NRL Rd 23 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
Still plenty to play for this weekend as the battle to avoid the Wooden Spoon is heating up, as is the race for the minor premiership.
Broncos v Rabbitohs
Both teams will look to bounce back from close losses.
Sam Thaiday’s 300th game celebrations were spoiled when the Broncos lost the thrilling Queensland Derby, leaving them in eighth position on the ladder on 26 points – just one win ahead of the Wests Tigers. This is the second time this season that Brisbane have recorded back-to-back losses. Jordan Kahu returns this week in the centres and Josh McGuire at lock.
The Rabbitohs went down to the Roosters in a potential Grand Final preview. The Roosters figured out how to stop Damien Cook, which ultimately stopped the Rabbitohs. Cook only managed 62 metres, his fewest all season. A blow to the Rabbitohs was Alex Johnston going down in the final minutes with a hamstring injury and will now miss four weeks.
Whilst the Broncos are on a six-match winning run over the Rabbitohs, Souths will be too strong as they eye the minor premiership. The past three matches have been close contests with the margin decided by six points or less.
Corey Oates is a try scoring machine with a great record against Souths - eight tries in his past six games against them.
Best Bet: Rabbitohs 1-6 (Winning Margin) @ $5.25*
Value Bet: Corey Oates (To score a try)
Sea Eagles v Titans
Coaching drama continues to plague the league with Trent Barrett threatening to walk this week due to lack of resources. It comes off the back of a disappointing season for his side. However, they did record back-to-back victories with their 18-6-point win over the Bulldogs last weekend. The win ended their six-game losing run at Lottoland and moved the Sea Eagles up to 12th on the ladder and further away from the club’s first ever Wooden Spoon.
The Titans hearts were broken when a Nathan Cleary field goal sealed the victory in an error ridden clash at Cbus Super Stadium. The Titans were up 16-12 in the final minute before Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scored with 21 seconds left on the clock.
It’s been two wins a piece in the past four matches. This will be the first time since 2013 the Titans have played in Brookvale.
Halftime leader is important in this match-up. In the past 11 games, the Titans are five from five when leading at the break and six from six when level or behind.
Anthony Don has scored a try in each of his past three matches against Manly.
Best Bet: Titans/Titans (Half Full Double) @ $4.25
Value Bet: Anthony Don (To score a try)
Storm v Eels
Melbourne suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season as they went down in a nail biter against the Sharks. It was a display of poor discipline that is rarely seen from the defending premiers. The loss has moved them to third on the ladder, one win behind the Roosters and Souths. A huge blow to the side is retiring veteran Ryan Hoffman’s hamstring injury.
Parramatta are storming home late this season with three wins in their past four matches after their incredible 40-4 victory over the Dragons. The victory has moved the Eels away from the bottom of the ladder for the first time since Round 2, although they remain favourites to take out the Wooden Spoon. Brad Arthur said it was the first game all season the team put in a full 80 minutes.
The past four matches between these teams have been even with two wins a piece and three of these games have been low scoring affairs with 34 or less points scored in each match.
Best Bet: Melbourne 13+ (Margin) @ $1.95
Value Bet: Melbourne 13+/ Under 42.5 points (H2H/Over Under Double) @ $4.25
Panthers v Knights
The Panthers bounced back from a very tumultuous week to record a golden point victory over the Titans. The error filled clash saw the Panthers down 16-6 with five minutes to go and like we have seen in the previous two weeks – the Panthers came from behind to get the win. The win has moved the Panthers into the Top 4 and are $10 to win the Premiership. A big out this week is James Maloney with a knee injury.
The Knights’ horror record at Mt Smart continued with their sixth straight loss at the venue after going down 20-4 to the Warriors. This was also Newcastle’s third straight loss. Ken Sio opened the scoring, but disappointingly, the away side couldn’t hang on after that with lazy defence the catalyst to their defeat.
The Panthers are on a five-match winning run over the Knights. In these five wins, the Knights have conceded 29 or more points on each occasion.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in addition to scoring the match saving try last week, has a great record against the Knights with five tries in his past four matches against them.
