Friday night: North Queensland Cowboys vs St. George Illawarra Dragons
The Cowboys vastly improved showing in 2022 has them standing alone as the best team in the league behind the Panthers and Storm, at least in the eyes of many, but despite that they need to keep winning in order to maintain their hold on a top four spot. Friday night afforded them a great chance to do exactly that, and give their goal difference a boost in the process, and they didn’t waste it. Three first-half tries saw them jump out to a 20-6 half-time lead, and by the final whistle they’d extended that lead to 19 points to take their record to 10-4.
Next Match for North Queensland: Sea Eagles ($2.25) vs Cowboys ($1.65)
The Cowboys face a bit more of a test next weekend when they head to Manly to face a Sea Eagles team coming of back-to-back big victories.
Next Match for St. George: Dragons ($2.60) vs Rabbitohs ($1.50)
The Dragons also face a tough test against the Rabbitohs, who have won their last two games by a combined total of 40 points, but the betting sites suggest they aren’t without a chance on their home turf.
Saturday Evening: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday evening’s clash between the Roosters and the Storm shaped up as one of the most important of the round, with the former trying to work their way towards the top four and the latter trying to solidify their spot in the top two, and it didn’t disappoint. The two sides traded tries in the first half, the Roosters heading into half-time with a 12-10 lead, and with 20 minutes to go in the game they were still holding onto that two-point buffer. Tries to first Grant Anderson and then Felise Kaufusi, however, saw the Storm stretch out to a 26-18 lead and earn themselves a hard-fought victory.
Next Match for Sydney: Eels ($1.80) vs Roosters ($2.00)
The Roosters have another massive game next weekend; they’ll play the sixth-placed Eels in a game in which the betting apps are struggling to pick a winner.
Next Match for Melbourne: Storm ($1.15) vs Broncos ($5.50)
The Storm also have a huge game against a fellow top-four side in the Broncos, who have now won seven in a row, but on their home turf they are still comfortable favourites according to NRL betting sites.
Saturday Night: Brisbane Broncos vs Canberra Raiders
Heading into this game, the Broncos had won six games in a row while the Raiders had won four of their previous five, and each of them had catapulted into finals and even top-four contention as a result. And with plenty on the line, the game delivered in spades in front of nearly 30,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium. The first half was tight and entertaining, with the two sides trading tries over the course of a high-scoring 40 minutes which ended with the visitors leading 18-16. In the second half, however, both defences tightened the screws. The Raiders were unable to score again, and Herbie Farnworth’s second try just two minutes into the half proved enough to get the Broncos over the line 24-18.
Next Match for Brisbane: Storm ($1.15) vs Broncos ($5.50)
If the betting sites are to be believed the Broncos will have a tough time keeping what is now a seven-game winning streak going next weekend, as they head to AAMI Park for one of the toughest trips in the NRL.
Next Match for Canberra: Raiders ($1.28) vs Knights ($3.75)
As a result of their slow start to the season the Raiders still have plenty of work to do to sneak into the top eight, but they’ll be backing themselves to earn a fifth win in seven weeks when they face the Knights this Sunday.
Sunday Afternoon: Newcastle Knights vs Penrith Panthers
The betting apps didn’t expect the Panthers to have too many problems disposing of the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon having won 12 of their first 13 games of the season, and from the outset it was clear that those expectations were justified. The Panthers were irrepressible from the opening kick, with Cleary scoring a try in the fourth minute to kick-start what ended up being a 26-0 opening half. They continued on their merry way in the second stanza to ultimately run out 42-6 winners, extending their lead atop the table to three games and sending the Knights’ record to 4-9.
Next Match for Newcastle: Raiders ($1.28) vs Knights ($3.75)
Just one spot separates the Knights from their opponent this weekend, but given the form the Raiders are in it’s hard to imagine Newcastle getting over the line.
Next Match for Penrith: Warriors ($10.00) vs Panthers ($1.05)
The Panthers shouldn’t have any problems continuing their winning ways next weekend when they head to Redcliffe to take on the Warriors.
Monday Afternoon: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels
The Queen’s Birthday Clash this year took place between the Bulldogs, the typical custodians of this fixture, and a new opponent in the Eels, who the Monday afternoon timeslot didn’t seem to agree with. Against the bottom-placed team in the league, Parramatta were sluggish from the get-go, and were resigned to a 16-0 lead at half-time. And it didn’t get better from there. The Bulldogs crossed the line three more times in the second half – with two of those tries being to Addo-Carr, who finished the game with a hattrick – while a solitary unconverted try to will Penisini was the only troubling of the scorers the Eels managed. The end score was 34-4, a result which saw the Eels drop out of the top four.
Next Match for Canterbury: Bulldogs ($1.80) vs Tigers ($2.00)
The Bulldogs haven’t won two games in a row all year but have a great chance to do so this weekend, when they face the Tigers in a game in which the best betting sites in Australia have installed them as slight favourites.
Next Match for Parramatta: Eels ($1.80) vs Roosters ($2.00)
The Eels will be keen to bounce back from Monday’s disaster as soon as possible, but they are no guarantee of returning to the winners’ list when they face the Roosters on Saturday night.