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2021 NRL Round 2: Saturday Preview & Betting Tips

March 19th 2021, 2:45pm, By: Scooby

NRL Saturday Round 1 Betting Tips

Super Saturday features 3 games that promise to be dominated by attack. 4 of the 6 teams playing Saturday lost in Round 1 of the competition, meaning that they will be desperate to open their account for the 2021 season. Two losses to start the season is never a good thing and it could increase the pressure on some teams (and coaches) that played poorly last week. See our preview and betting tips for all three games below. 

2021 NRL Round 2 Saturday Betting Tips

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers

The Bulldogs began their match against the Knights well, scoring in the 4th minute of play with a sweeping attacking movement. These signs were positive but the final result of 32-16 was hardly anything to get excited about. They only completed at 72%, missed 30 total tackles and committed 13 errors. This is a starting point for this team, and you would hope that they could improve. Their task becomes more difficult this week, facing a dynamic Panthers side that is fresh off a 24-nil victory over the Cowboys. While the score line suggests a one-sided affair, the Panthers failed on numerous occasions to put the match beyond their opponents reach. Unfortunately, they were unable to achieve this but will be better for the hit out and need to improve if they are going to be the same force that they were last year. Over 80 minutes, despite 60% possession, they only completed at 67% and committed 17 total errors. They also averaged less than 9m per carry but countered this with 7 offloads and 7 line breaks. They can consider themselves lucky with the result as a better side may have capitalised on the errors made. 

The Stats

Head-to-Head = Bulldogs 18 Draw 1 Panthers 21

At Bankwest Stadium = Bulldogs 41% Panthers 45%

Past 10 meetings = Panthers have won 6 out of the past 10 meetings. The averaging winning margin is 6 points (Bulldogs) and 19.7 points (Panthers). 3 out of the 4 Bulldogs victories came as they were the home side.


The Panthers carry the same players into this contest, and it is expected that a similar result to last week will be achieved. For all of the hype, the Bulldogs still have a way to go on both sides of the ball. If they are managing to concede 32 points to the Knights, there is no telling what damage the Panthers can do to them. Their only saving grace could be that the weather is predicted to be horrible during this match. If that is the case, the wet conditions could mean that a free-flowing attack could be hard to come by. However, it will impact the Bulldogs just as much as their opponents. Comments will also be made about the ‘inside knowledge’ that coach Barrett will possess on the Panthers; information is one thing but without the talent to match it with their opponents, the Bulldogs will have a hard time of stopping the Panthers.

Panthers -16.5


Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v South Sydney Rabbitohs

The less said about the Sea Eagles 46-4 loss against the Roosters last week, the better. In what was always shaping as a difficult encounter for Manly, the Sea Eagles were diabolical on both sides of the ball, with plenty of concerns raised for their hopes this season. In the end, they completed at just 68% with 14 errors, missed a massive 39 tackles and only averaged 8.5m per carry. Things need to change quickly for this team as they lacked a competitive edge. The Rabbitohs had an equally as difficult task, heading down to Melbourne to face the Storm, a team they’ve never defeated on the road. It only took 3 minutes for the Rabbitohs to be put on the back foot as the Storm scored; eventually, they were down 22-nil inside 30 minutes. An improved second half made the match competitive; suggesting that the Rabbitohs were ambushed rather than overstated following their trial form. Still, they will need to improve upon a number of areas. With just 38% possession, they completed at 63%, committed 16 total errors and made just 7.7m per carry. Much like the Sea Eagles, their deficiencies can be put down to the quality of their opponent, but change is needed ahead of Round 2.

The Stats

Head-to-Head = Sea Eagles 21 Rabbitohs 18

At Lottoland = Sea Eagles 62% Rabbitohs 35%

Past 10 meetings = The Rabbitohs have won 6 out of the past 10 meetings. The averaging winning margin is 14.3 points (Sea Eagles) and 16.8 points (Rabbitohs). The Rabbitohs have won 4 out of the past 5 matches with only one match (their loss) being at this ground.


Hasler has shown faith in his team following last week’s effort, with only a few minor changes ahead of this contest. A week is a long time in rugby league and the Sea Eagles will be desperate to put a poor performance last week behind them. Unfortunately, they face a Rabbitohs team that is search for their first win of the season. They will also be rested ahead of this clash, with an extra 2 days to recover from Round 1 and prepare for this clash. Expect the Sea Eagles to be a more resolute outfit this week but it will not be enough to stop the Rabbitohs attack. Their left edge is lethal to say the least and once they get momentum, they will be difficult to stop. Much like the 3pm match, this game could be significantly impacted by the weather. Rain will hamper the attacking movements for both teams and limit the points on offer. That being said, the Rabbitohs should still possess enough points, while also limiting their opponents, to create a comfortable margin of victory over their opponents.

Rabbitohs -10.5


North Queensland Cowboys v St George-Illawarra Dragons

The Cowboys travelled south to Penrith and returned empty handed after suffering a 24-nil loss. It could’ve been a much better if their opponents were at their peak. Thankfully for the Cowboys, they weren’t. The post-match comments of coach Payten raised plenty of eyebrows too and rightly so when you look at their overall output in the match. With just 40% possession, they completed at 59% (worst in the round), while committing 18 errors, missing 42 tackles and having just 1 line break. It was slightly better for the Dragons in their 32-18 loss to the Sharks but worrying signs are still present for their 2021 campaign. Behind 14-nil inside 23 minutes, it took 47minutes for the Dragons to score their first points. After a brief fightback, they were quickly shut out of the match with the Sharks regaining momentum. In the end, they completed at 71% (44% possession), made 15 errors and missed 42 tackles. Interestingly, they averaged 10m per carry, but this suggests more about their opponents than anything else. On paper, this isn’t the most exciting contest but the desperation of both teams to open their account may just bring out the best in both teams.

The Stats

Head-to-Head = Cowboys 17 Dragons 16

At Queensland Country Bank Stadium = Cowboys 30% Dragons 0%

Past 10 meetings = Each team has won 5 of the past 10 meetings. The averaging winning margin is 12.2 points (Cowboys) and 7 points (Dragons). In the past 10 meetings, the visiting team has only been victorious on 3 occasions.


This is a tricky match to jump into with any confidence. The Dragons were lacklustre against the Sharks last week but had spots of promise; the Cowboys came up against a superior opponent and were outplayed. The Cowboys hold favouritism ahead of this match, with some consideration also needed for the short turnaround that the Dragons will face ahead of this match. The injection of Corey Norman into their starting team will provide another dimension to the Dragons attack but only so much can be expected of them. The Cowboys have maintained the same team for this contest and with the comments of their coach fresh in their minds, they will want to display pride in their first home match or risk facing the axe ahead of next week. This is as ugly as it gets for NRL punters and the real tip here is to stay away and watch the game to gain a better understanding of each side’s performance. For the sake of making a selection, the home ground advantage of the Cowboys is too much to overlook. Rather than invest on them straight out, the selection that will over the most value is for this match to be decided by 8-points or less.

Either Team by 8.5 or Less


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