South Sydney Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights clash in a top four showdown to launch NRL Round 13 action as the season reaches the mid-way point.
It’s a full programme across four days with the eight fixtures culminating with the Queen’s Birthday contest between Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons.
We preview all eight games below:
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights
With the Rabbitohs losing last week, Newcastle are officially the hottest team in the competition – can Nathan Brown’s side pick up a sixth straight win and further entrench themselves in the top four on Friday night? The Rabbitohs have been dominant over Newcastle in recent times, winning their last nine meetings dating back to 2011. However, this is a different Knights outfit and depending on who backs up after Origin, could be the fresher of the sides, especially after the bye last week. If there’s ever going to be a time for the Knights to snap their losing run to the Bunnies, it’s now.
Prediction: Knights win ($2.45 MadBookie)
Wests Tigers vs Canberra Raiders
After three defeats on the bounce, Canberra managed to return to the winners circle last week as they overcame a gallant Bulldogs outfit – can they make it back-to-back victories and perhaps slide back into the top four when they do battle with the Tigers on Friday night? Canberra have posted some enormous winning margins over the Tigers in recent times (54 points in R8, 2016, 42 points in R26 2016, 40 points in R3 2017 and 36 points in R15 2018), but the Tigers did win their last clash in R22 last season 22-20. However, the Raiders have a lot of key players back in their team for this one, and have been playing some much better football in 2019. I’d be surprised if they lost this one.
Prediction: Raiders win ($2.12 MadBookie)
New Zealand Warriors vs Melbourne Storm
Once upon a time the Warriors were a tough team for Melbourne to break down, but the Storm have claimed a stranglehold over their Kiwi rivals in recent meetings – can they chalk up an eighth consecutive victory on Saturday across the Tasman? If the Storm are missing their Origin stars, then I think the Warriors have a decent chance, but if they back up, Melbourne should have too much class and claim an eighth successive win over them on Saturday.
Prediction: Storm win ($1.58 MadBookie)
Cronulla Sharks vs Parramatta Eels
Both the Sharks and Eels are locked on six wins this season and sitting in the bottom half of the eight – who will emerge triumphant and make a move up the ladder on Saturday? The Sharks have won five of the last six meetings between the teams, but Parramatta prevailed 24-12 in their last meeting earlier this season in Round 4. The Eels haven’t been great away from BankWest in recent weeks, while the Sharks are always tough to beat and break down at home. Given their current form, you’ve got to give the edge to Cronulla.
Prediction: Sharks win ($1.55 MadBookie)
North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly Sea Eagles
North Queensland and Manly bring contrasting form lines into this Round 13 showdown as both teams look to secure a spot in the top eight by the end of the weekend. With the Cowboys in form and Manly struggling, the home side will fancy themselves to make it four wins on the bounce. Manly were excellent to start the season, but they’ve gone off the boil in recent weeks, while the opposite applies for North Queensland. Back the in-form side at home to win this one.
Prediction: Cowboys win ($1.75 MadBookie)
Brisbane Broncos vs Gold Coast Titans
On a three-match winning streak and finally appearing settled under Anthony Seibold, the Broncos continue their charge towards the top eight on Sunday against ‘little brothers’ Gold Coast. The Broncos have won eight of their last nine encounters, with their last two victories coming by 34 and 54 points – and all the while keeping Gold Coast scoreless. We can expect another big victory from Brisbane on Sunday.
Prediction: Broncos by 13+ ($2.12MadBookie)
Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters
It’s been almost a month since the Roosters won an NRL game – can the reigning premiers bounce back and take out a desperate Panthers outfit on Sunday? The Roosters won both of their meetings last year and it’s hard to back against them on Sunday. They are in a bit of a slump at the moment and have lost that winning feeling for the time being, but they should be able to reclaim it against a Panthers side that still has a lot to prove.
Prediction: Roosters by 13+ ($2.80 MadBookie)
Canterbury Bulldogs vs St George Illawarra Dragons
An intriguing showdown awaits on Monday afternoon as the bottom-of-the-table Bulldogs come up against the struggling Dragons. Both sides need a win – the Bulldogs can all but kiss goodbye their slim finals chances if they lose, while the Dragons will face an enormous uphill battle if they lose their sixth match on the trot. It should be close as both teams aren’t scoring many points, but I’ll lean on the side of Canterbury to post the upset.
Prediction: Bulldogs win ($2.24 MadBookie)