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NRL Round 17 Preview

The second split round is upon us, with Origin 3 creating havoc on the eight teams set to play this weekend.

Manly Sea Eagles vs Canberra Raiders

The Raiders have had a torrid time at Brookvale, winning just two of their last eleven games at the venue, a record stretching all the way back to 2004. However, while Manly has won seven of nine with Tom Trbojevic, they’ve lost four out of six without him and are without the star fullback this week thanks to Origin.

The Sea Eagles did manage to get a victory over the Cowboys last time without Trbojevic though. Given the Raiders’ abysmal form, losing nine of their last eleven and conceding 29.7 points per game during that time, they are impossible to tip.

Sea Eagles by 12. $1.79 at PlayUp

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland have been dreadful away from Townsville this year. Thus far, they have lost six of their seven games away from home, and with four of their last six away, they will have to improve to play finals football.

This won’t be the week to do it though as they come up against the red-hot Rabbitohs. Both Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker missed the State of Origin squad and will have plenty to prove. The third-placed Bunnies have won four on the hop and have run up 84 points in the last two weeks. That bodes terribly for Todd Payten’s side, who have conceded 114 in the last three. With the Rabbitohs sitting third for line-break assists and fifth for try assists, their unselfish style of play should see them run rings around the Cowboys.

Rabbitohs by 26. $1.66 at PlayUp

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Sydney Roosters

The Bulldogs are a rabble and appear destined for the wooden spoon at the season’s end. While the COVID breach and five players in isolation didn’t help them, they let in 66 points to the Sea Eagles last weekend. A similar score this time around wouldn’t surprise the Roosters. On average, they concede 31.2 points per game and have a for and against of negative 296, or just under 20 points per game.

It’s a matter how much for the Roosters, even without James Tedesco. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has the fifth-most metres out of any forward in the competition, while Daniel Tupou sits fifth for backs. That should allow the Roosters to spend much of the game on the attack and pile on the pain.

Roosters by 30. $1.39 at PlayUp

Cronulla Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors

The only game likely to be close this weekend, the inconsistent Warriors will be out to avenge a woeful fade-out to the Dragons last week. It’ll be easier said than done though without Tohu Harris, Eliesa Katoa and new recruit Chad Townsend. It’s in the forwards where they’ll struggle the most though, with Harris providing 45 tackles per game at 96 per cent efficiency, to go with 117 metres a contest and over an offload.

Whether the Sharks are good enough to take advantage is another question. They meekly surrendered to the Broncos in Brisbane last Sunday and have made the second-most missed tackles in the competition. In saying that, Cronulla are ahead of the Warriors in all the key attacking metrics, including line breaks, tackle busts and run metres. The loss of Harris will be too difficult to overcome.

Sharks by 6. $3.05 at PlayUp


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