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2017 NRL Round 13 preview and expert tips

Posted on 31/05 by Joe Gann

2017 NRL Round 13 preview and expert tips

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Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights betting
Team Odds
Melbourne Storm $1.13 Bet Now
Newcastle Knights $6.00 Bet Now

Having been temporarily displaced at the summit of the ladder by the Sharks during Round 12, Storm will be eying a return to pole position on Friday night. News that Origin representative Will Chambers has inked a new deal at the club has come as a timely boost as the Storm look to shore up the future of their core personnel.

Full-back Billy Slater will be hoping to continue his superb 2017 form and put the disappointment of his omission from the Maroons' squad aside. Melbourne will be looking to build upon a satisfying defeat of the Bunnies in Round 11 and will be confident of doing so in their first appearance at AAMI Park since Round 8.

The Knights are enjoying a far more successful year than in previous seasons; having won twice the number of games than in the entirety of 2016 already. After a season spent repairing a mismanaged salary cap, in which 11 rookies took to the field for the Novocastrians, the club is now presiding over a $3m war- chest. The problem so far has been in persuading players to join an organisation in possession of back-to-back wooden spoons.

With only Kalyn Ponga to have committed himself to the Knights' cause going forward, the decision of the club's solitary Origin representative Dane Gagai to join South Sydney came as a huge blow. Nathan Ross may be reinstated this week following his demotion to the NSW Cup after proving prone to indiscretion regarding his own ongoing contract situation.

Selection: Storm to win

Parramatta Eels v New Zealand Warriors betting
Team Odds
Parramatta Eels $1.65 Bet Now
New Zealand Warriors $2.25 Bet Now

The Eels snatched an important win at the expense of the Rabbitohs at the weekend, to keep pace with other teams in the mix for finals football. Mitchell Moses came to the fore in just his second match with a mesmeric display. Introducing a high tempo behind the Parramatta ruck, his non-stop energy allowed himself to lay a platform for a devastating kicking game to develop.

His combination with Tepai Moeroa down the right edge shows promising signs as the halfback showcased why coach Brad Arthur was so desperate to acquire his services this year.

One media outlet this week raised the question of whether the NRL would be better off without the Warriors, such has been the substandard nature of their displays so far. Although that may be a touch excessive, the performance levels over the past few years leave them vulnerable to such intense criticism. They bounced back from an awful recent spell to overcome an undermanned Broncos at the weekend to make it 5-2 in their home games - while remaining pointless on the road.

Selection: Eels to win

St George Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers betting
Team Odds
St George Illawarra Dragons $1.30 Bet Now
Wests Tigers $3.50 Bet Now

Despite enjoying an emphatic victory over an atrocious Warriors last time out, the news in the intervening period has been of a negative nature for the Dragons.

The stunning revelation that prop Russell Packer has signed a 4-year contract with Wests was augmented by the bombshell disclosure that star man Josh Dugan will be plying his trade for the Sharks from next season. It is a double blow to a side that has been progressing nicely this season.

The club remains adamant that there are reasons to be upbeat for the Red V, particularly as leading forward Paul Vaughan has just committed his long-term future to the club, extending his deal to 2021.

The Tigers' rebuilding process under Ivan Cleary is proceeding in brisk fashion; Russell Packer, Ben Matulino, Josh Reynolds and Chris McQueen have all been recruited to bolster the ranks at Concord next year. In addition, Tuimolala Lolohea has been granted an immediate release from the Warriors that may see the utility team up with his new club in time for this clash. Away from the action, Wests are still keen to pioneer the idea to take the NRL to Hawaii for a pre-season friendly, with the Dragons as likely opponents.

It is an initiative that has been met with general approval as the club attempt to broaden the appeal of the sport and explore new markets. However, with a congested off-season, which includes a World Cup and Nines action, the initiative could be shelved until 2019.

Selection: Dragons to win

Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos betting
Team Odds
Sydney Roosters $1.66 Bet Now
Brisbane Broncos $2.20 Bet Now

The Roosters were without five Origin players in their courageous loss at the hands of the Raiders at the weekend. Despite the lack of stellar names, they put up a valiant fight against a full-strength Canberra and were unlucky not take something from the match after a second half fightback.

