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NRL Round 13 Preview

Dragons vs Broncos

Two teams without a heap of changes are the Dragons and Broncos. The historically heavy providers to the Origin arena are only providing three players between them this year – Payne Haas and Xavier Coates for the Broncos and Tariq Sims for the Dragons. The Broncos have lost their last three at Kogarah. In fact, they’ve never beaten the Dragons there since they became a joint venture. With the competition’s second leakiest defence, they will need to find a way to slow down the returning Matt Dufty, whose eight tries and five try assists in ten games have been sorely missed by the home side.

Jack de Belin returns also after years out of the game. If Albert Kelly and Tyson Gamble, who successfully beat the Roosters a fortnight ago, can’t spark Brisbane’s overall poor attack (currently 15th), they will be looking at back-to-back Thursday night losses.

Dragons by 12. $1.41 at PlayUp

Tigers vs Panthers

Typically, high-flying teams wear the brunt of the Origin chaos and this year it falls on the Panthers – who are missing six players. Most of their attacking options are among the absentees in Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary and Apisai Koroisau. Penrith, who have won 12 straight to start the season, will be boosted by the return of Dylan Edwards – who has three tries, three try assists and three line breaks from his seven games this season – but the Tigers attack has been improving rapidly, averaging 31.33 points per game in the last four weeks.

Still, defence is an attitude and the Panthers have let in just 7.3 points per game, so even a small let up in that won’t be enough to help the Tigers.

Panthers by 6. $1.45 at PlayUp


Storm vs Titans

The Melbourne Storm have been the NRL’s most dangerous team with the ball in hand so far this season, running on 34.2 points per game. That has been even higher during their current nine-match winning streak, with 40 points per game. They’ve managed that without key players for most of the run, and that trend will continue this week with Cameron Munster and Harry Grant going to Origin, while Ryan Papenhuyzen is still not fit to return.

Given the Titans have the fifth-worst defence in the competition and this week lose half of their forward pack – Moeaki Fotuaika, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and David Fifita – this game should be one-way traffic.

Storm by 22. $1.06 at PlayUp


Knights vs Eels

The Knights came away with a shock victory over the Sea Eagles last week and will be looking to do the same to the Eels this time around. Given Newcastle sit out of the top eight, and the fact games have been generally lopsided this season, the fact they sit in the top four for missed tackles and the top eight for set completion is a great mark to go by for their discipline as a team.

With Parramatta’s form falling off a cliff and their defence letting in 66 points in the last two games, they have elected to dump Blake Ferguson. However, they will need to let their attack do the talking this week, with the Eels sitting fourth for offloads, fifth for line-break assists, second for tackle breaks and second for all run metres. Newcastle’s defence, no matter how disciplined, won’t be enough to contend with that as the Eels look to snap a losing streak.

Eels by 8. $1.28 at PlayUp

A version of this preview was originally published over at The Roar


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