2017 NRL Round 22 preview and expert tipsPosted on 03/08 by Joe Gann
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listNRL Round 22 expert tips and best bets - 2017
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Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels betting
The defeat at the hands of the Panthers was their fourth in the last five and confirmed their omission from this year’s semi-finals. With a directors’ election looming, the current board, who is responsible for his appointment may look to effect sweeping changes as a part of a charm offensive aimed at the appeasement of the growing number of disenchanted fans.
Hasler’s future would certainly be a central issue to be addressed; the last time the Dogs missed out on the finals was back in 2011 - an eventuality that cost then-coach, Kevin Moore, his job. With the league’s most impotent attack, worse even than the Knights, with a paltry 260 points - marquee signings Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran are earmarked to turn the club fortunes around and re-establish their tarnished image as one of the country’s elite clubs.
The Eels were magnificent in the victory over the Broncos on Friday, with the win boosting their ladder position to sit alongside their Queensland opponents on twenty-eight points. Reeling from an early onslaught in which they went 12-0 down with less than ten minutes on the clock, they showed tremendous spirit to fight their way back to parity, gaining a foothold in the game before storming to victory. It was their most complete performance of the campaign and established their firm belief that they can challenge for the title this year.
There were stand out displays from Corey Norman, Nathan Brown and chiefly Bevan French who slotted in brilliantly for the injured Clint Gutherson. Mitchell Moses gets better by the game; the ex-Tiger has bedded in well following his mid-season transfer, contributing three assists as he assumed control of proceedings. They are sitting pretty in sixth, despite being the only team in the eight to possess a negative differential, with fixtures against the Bulldogs, Knights, Titans and Rabbitohs on the horizon, confidence continues to grow that they can lay claim to a top–four spot.
They provided ample proof that they can mix it with the best by the superb victory over a strong Broncos outfit and could be a serious threat to every team in the competition; they lie on the cusp of sealing a semi-final place for the first time in 8 years.
Selection: Eels to win
St George Illawarra Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs betting
|St George Illawarra Dragons|
|South Sydney Rabbitohs|
Following on from a superb victory over the Sea Eagles, it had appeared that the Dragons were back on track in advance of the game at Newcastle. Their finals’ place is now in grave peril following a poor run of two wins from seven - in stark contrast to an improved consistency from fellow finals hopefuls Canberra and Penrith. The Dragons’ recent wobbles have handed the initiative to their rivals and jeopardised a season that started so promisingly.
Losing Tyson Frizell to an ankle injury in the closing stages compounded a miserable weekend for the Red V, the Blues representative is the sole concern for coach Paul McGregor who may shake things up this week on the back of last week’s shambolic result.
The Rabbitohs chalked up there thirteenth loss of the year last week, and with only six wins on the board, it has been a substandard return for Michael McGuire’s side. The South Sydney coach felt aggrieved by an incident that left Adam Reynolds lying with a possible concussion while the game was allowed to continue around him.
The Raiders scored a six-pointer during this passage of play in the area Reynolds would have been defending – an incident that Mcguire described as a ‘momentum changer’. It was their fourth successive defeat - the worst run of the season. 2017 will be their second season without finals football and sees the decline that commenced following the 2014 Premiership success continue at Redfern.
They will be sweating on the fitness of Sam Burgess this week; the captain continues to be troubled by a rib complaint.
Selection: Dragons to win
Nth Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm betting
|Nth Queensland Cowboys|
The storm put on a procession against the Sea Eagles in honour of club legend Cameron Smith who was celebrating his 350th first-grade appearance on Sunday.
The day was all about the skipper who topped his side’s tackle count and chipped in with twelve points, and four of their seven try assists – yet another sublime offering from the future immortal. He became just the third player in history to reach 350 NRL games behind Terry Lamb and Darren Lockyer - whose record he can overtake by playing six more matches. Smith has only missed eleven games through injury since beginning his Storm career in 2002, an astonishing feat of professionalism and endurance.
The competition pace setters solidified their claims to top place and confirmed their status as the team to beat this year in their 40-6 demolition of a fading Manly side, reaffirming their billing as overwhelming title favourites.
Selection: Storm to win
Newcastle Knights v New Zealand Warriors betting
|New Zealand Warriors|
They claimed their first win in nine at the weekend, pulling off a massive upset at the McDonald Jones Stadium at the expense of the waning Dragons. Their third win of the season represents an improvement on 2016 at the very least. Despite astonishing stats of sixty-four missed tackles and eight errors, they came up with a win, making a refreshing change by finishing the match stronger team with the final seven points of the afternoon.
Coach Nathan Brown was jubilant with his side’s achievement in finally taking maximum points without being at their best, ironically, they have been beaten when delivering far better performances. Sampling victory, no matter how it is achieved, is vital to the development and confidence of his young squad, nobody can begrudge them a brief taste of success. It would be a huge statement if they could back it up this week against a vulnerable Warriors.