Best Bet: Penrith score 20+ (To score 20) @ $2*
Value Bet: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (To score a try)
Wests Tigers v Dragons
An interesting game in store for us this afternoon with one team determined to make the eight, while the other side is desperately searching for their early season form.
The Dragons’ Premiership dream appears to be slipping further away each week after notching-up another loss, their third in a row and five in six matches. Their 36-point loss to the Eels is their biggest loss since 2016, resulting in the Dragons dropping out of the Top 4 for the first time this season. A further blow was the dislocation of Gareth Widdop’s shoulder that will see him sit out this week.
The Tigers held on to record a two-point win over the Raiders. The win ended their four-game losing skid against them and the victory has kept their finals hopes alive.
Wests won this clash back in Round 18 by four points, but the Dragons were victorious on the previous two encounters. The margin has been tight in the past two games being decided by just four points on both occasions.
Whilst Robbie Farrah has said they expect the Dragons to come out firing, with their season on the line it’s hard to go past the Tigers in another close one.
Best Bet: Tigers win (H2H) @ $1.75*
Value Bet: Tigers 1-12 (Margin) @ $3
Sharks v Cowboys
Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Sharks made a statement last weekend with their 17-14-point win over the Storm, their second victory against them this season. Cronulla has been involved in tight affairs, with six of the past seven matches for them decided by 10 points or less. Wade Graham is out injured and will be replaced by Scott Sorensen this week.
The Sharks have now moved into sixth position on the ladder and firmed up in the Top 4 market. Paul Gallen stated post-match that his side “can beat anyone”.
The Cowboys look to have found some late season form winning 34-30 in a thrilling match over the Broncos. This was the first time since Round 20 last season North Queensland have recorded back-to-back victories at home. A fallout from that win is Jason Taumalolo copping a one-week suspension for his hit on Jamayne Isaako.
These teams faced each other back in round 1 where the Cowboys got the six-point win. These matches tend to be closely fought with five of the past seven matches decided by single figure margins.
Keep an eye on Gavin Cooper who scored a try in his sixth consecutive game last week.
Best Bet: Sharks 1-12 (margin) @ $2.90*
Value Bet: Gavin Cooper (To score a try)
Bulldogs v Warriors
The Warriors showed their rivals they are a premiership threat with their 20-4-point win over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium. The win snapped their four-game losing streak at home, moved them up to seventh on the ladder and has kept finals football within their grasp for the first time since 2011. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was outstanding with 289 run metres, two line breaks and 11 tackle breaks.
The Bulldogs had a two-game winning run snapped by Manly 18-6. Canterbury now sit just one win ahead of Parramatta in the run for the Wooden Spoon. David Klemmer returned from suspension in fine form recording 209 run metres.
The Warriors haven’t fared well against the Bulldogs in recent times, with only two wins from their past eight encounters. These games tend to go down to the wire with six of the past seven decided by eight points or less.
Bulldogs centre Kerrod Holland has three tries in his past three matches against the Warriors. Look for him to cross again tonight.
Best Bet: Warriors 1-12 (Margin)
Value Bet: Kerrod Holland (To score a try)
Raiders v Roosters
Hello ladder leaders! After their four-point win over the Rabbitohs, the Roosters trimmed up in the Premiership market. At that price they are the shortest priced favourite we’ve seen this season so far. What’s more exciting for Roosters fans is Trent Robinson saying there is “room for improvement and more to come”. The Roosters are currently five from five when scoring the first try and going on to win the match.
The Raiders recorded a two-point loss to the Wests Tigers after a slow start to the game. The Raiders gave away three tries in the first 20 minutes. despite giving the Tigers a scare, they couldn’t catch them. This gives the Raiders their fourth straight loss, despite scoring 20 or more in all four of those games.
A positive for Raiders fan is the Green Machine has won the past two matches over the Roosters, with a margin of eight or less on both occasions. A worrying stat for the Roosters is the fact they haven’t won in Canberra since 2010.
Joseph Leilua is flying at the moment with seven tries in his past four games. Watch out for him to score tonight.
Best Bet: Roosters score first/Roosters win (First Points and Win Match) @ $2.25*
Value Bet: Joseph Leilua (To score a try)