The following are previews with betting tips for Round 22 of the 2022 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Panthers v Storm
Thursday, August 11, 7:50pm AEST
Melbourne notched a solid win over the Titans last week to snap a four game losing streak but the understrength Victorian outfit’s top four chances are very much in the balance with a tough run home against Penrith, Brisbane, the Roosters and Eels. Despite being similarly understrength, the Panthers were dominant in a 20-point win over the Raiders last week and while their top-four spot is assured, they will be eager to maintain momentum.
An injury to Jahrome Hughes is the latest blow for Melbourne, with the return of Nick Meaney at fullback pushing Cameron Munster back to the halves in an otherwise unchanged squad. For Penrith, the absent James Fisher-Harris will be replaced by Tom Eisenhuth at prop in coach Ivan Cleary’s only change.
Despite their victory last week, the Storm will enter this match as underdogs. The lack of continuity in the Storm’s spine will hurt them enormously. Expect an intense physical contest between two relatively full-strength forward rotations but the combinations and class within this Penrith spine should prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Panthers -4.5 @ $2.00 (Bluebet)
Warriors v Bulldogs
Friday, August 12, 6:00pm AEST
Canterbury were brave in defeat to the Cowboys, going into half-time 14-all before the second-placed Queensland club blew them out of the water in the second half. They will face a struggling Warriors outfit who were humbled in a woeful 48-10 loss to the Rabbitohs with the club clearly suffering from the disruption to their playing and coaching staff this season.
Tevita Pangai Jr will be absent for personal reasons with Harrison Edwards set to join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Kiwis will welcome Daejarn Asi back into the halves, pushing Wayde Egan back to hooker as Viliami Vailea also makes his return from a broken jaw at centre.
Given the Warriors’ on-field struggles, Canterbury will enter this match as firm favourites. The Bulldogs have continued their strong form since the departure of former coach Trent Barrett in encouraging signs for long-suffering fans. This match could go either way but expect Canterbury’s high energy style of play to prove too much for the Kiwi’s ailing defensive structures. Bulldogs to get the points.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -3.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Eels v Rabbitohs
Friday, August 12, 7:55pm AEST
Parramatta backed-up their impressive round-20 win over Penrith with a dominant performance against Manly, particularly in the absence of star halfback Mitchell Moses. They face a red-hot South Sydney outfit on a warpath to the top-four, sitting just one win behind fourth-placed Melbourne with their only loss in the last six games being a nail-biting field-goal loss to Cronulla.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has named an unchanged squad after a breakout performance from his son at halfback. Hame Sele’s return at prop is the only change from the Souths team that demolished the Warriors last week.
With both these teams in red-hot form and direct competition for a top-four berth, this game could be crucial to the makeup of the top-eight. Parramatta will be chasing consistent performances after struggling this season and have a huge defensive challenge on their hands against a Souths attack spearheaded by Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell. This match could go either way but expect the Rabbitohs to get the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -3.5 @ $1.88 (Picklebet)
Roosters v Cowboys
Saturday, August 13, 3:00pm AEST
The Roosters were at their dominant best against the resurgent Broncos last week and chasing their fifth consecutive win, the Tri-colours will need to maintain their momentum to assure a finals berth. They will face a Cowboys outfit who were slow out of the blocks last week against Canterbury but showed their class by scoring three unanswered tries in the last quarter to win the match.
The Roosters have named an unchanged squad for this game in some welcome continuity after an injury disrupted year. For North Queensland, prop Jordan McLean will return on the bench from a long-term hamstring injury in a welcome boost to an otherwise unchanged squad.
Sitting only one win over the ninth-placed Raiders, the Tri-colours’ form surge has come at the perfect time of the season, particularly given their tough run home. This match could go either way but it is difficult not to back the Cowboys given their recent form, particularly with the recent return of Reuben Cotter and Jordan McLean.
Betting Tip: Cowboys H2H @ $2.33 (Unibet)
Tigers v Sharks
Saturday, August 13, 5:30pm AEST
Cronulla recorded a solid victory against a desperate Dragons outfit last week as the club looks primed to go deep into the finals with a top-four berth likely. They will face a Tigers squad who’s form in their impressive round-20 upset of Brisbane was short lived after a woeful performance against the struggling Newcastle Knights.
The Sharks will get a huge boost in their middle with the return of Dale Finucane at lock, pushing Cameron McInnes to the bench. Connor Tracey is out with Lachlan Miller promoted to the wing. For the Tigers, Starford To’a will shift to the wing for Ken Maumalo with James Roberts coming into the centres in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Tigers fans will be disappointed with their squad’s inconsistency after such an encouraging win against Brisbane. While Cronulla are firming for a top-four spot, the disruption to their squad through injury should have them focussed on building momentum and combinations with key absent players Matt Moylan and Will Kennedy set to return before the finals.
Betting Tip: Sharks -12.5 @ $1.89 (Picklebet)
Broncos v Knights
Saturday, August 13, 7:35pm AEST
Brisbane have produced poor performances in consecutive losses to the Tigers and Roosters with the club’s top-four hopes all but over after dropping to seventh on the competition ladder. They will play a Newcastle outfit who snapped a four game losing streak against the Tigers last week as the struggling Hunter Valley club works to restore pride after a poor season.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has swung the axe with Tesi Niu and rookie Deine Mariner set to be replaced with Te Maire Martin and Brenko Lee respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad. For Newcastle, Adam Clune and David Klemmer will return at halfback and prop respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Brisbane will enter this match as favourites but should be wary of a Knights squad highly motivated after an important win last week provided an important morale boost. While the Novacastrians are a chance of causing an upset, particularly off the back of the return of Clune and Klemmer, but Brisbane’s defence should improve with Martin and Lee injected into their back-line.
Betting Tip: Knights +18.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)
Raiders v Dragons
Sunday, August 14, 2:00pm AEST
The Raiders were unable to produce an upset over the understrength Panthers last week and time is running short for Ricky Stuart’s troops heading into the finals. They will face a St George outfit who face a similar uphill battle to make the top-four after a difficult season for the joint-venture club.
Canberra will be missing Joe Tapine in a huge blow to their middle rotation. Corey Hosrburgh will join the bench as cover with Xavier Savage also set to return at fullback, with Jordan Rapana shifting back to the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Dragons, Tyrell Fuimaono and Billy Burns will join the bench to cover the absence of Tariq Sims and Francis Molo in coach Anthony Griffin’s only changes.
Canberra are a slim chance of making the finals but every game is a must-win prospect for the club to do so. This match could go either way, particularly given the impact of Ricky Stuart’s unprecedented suspension for his comments after last week’s game. Expect the Raiders physicality to prove the difference as they keep their slim finals hopes alive.
Betting Tip: Raiders -6.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Titans v Sea Eagles
Sunday, August 14, 4:05pm AEST
The struggling Titans were brave last week against the Storm juggernaut with the inexperience of their spine again proving the downfall of their season. They will face a Manly club who were brave in defeat against a red-hot Parramatta outfit last week with the club’s finals chances all but over.
The Sea Eagles will welcome the return of Josh Aloiai on the bench in place of Taniela Paseka in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Titans have suffered yet another injury blow with hooker Aaron Booth suffering a horror knee injury. Erin Clarke will shift to hooker with Patrick Herbert coming onto the wing in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Manly will enter this match as firm favourites given the woeful form of the Gold Coast in recent weeks. With Manly’s finals prospects looking unlikely, these teams will effectively be playing for pride but expect veteran coach Des Hasler and under-pressure Titans mentor Justin Holbrook to be desperate for a win. Sea Eagles to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -6.5 @ $1.95 (bet365)