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2017 NRL Round 16 preview and expert tips

Posted on 21/06 by Joe Gann

2017 NRL Round 16 preview and expert tips

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New Zealand Warriors v Canterbury Bulldogs betting
Team Odds
New Zealand Warriors $1.53 Bet Now
Canterbury Bulldogs $2.50 Bet Now
The Warriors have re-signed six of their current squad to longer deals with Blake Ashford, Ata Hingano, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Mason Lino, Lewis Soosemea and Joe Vuna all committing their future to the club.

With the mid-season deadline looming on June 30th, there is still no clarification over the 2018 salary cap limit including the second-tier level. Despite this, deals are still being struck, which opens the door to the possibility of infractions next season. The Warriors are still a model of inconsistency; with only 12 points on the board with ten games remaining, they are up against it if they are to reach the twenty-eight-point threshold which is usually the standard for a finals spot. They have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Bulldogs on the ladder with a victory in this one, although they may be forced to do so without Kieran Foran, who is struggling with a quad injury.

The Bulldogs put an end to a dreadful, four-game winless streak with a crucial win over St George; it was a vital tonic for a beleaguered side who are incredibly only two points adrift of a top eight place. The Bulldogs have re-signed two players this week - Kerrod Holland for three seasons until and Reimis Smith for a further two years. Origin trio Josh Jackson, Brett Morris and David Klemmer will face the nightmare scenario of having to fly straight from Sydney to Auckland following Wednesday’s clash; a severe handicap to their recovery from such a high-intensity game.

However, better news arrives in the form of Josh Reynolds who is expected to reclaim his position in the halves alongside Moses Mbye following a hamstring tear. The Dogs will be seeking to leapfrog the Warriors with a victory in New Zealand and strengthen their own claims on a top eight spot.

Selection: Warriors to win

Wests Tigers v Gold Coast Titans betting
Team Odds
Wests Tigers $2.17 Bet Now
Gold Coast Titans $1.69 Bet Now
The Tigers dropped to dead last on the ladder following last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Sharks, combined with the two points gained by the Knights courtesy of a bye round.

A club currently in the doldrums following five straight defeats may find an upturn in their fortunes this week against the continually injury-hit Titans, although the Gold Coast outfit may be bolstered by some returning personnel. The Tigers hopes yet again rest upon the shoulders of James Tedesco and Aaron Woods who resume their roles after missing the Round 15 defeat at Cronulla.

The Titans have been leading at the break five times this season and lost all five, a worrying trend that must erode confidence in their ability to maintain a lead. With the three big names returning from Origin alongside Agnatius Passi, Anthony Don and Tyrone Roberts who have recovered from injury, the Titans may have something resembling a full quota of players to choose from this week.

With their finals hopes all but extinguished, the Titans will have little more than pride to play for in the remainder of the campaign, but they will be seeking an improvement to results that have mustered just four victories in 2017.

Selection: Titans to win

Nth Queensland Cowboys v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.56 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $2.45 Bet Now
Te Maire Martin was released with immediate effect this week after languishing in the reserves at Pepper Stadium. His switch to this week’s opponents is the first tentative move to put a succession plan in motion to deal with the seismic event that will be Johnathan Thurston’s impending retirement at the end of next year.

Having signed a three-year deal, a period of integration is planned next year in preparation for Thurston to hand over the reins to his young protégé, prior to the 2019 season. The Cowboys will welcome back Origin quartet Thurston, Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess, with Scott Bolton, Antonio Winterstein and Kyle Laybutt expected to pass concussion formalities.

The Panthers are in a belated rich vein of form and have finally begun to show their true credentials. One of the competition’s in-form teams, the mountain men have been fired by the form of Matt Moylan whose displays since his shift to five-eighths have been pivotal in his side’s excellent recent run.

They are set to be boosted further this week with the return to action of Peter Wallace and James Fisher-Harris who have been missing with groin and hamstring complaints respectively.

Selection: Panthers to win

Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos betting
Team Odds
Canberra Raiders $1.63 Bet Now
Brisbane Broncos $2.29 Bet Now
The Raiders have delivered a statement of intent with their new contract for coach Ricky Stuart; the ex-Roosters, Sharks and Eels man has signed up until the end of 2020, a sign of the confidence that the club has in him. Despite the team enduring a disappointing campaign so far, in which they currently lie tenth in the table, Stuart remains positive that they can achieve finals football for the second year in a row.

