The following are previews with betting tips for Round 3 of the 2023 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Compare NRL bookmaker odds
View the NRL form guide
View NRL betting promotions (not available to NSW & WA)
Sea Eagles v Eels
Thursday, March 16, 7:50pm AEDT
Manly enjoyed a bye last week after a dominant victory over Canterbury in round one started Anthony Seibold’s tenure as head coach with a bang. They will face a massive test against a desperate Eels outfit who have suffered agonisingly close losses to the Storm and Sharks in recent weeks with pressure mounting on Brad Arthur and his squad to prove their premiership window is not closed and avoid three consecutive losses to start their season.
Manly will welcome Josh Schuster back at five-eighth in a big boost to an otherwise unchanged line-up. Meanwhile, Parramatta are unchanged off the back of their narrow loss to Cronulla.
While Manly performed admirably in the trials and against Canterbury in round one, Parramatta represents Manly’s biggest challenge under new coach Anthony Seibold and their performance shapes as a fascinating insight into their prospects against the competition’s elite. This match could go either way but expect the strike within this near full-strength Sea Eagles squad to prove the difference. Manly to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -2.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Knights v Dolphins
Friday, March 17, 6pm AEDT
Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins stunned the competition and their opposition in a gutsy win over Canberra last week with the club becoming only the third new team in the NRL to win their opening two matches alongside Melbourne and Brisbane. They will face an under pressure Newcastle squad who recorded a brave victory in spite of a horror injury toll, albeit against the lowly Wests Tigers.
The Dolphins will be without workhorse hooker Jeremy Marshall-King, with Kodi Nikorima set to make his club debut as cover as Ray Stone’s return from injury displaces Mason Teague’s bench position. Meanwhile, Newcastle’s last-start victory came at a massive cost, with Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey absent due to concussion in concerning signs for the club. Daniel Saifiti and Tyson Frizell will also be missing with suspension and injury. Tyson Gamble and Phoenix Crossland will come into the starting side at five-eighth and hooker respectively with Jack Hethington and Brodie Jones joining the starting side at prop and second-row. Mat Croker will return from suspension on the bench with Ryan Rivett and Dylan Lucas both set to join him for their NRL debut.
Newcastle are now missing six top-line stars including Adam Elliot and Kurt Mann. Wayne Bennett’s troops have shown plenty of defensive steel and against a Knights’ attack missing Ponga and Brailey, they should have the upper hand. Dolphins to get the points.
Betting Tip: Knights +4.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Friday, March 17, 8:05pm AEDT
The Roosters kickstarted their season with a solid victory over a vastly improved Warriors lineup last week and facing a huge injury toll, the Tri-colours have a massive test coming up against South Sydney. The Rabbitohs were unable to overcome fierce rivals in the Panthers for a narrow six-point loss and should be preparing for a fired-up opposition after Souths knocked the Roosters out in week one of last year’s finals series.
The Roosters will welcome back some key stars in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Victor Radley in a timely boost to their middle-rotation for Trent Robinson’s only changes. Meanwhile, Souths will also welcome back some big guns in Tevita Tatola and Hame Sele at prop and off the bench respectively.
While both teams are missing some key personnel, Souths look far closer to their best football with the Roosters getting off to a slow start to their season. The Tri-colours will be highly motivated to get revenge after last year’s finals knockout but expect Souths more settled squad to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -2.5 @ $1.91 (Colossalbet)
Titans v Storm
Saturday, March 18, 3pm AEDT
The Storm conceded a shock upset to Canterbury last week in an uncharacteristically poor performance from Craig Bellamy’s squad. They will come up against a struggling Titans squad who were disappointing in their last-start loss to St George and with some key players missing pressure is mounting on coach Justin Holbrook to turn his squad’s potential into premiership points.
Sam Verrills will be missing after playing through a broken collarbone last week in a massive display of toughness. Jojo Fifita is also injured, with Brian Kelly’s return at centre pushing Philip Sami to the wing as cover. Chris Randall will come into the starting side at hooker with younger brother of the captain, Iszac Fa’asiamaleaui set to make his NRL debut off the bench alongside Joseph Vuna. Meanwhile, Melbourne will welcome back some crucial reinforcements with Justin Olam, Xavier Coates and Tui Kamikamica set to return at centre, wing and prop respectively. Veteran Tariq Sims will also make his club debut off the bench with rookie Jonah Pezet also set to make his NRL debut from the pine.
