Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders
The Eels have steadied the ship after back-to-back mid-season losses to have won four of their past five. They take on a similarly rejuvenated Canberra side which has won its past two after looking certain to miss finals after a horror start to the year. The Eels have a few injury concerns with Mitch Moses and Tom Opacic sidelined, but they face a Raiders side which has lost all four games against top-four opposition in 2021. The Raiders do have a good recent record against the Eels if you overlook their most recent 35-10 losses earlier this year. This is a tough clash to decipher, with the Raiders probably having more to play for and the line seeming a touch excessive.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Raiders +15.5 at $1.90
Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights
The Roosters face off with the Knights on the Sunshine Coast and it’s an important clash for the latter who still have a chance of breaking into the top eight. As for the Roosters, despite their torrid run of injuries, they sit in fifth place, with their only defeats since round 11 coming at the hands of last year’s grand finalists Melbourne and Penrith. The Roosters have beaten the Knights nine out of the last 10. The Knights are chasing three straight wins for the first time this season after beating the Bulldogs and Cowboys and are now further strengthened with some big inclusions. Mitchell Pearce and Daniel Saifiti return, while Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer (who were lost to first-half head knocks last game) will be ready to go. With this star quartet returning, the Knights should be competitive.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Knights +11.5 at $1.90
North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm
The market rightly suggests this is the most one-sided match of the round with the Storm winning their past 11 over the Cowboys. The Storm juggernaut just continues rolling on, now without a loss since round three. To make matters worse for a Cowboys side looking to avoid six straight losses, the Storm welcome back Ryan Papenhuyzen. This has all the markings of an easy Storm win with Josh Addo-Carr, Christian Welch and Nelson Asofa-Solomona also back on deck. Cowboys young gun fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is also on the sidelines.
Suggested bet – 1u Storm -30.5 at $1.90
South Sydney Rabbitohs v New Zealand Warriors
Finals have almost certainly slipped away for the Warriors after six straight losses, but the Rabbitohs can hammer the final nail in the coffin here. Souths have won their past four over the Warriors and will be looking to build on that record, while also winning their seventh straight game for the season. Latrell Mitchell and Jai Arrow further bolster the Rabbitohs, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is sidelined for the Warriors. The Rabbitohs are a far better side than the Warriors and will be looking to improve off last week’s mediocre performance when beating the Bulldogs.
Suggested bet – 1u Rabbitohs -18.5 at $1.90
Manly Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Some key inclusions for Manly as they face Wests Tigers with Tom Trbojevic (and possibly brother Jake) and Daly Cherry-Evans good to go. The Sea Eagles can add some more momentum to their bid for a top four spot, which has been highlighted by scoring an average of 44 points per game since Round 14. While the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Broncos last week, this is a huge drop in grade against a genuine premiership threat.
Suggested bet – 1u Manly -18.5 at $1.90
Penrith Panthers v Brisbane Broncos
The Panthers have won their last nine matches at Suncorp and that should be extended here against the hapless Broncos who put in another dismal display against the Tigers last week. The Panthers have steadied with three wins on the trot and will now be looking for post-Origin normality, especially with Jerome Luai back in the mix. With the Broncos renowned for letting opposition sides score a flurry of tries a short period, I’m really surprised the line isn’t closer to 30 than 20 here.
Suggested bet – 4u Penrith -19.5 at $1.85
St George Illawarra Dragons v Gold Coast Titans
The under-siege Dragons were no match for a Manly side missing Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans but now face a Titans side which has lost five its past six. The Dragons have historically had the wood over the Titans, however they did lose this fixture in a tight one late last year. Moeaki Fotuaika will return to a starting position for the Titans, while skipper Jamal Fogarty is sidelined through injury. This is a tricky clash to see how both sides respond after losses last week (and a raft of losses in recent weeks).
No suggested bet
Canterbury Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks
While they’ve only won two games all year, the Bulldogs are making noticeable improvements into the latter half of the year. They’ll be no pushover here for the Sharks. In recent weeks the Dogs have almost upset both the Rabbitohs and Roosters. The Sharks are proving hugely inconsistent so far this season, but there’s a fair bit on the line here if they want to retain their spot in the top eight. Getting beaten by an out-of-form Raiders outfit last week has heaped pressure on the Sharks (7-10) who are seemingly only in the finals race because other teams continuing to stumble. The Sharks have won six of their past eight games against the Bulldogs, but I feel they are ripe for the picking against a side with renewed confidence and looking to get reward for strong performances in recent weeks.
Suggested bet – 1u Bulldogs win at $3.60 and 2u Bulldogs +10.5 at $1.90