NRL Round 23 Recap

With just three rounds to go and still plenty yet to be decided in terms of the top eight and top four, Round 23 of the NRL season loomed as a huge one. It kicked off with a bang when the Rabbitohs took on the Panthers in a thrilling game, before a couple of top eight sides flexed their collective muscles with monstrous wins later on in the round. Take a look at how some of the biggest games of the round went down below.

Thursday Night: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Penrith Panthers

Round 23 began with arguably the biggest game of the round, with the Rabbitohs’ hot form meaning they headed in as favourites with the betting sites in a game against the top of the table Panthers. With an 18-3 record, however, clearly the visitors weren’t going to be an easy team to beat. Stephen Crichton got them off to a great start with a try in the third minute, before the two sides traded tries for the rest of the half and headed into the break at 12-12. It was an entertaining and high-quality start to the game, and it would only get better over the last 40 minutes. The Panthers struck first through Spencer Leniu to open up a six-point lead, but consecutive tries to the Bunnies thereafter saw the home side grab a 22-20 lead with just ten minutes to go. With it feasible for them to both make the top four or miss the finals, the home side were desperate to hang onto that lead, but a penalty goal to Crichton in the 75th minute saw the scored tied up at 22 apiece. As the clock wound down, both teams dug in their proverbial heels in an finals-like ending, but despite the Rabbitohs’ best efforts they couldn’t keep the Panthers at bay. Liam Martin dramatically scored with just a couple of minutes to go, and though his try wasn’t converted, the four points was enough to secure the Panthers a memorable win.

Next Match for South Sydney: Rabbitohs ($1.48) vs Cowboys ($2.65)

The Rabbitohs have another tough match next weekend, this time against the second-placed Cowboys, and with just a game now separating them from ninth spot they badly need to rebound from their devastating loss last Thursday night.

Next Match for Penrith: Panthers ($1.06) vs Warriors ($9.00)

The Panthers can cruise the next couple of weeks knowing they’ve already sewn up top spot, but even if they stay in second gear they should have no problems disposing of the Warriors.

Friday Night: Brisbane Broncos vs Melbourne Storm

Friday. Night played host to another huge game, with the Broncos a chance to move to within points differential of the Storm if they were able to defy the betting apps and secure a win at Suncorp Stadium. After both sides scored in the first 11 minutes to have the scores locked at six apiece early, however, things went downhill rapidly for the home team. The Storm piled on another three tries before half time to go into the break with an 18-point lead, and things got a lot worse for the Broncos in the second half. It took just two minutes for Harry Grant to pick things up where the Storm left off in the first half, before the visitors went on to score an incredible five more tries before the end of the game. That gave them an enormous 60-12 victory against a side which just a few weeks ago looked like a genuine top four hope. Instead, the Storm have now virtually sewn up a top four spot, while the Broncos remain vulnerable in eighth spot and could still theoretically end up missing the finals.

Next Match for Brisbane: Broncos ($2.20) vs Eels ($1.67)

The Broncos face another tough match at Suncorp Stadium next week, a match in which a win will most likely assure them of a spot in the finals.

Next Match for Melbourne: Storm ($1.58) vs Roosters ($2.40)

The Storm’s next match should be a belter. They are back to some of their best form, but one of the few sides who could rival their current level of play is the Roosters, who they’ll welcome to AAMI Park on Friday night.

Saturday Afternoon: Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs

After a shocking performance against the Rabbitohs a fortnight ago almost put paid to their top four aspirations, the simply had to come out and beat the Bulldogs. NRL betting sites certainly expected them to, but there have been plenty of such occasions this year in which they’ve put in dismal performance which bely the talent they have at their disposal. Fortunately for them, this wasn’t one such occasion. From the outset it looked as though it was the best version of the Eels which had turned up, and they headed into half-time with a 16-6 lead before turning up the heat a notch or three in the second half. They went on to score five more tries while preventing the Bulldogs from scoring, and ultimately ran out 42-6 winners. They remain a game and points differential behind the Storm in fourth and so a double chance is unlikely, but they are now a game ahead of sixth and their fate in terms of earning a home final is now in their own hands.

Next Match for Parramatta: Broncos ($2.20) vs Eels ($1.67)

The Eels have an intriguing matchup against the Broncos next weekend; based on both sides’ performances last weekend they are deserved favourites, but neither of them are renowned for their consistency.

Next Match for Canterbury: Sharks ($1.15) vs Bulldogs ($5.50)

The Bulldogs’ second last game of the season looms as a tough one; they’ll head to Cronulla to take on the third-placed Sharks.

Saturday Night: Sydney Roosters vs Wests Tigers

The Roosters entered this game on the back of five consecutive wins, and with the Tigers sitting down the bottom of the ladder and with nothing to play for there was always the potential for things to get ugly. And ugly they did get. The Tigers did actually play some defence for the first 20 minutes, conceding just one try in that time, but when Angus Crichton scored in the 21st minute it kicked off a landslide. They scored another three tries to round out the half and take a 30-0 lead into the break, and somehow things got even worse for the visitors in the second half. The Roosters scored another seven tries over the next 40 minutes, with Sam Walker converting them all to take his night’s total to an incredible 12 conversions from 12 attempts. The Tigers managed a consolation try of their own in the 72nd minute, but it did little to mask the home side’s dominance; when the final whistle sounded, they had won 72-6. That win saw them continue their charge up the ladder, moving into sixth place, while the Tigers remain mired in 16th.

Next Match for Sydney: Storm ($1.58) vs Roosters ($2.40)

There are few teams the Roosters wouldn’t back themselves to beat at the moment, but the Storm in Melbourne is one of the toughest matchups in footy, particularly considering how the boys in purple are playing at the moment.

Next Match for Wests: Tigers ($2.75) vs Dragons ($1.45)

With little to play for the Tigers might struggle next week, though according to betting sites they’re not completely without a chance against a Dragons side with similarly little to play for.

Sunday Afternoon: Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders

This game was all about the Raiders, who entered the game as the only side outside of the top eight with the prospect of making the finals. A game in arrears of eighth place, however, those prospects would have been quickly diminished by a loss. Up against the struggling Knights the Raiders were unsurprisingly favourites on the betting apps, but the early stages of the game certainly didn’t suggest as much. They conceded three of the first four tries and another two on the stroke of half time to go into the break down 22-8, and with all the work to do to keep their finals hopes alive. But the game proved to be a tale of two halves; within two minutes of the second the Raiders cut the margin to eight points, and courtesy of another try and then a penalty goal they levelled things up in the 53rd minute. The game remained deadlocked for a tense period of over 20 minutes thereafter, but when Jack Wighton scored in the 71st it gave the visitors a lead which they wouldn’t relinquish. Now, with two games left in the season, they remain a game and points differential outside the top eight, but with winnable matchups to come.

Next Match for Newcastle: Titans ($1.45) vs Knights ($2.75)

The Knights’ next match won’t exactly be one that will attract a huge amount of interest; they head to the Gold Coast to take one of just two teams below them on the ladder in the Titans.

Next Match for Canberra: Raiders ($1.29) vs Sea Eagles ($3.60)

Needing to win to keep their finals hopes alive, the Raiders will welcome the Sea Eagles to GIO Stadium next Saturday afternoon for a huge game.


For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit