NRL Round 23 – Previews and Odds

Tom Trbojovic

There are only three regular-season rounds left before finals Footy kicks off and leaves us all wondering who’s going to take out this seasons Premiership.

However, before any of that even gets underway there’s still the not so small matter to be decided as to who will occupy spots 7th and 8th on the ladder. Newcastle and the Gold Coast are there with 10 and nine wins each. Canberra is just a position back, also on nine victories. Then in 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th all of the Sharks, Dragons, Warriors and Tigers are on eight wins each apiece.

The race to the business end of the season is getting incredibly exciting and extremely tight and tense. There’s simply no denying it! So, let’s have a run through all the matches this round to see who’ll win and whether your team can give themselves a leg up or not.

Gold Coast Titans vs Melbourne Storm @Cbus Super Stadium – THU 19TH AUG – KO 7:50 PM

Melbourne heads into this game on the back of a simply astonishing 18-match winning streak. As for the Titans? They have been nothing short of patchy over their past 10 clashes, posting a 4W-6L record. Making matters even worse for the ‘tourist strip’ based club is that in their last matchup they were pummelled by top three side the Rabbitohs, 36-6. The Gold Coast’s sole try that match didn’t even come until the 65th minute! They made 14 errors throughout the clash and as we all know that’s something that the Storm easily feast upon. Cough, cough, just ask Canberra and Manly.

Expect the Gold Coast’s finals hopes to take a rather serious blow to the head here because Melbourne should win quite comfortably, I’d imagine, by at least 20+ points, if not more! Future Bulldog Josh Addo-Carr should be a big reason as to why that’s the case. Last round against Canberra he was kept fairly quiet and it’s hard to imagine that happening to the speedster twice in a row. He’s also got 21 tries this season and no doubt the ‘Fox’ will be looking to add to that burgeoning tally against the side he scored X2 vs back in RD10.

My tip: Melbourne by 20+ – Paying $1.72 @ Ladbrokes (19+).

To produce a belter of a performance: Josh Addo-Carr

Canberra Raiders vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles @Suncorp Stadium – FRI 20TH AUG – KO 6:00 PM

Manly will start this clash as HEAVY favourites and deservedly so after their 46-point pummeling of the Eels last weekend. It was a romp and there’s no other way to describe it! Among the heroes were Tommy ‘Turbo’ with 1 try + 4 try assists and Reuben Garrick with a personal haul of 3 tries and a total of 26 points to his name. They were electric that match unlike Parramatta and unless the Raiders have fixed their multiple error problems of last round then this should be another easy W for Dessy Hasler’s men.

Tommy’s no guarantee to feature in this one, so Manly should turn to Garrick and Brad Parker for some attacking guidance, given they already know what to expect of/from Jason Saab. Garrick to his credit has been having a stellar year while Parker has been doing his thing quietly as well. On the campaign, he’s got 8 tries and 1 assist, whilst he’s also averaging (per match) 103 running m’s and 1.8 tackle breaks. Now when you look at the Raiders backline that features good BUT also noticeably young players such as Harley Smith-Shields (21) and Bailey Simonsson (23) it becomes painfully apparent which way this encounter should theoretically play out.

My tip: Manly by 30+ – Paying 3.70 @ Ladbrokes (30+)

To produce a belter of a performance: Reuben Garrick

Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs @Suncorp Stadium – FRI 20TH AUG – KO 8:05 PM

When these two sides last faced off against one another it was the Panthers who ran rampant 56-12. In fact, Penrith has won the last four clashes contested between the two of them, however, the other three were decided by just 4, 8 and 1 point/s each. The difference between now and then is that Nathan Cleary is still shaking off his post-injury rust for the Panthers, and he is their difference-maker. And that’s something that Rabbitohs will be waiting quietly for in order to take full advantage of. For example, in his teams win vs St. George last round, among his other stats, Clearly was limited to just 1 try assist, 1 offload and 1 line break assist.

South’s own rep Half in the form of Adam Reynolds has been in some scintillating form lately. And he was an absolute menace in his sides 30-point thrashing of the Titans last weekend. Not to mention he’s kicking goals like they’re going out of fashion! His personal battle against Cleary will not only be incredibly exciting to watch but one that should also heavily influence the outcome of the match. It won’t be easy but in what is 100% the match of the round he should help lead his team out on top by the end of it.

My tip: South’s by 4-10 – Paying $3.40 @ Ladbrokes (1-12)

To produce a belter of a performance: Latrell Mitchell

Wests Tigers vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks @Suncorp Stadium – SAT 21ST AUG – KO 3:00 PM

Somehow, someway, miraculously if we’re being honest, the Tigers still have a shot at making the top eight for the first time since 2011.  This would represent the first time they’ve done it under the tutelage of Michael Maguire.

If their late-season form is anything to go off then they’re as good a chance as any to make it. They head into this all-crucial clash against Cronulla having won three of their last five games. W 24-16 vs Cowboys, W 28-16 vs Bulldogs and W 42-24 vs Broncos. While they also lost by just 2 to the Warriors over that same time span. They’re grinding out some tough matches. Cronulla due to the unfortunate shock injury to Andrew Fifita may just not be up to the challenge this time.

*Best of luck in your recovery Andrew. The whole Rugby League world is thinking of you at the moment.

