Thursday Night: St. George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Though the Dragons have been winning plenty of games this year, this loomed as a likely victory for the Rabbitohs, and the betting sites had installed them as relatively comfortable favourites. The win that most expected would have further entrenched them in the eight and seen the Dragons lose touch with that group, but instead the home side came out like a team possessed and scored six tries across an incredible opening 26 minutes to open up a 32-0 lead. They didn’t score again, but the Bunnies managed to cross the line just twice themselves and went down 32-12 in a surprising result to open up the round.
Next Match for St. George Illawarra: Dragons vs Raiders
The Dragons’ next match is a massive one; they come up against the Raiders, who they have won the same amount of games as, and with whom they appear likely to be competing for a spot in the bottom parts of the top eight – alongside plenty of others.
Next Match for South Sydney: Rabbitohs vs Eels
The Rabbitohs need to bounce back after that loss, but they’ll have their work cut out doing so when they welcome the Eels to Accor Stadium.
Friday Evening: Manly Sea Eagles vs North Queensland Cowboys
Friday night shaped up as an entertaining evening of NRL action, and the first game certainly lived up to expectations. The Sea Eagles led at the end of a tightly contested first half by four points, and when they scored three of the first four tries of the second half to open up a 26-12 lead with less than ten minutes to go, the game seemed all but over. The live odds on the best betting sites in Australia would have just about closed betting on the home side at that point, but the Cowboys had other ideas. In an extraordinary four-minute period they scored three tries, grabbing a lead which they wouldn’t relinquish with just five minutes to go. It was a massive win for them, giving them a two-game buffer in the top four, while for the Sea Eagles the loss was an unmitigated disaster; had they held on for a win they would have been a game clear in the eight, but inside they find themselves sitting in tenth.
Next Match for Manly: Sea Eagles vs Storm
Things don’t get any easier for the Sea Eagles, who after losing to the third-placed Cowboys take on the second-placed Storm the Thursday following Origin Game 2.
Next Match for North Queensland: Cowboys vs Broncos
The Cowboys have another challenging matchup as well, coming up against a Broncos side which had won seven games in a row prior to last weekend’s gallant loss to the Storm.
Friday Night: Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos
After seven wins on the trot the Broncos faced one of the sternest tests in the NRL on Friday night, and while they couldn’t get the job done they would hardly have lost too many fans. Courtesy of three tries in ten minutes they jumped out to a 16-6 lead half an hour into the game, though two late first-half tries for the Storm saw the two sides enter the break locked together at 16. After a tight start to the second half, Melbourne flexed their ample collective muscle with three tries in 20 minutes to establish what looked like an unattainable deficit for the Broncos, although after the prior game anything seemed possible. Normality returned in this one though; Brisbane did manage one late try, but still went down 32-20.
Next Match for Melbourne: Sea Eagles vs Storm
The Storm will head into their next game as favourite with the betting sites, but Manly showed they are more than capable of matching it with the top teams last weekend.
Next Match for Brisbane: Cowboys vs Broncos
The Broncos’ tough run continues in Round 16, with a match on the road against a Cowboys side sitting in third place on the NRL ladder.
Saturday Night: Parramatta Eels vs Sydney Roosters
After a lacklustre first couple of games on Saturday, there was plenty on the line when the Eels welcomed the Roosters to CommBank Stadium, and the home side came out playing like it. They scored five tries in the first half to establish a 26-12 first half lead, but a second try to Joseph Suaalii brought the margin back to ten minutes with over half an hour to play. After a high-scoring first 50 minutes that seemed more than attainable and the live odds on betting apps suggested as much, but both defences locked down thereafter and no scores were recorded for the rest of the match, giving the Eels a hugely important victory to consolidate their position in the top eight while sending the Roosters tumbling to ninth.
Next Match for Parramatta: Rabbitohs vs Eels
The Eels are now just goal difference outside the top four, and a win against the Rabbitohs – who are battling to stay in the top eight – could see them jump inside it.
Next Match for Sydney: Panthers vs Roosters
The Roosters are far from a certainty to make the finals now, and things don’t get any easier this week when they head to Penrith for the toughest test in the NRL next weekend.
Sunday Afternoon: Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights
With very little separating five teams battling for the same couple of spots at the bottom of the top eight, this was a massive game for the in-form Raiders, who have skyrocketed back into finals contention after a slow start to the season. Betting sites expected them to record a comfortable win, and with a 14-0 lead nearing half-time that seemed likely to come to fruition. A Kurt Mann try on the stroke of the whistle, however, followed by two more Newcastle scores in the first 25 minutes of the second half saw the visitors establish an 18-14 lead. With the final whistle approaching, the Raiders looked like they had blown a potentially season-defining game. Hudson Young, however, broke through for a pivotal try with just two minutes left on the clock, and with Jamal Fogarty converting, they recorded a 20-18 game in one of the most exciting finishes of the season.
Next Match for Canberra: Dragons vs Raiders
This is a huge game for the Raiders; the Dragons are one of the five teams sitting on seven wins, making this a proverbial four-point game.
Next Match for Newcastle: Knights vs Titans
The Knights get a great opportunity to get back on the winners’ list next round when they face the bottom-placed Titans on their own home turf on Friday evening.