The run home to the finals is heating up with just two competition points separating teams from 5th on the ladder to 10th. Continue reading for our NRL Round 21 Preview and Betting Tips.
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Sydney Roosters vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (Friday 7.35pm AEST)
The Roosters have been quietly returning to form as they have made relatively easy work of their opponents over the last six rounds. It will likely be a closer match this weekend as they take on the Bulldogs outfit that will be desperate for a win as they try to hold onto their top 8 spot. The Dogs have lost Josh Reynolds but they have a great replacement in Moses Mbye and despite that straight swap they are practically at full strength. The tricolours have also avoided a lot of serious injuries and will take to the field with one of their strongest line-ups. With the form they are in, it would be silly to back against them but this game should be closer than expected.
Wests Tigers vs Melbourne Storm (Friday 7.35pm AEST)
The Tigers will finally see the return of their skipper Robbie Farah but unfortunately they have lost one of their best performers all season in Martin Taupau after he delivered a swinging arm to James Maloney and copped a three weeks suspension. Meanwhile, the Storm have been dominant the last two weeks, as they have only conceded 14 points and scored 72. They will win three in a row this weekend and continue a strong push towards the finals.
New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla Sharks (Saturday 3pm AEST)
The Warriors 2015 season has been dealt a massive blow with their superstar Shaun Johnson’s season coming to an end with the ankle injury he suffered in the first half of last week’s game. The halfback has been their spark over the last two months and without him they will likely struggle in attack and could lose their direction throughout the match.
The Sharks on the other hand are going to be without Andrew and David Fifita after they were stood down for this weekend’s match pending an investigation into their behaviour at a junior football match. Andrew is a big loss for the side but they have more than enough fire power in the forwards to cover the loss and you can expect skipper Paul Gallen to have a big match after re-signing for another year this week.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders (Saturday 5.30pm AEST)
These two teams met a month and a half ago and the Cowboys did what they have been able to do all season and that is find a way to win. It shouldn’t come down to that again this week as they are playing at home and are a class above the Raiders. Although, the "Green Machine" does have a 6-3 away record this season but that shouldn’t improve against the Cowboys as they look to win their fourth straight match after winning eleven in a row before that.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos (Saturday 7.30pm AEST)
The Sea Eagles were able to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Cowboys to secure a victory over the Warriors in New Zealand. However, they were able to benefit from Shaun Johnson being taken from the field in the first half when the scores were tied at 6 apiece. They likely won’t be able to receive that kind of luck this weekend when they take on the top of the table Broncos. The Brisbane forward pack should be able to dominate the middle of the field against the Manly pack that has struggled throughout the season. On the back of this you can expect to see halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford find space for their outside backs or back rowers.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Newcastle Knights (Sunday 2pm AEST)
The sacking of coach Rick Stone this weak should have a negative impact on the Knights as their horrible season continues to get worse. They also come up against a side that they struggle to win matches against as they have won just 33.3% of games against the Dragons. The Novocastrians will likely be the first team to lose to the Dragons in six weeks and continue to fight to avoid the wooden spoon.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Penrith Panthers (Sunday 2pm AEST)
This match should be easily decided with the inform and defending champions the Rabbitohs starting to play like the premiership favourites they were at the start of the season. Their captain Greg Inglis is back to career best form and he was completely devastating against the Knights last weekend. Their forward pack is beginning to find its feet without Sam Burgess and Ben Teo and on the back of this Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary are beginning to play at their best. Whilst the Panthers season continues to get worse with their injury list increasing as now halfback Peter Wallace will have another knee surgery. However, the Rabbitohs are at such a short price and the line is quite large, stay away from this one.
TIP: No bet
Gold Coast Titans vs Parramatta Eels (Monday 7pm AEST)
This match is important in its own special way. The Eels need to win to try and find some momentum as they head into the next season full of expectation as Kieran Foran joins the club from Manly. Whilst, the Titans need a win to climb up the ladder in a bid to avoid the club's first wooden spoon in its short history. It will come down to which team wants it more and which team turns up on the day to play. It will be close and I am predicting the Titans to find their attacking spark that has been absent for the last month and a half.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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