NRL Rd 15 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
We are now getting to the point where the pretenders are getting separated from the contenders.
Eels v Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs had a gutsy 18-16 win over the Titans, giving them their sixth straight victory for the first time since 2015. Although they didn’t do it easily without their Origin stars, with a completion rate of just 64%. The win has kept the Rabbitohs in the top four and given them equal Premiership favourites at $5.50.
Bottom of the ladder, Parramatta held on against the Cowboys to finally record a win and end their five-game losing run. Jarryd Hayne returned from injury in fine fashion scoring two tries – his first try for the Eels since Round 26 2014. A positive note for Eels fans is the fact they have won the past three matches over South Sydney. While Parramatta put in their best effort of the season last week, with Souths back to full strength they will be hard to beat.
This season we’ve seen Michael Jennings cross the line on four occasions. Last time these teams clashed, he recorded a try and tonight will have extra motivation to repeat that performance as he is lining up for his 250th NRL game.
Best Bet: Souths 13+ (margin) @ $2.20
Value Bet: Michael Jennings to score 1+ Try (Player Performance)
Cowboys v Warriors
The Warriors bounced back with a 20-point victory over the Sea Eagles last week, snapping a seven-game winless run against them in the process. The win was their ninth of the season and ensured they remained inside the top four.
North Queensland, on the other hand, were beaten favourites against Parramatta in Darwin going down 20-14. This was the first time the Cowboys have lost at the venue, giving them their 10th loss of the season and all but ending their finals hopes. With only 58% completion rate against the Eels, the Cowboys will need to lift if they are any chance of defeating the Warriors tonight.
New Zealand won this clash back in Round 5 by 10 points, ending a four-game losing streak against North Queensland but 1300SMILES Stadium is a different kettle of fish as they have just one win at the ground in the past 12 matches played there. If the Warriors are leading at half time, you can count on them taking out this clash as they have won all eight games this season when leading at the break.
David Fusitu’a crossed the line three times last week in only nine minutes! Taking his season tally to 15 and remaining in the lead for top scorer by three tries, he is worth another investment here.
Best Bet: Warriors/Warriors (Half/Full Double) @ $2.60
Value Bet: David Fusitu’a to score 2+ try (Player Performance)
Roosters v Panthers
A mouth-watering clash as two premiership contenders face off.
The Roosters have now won five of their past six matches after they held on in their 18-16 victory over the Knights. For the second week in a row, Blake Ferguson was outstanding with a try on either side of half time. Fresh from their performance for the NSW Blues in Origin, Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco put on another brilliant displays.
Penrith recorded their 10th victory for the season and that has seen them equal their best ever start to a campaign. Bookies are now keeping a close eye on the Mountain Men and have them as co-premiership favourites with the Bunnies and Dragons. The past three premiers started their season with 10 wins from 13 matches.
Nathan Cleary continued his good form this season with his first career field goal to seal the one-point victory. The Roosters won the last time these teams clashed in 2017 by two points, but the Panthers won both encounters in 2016. The Roosters have lost three from four games against teams sitting at the top, so we’ll go Penrith in a tight one.
Latrell Mitchell has scored three tries in his past three matches against the Panthers, which includes a double.
Best Bet: Penrith 1-12 (margin) @ $2.90
Value Bet: Latrell Mitchell to score 1+ Try (Player Performance)
Bulldogs v Titans
Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday afternoon footy heads to Belmore where the Bulldogs have recorded wins in four of their last six matches.
Playing at their spiritual home couldn’t come quicker after the Bulldogs recorded their 10th loss of the season last weekend, going down 18-16 to the Dragons. This is the second time since the 1960s that the Bulldogs have started their season 3-10. Whist finals football is out of reach, they need a win to ensure they stay clear of wooden spoon favouritism.
Gold Coast fought hard last week but were outclassed by South Sydney going down 18-16 at home. For the second season in a row, the Titans have started with just three wins from their first 14 matches. Keegan Hipgrave became the first player since Michael Buettner in 2002 to be sin-binned twice in one match.
A positive for Bulldogs fans is they have won the past three matches against the Titans. Making things harder for the Gold Coast is they are yet to win a game outside of Queensland in 2018 with their trip to Belmore being their first in club history.
Will Hopoate has scored three tries in his past two games against the Titans. This includes a double when they played last season.
