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NRL tipping favourites for Round 19. Expert tips and predictions

Posted on 14/07 by Les H

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New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
New Zealand Warriors $1.64 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $2.26 Bet Now
The Warriors’ long journey to Perth for their last outing ended in disappointment as the high-flying Sea Eagles overturned a 16-0 deficit to run out 26-22 winners. In the intervening period, the Eels’ victory in Melbourne at the weekend consolidated their four-point lead in the race for a top-eight finish, and helped to maintain clear daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

It was a missed opportunity for Stephen Kearney’s men to make up ground in their bid for a finals spot at the climax of the season, and they will find it extremely difficult to make up the necessary ground to overhaul the teams who currently occupy those coveted spots. The Eels will keep that four-point cushion this week courtesy of their final bye round of the year, but these two sides must continue to apply pressure to both Eels and the Dragons and hope they crack under pressure.

Kieran Foran returned from a quad complaint, but it was more injury concerns for the Warriors as Albert Vete exited the game with a broken arm and Nathaniel Roche limped away with a hamstring problem, in addition to the loss of Ryan Hoffman, who will be sidelined for up to a month with a broken metatarsal.

Round 18 saw the Panthers achieve what no other side has managed to do this term – deny the Sea Eagles a victory on the road. It was a notable win over a Manly side that hadn’t tasted defeat for five weeks, and the precious win has just about kept their faint NRL finals hopes alive, although they have a daunting task of amassing five wins from eight if they are to do so.

This performance saw a return of some stability at least as they rebounded from the drubbing handed out by the Rabbitohs the previous week to boost their hopes, but it looks to be a bridge too far for the mountain men. Both teams are locked on 18 points in tenth and ninth position respectively; this is the last chance saloon for both and could make for an enthralling spectacle.

Penrith have won seven of their last games against the Warriors but have lost their last two in Auckland.

Selection: Warriors to win

Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons betting
Team Odds
Canberra Raiders $1.64 Bet Now
St George Illawarra Dragons $2.26 Bet Now
Canberra’s season looks done and dusted following their Round 17 mauling by the Cowboys; they are stuck on 16 points going into the conclusion of the campaign. With twelve errors and five penalties – two of which were for arguing with the officials, the Raiders’ indiscipline was a huge factor in their downfall and indicative of a team that is struggling for form.

The Green Machine couldn’t handle Michael Morgan who caused mayhem in their backline with two tries and two assists - he also forced four goal-line dropouts with his precision kicking game. With ten defeats to their name and only six victories, it has been a woeful year for Ricky Stuart’s men, and they need a miracle to claim a finals spot for the second year running.

They are due for a win after a four-game losing streak and enjoy another home fixture this weekend.

The Dragons have addressed their recent slide that had threatened to derail their season. After starting the season so well, their form dropped off significantly. It is a game they need to win to head off the challenge of the sides just below who are desperate to take their place in the eight. With injury worries surrounding Origin participants Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin, the Dragons will anxiously await their return; their condition may be vital to the Dragons fortunes here.

Selection: Raiders to win

Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos betting
Team Odds
Newcastle Knights $3.73 Bet Now
Brisbane Broncos $1.28 Bet Now
Comments from Brian McGuigan will have done more harm than good in Newcastle this week, with the chairman announcing that he has ‘lost faith’ in the team and in particular, the work of coach Nathan Brown. It is an unnecessarily incendiary remark that has ratcheted up the pressure on the beleaguered coach, in a week where the hapless Knights once again threw a game away from a leading position late on.

It was a bizarre ending to the last game of the season at Belmore as Brock Lamb shanked a penalty effort to take the game into golden point after a barnstorming revival from the Dogs. Defeat leaves the Knight cut adrift by four points at the foot of the ladder as nearest rivals Wests enjoyed a bye round.

They can’t expect to take anything from this round either with the Broncos well-rested after a week off.

The Broncos motivation will be fuelled by a desire to reclaim a top four spot this week. The draw for the final six rounds may assist them at the season’s end – they will avoid a five-day turnaround and play out the season without a Sunday afternoon appearance yet again. They dominate Thursday and Friday night football at the behest of the broadcasters, although they expect a furious backlash from members over their rigid schedule. The Broncos will be keen to initiate a consistent run of form now that the distraction of Origin is behind them - at present they are locked in a three-way tussle for a top-four place with the Sea Eagles and Cowboys.

