The NRL decision to increase the penalty on shoulder charges with only 5 games remaining of the regular season has copped a lot of scrutiny and after the decision on Wednesday night to clear the charges on Aidan Guerra, Issac Luke and Jorge Taufua it has left a lot of grey area and scrutiny. Whether a shoulder charge will hinder one of the topsides push for a premiership remains to be seen. Continue reading for our NRL Round 24 Betting Tips.
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St George Illawarra Dragons vs Penrith Panthers (Thursday 7.45pm AEST)
The Red V have named Benji Marshall to start as he looks to overcome a hamstring injury that saw him miss last week’s embarrassment against the top of the table Broncos. His return takes a lot of pressure off of halves partner Gareth Widdop who had to play with a forward at halfback. Marshall will bring his strong kicking game and much needed flair in attack, which should allow the Dragons to again breathe fire on their opposition's defence. The Panthers will put up a fight but their side is and will be hampered by injuries for the rest of the season.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (Friday 7.45pm AEST)
The Grand Final rematch sees a similar story line as last year, well at least with the suspension to Issac Luke. Although Luke was able to get off with his shoulder charge on Johnathan Thurston, he was cited for a spear tackle that will see him miss just the one week. With Cameron McInnes already on the sidelines, the Bunnies are forced to use their third string hooker Paul Carter, which is a major blow as their forward pack fired up last week and surprisingly outmuscled the Cowboys. However, they were able to get on the front foot because of Luke darting out of dummy half and creating the momentum. He will be missed this weekend but luckily for the Rabbitohs the Bulldogs are in the same situation as they lost their hooker Michael Lichaa for the season to an ankle injury.
Luke Keary will miss the match as he put in an early guilty plea for his shoulder charge on Justin O’Neil and with John Sutton under an injury cloud it could be up to Glenn Stewart to move from the back row into the halves.
This match will be ridiculously close and it could come down to the final seconds like the match did earlier in the season. The loss of Keary in the halves has us leading towards the Bulldogs and we have our fingers crossed that their will be no bottles thrown at referees this time around.
Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers (Saturday 3pm AEST)
Both of these sides were disappointing last week. The Sharks never got started whilst the Tigers shot out to an early lead and then were unable to crack the Knights line for over 60 minutes. The Sharks loss was coming though as they had won eight from their last nine games leading into the contest against the Storm on Monday night. They will want to bounce back this weekend and they have a great opportunity against the Tigers who show flashes of brilliance but overall lack the consistency over 80 minutes. The short turn around shouldn’t hurt the Sharks too much and they should be able to get back in the winners circle.
New Zealand Warriors vs North Queensland Cowboys (Saturday 5.30pm AEST)
These two sides have a lot to prove on Saturday night. The Warriors need to prove they can win without Shaun Johnson and they aren’t a one-man team whilst the Cowboys have lost two in a row and the critics are starting to say they don’t have it in them to give Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys that elusive premiership.
As the Cowboys are travelling to New Zealand and are short priced favourites, this match should be steered clear of as the Warriors are capable of anything when it is their day but they also could get walked all over.
TIP: No bet
Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos (Saturday 7.30pm AEST)
This match has been dubbed the Grand Final preview, as the two premiership favourites will go toe to toe at Allianz Stadium. The Broncos bounced back to their best last week as they dismantled the Dragons whilst the Roosters did it the tough way against the Eels and were far from impressive.
They have won their last eight matches in a row but their biggest test will be this weekend. The last time these two sides met it went into extra time and it was Ben Hunt who stood up as he broke the line and scored a try to give the Broncos an important victory. We expect another close one this weekend but we think it will be the Roosters who step up and get the victory.
Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders (Sunday 2pm AEST)
These two sides are playing for pride but the Raiders should be fired up and out to prove a point that they should still be in contention for the finals after it was realised they were robbed in the match against the Sea Eagles last week. The match-winning try scored by Brett Stewart was an illegal play but the referees missed it and decided to not go upstairs to the video referee and the decision saw the Green Machine now ruled out of finals calculations.
The Titans showed flashed of brilliance but it won’t be enough, as the Raiders will end their season on a high note.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels (Sunday 4pm AEST)
The Sea Eagles and their supporters are breathing a sigh of relief after they let a 16-0 lead slip and were able to score a match winning try with two minutes remaining that was later revealed to be illegal. They will need to make the most of their good fortune and beat the Eels this weekend. They are short priced favourites and I don’t expect the Parramatta side to show as much fight as they did last weekend against the Roosters.
Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights (Monday 7pm AEST)
This match will be the first time the Knights head to Melbourne since the Alex McKinnon incident last season. It has been a long time but their could be a lot of emotion surrounding the game as a lot of the Knights players remain at the club. The Storm will get the win as they showed last weekend against the Sharks that they will be a team to beat come finals but the Novocastrians will put up a good fight.
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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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