Manly Sea Eagles vs Sydney Roosters

Thursday July 28 | 4 Pines Park | 7.50pm AEST

It’ll be interesting to see how the Sea Eagles respond after a week engulfed in the media spotlight following the self-standing down of seven players over the Pride guernsey fiasco. The controversy will surely be an unwelcome distraction and Manly should be ripe for the picking by the Roosters. Gun forward Jake Trbojevic returns for Manly but it’ll be tough to replace such a core group of players. Star centre Joey Manu is also an important inclusion for the Roosters. This is a massive game as the race for a finals spot intensifies, with both sides sitting precariously on the ladder with a 9-9 record. The Roosters have produced some promising performances recently which suggests they’re not far off somewhere near their better footy. Manly come into this off a disappointing loss to the Dragons, and the Roosters were far too good when winning this fixture back in round two (26-12). I’m thinking a repeat here.

Suggested bet: 1u Roosters -17.5 at $1.90


New Zealand Warriors vs Melbourne Storm

Friday July 29 | Mt Smart Stadium | 6.00pm AEST

An uncharacteristic form slump has the Storm in unchartered waters as they try to break a four-game losing streak. They still sit well within reach of the top four, but if they lose this clash to the Warriors they could slip as low as seventh. The Warriors are back at home for just the second time this season – and they proved how much playing in front of adoring fans means to them only a few weeks ago when they demolished the Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium. However, that was their only win from the last 10 matches. Reece Walsh returns to fullback for the Warriors while the already-decimated Storm go in unchanged. The Storm were dominant in the round seven encounter between these two sides, winning 70-10. Melbourne has owned this fixture in recent times, and while they have plenty to play for, the Warriors should be spurred on by home fans to at least be competitive.

Suggested bet: 1u Warriors +12.5 at $1.90


Parramatta Eels vs Penrith Panthers

Friday July 29 | CommBank Stadium | 7.55pm AEST

A blockbuster Friday night contest with the Eels the only team to have beaten the Panthers in 2022. Can they do it again? They were horrible against the Broncos last week but are a side with the ability to turn things around quickly and surprise the better sides. Three of the last four meetings between the teams have been decided by two points or less, so it’s likely this will be another cliff-hanger. The Panthers will be without Jarome Luai and Stephen Crichton – two key players whose absence can’t be underestimated. The Eels can shake the competition’s premier side here with  those key Panthers players on the outer.

Suggested bet: 1u Eels +8.5 at $1.90


Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders

Saturday July 30 | Cbus Super Stadium | 3.00pm AEST

The Titans have lost their past eight and won only once from their last 14 games. I’m struggling to work out why the in-form Canberra side aren’t much shorter here. Canberra have won three of their last four games and are well-positioned for a finals tilt. This is a must-win, golden opportunity against a lowly side battling to avoid the wooden spoon. The Raiders have also won four of the last five encounters between the teams. They should be far too good.

Suggested bet: 2u Raiders -8.5 at $1.90


Cronulla Sharks vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Saturday July 30 | PointsBet Stadium | 5.30pm AEST

Two in-form teams right in the mix for a top four slot. Cronulla has landed in third spot, despite losing last week to Penrith when failing to have the polish to consolidate a strong first half. Before that the Sharks were riding a five-game win streak. The Rabbitohs are also jetting up the ladder thanks largely to Latrell Mitchell’s return and come off a thumping win over Melbourne. The Rabbitohs have won three of the last four meetings, but there’s been no blowouts, which suggests we’re in for another tight encounter. The stat I like the most is Cronulla enjoys playing under lights at home, winning nine of their past 10 at PointsBet Stadium. There’s not a huge deal to report on the injury with front with each side losing an enforcer with Cronulla without Dale Finucane and the Rabbitohs without Mark Nicholls.

Suggested bet: 1.5u Sharks win at $1.71


Brisbane Broncos vs Wests Tigers

Saturday July 30 | Suncorp Stadium | 7.35pm AEST

If it wasn’t already official, the Broncos proved they’re a genuine top four side after making a mess of the Eels last week. After winning away from home against a top four rival, they now return home and face one of the easiest opponents in the competition. However, the Tigers should be hungry after copping a horror late call which denied them a surprise win over the Cowboys in North Queensland. There was a lot to like about that performance, but can they repeat the dose after such another week in the media spotlight? Interestingly, the Tigers have won the last three meetings between the teams. This does have some sense of a danger game for the Broncos, and at the short price I’m happy to stay out.

No suggested bet


Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury Bulldogs

Sunday July 31 | McDonald Jones Stadium | 2.00pm AEST

The Knights’ lowly season isn’t getting any better after letting through 42 points in the loss to the Roosters last week. They face fellow cellar-dwellers the Bulldogs, who are showing signs of improvement under new coach Mick Potter. They’ve now won three of their last five, and showed their newfound attacking flair when notching up 36 points against the Titans last week. Newcastle have won the last three games between the teams, but this is under very different circumstances. The Knights are continuing their downward spiral, while the Bulldogs are on the improve. There’s some key outs for both sides, with Kalyn Ponga’s season likely over for the Knights. The Bulldogs have a couple of key outs, but they do get Jake Averillo returning to fullback. Backing the Bulldogs seems to be risky, but it’s hard not to believe they’ll only keep improving as the season continues.

Suggested bet: 1u Bulldogs -5.5 at $1.90


St George Illawarra Dragons vs North Queensland Cowboys

Sunday July 31 | Jubilee Stadium | 4.05pm AEST

Interesting clash as the Dragons host the second-placed Cowboys to end the round. The Cowboys were lucky to escape with the points last week as they found it hard to shake the lowly Tigers. Only a putrid call at end ensured the Cowboys took the win. The Dragons have won five of their past eight and performed admirably against some of the better sides, including an impressive 20-6 win over Manly last week. However, the Cowboys have won three of the last four matches between the sides which includes the dominant 31-12 win back in round 14. The Cowboys are unchanged with Reuben Cotter a chance of being a later inclusion.

Suggested bet: 0.5u Cowboys -7.5 at $1.90