Shannon Boyd could return from a knee injury, but Josh Papalii may miss out due to the knee injury he is carrying, despite joining up with the Maroons squad this week. Last time out, the Raiders threw away an eight-point lead as they lost to the Panthers and they need to return to their ruthless former selves if they are to salvage a season that threatens to unravel. On the back of consecutive losses, the

Green Machine can look forward to a critical run of four home games that will define their campaign. They need to get off to a winning start this week.

A week after his demotion to the reserves, Ben Hunt could make a return to first grade following Anthony Milford’s injury, although he will be vying for the spot with Benji Marshall. Sam Thaiday and Corey Oates will be fresh following their surprise Origin omissions and will be keen to make an impression at club level.

Selection: Raiders to win

Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm betting
Team Odds
Sydney Roosters $2.11 Bet Now
Melbourne Storm $1.73 Bet Now
Shaun Kenny-Dowell has been released this week after his off-field indiscretions; with the Knights and Super League side Salford rumoured to be interested in securing his services. Aidan Guerra also announced his intention to move on at the season’s end, with the long-serving back-rower agreeing terms with the Knights from 2018.

With Adelaide Oval hosting this game, the Roosters concede the advantage that a home crowd offers. Both sides have contributed significant resources to Origin this week, and the powers of recovery of those involved will be a decisive factor in the outcome here. The Tricolours will be hoping that their representatives return from Origin unscathed, although Boyd Cordner may have a slight question mark hanging over him as the result of an ongoing knee complaint.

Last week’s thrilling victory over the Cowboys saw the Storm youngsters give a glimpse of a bright future for the club and affirmation that life after the ‘big 3’ won’t be so bad after all. Led superbly by the Bromwich brothers, the raw talent of Curtis Scott, Brandon Smith, Ryley Jacks and match-winner Brodie Croft combined to take the League leaders four points clear at the top of the table.

It was confirmation of the exciting depth to his squad that Melbourne boss Craig Bellamy has, and he can be assured that if he feels the need to rest or rotate his squad, his second string are more than capable replacements. Nate Myles has also been recruited to the pool and will lend invaluable experience to the side for the latter part of the year, with the ex-Sea Eagle set to make his debut this weekend. In a week that contains some high-calibre fixtures, this one might just be the headline act.

Selection: Storm to win

St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights betting
Team Odds
St George Illawarra Dragons $1.24 Bet Now
Newcastle Knights $4.10 Bet Now
It has been a torrid period for the Red V; five losses from their last seven matches has sent Paul McGregor’s side into freefall. The cavalier football from earlier in the season has dried up over the past few weeks, and they urgently need to address the problem of their misfiring attack before it causes irreparable damage to their play-off hopes.

With Jack De Belin handed a one-match ban for a crusher tackle, nothing seems to be going right for the Dragons at present. They will be hopeful of a win against a side in the bottom two of the ladder to add some much-needed confidence to the squad, but they can’t take anything for granted at the minute.

The Knights announced the arrival of Aiden Guerra from the Roosters last week, their second high-profile recruit after Kalyn Ponga and it was an emphatic response to Jack Bird’s assertion that the Novocastrians will struggle to entice big names to the club. They received an unexpected boost this week as they found themselves lifted from the bottom rung of the ladder thanks to the gift of two bye round points, coupled with Wests defeat at the hands of the Sharks.

Jamie Buhrer has a chance of making a return here, and they will be anxious for star man Dane Gagai to emerge from the Origin game in good shape.

Selection: Knights to win

Cronulla Sharks v Manly Sea Eagles betting
Team Odds
St George Illawarra Dragons $1.63 Bet Now
Manly Sea Eagles $2.28 Bet Now
The Sharks pulled off an incredible comeback win against the Tigers last time out; 22-14 down with less than 10 minutes to play, it was yet another example of the strength of character that this squad possess.

It was an under-par performance, and the Sharks were nowhere near their best, but such resolve will ensure that the Premiers are in the mix at the tail end of the season.

The Sea Eagles have the advantage of a bye week over their opponents coming into this one, which could stand them in good stead against a side who have had five key players away at Origin. The Sea Eagles preside over the best away record in the competition, with a 100% record away from Brookvale, a statistic that they will be hoping to extend this week.

Selection: Sea Eagles to win

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