Expect an intense performance from the Storm after their shock loss last week. The Titans face a massive task to win this match without Sam Verrills. Melbourne to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.5 @ $2.00 (Bluebet)
Cowboys v Warriors
Saturday, March 18, 5:30pm AEDT
The Cowboys’ disappointing loss to Brisbane last week came at a high cost, with two key members of their backline suspended, Todd Payten’s troops will be eager to bounce back against an underrated Warriors outfit. The Kiwis went down in their own narrow loss to an improved Roosters outfit in their last match, but former Penrith assistant Andrew Webster looks to be improving his squad enormously and with a more balanced team there are positive signs for Warriors fans.
Rookie Tom Chester has been named to replace the suspended Scott Drinkwater at fullback for North Queensland, with Gehamat Shibasaki also replacing Peta Hiku at centre in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Warriors will also be missing their fullback with Taine Tuaupiki coming in for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Bailey Sironen also joining the bench.
Expect a big response from the Cowboys in front of their home-crowd after a humbling defeat to the Broncos last week. While the Warriors have improved immensely, they will miss the leadership and defensive composure of Nicoll-Klokstad in the custodian role. This match could go either way but expect the Queenslanders to get the points.
Betting Tip: Warriors +10.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)
Broncos v Dragons
Saturday, March 18, 7:35pm AEDT
Brisbane backed up their shock round-one upset of Penrith with a powerful victory over North Queensland last week with Reece Walsh announcing himself as a big star of the future in his club debut. They will face a Dragons outfit who were also dominant against the Titans in a welcome pressure release for the struggling club.
A broken jaw for Corey Oates will see Jesse Arthurs join the wing in Kevin Walters’ only changes. Meanwhile, St George have named an unchanged 17.
Brisbane will enter this match highly motivated after St George knocked them out of finals contention last year in the final round of the regular season. Expect an intense performance from a Dragons outfit given their opponents have knocked off two of last year’s top-four outfits as St George look to prove critics wrong after many backed them to win the wooden-spoon this season. The Dragons’ strong record against Brisbane mean this match could go either way but expect a Broncos’ attack spearheaded by rising superstar Reece Walsh to prove too much for Anthony Griffin’s troops.
Betting Tip: Broncos -12.5 @ $1.99 (Picklebet)
Bulldogs v Tigers
Sunday, March 19, 4:05pm AEDT
Canterbury stunned the competition with a huge upset win over Melbourne last week showed very positive signs for the club under new coach Cameron Ciraldo. They will face a struggling Wests outfit who were very poor in a last-start loss to the Knights, particularly given they were unable to capitalise on Newcastle’s horror injury toll.
Unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs have named an unchanged squad after such an impressive performance last week. Meanwhile, the injured Daine Laurie and Tommy Talau will see Charlie Staines shift to fullback with Starford To’a and Junior Tupou coming in at centre and wing respectively. Isaiah Papali’i and Jake Simpkin will be absent with suspension and injury with Shawn Blore joining the second-row, Fonua Pole at lock and Brandon Wakeham the new face on the bench.
After a woeful attacking performance saw the club’s only two tries come when Newcastle had a player in the sin-bin, Wests have an enormous amount of work to turn around their spluttering season as critics begin to scrutinise the club’s ambitious new coaching setup. Canterbury showed some hugely promising attacking combinations after some lean years and unless the Tigers can make some major strides with the ball, the Bulldogs’ improved defensive structures should get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs -10.5 @ $1.96 (Boombet)
Raiders v Sharks
Sunday, March 19, 6:15pm AEDT
Cronulla staved off an Eels comeback for an impressive win in a seesawing contest last week to kickstart the club’s season. They will face a Raiders outfit humbled in a disappointing performance against the Dolphins last week with Ricky Stuart’s troops desperate to avoid three consecutive losses to start the year.
Cronulla’s only change comes with Jack Williams’ return on the bench at the expense of Connor Tracey with superstar halfback Nicho Hynes likely to return in round four. Meanwhile, the Raiders will similarly make only one change with Trey Mooney replacing the injured Ata Mariota on the interchange.
Canberra will go into this match desperate for a win, particularly after a slow start last year massively impacted their finals campaign. After two grinding defeats to the Cowboys and Dolphins they will be relying on their home-ground advantage to tip the balance in their favour. This match could go either way but expect Cronulla’s more settled play-making combinations – even without Nicho Hynes – to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Sharks -2.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Rabbitohs -2.5 @ $1.91 (Colossalbet)
I like join this group