payten’s roster rejuvenation looks to be working wonders. The Townsville club face the unenviable task of playing the Roosters after losing a local derby to Souths with Trent Robinson’s troops no doubt eager to avoid losing three from their opening four games.
North Queensland have the luxury of naming an unchanged squad after putting 38 points on Brisbane last week, while the Roosters will replace Fletcher Baker on the interchange with Daniel Suluka-Fifita.
In an unwelcome off-field drama, Roosters coach Trent Robinson will not accompany his team to Townsville due to covid protocols. The extent to which this impacts his squad remains to be seen. North Queensland will be coming off a huge high after a derby win over the Broncos at Suncorp stadium but they will face a much sterner opposition in the Roosters. Expect the tri-colours superior defensive structures and big-game experience to prove the difference against this new-look Cowboys outfit.
Betting Tip: Cowboys +6.5 @ $1.93 (Winnersbet)
Storm v Bulldogs
Sunday, April 3, 4:05pm AEST
Despite showing enormous improvement, Canterbury have won only one of their opening three games of the season and now face the unenviable task of playing the Storm in Melbourne. The Victorian club will be burning from their first loss of the year in a golden-point thriller against Parramatta last week, albeit missing some important players.
Canterbury have lost second-rower Jack Hetherington to a season-ending shoulder injury in a hammer blow to their forward-depth with Corey Waddell named in the starting side and Ava Seumanufagai joining the bench. Meanwhile, the Storm will welcome Harry Grant and Xavier Coates back at hooker and wing respectively in a welcome boost.
The Storm will enter this match as firm favourites but should be wary of a new-look Bulldogs outfit who have added enormous mongrel to their forward-rotation and wonderful kicking game in Matt Burton. Expect a simple game plan from the Bulldogs focused on ruck dominance but with the restoration of the Storm’s devastating one-two punch of Harry Grant and Brandon Smith – expect the Victorians to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Eels v Dragons
Sunday, April 3, 6:15pm AEST
Parramatta produced a wonderful performance against the Storm last week, overcoming last year’s minor premiers in a thrilling golden-point victory that augurs well for Brad Arthur’s squad. They will face a Dragons outfit struggling to find their identity after a woeful performance against the Sharks in a 24-point loss.
Ray Stone suffered an ACL injury in the act of scoring the match-winning try last week as Ryan Matterson and Bryce Cartwright replace the journeyman and Wiremu Greig on the bench. For the Dragons, an injury to Cody Ramsey will see Mat Feagai come onto the wing while the suspended Jaydn Su’a will be replaced in the starting-side with Jack Gosiewski. Aaron Woods is also set to join the interchange.
The Dragons’ only victory this season has come against a struggling Warriors outfit with Anthony Griffin’s new-look squad looking far from their best. The Eels showed-cased their premiership credentials last week against Melbourne and expect a no-less dominant performance this week against St George.
Betting Tip: Eels -9.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Manly -6.5 @ $1.95 (Unibet)