It was another error-strewn display from Warriors that continues to undermine their chances. The Aucklanders now look resigned to their fate of a place outside the top eight yet again this year. They were good upfront at the weekend, outperforming the Premiers in that facet of the match but were undone by their own flaws.
Bodene Thompson will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury, while Ryan Hoffman is likely to return from a broken foot.
Selection: Warriors to win
Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos betting
|Gold Coast Titans|
The Titans were another casualty of round 21, as the Gold Coast club saw their saw their slim hopes of September football go up in smoke against the Tigers. It has been a unique season in terms of the sheer number of injuries they have had to counter, Neil Henry has used thirty-two different players this year, a competition high.
With a full roll-call to choose from, the Titans have beaten the Sharks, Storm, Eels and Dragons, but have struggled with their strength in depth when the injuries have hit. With the majority of the same squad signed up for 2018, it will surely be a happier story for the club next year.
Broncos’ supremo Wayne Bennett presides over an impressive finals record of twenty qualifications from his twenty-three years as a head coach. Brisbane themselves have only failed to make the knock-out phase on five occasions in the last twenty-nine years. They showed their fallibility against the Eels though, after a blistering start that saw the Queenslanders race into a twelve-point lead before succumbing to a superior Eels effort. Influential hooker Andrew McCullough suffered medial ligament damage during the loss, ending his season and threatening to ruin the Bronco’s title ambitions in the process.
His absence will trigger a shuffling of positions for Ben Hunt who is tipped to step in at hooker while Kodi Nikorima takes his place in the halves alongside Anthony Milford.
Selection: Broncos to win
Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders betting
The game was reduced to a battle of attrition for long stretches - comfortable territory for a Cronulla side who lack the attacking dynamism of their rivals. It was a victory that moved them up to second briefly, and they will be hovering around the summit until the season’s climax. Shane Flanagan’s troops have now won six games by six points or less, and it is these fine margins that can have enormous ramifications at the end of the season – their enviable ability to win ugly is what separates them from the majority of the competition.
A vital win over the Titans was greeted with a sigh of relief in the Canberra camp - a strong finish to the game ensured that the Vikings cruised to a 32-18 win in the first of six must-win fixtures. It’s crunch time for the Green Machine, and they must pull out all stops to save what has been an underwhelming campaign up to this point. The demise of the Raiders been one of the most surprising stories of an unpredictable season as last season’s preliminary finalists failed miserably to live up to their pre-season billing.
The further decline of the Dragons will be enthusiastically received in the capital; they need to exploit the current malaise surrounding the Red V, events offering a ray of hope that their season may yet have life left in it. Nick Cotric’s star continues to rise; last weekend saw the rookie score his thirteenth try of a hugely impressive campaign. This week they have a tough appointment with the reigning champs, as their finals aspirations continue to balance on a knife edge but they have been given a huge boost in their quest by the return from suspension of key duo Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii.
Selection: Raiders to win
Manly Sea Eagles v Sydney Roosters betting
|Manly Sea Eagles|
They were outgunned by a highly motivated Storm last week, and this week’s fixture against second place Roosters is another high-profile clash that they cannot afford to lose. Since the surrender of their 100% away record, the Silvertails’ form has disintegrated -they are now staring down the barrel of a third straight loss.
The Roosters came up with a magnificent response to going 16-6 down last week; keeping the Cowboys pointless in the second half and managing an 86% completion rate to boot. They continue to apply pressure to Storm for the Minor Premiership – a contest that may go down to the wire.
They have acquired a valuable new string to their bow in the form of Sio Siua Taukeiaho. Completing his second game back following a three-month absence, he reintroduced a powerful running option, with the giant back rower eating up 214 metres in just 42 minutes. Injuries continue to mount with Victor Radley leaving the stadium with his thumb in a splint, alongside regular rake Jake Friend, who is also likely to miss the next two rounds with a hand injury.
Selection: Roosters to win
Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers betting
Without hitting the heights, they played with an efficiency, combined with a tight defensive strategy that could serve them well in the upcoming hectic period. The ability to win when not at their best will please coach Anthony Griffin, as they maintain pressure on those above them on the ladder. After welcoming Bryce Cartwright back from injury, they were left to rue the loss of Leilani Latu, who left the field with a suspected broken jaw.
The win was achieved without captain Matt Moylan who is expected to return this round, alongside Dean Whare to give the mountain men a timely spur. With the next three games at home, Penrith are patiently biding their time on the outside looking in at the sanctity of a top eight place, the opportunity to gate-crash the party may come around this week.
A strong team performance powered the Tigers to a satisfying win on the Gold Coast at the weekend, wrecking the Titans top eight dreams in the process. The form of youngsters Matt Eisenhuth and Esan Marsters has played a part in the upturn on fortunes for the Tigers, and it bodes well for a more prosperous long-term future.
The side have continued their fine recent progress under Nathan Cleary - a key figure in the most interesting sub-plot from this weekend’s encounter as he finds himself in the strange situation of plotting the downfall of his son Nathan’s club.
Selection: Panthers to win
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