Best Bet: Bulldogs (Win) @ $1.70
Value Bet: Will Hopoate to score 1+ Try/ Bulldogs to win (To score+ Win Market)
Dragons v Warriors
The top of the table Dragons have an excellent chance to take another step closer to finals footy when they play host to the Sea Eagles this weekend.
St. George Illawarra have beaten Manly in three of their past four outings with the winning margin in each of those being an average of 31 points. The latest of those was at this venue in Round 20 last year, where the Dragons ran out 52-22 winners.
The Dragons have traded wins and losses in the past month or so but you have to look at the three sides that have beaten them so far in the comp – Penrith, Souths and New Zealand they are all situated behind the Red V in second, third and fourth on the table.
Manly were disappointing last week against the Warriors and come into this game without the services of hooker Api Koroisau who is looking at eight weeks on the sidelines.
Making things even more daunting for Trent Barrett’s side is that they’ve won just one away game all season from seven attempts, however, that can probably be two as they did beat Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium a few weeks back when taking one of their ‘home’ games up north.
Our tip for the Dragons to continue their great run in the NRL this season.
Best Bet: Dragons (Win) @ $1.35
Value Bet: Nene Macdonald First Try Scorer
Sharks v Broncos
Southern Cross Group Stadium
Cronulla are aiming up for eight wins in their past nine games when they play host to Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Sharks are favourites, and rightly so, as their form of late has been excellent with their one defeat in the past two months coming at the hands of the in-form Souths Sydney a fortnight ago.
Shane Flanagan’s side do have issues playing the Broncos though and have dropped three of the past four contests.
Brisbane has a number of injuries to their line-up and their away form isn’t great either (3-4) so we are happy to stick to the home side for this one.
For punters wanting some value then look no further than Corey Oates. The Broncos flyer has scored a try in four straight games against the Sharks so he is definitely worth a few dollars in the First Try Scorer market. Another player to follow is Valentine Holmes who is on a four-game scoring run.
Best Bet: Sharks (Win) @ $1.52
Value Bet: Corey Oates OR Valentine Holmes First Try Scorer
Knights v Storm
McDonald Jones Stadium
Melbourne proved they could win without some of their big names last week when they handled Brisbane 32-16 last week. Will Craig Bellamy bring back Curtis Scott and Billy Slater for this clash? Punters should keep an eye on the team sheets closer to kick-off but we anticipate that at least one of them will be playing.
The Storm have a good record against the Knights with five straight wins against them while their record in the Hunter is just as good with four wins from their past five visits to the venue. Melbourne’s form on the road this season, however, hasn’t been sensational as they are 3-3 but you can add an extra win to that when they beat the Titans in a ‘home’ game at Suncorp Stadium.
Newcastle is much improved from the 2017 version and have fought gallantly in many of their matches recently including last week’s 18-16 loss to the Roosters. Concerning for Nathan Brown’s men is that they have dropped four straight at home and with Jamie Buhrer adding to an already mounting injury toll, that is likely to stretch to five after this weekend.
This could be a game for value players. Suliasi Vunivalu has only scored five tries this season and has been overshadowed by his teammate Josh Addo-Carr but he is surely due to break out soon or later? Have a crack on him to score the first try.
Best Bet: Melbourne -10.5 (Line) @ $1.90
Value Bet: Suliasi Vunivalu First Try Scorer
Tigers v Raiders
Neither of these teams enjoys playing at Campbelltown so it will be interesting to see which side puts their venue hoodoo behind them in the final match of the round.
Although playing at home the Tigers haven’t had the best of luck at the venue, dropping six straight matches there dating back to Round 23, 2016. Four of those have been by 12 points or less so that is a nice stat for the margin players.
Canberra’s fortunes in Sydney’s west haven’t been fantastic either and although they have played at the ground since 2014, they have dropped four of five there.
The Raiders have fallen short on a number of occasions this season when it looked as though they had a win in their grasp. Recent matches they’ve let go include last week’s game against Penrith, the Round 11 clash with the Dragons and a week earlier to the Sharks.
There is no secret that they’re missing Josh Hodgson’s leadership from dummy half and although named to make his return this week, Canberra will have to do without flying winger Jordan Rapana which makes it that little bit harder. Off the back of that, we’re going for the Tigers in a tight tussle.
Best Bet: Wests Tigers (Win) @ $1.62
Value Bet: Wests Tigers by 4 Points (Exact Margin)