Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels
A mouth-watering Thursday night contest as the fourth-placed Eels look to bounce back against the fifth-placed Roosters. The Eels went down to the Raiders last round, but while it was a shock loss, it’s clear their opponents have regained their mojo after a dismal start to the season. The Roosters are coming off three straight wins to settle their charge for the finals – and possibly a top four spot – after beating the Knights in Round 19. The Roosters had dominated this fixture in recent times until the Eels turned the tables last start earlier this year winning 31-18. The Roosters have continued injury concerns, but they’re masking them well and now get the services of returning veteran Josh Morris and international prop Siosiua Taukeiaho. This is a big test for the Eels but it’s one they should be winning if they are serious premiership contenders.
Suggested bet – 2.5u Eels -4.5 at $2
Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors
I’ve previously declared the Warriors are barred as a betting proposition but I’m a tad surprised they are such a big price against the Tigers. But despite losing four of their past five, the upside for the Tigers is they’ve won four of their past six at Suncorp Stadium. Additionally, all four of those losses were against premiership hopefuls. While I’m slightly surprised about the Warriors price, the reality is they have lost their past seven. I’ll show some discipline and give this game a wide berth.
No suggested bet
Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys
Interesting clash with the hapless Broncos looking to take down a Cowboys side out to arrest a six-game losing streak. The Cowboys showed improvement last week to be one of very few sides to test the airborne Storm, but so did the Broncos when only going down to the Panthers 18-12. The Broncos will be looking to draw on their strong record against the Cowboys at home, winning seven of their past nine encounters at Suncorp. However, I’m happy to back the Cowboys here as outsiders given they’ve been the better overall side in season 2021.
Suggested bet – 2u Cowboys win at $2.06
St George Illawarra Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs
A tough assignment for the Dragons as they look to firm up a finals spot when they take on a white-hot Rabbitohs outfit. The Dragons come off two straight losses while the Rabbitohs are in the midst of a seven-game win streak. Corey Norman is back for the Dragons after serving his one-game ban but at least three more players from the Shellharbour COVID-breachers must sit out this week, leaving Jack de Belin, Jack Bird, Josh McGuire and Blake Lawrie on the outer. The Rabbitohs will be looking to secure the points here given they have a tough run home after this clash. They’ll be way too good, but can they cover the line of four converted tries? They should, but it’s just a small bet.
Suggested bet – 1u Rabbitohs -24.5 at $1.90
Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Plenty at stake here with two sides looking to secure a top-eight berth. They both come into this off contrasting form, with the Knights losing four of their past six and the Raiders winning their past three. However, the Knights’ losses have all been to top four contenders and they should get some reinforcements with Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer and Bradnam Best both good chances of returning. The Raiders’ late resurgence has been built on defence but the Knights have the creativity to test just how far this Canberra side has progressed. The Knights have won three of their four against the Raiders. I feel the Raiders’ late season run might be tested here with the Knights regaining some key players.
Suggested bet – 1u Knights win at $2.15
Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers
This shapes as a cracking contest as the Storm put their run of 15 straight wins to the test against the Panthers. After losing two of their past six when injuries and Origin commitments took their toll, now is the time for the Panthers to stamp their mark as a genuine contender to the flag favourite Storm. The Panthers are one of few sides with a solid decent record against the Storm, winning two of their past three against the juggernaut. However, the Storm have won their past 11 games at Suncorp Stadium and they face a Panthers side without Brian To’o, Isaah Yeo and Tyrone May. While I can back the Panthers with a three-try start, those omissions are a concern, so it’s only a small bet
Suggested bet – 1u +18.5 Panthers at $1.90
Canterbury Bulldogs v Gold Coast Titans
Canterbury has lost its last 10 games in Queensland and it’s no surprise they go into this clash against the Titans as outsiders. But their creditable form in recent weeks against top eight sides is hard to dismiss. The Titans are hardly in stellar form, losing six of their past nine, but they did win this fixture earlier in the season 30-20. The Titans have also won three of their past four games against the Bulldogs who will be further set back by the loss of international rep Luke Thompson. Had they not lost Thompson, I’d be keen to back the Dogs at the line, but without him they might struggle.
No suggested bet
Cronulla Sharks v Manly Sea Eagles
Manly have won 11 of their past 13 against Cronulla and expect that theme to continue here. While their blistering mid-season form has somewhat tapered in recent weeks, I feel Manly is ready to hit top gear against an in-and-out Cronulla outfit which has enjoyed an easy run in recent months. I think the Sea Eagles will put the accelerator down here and put the Sharks to the sword.
Suggested bet – 3u Manly -17.5 at $1.85