The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2023 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
Cowboys v Panthers
Friday, June 16, 8pm AEST
The Cowboys enjoyed a much-needed bye last week and coach Todd Payten will be hoping their scintillating last-start 25-point win over Melbourne can be a turning point in the club’s season as they face the daunting challenge of making the finals from 14th on the competition ladder. They will face a big test against the reigning premiers in Penrith, albeit without their Origin stars. The Panthers impressed in a powerful 30-6 win over the Roosters in the absence of star halfback Nathan Cleary.
With five Origin representatives, North Queensland will receive a massive boost with the return of skipper Jason Taumalolo at lock. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and mid-season recruit Sam McIntyre will join the bench with Zac Laybutt joining the centres with Jake Granville shifting to hooker in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Penrith will similarly be missing five Origin stars, with Tyrone Peachey and Thomas Jenkins to form a new centre-wing combination and Jaeman Salmon coming into the halves. Luke Garner will also join the bench with Matthew Eisenhuth the new lock-forward.
Penrith have a solid track-record of performing in the absence of their Origin stars but both clubs’ depth will be under a big microscope in this contest. Expect Penrith to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -2.5 @ $1.94 (Unibet)
Knights v Roosters
Saturday, June 17, 3pm AEST
Newcastle were courageous in a heart-breaking last-gasp loss to the second-placed Broncos last week and now sitting two wins outside the top-eight, time is running out for Adam O’Brien’s troops to mount a late-season fightback to make the finals. They will face a struggling Roosters squad who were dominated by Penrith last week as Trent Robinson still searches for answers over his squad’s form slump.
Tyson Frizell is the only Origin representative for the Knights, with Lachlan Fitzgibbon making a timely return from a calf injury in the second-row. Greg Marzhew has been dropped for disciplinary reasons with Enari Tuala coming onto the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Roosters, James Tedesco and Lindsay Collins will be absent due to Origin with Joey Manu shifting to fullback. Sandon and Billy Smith will also join the squad at halfback and centre respectively.
Newcastle will be burning after losing a game they should have won against Brisbane. Expect a big response from Adam O’Brien’s frustrated squad. While the Roosters may yet find some major improvement before the season’s end, veteran coach Trent Robinson will need all his tactical nous to chart a path back into form. Knights to get the win.
Betting Tip: Knights -4.5 @ $1.73 (bet365)
Eels v Sea Eagles
Saturday, June 17, 5:30pm AEST
Parramatta dominated a hapless Bulldogs outfit last week, laying the groundwork for Mitchell Moses’ Origin recall for the Blues. They will face a huge test against a Manly outfit backing up from a massive 40-point win over the Dolphins to elevate the club back into the top-eight.
With Dylan Brown still suspended, Mitchell Moses and Junior Paulo both away in Blues camp – Ryan Matterson will return from a calf injury at five-eighth, alongside rookie Daejarn Asi at halfback. Joe Ofahengaue will also join the bench with rookie hooker Brendan Hands retaining the starting dummy-half role in the absence of the injured Josh Hodgson. Meanwhile, Manly will be without experienced duo Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans with Eels import Jake Arthur lining up at halfback and Kaeo Weekes also deputising at fullback in an otherwise unchanged squad.
With both teams boasting intimidating forward-rotations but fielding inexperienced spine-combinations, this match could go either way. Expect a huge performance from Jake Arthur playing against his old club. Manly to get the win.
Betting Tip: Manly +3.5 @ $2 (bet365)
Tigers v Storm
Saturday, June 17, 7:35pm AEST
Melbourne responded to their shock 25-point loss to the Cowboys in round 14 in emphatic fashion, dominating arch-rivals Cronulla in a devastating 40-point victory to keep the Victorian club ahead in the race for a top-four berth. They will face a struggling Tigers outfit who were poor against the Titans with a lack of experience in key positions and poor ball-control working against the joint-venture club.
Melbourne will have a big contingent missing due to Origin II with Christian Welch, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Xavier Coates all absent. Jonah Pezet and George Jennings will come in at five-eighth and wing respectively, with Bronson Garlick deputising at hooker and Alec MacDonald joining the bench. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ depth will also be tested with Api Koroisau and Luke Brooks injured and Stefano Utoikamanu called into Blues camp. Talyn Da Silva will make his NRL debut off the bench alongside the returning Alex Seyfarth. Starford To’a and Brent Naden will also come in at five-eighth and centre respectively.
Even without their Origin stars, Melbourne will enter this match as clear favourites. Wests have struggled to produce good form in the absence of their starting-spine players and with such inexperienced playmakers, expect the Victorians to comfortably come away with the points.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.5 @ $1.95 (Colossalbet)
Sharks v Bulldogs
Sunday, June 18, 4:05pm AEST
The Sharks were dominated 54-10 in a gruelling loss that saw the club drop out of the top-four. Cronulla’s track-record against the competition’s elite is in huge doubt and with key playmaker Nicho Hynes brutally dropped from the Blues squad, Craig Fitzgibbon has his work cut out for him to get his troops back to their best. They will face a Bulldogs outfit who were humbled by the Eels in a disappointing last-start loss, pushing the struggling club down to third-last on the competition ladder.
An injury to Royce Hunt will see Thomas Hazelton come onto the bench for Cronulla, with Toby Rudolph also a possible late inclusion to make his return from injury after being named in the reserves. Meanwhile, Canterbury will replace Blues’ speedster Josh Addo-Carr with Braidon Burns on the wing in coach Cameron Ciraldo’s only change.
Unimpacted by the Origin series, Cronulla have a huge opportunity ahead of them to find their best form before the finals series and regain their top-four berth. Canterbury have produced encouraging progress under Ciraldo’s tutelage but their attack still lacks the polish to break-through the NRL’s best defensive outfits. Expect a big response to get Cronulla over the line.
Betting Tip: Canterbury +15.5 @ $1.90 (BoomBet)
Betting Tip: Panthers -2.5 @ $1.94 (Unibet)