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2017 NRL Round 17 preview and expert tips

Posted on 26/06 by Joe Gann

2017 NRL Round 17 preview and expert tips

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Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bulldogs betting
Team Odds
Parramatta Eels $1.56 Bet Now
Canterbury Bulldogs $2.44 Bet Now
Victory over the Dragons came at a price last time out for the Eels, with both Beau Scott and Kaysa Pritchard suffering season- ending injuries; the pair require surgery for a ruptured bicep and knee ligament damage respectively.

The hooker role is going to be a problem area following this news, with first choice Isaac De Gois ruled out indefinitely with concussion, Cameron King is expected to fill in. The backline reshuffle in Round 15 resulted in Bevan French playing on the wing, with Brad Arthur identifying the switch to right centre of Michael Jennings as key to both improved defensive solidity and greater ball control.

Clint Gutherson continues to excel in whichever position he finds himself, crossing the stripe twice from full-back last time out. Arthur’s side kept their top eight crusade on track and have enjoyed the benefit of a week’s rest coming into this one.

The Bulldogs find themselves locked on 14 points alongside the Raiders and Rabbitohs but due to an inferior points difference, reside in fourteenth spot. The primary reason for this is the lack of firepower - they haven’t scored 20 points since round 7, with their attack proving a real concern.

Backing up just two days after Origin, there were commendable displays from David Klemmer and Josh Jackson in Friday’s loss to the Warriors. It was Jackson’s sin-binning 30 seconds before half-time that turned the game in the Warriors favour, however, and an early second half try stretched the lead to 12 points for the New Zealanders. A gutsy late fightback proved that their never-say-die spirit is still prevalent, but they lack the touch of class required to seriously trouble teams.

Selection: Eels to win

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons betting
Team Odds
Gold Coast Titans $1.96 Bet Now
St George Illawarra Dragons $1.85 Bet Now
Jarryd Hayne redeemed himself for a wretched Origin performance with a devastating 10 minute, two try salvo against the Tigers. The relief of breaking a four-game losing cycle wouldn’t have been soured by what was a poor-quality encounter - the precious two points are all that matters for the Titans.

They are still hindered by a lengthy casualty list but may have Tyrone Roberts and Chris McQueen available again in time for this one.

The Dragons eventually prevailed in a surreal, rollercoaster match at OUW Jubilee Oval at the weekend. A virtuoso performance from mercurial skipper Gareth Widdop helped to swing the momentum back in the Dragons favour; the Englishman ended the game with four try assists and three line breaks. 28-10 down at half time following five unanswered scores, it was later revealed that a spray from coach Paul McGregor prompted a second half about turn, with the Dragons running out 32-28 winners in a frantic afternoon in Sydney.

Jason Nightingale completed a hat-trick, his third this season, but with Paul Vaughan forced off early, and Jack de Belin suspended, the Red V were reliant on Tyson Frizell and Leeson Ah Mau who both made sizeable contributions after the break. It was a vital win after back to back losses had appeared to inflict serious damage on their top eight aspirations.

Selection: Dragons to win

Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm betting
Team Odds
Brisbane Broncos $2.06 Bet Now
Melbourne Storm $1.77 Bet Now
It’s a blockbuster clash at the Suncorp this week as two of the title favourites go head-to-head. A dominant display in the capital reaffirmed the Broncos’ credentials, with Wayne Bennett’s team briefly climbing to second on the ladder.

Missing Korbin Sims, Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford, Brisbane delivered a performance that will make their rivals sit up and take notice. Benji Marshall was outstanding alongside Ben Hunt who was an early bench replacement for Kodi Nikorima. Their consistency on the back of Origin has been a bonus this year; they are 2-2 during this period. It is a titanic fixture against Melbourne this week, and a victory will set them up nicely going into the bye round.

It was another opportunity for further transition between the present and the next generation of Storm stars last week; and the youngsters almost came away with a fantastic win in Adelaide before capitulating late on. Craig Bellamy will be concerned about the mental toughness of his side; this was the second time in as many weeks that they have surrendered a commanding lead and been forced to take the game into overtime – and this time there was no Brodie Croft heroics to save the day.

It was just the third time in club history that they have lost when leading by 14 points or more in a game, incredibly frustrating that all their hard work was undone when it had looked as though they were heading for a sensational win. Bellamy will hope to welcome back the big guns this week in a crucial, top of the table battle and they will need to be at their best to avoid back to back defeats for the first time this year.

Selection: Storm to win

Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks betting
Team Odds
Sydney Roosters $1.81 Bet Now
Cronulla Sharks $2.00 Bet Now
The Roosters got out of jail against Storm last week; a spirited late onslaught saw the Chooks fight back from 24-12 down to force the game to a golden point before Mitchell Pearce’s inventive drop goal handed them an unlikely victory.

That success moves them to within two points of the Storm at the summit, and they will be pleased with an important win, albeit against a depleted Melbourne side. They have another big test this week against a Cronulla outfit who have experienced a stop-start year.

