The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2023 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Dolphins v Rabbitohs
Thursday, April 13, 7:50pm AEST
Thursday night will bring a blockbuster clash as Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins face off against his old club, NRL heavyweights South Sydney – led by Bennett’s former long-term assistant in Jason Demitriou. The Dolphins stormed to an impressive upset over the Cowboys last week, despite missing several top-line stars, while Souths were dominant against Canterbury in a massive 50-16 win after a disappointing loss to Melbourne the week before.
The Dolphins will welcome captain Jesse Bromwich back at prop with Robert Jennings also set to replace Edrick Lee on the wing. JJ Collins joins the bench with Ray Stone promoted to the starting 13 in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Souths injury woes continued with Tevita Tatola out again with a troublesome knee injury. Jai Arrow will make a timely return at prop, alongside veteran Alex Johnston on the wing.
Given the attacking firepower that was on display last week, it will be hard to tip against South Sydney but the Dolphins have been playing with such courage and defensive commitment that this should be a fantastic contest. Expect the Dolphins to drag their classy opposition down into a physical contest but the playmaking class within this Rabbitohs line-up should get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -11.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Sharks v Roosters
Friday, April 14, 6pm AEST
The understrength Roosters fell short against a dominant Storm outfit last week in a frustrating result with a sin-bin to Victor Radley proving a major turning-point in the game. They will face Sharks outfit who enjoyed a bye last week, but are still burning from an agonisingly close last-start loss to the Warriors in round five as the Shire club look to build some consistency after failing to achieve consecutive victories so far this season.
The Roosters will receive a big boost with the return of skipper James Tedesco, pushing Joey Manu back to centre and Drew Hutchison to the bench. Matt Lodge will also make his return from injury off the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Cronulla’s middle rotation will be missing Dale Finucane and Toby Rudolf in a huge blow. Royce Hunt and Cameron McInnes are promoted to the starting side with Wade Graham and Oregon Kaufusi joining the interchange alongside rookie Tom Hazelton.
Victor Radley’s sin-bin record is fast becoming a liability for the Roosters, and coach Trent Robinson will be expecting a more controlled performance from his middle rotation, particularly against a Cronulla outfit missing Finucane and Rudolf. This match could go either way but expect a big response from the Tri-Colours after their disappointment last week. Roosters to get the points.
Betting Tip: Roosters -2.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Storm
Friday, April 14, 8pm AEST
After a promising start to their season, Manly were humbled in a 44-12 loss to the reigning premiers last week as pressure mounts for the club to play to their substantial potential. They face a massive test against arch-rivals the Melbourne Storm, with the Victorians at their devastating best in a dominant last-start win over the Roosters.
For the Sea Eagles, Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega will replace the injured Reuben Garrick on the wing with mid-season signing Aaron Woods set to make his club debut off the bench alongside the returning Toafofoa Sipley. Cooper Johns will line-up at five-eighth with Kaeo Weekes returning to the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Craig Bellamy has named only one forced change with in-form Melbourne stand-in fullback Nick Meaney ruled out with a head-knock. Cameron Munster is set to shift to fullback with boom rookie Jonah Pezet coming in at five-eighth.
Melbourne will enter this match as firm favourites given Manly’s poor form. New coach Anthony Seibold will be expecting a big response from his troops or pressure could start to build on his coaching methods after an inconsistent start to the year for the Manly club. They will need a Herculean performance to produce an upset. Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -4.5 @ $1.90 (Boombet)
Warriors v Cowboys
Saturday, April 15, 3pm AEST
North Queensland have failed to reach the heights of their 2022 season this year, and potentially facing their third consecutive loss, pressure is mounting on the Cowboys to start producing the football that took them to a top-four finish last year. They face a big test against a Warriors outfit who conceded a disappointing loss to a desperate Newcastle squad after losing some key players during the game.
Te Maire Martin and Wayde Egan have both been ruled out for the Kiwis in a devastating blow to their spine. Dylan Walker and Freddy Lussick will shift to five-eighth and hooker respectively, with skipper Tohu Harris also set to return from injury at lock in a timely boost. For the Cowboys, Jeremiah Nanai and Murray Taulagi will return at second-row and wing in a welcome boost given a long-term injury to Griffin Neame.
