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NRL Round 14 Preview

Sea Eagles vs Cowboys

The Cowboys had won three of their last four before last week’s bye, and the last fortnight been all about the attack – with 65 points put up.

The Sea Eagles will present a much tougher challenge though, with a defence that has only let in 30 points in their last three games. There is, however, a risk Tom Trbojevic won’t back up after Origin and, given Manly have won five out of seven with him and just one out of five without him, he is critical.

However, the Cowboys have won just one out of six away from Townsville, so it’s impossible not to tip Manly.

Manly by 8. $3.05 at PlayUp

Sharks vs Panthers

This one all hinges on Penrith’s six Origin players backing up. If they do, it’s hard to see the Panthers losing, given they hold the NRL’s second-best attacking record and best defensive record by over four points per game.

Even if they don’t back up, Penrith losing two in a row hasn’t happened since Round 23 and 24, 2019. The Sharks have the competition’s fifth-worst attack too, so beating even a Penrith defence, not at full strength will be extremely tough.

Panthers by 10. $3.05 at PlayUp

Titans vs Roosters

The Roosters, even with all their injury worries, is something of an unrelenting force, still sitting fifth on the ladder and maintaining the third-best defensive record at just 16.5 points per game. Given they have done that on an average of just 45% possession, it’s somewhat mind-boggling.

They can expect to have a lot more than 45% possession this week though, with the Titans making the third-highest number of errors so far. The Titans have been inconsistent and their defence isn’t up to scratch either – it’s the third-worst in the competition.

Roosters by 14. $1.97 at PlayUp

Rabbitohs vs Knights

Alex Johnston and Dane Gagai found some excellent form last start for the Rabbitohs as the left edge contributed six tries between them in a thumping win over the Eels. It reversed a tough run of form for South Sydney but, still sitting fourth on the table and tackling a Knights side with hundreds of games of experience on the sideline, they go in as heavy favourites.

The Knights have made more tackles than any other team, but relying on that against the fifth-best attacking team in the NRL will be a bridge too far.

Rabbitohs by 10. $1.17 at PlayUp

Raiders vs Broncos

The Broncos have lost their last two on the trot against the Raiders.

Both teams have been in abysmal form, but Brisbane’s defence and inability to hold onto the footy will cost them greatly on a trip to the nation’s capital. It’s expected to be just 7 degrees at kick-off – far removed from the weather in Brisbane.

The Broncos have made more errors and missed more tackles than any other team this season, while also making the second-highest number of ineffective tackles. The Raiders should have a field day.

Raiders by 20. $2.20 at PlayUp

Warriors vs Storm

The Storm survived something of a scare last week without their Origin stars, but now take on the Warriors, who they have won their last 10 in a row against. It’s an incredible hoodoo, and one the Warriors haven’t had any answers for; the average winning margin for those games is almost 20.

The Storm’s attack has been running rampant throughout the first half of the season. The men in purple average 33 points per game. While the Warriors don’t miss a whole lot of tackles, their overall defensive record, letting in 25 points per game, is poor.

Storm by 16. $3.30 at PlayUp

Eels vs Tigers

The Tigers appear to have turned a corner, winning three of their last four after a disastrous start to the season. The key has been Luke Brooks running the ball an average of 128.5 metres per game during the last month, and he will need to create opportunities for his team against the stringent defence of Parramatta.

While the Eels have been on a bumpy run of form themselves recently, their defence still ranks as the fourth-best in the NRL and, with the third-highest number of line breaks and second-highest number of post-contact metres across the competition, they are more than capable with the footy in hand. 

Eels by 8. $3.10 at PlayUp

Bulldogs vs Dragons

It’s just about impossible to tip the Bulldogs, who have won just one of their 13 games this season. Their attacking record reads just over ten points per game, and their defensive record is the second-worst in the competition.

Given the Dragons sit second in kick metres across the competition, they have an ability to pin teams at the wrong end of the field, and Canterbury simply doesn’t have the creativity to get back up the other end.

Add that to the fact St George Illawarra sit fourth for kick return metres, and so long as they don’t hold onto the ball at a much higher level than they have been (fourth-most errors), they won’t be touched in this game.

Dragons by 16. $1.97 at PlayUp


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