The Sharks find themselves out of the top four for the first time in three months following Sunday’s thumping defeat at the hands of Manly. The problems are mounting for coach Shane Flanagan, not least in the hooker department where the Premiers are down to their fourth choice after Jayden Brailey sustained a broken jaw in the loss.

With James Segeyaro out with a broken arm, Manaia Cherrington released to the Warriors and utility Daniel Mortimer on the verge of joining Super League club Leigh Centurions; it could be down to fringe player Nu Brown to take on the role.

Selection: Roosters to win

Manly Sea Eagles v New Zealand Warriors betting
Team Odds
Manly Sea Eagles $1.41 Bet Now
New Zealand Warriors $2.94 Bet Now
Daly Cherry-Evans’ recent form has seen the Manly skipper push for an Origin berth following the news of Johnathan Thurston’s season-ending injury, and he was instrumental in his side’s 35-18 win over the Sharks on Sunday. Their commanding win in the Shire came on the back of a strong all-round performance that didn’t exhibit too many weaknesses.

The Silvertails were far more energetic than their opponents who were under-par on the back of midweek exertions, the Sea Eagles further highlighted their superb away form – the only reversal on the road came at the Suncorp in what was technically a home fixture. They are looking for a fifth consecutive win this week; this a team with a definite spring in their step.

Isaac Luke’s injury came as a blow, with the hooker dislocating a shoulder just as he was beginning to find form again. Nathaniel Roache was excellent after taking his place and they were fuelled by Shaun Johnson’s brilliance, his kicking game was superb and he thrived in home surroundings yet again, making light of Kieran Foran’s absence.

They need to maintain this form to sustain a challenge for finals football. They are two points behind the Eels after achieving back to back wins and now stand at seven wins for the year, six of which have come at home.

Selection: Sea Eagles to win

Canberra Raiders v Nth Queensland Cowboys betting
Team Odds
Canberra Raiders $1.57 Bet Now
Nth Queensland Cowboys $2.42 Bet Now
The team who were one game away from a Grand Final appearance last year, are struggling to make the eight this time around. It was a familiar story at the weekend as another close match in which they were chasing victory until the death ended in defeat; the Green Machine is still struggling to close out the tight games.

This week is the ultimate must-win game, with an unsatisfactory record of 6-9, they do still have the advantage of a +36 points differential which may be telling at the close of the season. They have now lost three in a row and time is of the essence if they are to embark upon a winning sequence that will elevate them up from their eleventh place.

Reeling from the devastating news of Thurston’s season-ending shoulder surgery, the Cowboys seemed subdued for large periods against the Panthers. However, their big-name players came to the fore when they needed it most as they snatched a late victory and they will need to take on that responsibility on a weekly basis from now on.

Ethan Lowe was one who stepped up to the plate, his touchline conversion sealing a barely deserved win in Townsville, but one that leaves Paul Green’s side still within touching distance of the top four.

Selection: Raiders to win

Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers betting
Team Odds
Newcastle Knights $1.88 Bet Now
Wests Tigers $1.92 Bet Now
The Knights proved once more that they are capable of scoring points against anyone in the competition during their 32-28 defeat by the Dragons on Sunday.

Unfortunately, they don’t possess the knack of turning that attacking aptitude into a winning formula, and a desperate second half showing allowed the Red V to clock up 22 unanswered points to snatch the victory away. It was the Knights’ twenty-first straight away loss, the worst road record of any team in sixty-three years, with chief Nathan Brown describing it as his most disappointing defeat in his eighteen months at the club.

This one is a true bottom of the basement clash and could be key to deciding who suffers the ignominy of claiming this year’s wooden spoon. The Tigers naturally missed the absent James Tedesco last week as his stand-in Kevin Naiqama had an evening to forget.

Aaron Woods backing up from Origin delivered his usual tireless yet unrewarded performance; his side last tasted victory in Round 8. A bye in round 18 will help their plight and if they can win this week, it would be a big boost for their confidence.

Selection: Knights to win

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
South Sydney Rabbitohs $2.25 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $1.65 Bet Now
The win over the Titans prior to the bye round was dominated by the sensational performance by Angus Crichton; the hat-trick hero who looks set to be an undoubted future star in the making. With the acquisition of Dane Gagai for next year, the combination of both him and Crichton down the right edge will have the South Sydney fans excited for the new campaign.

A sluggish start saw the Bunnies enter the sheds 20-10 down and they seemed lacklustre in the absence of skipper Sam Burgess. However, the flat, lethargic first half display gave way for a much more dynamic second half and the Rabbitohs were a side transformed after the break; twenty unanswered points saw them run away 36-20 victors. They have had an extended break going into this and that freshness may play a part here.

The mountain men almost pulled off a win that would have made it five wins in a row last week, before the Cowboys pulled off a last-gasp escape act to take claim the spoils. They need to regroup and attempt to put together another winning streak that will exert pressure on the teams above them on the ladder, starting this week.

The Panthers have done well over recent weeks to put themselves in contention again and they will have the Eels firmly in their sights as they look to force their way into the play-off places.

Selection: Panthers to win

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