It’s back to NRL action follow last weekend’s pause for State of Origin Game 2 and it is a full program of games for Round 15.
The pick of them is a Grand Final rematch between Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
We take a look at the Round 15 games and give our predictions:
Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs
It’s been a tough few weeks for the Rabbitohs – can they return to the winners circle when they face the Tigers on Thursday night? Souths’ last win actually came against the Tigers back in Round 11, with Wayne Bennett’s side losing their last three matches against the Panthers, Knights and Eels, but now a quirk in the draw means the Bunnies have the chance to snap that run against the Tigers once more. Souths have won their last two meetings in comprehensive fashion, scoring 32+ points in both, and with their stars back on deck, they should be able to snap their three-match losing streak on Thursday night.
Prediction: Souths by 13+ ($2.80 TopBetta)
St George Illawarra Dragons v North Queensland Cowboys
Locked on 12 competition points and one win outside the top eight, it’s safe to say the Dragons and Cowboys will view this encounter as a must-win game on Friday night. However, even though they are on the same amount of points, the Dragons and Cowboys have been going in opposite directions for most of the season. It’s a tough match to predict, with neither side bringing good form or any sort of confidence heading into this clash. The Cowboys have been unlucky and could easily be on a four-match winning streak at the moment, while the Dragons aren’t showing any signs of being able to finish in the eight in their current form. I’m backing North Queensland to edge this one.
Prediction: Cowboys win ($2.64 TopBetta)
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm
Are we set for another thrilling contest in Adelaide as the Storm and Roosters clash in a Grand Final rematch on Friday? Their last two meetings at the iconic Adelaide Oval have been absolute nail-biters, with a Mitchell Pearce field goal handing the Roosters a 25-24 victory in 2017, while a Cameron Smith one-pointer fired Melbourne to a 9-8 triumph last year. The Roosters have had the edge in their last two encounters, but Melbourne are in a great space right now and bring plenty of momentum into this one. It should be another tight game, but I’m leaning on the side of the Storm to prevail this time.
Prediction: Storm by 1-12 ($3.10 TopBetta)
Gold Coast Titans v Manly Sea Eagles
The Titans were again disappointing in their home game loss to the visiting New Zealand Warriors, going down 24-20 in the end. The Sea Eagles had a far better Round 14 where they came from behind to utterly destroy the Dragons, registering a 34-14 win in front of their home crowd at Lottoland. The Sea Eagles suffered one of the season’s biggest shock losses when these two sides last met and you can rest assured that coach Des Hasler will have his side primed to make amends for that. His Origin stars should be pumped for a big game here and with other results going their way, a win here could see them sneak into the top four.
Prediction: Manly -4 ($1.85 TopBetta)
Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos
After conceding 30+ points in demoralising losses last week, the Knights and Broncos look to respond with immediate effect when they clash on Saturday in the Hunter. It’s been over a year since these two sides have met, with Newcastle prevailing 15-10 back in Round 5 of last year. Brisbane have been all over the place in 2019, so if the Knights can recapture their form before they ran into Melbourne last week, they should be too strong at home.
Prediction: Knights win ($1.65 TopBetta)
Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders
The Eels bounced back from a big loss against the Sharks in Round 13 and did a job on the Brisbane Broncos, sending them home on a 38-10 thrashing. Meanwhile, the Raiders snuck home 22-20 against an unlucky Sharks side who could have stolen a win with a little luck. While this is officially a home game for the Eels, it will played at TIO Stadium in Darwin making it in effect a game on neutral ground. The Raiders have won four of six away games this season while the Eels’ record reads two from five. Forecasting a good start from Canberra, I see them going on to win this one.
Prediction: Raiders by 1-12 ($3.00 TopBetta)
New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers
Penrith look to extend their winning run to five matches as they square off against the Warriors across the ditch on Sunday. Ivan Cleary’s side will also be looking for revenge after the Warriors defeated them 30-10 in their own backyard last month – a result that stretched Penrith’s losing streak to six matches. However, since that game the Panthers have been on fire and currently possess the second-longest winning streak in the competition. The Warriors have gone the opposite direction since beating Penrith, losing to the Storm and Broncos before registering a tight four-point win over the Titans in their last encounter. It’s a massive game for both sides as they try to keep pace with the top eight. This one is a coin toss, but I’m going to back the team in form.
Prediction: Panthers win ($2.32 TopBetta)
Canterbury Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks
The Bulldogs have had a wretched season, highlighted by their last round 38-12 loss to the Roosters. The Sharks gave their all in Canberra, only to come up two points short in their 22-20 loss to the Raiders. The Sharks have been welcoming back key players from injury over the past few weeks and while missing Fifita through suspension, this is just about the strongest side they have fielded all season. The Bulldogs are struggling to keep in touch with their opposition on a week-to-week basis. They lost their last ANZ clash against the Sharks last year and I can’t see a different result coming from this clash.
Prediction: Sharks -8.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)