The Warriors have been vastly improved in terms of their effort areas and consistency, but the absence of two members of their spine in Martin and Egan is a huge blow to cover. Expect the Kiwis to emphasise all the strengths they have introduced into their game this year, but the Queenslanders’ proven playmaking combinations should prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Cowboys H2H @ $1.90 (Picklebet)
Knights v Panthers
Saturday, April 15, 5:30pm AEST
Newcastle’s courageous fightback from a horror start to their season continued last week with a brave win over a massively improved Warriors outfit. Their newfound resilience will face its biggest test yet against the reigning premiers, with Penrith looking to have settled into their new combinations. Penrith were very impressive in a massive 44-12 win over Manly last week and look to be returning to the brand of dominant football that has seen them win consecutive premierships.
The Knights’ horrific injury toll continues to mount, with star hooker Jayden Brailey ruled out for the season with an ACL injury. Phoenix Crossland will shift to hooker with Tyson Gamble joining the halves in coach Adam O’Brien’s only change. Meanwhile, Penrith have named an unchanged line-up heading into this clash.
Penrith will enter this match as firm favourites, particularly with the Knights still reeling from the long-term absence of Brailey. While Newcastle will be sure to bring the toughness they have introduced into their game in recent weeks, the class within this Penrith outfit should prove too much for the Novacastrians. Panthers to get the points.
Betting Tip: Knights +14.5 @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Titans v Broncos
Saturday, April 15, 7:35pm AEST
Brisbane suffered their first defeat of 2023 last week at the hands of a courageous Raiders outfit in a brutal physical contest. They will now face Queensland rivals in the Titans after the Gold Coast produced a grinding last-start win over a desperate St George squad, elevating the club back into the top eight.
Tom Flegler suffered a nasty concussion and will be missing for Brisbane with Corey Jensen shifting to prop and Kobe Hetherington set to return from injury on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Titans, Kieran Foran will make a timely return from a calf injury to replace the injured Toby Sexton, with mid-season Tigers import Thomas Mikaele also set to make his club debut off the bench.
While Brisbane will enter this match as clear favourites, they should be highly wary of a Titans squad who have produced some fantastic wins over the Broncos in recent seasons. The Raiders exposed Brisbane through the middle last week, so expect the Gold Coast to emulate Canberra’s tactics and attempt to wrestle control of the ruck away from the Broncos’ dominant middle-rotation. This match could go either way but expect a big response from the competition leaders to get them over the line. Broncos to win.
Betting Tip: Titans +8.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)
Raiders v Dragons
Sunday, April 16, 2pm AEST
Canberra produced a stunning upset over the competition leading Broncos last week, deploying their trade-mark brutal physicality to put their opposition’s playmakers off their game and handing Brisbane their first loss of the year. They will face a St George outfit running out of excuses after a disappointing last-start loss to the Titans heaps more pressure on embattled coach Anthony Griffin.
Canberra’s momentum from last week will be aided with the return of star pairing of Jack Wighton and Joseph Tapine at five-eighth and prop respectively. Nic Cotric will also return from injury to replace Jordan Rapana after the veteran winger suffered a nasty head injury last week with veteran centre Jarrod Croker retaining his place in the side.
Ricky Stuart pulled off a coaching masterstroke with his squad’s brutal physicality limiting opposition playmakers’ time and suffocating their attack. St George will look to match the Raiders’ physicality and while they may manage to hold Canberra at bay, expect a classy backline led by Origin star Jack Wighton to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Dragons +6.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)
Eels v Bulldogs
Sunday, April 16, 4:05pm AEST
Parramatta held off a fast-finishing Tigers outfit for a narrow victory last week in just the second win of their season after a brutal draw to start the year has seen them concede losses to the likes of Melbourne, Cronulla and the Roosters. They will face a struggling Bulldogs outfit who were humbled in a devastating 50-16 loss to a red-hot Souths squad with rookie head-coach Cameron Ciraldo facing a baptism of fire in his first year with Canterbury given the club’s huge injury toll.
The Eels will welcome Junior Paulo’s return from suspension at prop in an otherwise unchanged 17. Meanwhile, Canterbury have been dealt a massive blow with stars Viliame Kikau and Josh Addo-Carr facing a lengthy stint out with injuries. Tevita Pangai Jr will make a timely return at prop, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner also set to return at lock in a big boost to their middle-rotation. Braidon Burns will join the wing, while a replacement for Kikau is yet to be named.
After their woeful start to the season, Parramatta will be desperate to bank premiership points heading into the troublesome Origin period. Canterbury have made many improvements this season but luck eludes rookie coach Ciraldo in his first season at the club. While the Bulldogs will make their opposition work for victory, led by former Eel Reed Mahoney, expect the class within this Parramatta line-up to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Eels -8.5 @ $1.90 (Colossalbet)
Cowboys H2H @ $1.90 (Picklebet)