Selection: Broncos to win

Gold Coast Titans v Cronulla Sharks betting
Team Odds
Gold Coast Titans $2.40 Bet Now
Cronulla Sharks $1.58 Bet Now
With two wins on the trot under their belts, the Titans will be hoping to claim the scalp of the reigning Premiers here, exploiting any Origin hangover in the process.

Although well off the pace in terms of finals consideration, they can throw a spanner in the works for any of the leading sides; victory over Melbourne in Round 10 is testament to that. Representative numbers have been boosted by the news that Ash Taylor has been called up to the Maroons squad as a development player, joining Jarrod Wallace, Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Peats as Origin selections.

The last time that the Sharks visited the Cbus stadium, the match ended in a thrilling 18-all draw, and the Titans will be striving to deliver a similar performance this week.

The Sharks went into their bye round satisfied after a 44-12 thumping of cross-city rivals the Roosters in Round 17. They will have a keen eye on Origin this week to see how their big names fare with James Maloney, Andrew Fifita, Jack Bird and Wade Graham once again turning out for NSW, while Valentine Holmes retains his place in the Queensland side. Experienced back-rower Luke Lewis has provided his club with a boost this week by agreeing terms on a new contract that will extend his stay at Shark Park for a sixth season.

The 2016 Clive Churchill medallist has been outstanding this year, contributing four tries from fourteen matches and is set to make his 299th first-grade appearance on the Gold Coast this Saturday - the 2018 campaign will herald his eighteenth in the NRL.

Selection: Sharks to win

Manly Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers betting
Team Odds
Manly Sea Eagles $1.18 Bet Now
Wests Tigers $4.95 Bet Now
On Sunday at Pepper Stadium, Trent Barrett’s men suffered their first reversal on their travels this year, and it was a defeat largely of their own making.

The Sea Eagles’ penalty count more than tripled that of their more disciplined opponents and heavily contributed to their undoing. Barrett was downbeat following the unfathomable lapse, lamenting the self-inflicted damage his side were forced to attempt to rectify. It was a blemish on their hitherto imperious away form, and they will be eager to make amends in a home fixture against the lowly Tigers this week.

The Tigers have benefitted from a week’s rest after a significant win over fellow strugglers the Knights in Round 17; the bye round has ensured that they have extended their lead over the wooden spoon favourites to four points. Once again, they will be awaiting the return of Origin reps Aaron Woods and James Tedesco, although they have managed without their star full-back since Origin II.

Skipper Woods has been gushing in his praise for coach Ivan Cleary, despite the prop’s decision to leave the club to join the Bulldogs at the end of the current campaign.

Woods predicts a bright future for the club under Cleary’s tutelage, and the influx of fresh blood in the shape of Josh Reynolds, Chris McQueen, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer hints at a more prosperous 2018 for the troubled club.

Selection: Sea Eagles to win

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Nth Queensland Cowboys betting
Team Odds
South Sydney Rabbitohs $2.11 Bet Now
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.73 Bet Now
The Rabbitohs were brought back down to earth with a resounding thud by the Roosters at the weekend. Confidence was high at Redfern following an impressive run of results in which they had racked up 78 points over the course of their victories over the Titans and Panthers, but they couldn’t repeat that form against a dogged Roosters side.

Despite launching a frantic attempt to get back into the game after the break, the Bunnies came up just short against a determined, Origin-depleted Tricolours outfit. The defeat leaves Michael Mcguire’s side treading water in twelfth position on the ladder, and they face a difficult task this week against a highly motivated North Queensland who have a top-four place in their crosshairs.

The Cowboys seem to have digested the news of Johnathan Thurston’s season-ending injury, and have set about accomplishing their finals ambitions in his absence. The debut of Te Maire Martin last time out will have dispelled any doubts about the young gun’s temperament, with the recent recruit seamlessly slotting into the halves, emphasised by a crucial two-try haul.

If the former Penrith man can maintain this form, his mid-season acquisition will look like an incredibly astute piece of business by Cowboys’ chief Paul Green. A fine recent run which has included victories over the Eels, Panthers and Raiders has seen them draw level with the Sea Eagles and Broncos on 24 points; although they occupy sixth place, as a consequence of an inferior points differential.

The race for a top-four spot looks poised to be a thrilling race to the finish line.

Selection: Cowboys to win

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