A disastrous decision by Zane Tetevano to run the ball instead of passing the ball out to one of the two teammates who were completely unmarked and certainties to score, was a crucial play and the game turned on that huge blunder. Nevertheless, Coach Trent Robinson must have been pleased with his side's application, and they remain in the top six going into Saturday's mouth-watering clash.

The Broncos will be keen to welcome back the services of seven Origin participants this week after a depleted line-up was beaten in Auckland in the last round. Although fielding a severely weakened side, Brisbane chief Wayne Bennett will have been unimpressed with the manner of his second string's failure to grasp the opportunity to step up in the absence of their more illustrious counterparts.

With a completion rate of less than 60%, it was a torrid evening for Broncos, initiated by a horror start in which they completed just three of their first eight sets. The return of Ben Hunt is nice timing around a period where resources are stretched, although the form of replacement Kodi Nikorima has ensured that the Broncos have managed quite well in his absence. This weekend's match at the high-flying Roosters will be a match-up of two combatants who have been affected by the Origin fixture more than most; a combined total of thirteen first team players have received a call-up between the two sides.

Selection: Broncos to win

Nth Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans betting
Team Odds
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.46 Bet Now
Gold Coast Titans $2.74 Bet Now

The Cowboys appreciated the chance to give players a much-needed break from the action and recuperate from existing injuries picked up so far during last week's bye round.

Coach Paul Green has used the extended lay-off to fine-tune some aspects of his side's tactics, particularly around their fifth tackle options. They are still without kingpin Johnathan Thurston, who ultimately had to admit defeat in his battle to overcome a shoulder injury and take his place in the Maroons' line-up this week; although Green expects a much fresher looking North Queensland to take the field against their rivals from the Sunshine State.

Likewise, the Titans have been the victims of an injury plague that has reached epidemic proportions at times this year. They failed to capitalise on a memorable win over the Storm back in Round 10, following up with a dispiriting loss to the Sea Eagles last time out.

They were second best in every department - an event that hasn't occurred too frequently this year – as a rampant Manly kept up their 100% record on the road. It is possible that the Titans struggled to live up to favourites tag for the match, their best performances this term have arrived when there has been little to no expectation on their shoulders.

Selection: Cowboys to win

Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders betting
Team Odds
Manly Sea Eagles $1.90 Bet Now
Canberra Raiders $1.90 Bet Now

Manly will fancy their chances of exploiting the glaring weaknesses in the Raiders defensive line when they come up against the team from the capital this weekend.

A comfortable twenty-point win over the Gold Coast last time out will have boosted the confidence of a side as well as consolidating their top eight place. Trent Barrett will be aiming for his side to mirror their magnificent away record back at Brookvale; they have five wins on the road – including a 20-18 triumph against the Raiders in Round eight - and just a solitary victory on their own turf. If he can conjure up a method of translating that away form back to Manly, the Silvertails could have a successful season ahead of them.

An ugly post-match set-to between Ricky Stuart and Trent Robinson threatened to overshadow a vital two points for the Raiders on Sunday. The Canberra chief pointed an accusing finger at his fellow coach, stating that the Roosters ‘cheat at the ruck' to stifle the flair of his Green Machine.

The primary motivation behind his outburst must have been frustration due to the failure of his team to put a game to bed that should have been over long before Aidan Sezer touched down in the final seconds of the match to give his side a 24-16 victory. Although the Raiders are yet to hit the heights of 2016, they are now back in the eight at least, courtesy of this win, their sixth of the season.

Selection: Sea Eagles to win

Canterbury Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
Canterbury Bulldogs $2.00 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $1.81 Bet Now

The Bulldogs couldn't muster a win against the Sharks last week, in a game where quality suffered due to the missing Origin personnel. The Bulldogs were deprived of a vital victory by a battle-hardened Sharks outfit that somehow manages to find a win from somewhere - a quality that the Bulldogs could use right now.

Tenth plays eleventh in this one, and it has the potential to be a tense afternoon at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. The Panthers will be keen to extend a good recent winning run that has helped lift some of the gloom surrounding an underwhelming campaign so far.

There are strong rumours circulating that Josh Mansour is ready to make his return to the squad, seven months after undergoing a knee reconstruction; news that would provide a huge fillip to the roster.

Selection: Bulldogs to win

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