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2017 NRL Round 15 preview and expert tips

Posted on 12/06 by Joe Gann

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Adelaide v Hawthorn betting
Team Odds
Adelaide $1.10 Bet Now
Hawthorn $7.00 Bet Now
Footy Tipping: Adelaide

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Gold Coast Titans betting
Team Odds
South Sydney Rabbitohs $1.47 Bet Now
Gold Coast Titans $2.70 Bet Now

The Rabbitohs were unfortunate not to take anything from last week’s meeting with the Broncos after delivering a much-improved display at the Suncorp.

Bryson Goodwin scored a try to bring them back into the contest on Friday night; in a week where he announced his decision to leave the club at the end of the campaign to pursue a career in the English Super League. It appeared that the Bunnies responded positively to Coach Michael Mcguire’s public tirade - reacting to what he perceives has been an under-par campaign so far - as his side came desperately close to causing an upset.

Despite producing a more committed performance, the result leaves the Bunnies in fourteenth position on the ladder after their third consecutive defeat. With a record of four wins and nine losses, finals footy seems an unrealistic proposition this year.

The Titans came up with an awful defensive display in their defeat to the Warriors last week; handing the Aucklanders their first win on their travels this year. The 22 point reversal has put a serious dent in their attempt to reach the play-offs, with the results over the weekend conspiring to leave them in the bottom four places. Again, injuries played a part with Kane Elgey, Karl Lawton and Konrad Hurrell all picking up knocks. With Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Peats being named in the NSW squad, the return of Kevin Proctor from suspension is a timely boost.

Jarrod Wallace has put his Origin dream in jeopardy with a shoulder charge offence on Sunday, although the prop will enter a plea of not guilty in an attempt to play in Game 2.

Selection: Rabbitohs to win

Melbourne Storm v Nth Queensland Cowboys betting
Team Odds
Melbourne Storm $1.58 Bet Now
Nth Queensland Cowboys $2.40 Bet Now

Two teams who are without key players here due to the resumption of the Origin series.

The decision to rest Cooper Cronk for the win against the Sharks proved to be a masterstroke by Craig Bellamy, with Ryley Jacks and Cameron Munster proving to be a more than capable halves partnership in his absence. For the Storm, the inclusion of Billy Slater in the Maroons’ line-up will be a blow; the full-back was instrumental in their victory over the Knights in the previous Origin round; Y

oung Tonumaipea looks set to replace him. After extending their lead at the top of the ladder courtesy of Thursday’s excellent win at Cronulla, the Storm will be looking to their back-up players to fill the void left by the missing star names. Tim Glasby earned an unexpected call-up to the Queensland squad, meaning the Minor Premiers will be missing five key players this round.

The mid-season acquisition of Nate Myles will help strengthen the pack, with the former Manly forward set to join the squad this week. With injuries to Jordan McLean and Cheyse Blair further depleting the roster, coach Craig Bellamy will at least be comforted by the knowledge that this week’s opponents are also suffering from the same disadvantage.

The return of Johnathan Thurston played a part in the Cowboys win over the Eels last week, with the captain proving his fitness just in time to make the Maroons’ squad list. With Coen Hess also being called up for Queensland, coach Paul Green will have to do without four of his first-choice players. However, Ray Thompson may return after a week off to take his place in the side. Back in decent form with consecutive wins, the Cowboys will be looking to add the scalp of the Storm to make it three in a row and continue their quest for a top-four place.

Selection: Storm to win

Cronulla Sharks v Wests Tigers betting
Team Odds
Cronulla Sharks $1.25 Bet Now
Wests Tigers $4.00 Bet Now

The Sharks will be smarting following last Thursday’s home defeat at the hands of arch-rivals the Melbourne Storm and will be keen to put that setback behind them.

Although five of their big names have been called up for the second Origin match, the Sharks can still boast a quality line-up. Fa’amanu Brown comes in for James Maloney and Gerard Beale will cover for Valentine Holmes at full back while Sam Tagataese will stand in for Andrew Fifita. Maloney caused a stir at the club this week, with complaints about the financial details of his contract, which in turn prompted coach Shane Flanagan to address the matter on the NRL 360 show; it remains to be seen how the relationship between the two recovers from the altercation.

The absences of James Tedesco and Aaron Woods will no doubt hurt the Tigers, and although the Sharks have problems of their own, with key figures also missing, the reigning Premiers have the depth in their squad to absorb the losses more comfortably. The absence of Woods will be a particularly severe blow, with the captain leading a one-man charge in the forward line at times; his 150 metres gained in the game against the Roosters was comfortably the most made by any of the Wests’ pack, and others will need to step up to the plate this weekend.

Luke Brooks may be in contention for a starting berth following a hamstring injury.

Selection: Sharks to win

Parramatta Eels v St George Illawarra Dragons betting
Team Odds
Parramatta Eels $1.87 Bet Now
St George Illawarra Dragons $1.93 Bet Now

Both teams suffered disappointing defeats in the last round and will be eager to make amends in this one. The Eels are expected to announce an unchanged team as coach Brad Arthur keeps faith in the same players who were outplayed by the Cowboys. They will need to brush up on their discipline, the costly penalty count - seven, following the same number against the Warriors in the previous round - effectively ruined their chances of taking something from the game.

Currently sitting outside the top eight places, this is another game that could be crucial in their pursuit of finals football.

A substantial loss to a desperate Bulldogs outfit last time out will have taken some of the wind out of the Dragons’ sails following a fine start to the year. Coach Paul McGregor has been rewarded with a 2-year extension to his contract after an excellent 2017 campaign – the Dragons still occupy a top-four slot courtesy of a superior points differential. McGregor cited fatigue as a key factor in the defeat on Monday; the Dragons were forced to make 100 tackles more than their opponents; the draining effect of which contributed to minimise their potency at the other end of the field.

It was a rare off day for an attack that has been one of the main strengths of the side, amassing 287 points already this term.

Selection: Dragons to win

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