The following are previews with betting tips for Round 23 of the 2022 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Rabbitohs v Panthers
Thursday, August 18, 7:50pm AEST
Penrith were soundly beaten by the Storm for the reigning premier’s second loss in three games. Panthers faithful will be unconcerned given the players they have coming back for the finals series, but the club face a massive test up against a red-hot South Sydney outfit. Souths dominated the Eels in an impressive last-start victory with the club chasing its third consecutive win as they strive for a top-four berth.
Penrith will welcome Dylan Edwards’ return at fullback after he was a late withdrawal last week in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Campbell Graham will return at centre in a massive boost to South Sydney with Lachlan Ilias and Daniel Suluka-Fifita also joining the squad at halfback and prop respectively.
While the Panthers have retained much of their defensive steel, their attack and control of the ball has suffered hugely in the absence of Nathan Cleary and Jahrome Luai. Expect the potent playmaking combinations for the Rabbitohs to prove too much for the reigning premiers. Souths to get the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -4.5 @ $2.00 (Unibet)
Cowboys v Warriors
Friday, August 19, 6:00pm AEST
North Queensland will be disappointed at their last-start loss to the red-hot Tri-colours but coach Todd Payten will be hoping the poor performance is a one-off given the club’s torrid week after the tragic passing of premiership winning coach Paul Green. They will face a Warriors outfit who produced an impressive upset over the Bulldogs in their last game, giving fans some much needed respite from a difficult year.
North Queensland will welcome Kyle Feldt back onto the wing, pushing Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to the bench in an otherwise unchanged line up. Meanwhile, interim Warriors coach Stacey Jones has also named the same 17 that overcame Canterbury last week.
North Queensland will enter this match as hot favourites and with two of their remaining three games of the season coming against Souths and Penrith, the Cowboys should be highly motivated to shore-up their top-four berth. Expect North Queensland to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors +20.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Broncos v Storm
Friday, August 19, 7:55pm AEST
Melbourne looked like the Storm of old in a dominant win over the Panthers last week, keeping the reigning premiers scoreless in a wonderful defensive display. They will now look to a Broncos outfit who returned to the winner’s circle in a solid victory over Newcastle.
Jahrome Hughes has been named to return from a shoulder injury but could be a late withdrawal with coach Craig Bellamy on record that he will not risk his star halfback so close to the finals. Meanwhile, Brisbane have named an unchanged line-up.
Brisbane’s slim top-four chances rely on leapfrogging the Storm, and playing at their home-ground at Suncorp stadium – expect an intense performance from the Broncos. Melbourne’s attack may suffer if Jahrome Hughes is absent but expect their newly improved defensive structures to prove a massive challenge for their Queensland opponents. The Broncos certainly have the talent to produce an upset but expect the discipline and consistency within this Melbourne juggernaut to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.5 @ $2.00 (Unibet)
Eels v Bulldogs
Saturday, August 20, 3:00pm AEST
Parramatta continue to be plagued by inconsistency with a poor 26-nil loss to Souths putting yet another dent in their top-four aspirations. They will face a Canterbury outfit who were unable to overcome the Warriors in a high-scoring last-start loss in a disappointing result for the Bulldogs.
Parramatta will receive a huge boost with the return of star halfback Mitch Moses in an otherwise unchanged line-up. In Canterbury’s only changes, the intimidating middle-forward duo of Tevita Pangai Jr and Luke Thompson have been included in the reserves and look set for late call-ups.
Parramatta should be highly cautious heading into this clash, particularly given the Bulldogs trounced them in a shock 30-point upset in round 14. The Eels will be desperate to string together some wins before the finals with Mitch Moses leading them at halfback. While Canterbury certainly have the potential to cause an upset, expect Parramatta’s strike across the park and the experience of their big-game players to get them the win.
Sea Eagles v Sharks
Saturday, August 20, 5:30pm AEST
Manly’s poor run this year continued with a disappointing loss to the lowly Titans last week and the northern beaches club will face a massive test of character coming up against an in-form Cronulla squad. The Sharks dominated Wests in their last match but with a top-four berth not yet guaranteed, expect an focussed performance from Craig Fitzgibbon’s troops.
An injury to Jason Saab will see Morgan Harper come in at centre, pushing Tulutau Koula to the wing. Ethan Bullemor will join the bench with Dylan Walker shifted to lock to cover the injured Jake Trbojevic in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Sharks will welcome Matt Moylan and Connor Tracey at five-eighth and centre respectively in a huge boost.
Having lost only two games from their last 10 outings and chasing their fourth consecutive win, the fantastic form of the Sharks will see them enter this match as firm favourites. Veteran coach Des Hasler has certainly masterminded more unlikely upsets before but expect Cronulla to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +14.5 @ $1.95 (BoomBet)
Roosters v Tigers
Saturday, August 20, 7:35pm AEST
Trent Robinson’s Roosters produced a powerful performance against the Cowboys last week to keep the club comfortably sitting two wins ahead of the ninth-placed Raiders with points-differential. Their opposition in the Tigers were poor up against the Sharks as the club desperately looks for premiership points in a bid to avoid the wooden-spoon.
The Tri-colours have named an unchanged lineup from last week in encouraging signs of continuity for the club, particularly given their injury concerns earlier this year. For the Tigers, Ken Maumalo will make his return from a knee injury in the wing, pushing Starford To’a to centre at the expense of James Roberts in Brett Kimmorley’s only changes.
The Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites given the form that they have shown in recent games. The Tri-colours are playing at a level far beyond that of an eighth-placed club, and pose a serious threat to the competition’s elite in the finals series. Roosters to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers +21.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Dragons v Titans
Sunday, August 21, 2:00pm AEST
The Titans produced a vital win in their mission to avoid the wooden-spoon with a high-scoring win over Manly providing fans some much needed relief after a difficult season. They will face a struggling Dragons outfit who were left heartbroken after they were unable to mount a late comeback in a narrow two-point loss to Canberra.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will return at prop for the Titans in a welcome boost to their middle rotation in an otherwise unchanged squad. St George coach Anthony Griffin has named an unchanged squad leading into this match.
The Titans will continue to tinker with their spine combinations with promising halfback Toby Sexton still playing reserve-grade. The impending arrival of Kieran Foran and Sam Verrills will give both the Gold Coast squad and their fans confidence they can turn their fortunes around in 2023. The Dragons have also had a difficult year but with a number of promising juniors coming through, the future looks bright for the joint-venture. This match could go either way but expect the Dragons to come away with the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -4.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)
Knights v Raiders
Sunday, August 21, 4:05pm AEST
Newcastle slumped to another poor loss against Brisbane last week for their 15th loss of the season in another disappointing performance from the Novocastrians. They will face a Raiders outfit who edged the Dragons in a two-point victory in their last game to keep their mathematical finals chances alive.
Newcastle will be boosted by the return of Edrick Lee and David Klemmer from injury with rookie Krystian Mapapalangi also set to make his NRL debut at centre in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Canberra’s only change comes with Joe Tapine joining the front row to return from a rib injury.
Newcastle have struggled this season with a lack of consistency in their squad, and a recent off-field drama with superstar Kalyn Ponga does little to ease the club’s situation. While the Raiders will be relying on other results if they are to make the finals, expect the Raiders’ physicality to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Knights +10.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)