NRL Round 13: Sunday Match Previews & Betting Tips
The vultures are surrounding the Titans who need an upset over the Broncos to show their 2019 campaign still has a pulse. Meanwhile fans question if the Premiers are in a slump after losing two straight. If the Roosters can’t defeat battling Penrith then eyebrows will be raised.
Brisbane Broncos v Gold Coast Titans – Suncorp Stadium – 2pm
Have the Broncos finally turned their season around? Their 8-2 win away to the Warriors in round 11 made it three wins in a row and although byes can skew the table this time of year, at 5-6 the Broncos are amazingly only one win behind the fourth-placed Knights. It’s not a bad result considering they weren’t far from being written off for finals hopes only five weeks ago. Their attack wasn’t free-flowing but with their defence suffocating the Warriors’ attack, Anthony Milford’s lone try proved enough.
It was an eventful bye week however with coach Anthony Seibold farewelling star centre James Roberts with an immediate release to Souths. It’s the second major release following Kodi Nikorima’s departure and also marks a significant show of faith in rookie centres Kotoni Staggs and Gehamat Shibasaki, who have functioned well since “Jimmy the Jet” was first dropped. It’ll be interesting to see how Origin newcomers David Fifita and Payne Haas handle returning to club footy – Haas, in particular, has formed a steamrolling front row tandem with Matt Lodge and with the Titans reeling from another disappointing loss, Seibold won’t want his young pack to ease up the intensity anytime soon.
Gold Coast’s 6-4 loss to North Queensland was ugly in every sense. It’s hard to pinpoint the most disappointing aspect of the Titans’ performance. Halfback Ashley Taylor grabbed headlines for a sub-standard performance, with his goal-kicking, in particular, going a long way to dooming the Titans to their ninth loss of 2019 already. Yet the struggling halfback was hardly alone. Whether through a lack of confidence or through coach Garth Brennan’s blueprint, the Titans inexplicably shied away from attacking kicks and backing themselves ball in hand to instead play a conservative, grinding style.
Several times Mitch Rein kicked on the sixth tackle to solely find the sideline even while his side were losing, while in their desperate efforts to retake the lead too often the Titans’ attack consisted of finding Tyrone Peachey or Bryce Cartwright and hoping for the best. With their finals hopes all but gone, the Titans will at least have the pressure off them and may well find the spark needed to revitalise them in a local derby. As they showed just two weeks ago against Manly, the Titans have it in them to run up points quickly – but do they have the self-belief to do it again?
Key Stats: Brisbane has dominated this rivalry, winning 19 of the 27 fixtures including eight from the last nine. In that recent streak, their average win margin has been over 27 points. Gold Coast have only won one second half from their last four away starts while Brisbane has won their last three second halves at Suncorp.
Best bet: Broncos second half - $1.61*
Value bet: Broncos 13+ - $2.50*
Penrith Panthers v Sydney Roosters– Panthers Stadium – 4:05pm
If the Panthers hit rock bottom in their 30-10 loss in round 10 to the Warriors, they’ve at least responded in the best way possible with their season’s first consecutive wins. Their 15-12 win over Manly was particularly commendable given their constant backline injury woes were then compounded when star backrower Viliame Kikau was ruled out with illness under 24 hours from kickoff.
The Panthers though rallied behind returning veteran half James Maloney and young forward Liam Martin who had the game of his emerging career to arguably prove the difference in his try plus try assist for Dylan Edwards. Considering the Panthers were last after that infamous Warriors defeat, coach Ivan Cleary wouldn’t have cared how his side got their next wins but now with a winning bounce in their steps, they’ll look to pull off their most convincing performance of 2019 against a side who might just be down a notch in their own confidence.
The Roosters’ 38-12 loss to Newcastle was one of the most shocking scores in 2019 – not necessarily in the Knights winning but in their wide margin of victory. It’s been a rare sight for the vast majority of coach Trent Robinson’s tenure to see his side dispatched so easily but there’s no question the Roosters got exactly what their performance deserved. Only six Roosters didn’t make handling errors that night while the Roosters’ choice to rest Cooper Cronk may have backfired when Luke Keary was knocked out early and left them relying on interchange half Brock Lamb to steer the tricoloured ship.
That experiment failed and with Keary facing six weeks out to recover from his head concerns, ex-Dragon playmaker Drew Hutchison is named to partner the returning Cronk in the halves. If there’s one trait Hutchison brings, it’s size – he’ll rival John Asiata as the league’s biggest five-eighth and will add defensive starch which the Roosters sorely lacked across the park. The lone highlight in their loss was James Tedesco, who was somehow among the best on ground despite his side being comprehensively beaten. If he makes it through Origin look for him to continue his brilliant form against the Panthers.
Key stats: The Roosters have won three of their last four trips to Penrith. The last time the Roosters lost three in a row was round 20, 2016 while the last time Penrith won three straight was round 20, 2018. James Tedesco has eight tries in his last nine games.
Best bet: Roosters -6.5 - $1.90*
Value bet: James Tedesco anytime tryscorer - $2.10*