Sunday football, and the final two games in Round 2 see teams who all outperformed expectations in Round 1. Up first, the Newcastle Knights host the Wests Tigers, in a match that will showcase a team that took the Storm all the way last week, against a team that totally dismantled the Roosters. Then we see the Brisbane Broncos make the trek south to Sydney to take on the Canterbury Bulldogs, in a match that incredibly will see the winner inside the top 4 at the end of round 2.
Make sure you keep up to date with our NRL previews throughout the 2022 NRL season, where we will give you all the best bets to beat the bookie throughout the year.
NRL Round 2 Sunday Betting Tips
Newcastle Knights vs Wests Tigers
McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 20th March, 4:05pm (AEDT)
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Enari Tuala 6. Jake Clifford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Kurt Mann. INTERCHANGE: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Leo Thompson 17. Jirah Momoisea. RESERVES 18. Mathew Croker 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Tex Hoy 21. Simi Sasagi 22. Brayden Musgrove 23. Dylan Lucas 24. Daniel Saifiti
1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Oliver Gildart 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jackson Hastings 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Stefano Utoikamanu 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue. INTERCHANGE: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Alex Twal 16. Zane Musgrove 17. Alex Seyfarth. RESERVES: 18. Thomas Mikaele 19. Luke Garner 20. Starford To’a 21. Tukimihia Simpkins 22. Jock Madden 23. Austin Dias 24. Jacob Liddle
It was an amazing performance that we saw from the Newcastle Knights last week, totally dominating the Sydney Roosters at the SCG in a performance that has aged extremely well. The forward pack was very impressive, with 4 forwards running for 100m+ and the Knights having the second most post contact metres in week 1. Ponga was solid too, popping up all over the park and getting involved as often as he needed to. But the true highlight of the day for the Knights was the performance of star recruit Dane Gagai. The former Rabbitoh was everywhere, running for 200m, making 23 tackles, to go along with his 1 try, 1 line break, 1 try assist, 1 line break assist and 6 tackle breaks. It is precisely what the Knights need from the veteran, and they’d love to see this form continue.
The Tigers were also impressive in round 1, taking the match to the Melbourne Storm, leading 16-10 with just over 20 minutes remaining. But as is the way, the champion Storm team came home strong, scoring 3 unanswered tries to win their 20th straight opening round match under coach Craig Bellamy, an insane statistic. Luke Brooks looked sharp in his first outing with new halves partner Jackson Hastings, with Tigers fans pleading that the pair can lead their side to a first finals appearance in over a decade.
Looking at the Knights and trying to understand if their form in week 1 is something we will see moving forward, it’s difficult to predict. Whilst they looked dynamic in attack, the Roosters did seem flat, and often you will find the team who has the best attitude early in a season is the team that wins. That was the case last week, with the Knights dominating from the outset. They ran for close to 400m further than the Roosters, with over 100m more post contact metres. The key stats for mine, however, were both dominated by the Knights. These were line breaks (7-0) and tackle breaks (35-13). In my opinion, these stats cannot be sustained throughout a season, and I believe the Knights will revert to their mean performance as the season progresses.
The Tigers came into the season as the wooden spoon favourites (and still are at the bookies), however they were far from disgraced by Premiership Heavyweights the Melbourne Storm in week 1. As mentioned, Luke Brooks looked slick in attack and Jackson Hastings appears to be a very good foil for the polarizing halfback, and whilst Jake Simpkin was solid at hooker, the Tigers must be salivating at the prospect of having Api Koroisau at hooker next season.
The Knights have named the same 17 that won last week, and no changes are expected. Daniel Saifiti is a slight chance of returning early, but I don’t think the Knights will risk him.
The Tigers have made one change, with James Tamou straight back in after serving his suspension to start up front, with Alex Twal dropping to the bench and Luke Garner relegated to the reserved. Luke Brooks and Ken Maumalo were said to be in doubt, but I expect them to line up on Sunday.
These sides met twice last year, with the Tigers winning at McDonald Jones Stadium in round 3, 24-20, and convincingly 36-18 in round 10 at Suncorp Stadium.
