With just over a month to go in the NRL season, the battle to get into the all important top eight is starting to heat up! Round 19 gets underway on Thursday night with a great game between the Sharks and Cowboys and we have a full preview and betting tips for all of the Round 19 action below!
With identical 7-10 records, both the Sharks and Cowboys are fighting for their season this Thursday night. Cronulla is back at home but they’re ridding a 5 game losing streak. As well as missing Fifita to suspension. The Cowboys are missing Morgan but Taumalolo is still on the field. They’ll be looking to overturn a 42-16 loss against the Sharks in Round 3. But at the moment, both sides aren’t in great form so this figures to be a closer affair. The Cowboys last 2 away games have fallen under a 10 point margin and 4 of the last 5 defeats for the Sharks have been by 2 or less.
Newcastle’s position in the top 8 looks concerning so they’ll need a good performance here against the inconsistent Tigers. The Knights head into this game on the back of a 3 game losing streak and a 48-10 crushing loss against the Roosters. Similarly, the Tigers have lost 3 on the trot, all against top 8 sides. Interestingly, the away side has won the last 3 meetings and they’ve generally been high scoring. So we’ll be looking for both teams to score 13+, which is 2-0 in the last 2 meetings and 2-0 at this venue.
The Rabbitohs and Dragons enjoy a fierce rivalry but if St. George of the last 2 weeks shows up, this could get ugly. The Dragons have been smashed by the Panthers 40-18 and Raiders 36-14 so Souths have the potential to do the same. They’re looking towards a top-two finish and come off a 30-18 win in North QLD. They also hold a 3-0 record against the Dragons since last May and crushed them 34-18 in March. At this stage, the total looks a tad low considering Souths could score 40+ points themselves against this lacklustre Dragons defence.
Saturday afternoon at Bankwest promises to be an entertaining clash between the Eels and Warriors. Parramatta will be coming off a disappointing 36-24 loss against Manly but their record at Bankwest should see them rebound. They’re 5-1 here thus far and have scored 30 or more in 4 of 6 games. Contests involving the Warriors have been deadly close lately as their last 5 have been decided by under a converted try. So in day conditions, the Eels and Warriors should both throw the ball around in a high scoring affair. Over is 6-3 at Bankwest and that looks the best bet.
After the Gold Coast stunned the Broncos 26-18 at Suncorp in early June, Brisbane will be out for revenge this Saturday. The Broncos are just outside the top 8 and need to win these type of games. On paper, they should dominate the forward pack battle and Matt Gillett is back from injury. Meanwhile, the Titans started well against the Storm last week but their defensive issues returned in another heavy defeat. Their home record is becoming concerning as they’ve lost 5 in a row as well. In contrast, Brisbane love playing on the Gold Coast with 4 straight wins and the last 2 have been by a combined total of 88-0. So this figures to be a high scoring game where the Broncos likely score the majority of the 40.5 point total.
Melbourne and Manly reignite their modern-day rivalry this Saturday night at AAMI Park. The Storm are flying after 9 straight wins and were afforded the luxury of resting starters last week in a comfortable win over the Titans. The Sea Eagles are 5th on the ladder and they should enjoy this challenge against the top side. This matchup should be won through the middle of the park where both forward packs are in great form. Which should open up the field for the likes of Munster and Tom Trbojevic to create scoring opportunities. In the end, these two sides match up well together and it’s hard to see a blowout margin.
The Roosters returned to form in impressive fashion last week as they crushed the Knights 48-10. Now, they’ll take on the Bulldogs on Sunday, a team they recently smashed 38-12. Canterbury does welcome back Tolman and Lewis at halfback. But with just pride to play for at the moment, it’s difficult to see them stopping the Roosters attack if they continue from last week. The two sides totalled 50 points in the last meeting and with the Roosters coming off 48, this looks like an Overs kind of game.
Sunday afternoon should be a cracking contest between the red-hot Panthers and Raiders at Panthers Stadium. The home side is coming off 7 straight wins and a 40-18 thrashing of the Dragons at this venue on Friday. The Raiders will be a tough test though. They’ve won 4 of their last 5 and they’ll be desperate to finish in the top four come finals. The key to watch in this matchup is in defence. The Panthers have allowed just 20 total points in their last 2 games. Meanwhile, Canberra are the second-best defensive team in the competition. So in a grinding type of battle, look for the Under to salute here.
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