Against the Bulldogs, Wests gave away just one penalty. Prior to that against the Warriors, it was just three. And in their 18-point thumping of Brisbane, it was just one again. Wests have been incredibly well-disciplined lately and that sort of composure should aid them well against a Cronulla side who are capable of putting up points in a hurry. This should be a fun clash to watch, but one in which the Tigers should also ultimately prevail.

My tip: Wests by 4-8 – Paying $3.60 @ Ladbrokes (1-12)

To produce a belter of a performance: Luke Brooks

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Newcastle Knights @Browne Park, Rockhampton – SAT 21ST AUG – KO 5:30 PM

The Knights last bested the Bulldogs back in RD1 where they doubled the dogs score in a comfortable 32-16 victory. Now they’re in 7th position, vying for finals Footy and up against the rudderless team who are dead-last and the worst PD (and it’s not even close) in the NRL at -384. Even the most biased of supporters would have to admit that pretty much everything is pointing towards an easy Newcastle victory in this clash. They have it all to play for while Trent Barrett’s men just don’t have it this season.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you that Adam O’Brien’s men will win this game, then maybe this will. The Dogs have just two wins out of 21 matches played this campaign. Whilst they’ve also lost their last eight in a row to rub some salt into their wounds. Just looking at their most recent 14-point loss to the Warriors, they gave up nine penalties and also made nine errors. They also ran for over 1000 fewer metres than the NZ-based franchise. The unpredictability of a player such as Kayln Ponga + the possession of hard hitters such as Tyson Frizell and David Klemmer should have the Bulldogs comfortably.

My tip: Newcastle by 25+ – Paying 2.10 @ Ladbrokes (19+)

To produce a belter of a performance: Kayln Ponga

Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys @Cbus Super Stadium – SAT 21ST AUG – KO 7:35 PM

Parramatta needs a victory, literally any sort of victory ASAP. They just got knocked from QLD back into Western Sydney with a 56-10 loss. Whilst two of their blokes copped send-off calls from the ref. It was terrible for them and as such, linking back to my previous call, THEY NEED A WIN. And who better to do that against than the Cowboys? A club who’ve tasted success just once from their previous 10 games. It might get scrappy at times and perhaps be far from pretty. But, if the Eels genuinely have any serious aspirations for this season, then you’d expect/pick them to get the W here.

Rumours have been flying around as of late that Clint Gutherson has been asking for one million dollars a season on his next contract. He played more to the value of $1 against Manly, but against this struggling outfit this is the perfect chance for him to prove his worth and help his value rocket back up. On the campaign he’s gotten 12 tries and 16 try assists, so he is very, very capable of producing the goods. And you’d be thinking that HC Brad Arthur will be hoping to God that he can do it against the Cowboys. They need form heading into the finals, they just do.

My tip: Parramatta by 20+ – Paying $2.90 @ Ladbrokes (19+)

To produce a belter of a performance: Clint Gutherson

St. George Illawarra Dragons vs Sydney Roosters @Cbus Super Stadium – SUN 22ND AUG – KO 2:00 PM

The Dragons are a hot mess at the moment, there’s just no other way to put it. That now-infamous BBQ killed their season. And I genuinely feel sorry for lads such as Ben Hunt and Head Coach Anthony Griffin who didn’t attend the moron ceremony. However, it is what it is and they’ve gotta get on with it. Their last game was a 34-16 defeat to the Panthers. While the Roosters latest clash saw them kick a 79th minute PG to scrape by Brisbane, 21-20.

If St. George is to be within a shot of winning this (however unlikely that may be) then they need a 5-star performance from Fijian Winger Mikaele Ravalawa. He has 10 tries this season from just 13 games and is averaging a barnstorming 149 running m’s per match. And weighing in at 93kgs he’s more than capable of holding his own size-wise. Hell, even if the Dragons lose still pick him to have a great match. He always does, after all, rain hail or shine.

My tip: Sydney Roosters by 16-26 – Paying $1.91 @ Ladbrokes (13+)

To produce a belter of a performance: James Tedesco

Brisbane Broncos vs New Zealand Warriors @Clive Berghoffer Stadium, Toowoomba – SUN 22ND AUG – KO 4:05 PM

The final game of the round sees the success-starved Broncos taking on the finals starved Warriors. Brisbane is playing for pride and for respect, while the Warriors are playing to keep their season alive. They’ve miraculously done well since RTS’s departure from the club, and they need to keep that form going to get past a battered but slowly building Brisbane outfit. And they’ll be out to play! As Brisbane lost by just one point (a penalty goal) to the Chooks last weekend.

New Zealand’s latest form has seen them prove to be victorious in their last three games in a row. Last time up they beat Canterbury 24-10. Before that, it was 18-16 vs the Sharks. And prior to that clash, it was 18-16 vs the Tigers. They’re learning how to grind out results and play a non-pretty style of Rugby League and that’s incredibly important to the club. Brisbane however ain’t slouches though and they nearly had the Roosters beat. They come out on top here, JUST!

My tip: Brisbane Broncos by 1-6 – Paying $6.60 @ Ladbrokes (1-6)

To produce a belter of a performance: Payne Haas

So, there you have it, in-depth previews for each and every game of the round. Will your team win? Or will your club be left wondering what went wrong? Any day without the Footy happening is just too long, so bring it all on!

***Disclaimer*** Please Gamble Responsibly

Toby is somebody who is a knowledgeable and passionate sports fan, but none more than the NRL. From a young age, he has been covering and supporting Australia’s greatest code. He has diplomas in both sports and business, while he loves a good laugh, some good food and travelling.

You don't have permission to register