I think the Knights have been overrated by the market after last week and believe the +7.5 is too many points to be giving away. To go from closing 17.5-point underdogs last week to the Roosters, to 7.5 points favourites this week, is far too big a jump.
Despite unders being the bet so far in 2022, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Newcastle I see plenty of points in this one. Give me the overs.
Tigers Over 16.5 Points ($1.90 at Bet365)
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Brisbane Broncos
Accor Stadium, Sunday 20th March, 6:15pm (AEDT)
1. Matt Dufty 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Braidon Burns 4. Brent Naden 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Jake Averillo 8. Luke Thompson 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jack Hetherington 12. Tevita Pangai jnr 13. Josh Jackson. INTERCHANGE: 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Corey Waddell 16. Max King 17. Ava Seumanufagai. RESERVES: 19. Chris Patolo 20. Brandon Wakeham 21. Joe Stimson 22. Kyle Flanagan 23. Reece Hoffman 24. Josh Cook 25. Aaron Schoupp
1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Albert Kelly 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan. INTERCHANGE: 14. Ryan James 15. Kobe Hetherington 16. TC Robati 17. Billy Walters. RESERVES: 18. Brenko Lee 19. Rhys Kennedy 20. Corey Jensen 21. Jordan Pereira 22. Cory Paix 23. Jamayne Isaako 24. Tyson Gamble
Tell me you had these two sides heading into this round 2 clash as last start winners, and I’d call you a liar. Whilst the Bulldogs were close to a pick’em against the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, the Broncos went into their clash with the Rabbitohs as 10.5-point underdogs. Their performance, whilst lacking in polish, showed a new resolve to this Broncos side, a team which has lacked an identity since the Wayne Bennett years. They get a fantastic chance to carry on this momentum, as they take on the Bulldogs here.
The Bulldogs, despite the win last week, still have plenty of work to do, particularly with their attack. Obviously, conditions in their clash with the Cowboys last week weren’t ideal, but their structure in attack seemed to be eerily similar to last year. They don’t seem to have enough options in their arsenal, and too frequently looked to the booming boot of Matt Burton to try and produce something. Whilst they only conceded 4 points, I put that at least half down to the Cowboys impotence in attack and will reserve judgement until I see this team take on a genuine top 8 team.
The lookahead between the teams was a pick’em last week, but after the Broncos display against the Rabbitohs, they opened as 1.5-point favourites when markets re-opened early this week. Money has come in on the Broncos, and at the time of writing are currently 3.5-point favourites to consign the Bulldogs to their first loss of the season.
In team news, the Broncos will welcome back star recruit and new Club Captain Adam Reynolds, who should really assist the team in attack. Tesi Niu also returns at fullback, dropping Jamayne Isaako down to the reserves. Billy Walters drops to the bench for Reynolds, whilst Kobe Hetherington joins the bench at the expense of Tyrone Roberts.
For the Bulldogs, firebrand backrower Tevita Pangai Jr looks to make his club debut, after being a late out last week with a hamstring strain. He pushes Corey Waddell to the bench, with Chris Patolo dropping to the reserves. No other changes to the squad are expected.
The sides met once last year in round 3 at Suncorp Stadium, with the Broncos running out 24-0 winners. To be honest, I still don’t believe in this Bulldogs team and still don’t rate Trent Barrett as a coach. Whilst I don’t believe the Broncos have turned it around based on one performance, I think they are improved on last year and should eek out a win here against the decidedly average Bulldogs
Whilst we aren’t getting the best of the number, -3.5 is still the play. Similarly with the total, the under has been hammered from a 42.5 at open to 40.5 as it stands now. I still think there’s value in this bet and can advocate going hard on all Bulldogs related unders you can find.
Not the headline act for the week, but we could see a tight, grinding contest here, with the winner potentially ending the week inside the top 4! Imagine that.
Under 40.5 ($1.91 at Bet365)
Bulldogs Under 18.5 ($1.96 at Bet365)