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24 Mar 2018 19:03
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    NRL round-23 preview panel

    A preview of all the matches from round 23 of the NRL.

    - article from


    THURSDAY, Aug 10

    South Sydney v Canterbury at ANZ Stadium 7.50pm

    Head to Head: Bulldogs 81 Rabbitohs 70 drawn 4

    Last clash: Round 7, 2017 - Bulldogs 24 bt Rabbitohs 9 at ANZ Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Rabbitohs $1.60 Bulldogs $2.35

    FootyTAB: Bulldogs +4.5

    Both teams are playing for pride, but there is arguably more at stake for the Bulldogs, with coach Des Hasler under increasing pressure thanks to his side's abysmal form. The Rabbitohs have the momentum after upsetting the Dragons last week, while the Bulldogs' attacking woes continued on a heavy track against the Eels. Aaron Gray replaces Hymel Hunt at centre for Souths, with teenage winger Campbell Graham holding his spot after an impressive debut.

    Key: Souths should have too much scoring power for the Bulldogs, who are the worst attacking side in the competition.

    Tip: Rabbitohs

    FRIDAY, Aug 11

    Parramatta v Newcastle at ANZ Stadium, 6pm

    Head to Head: Eels 21 Knights 26 drawn 1

    Last clash: Round 12, 2016 - Eels 20 bt Knights 18 at McDonald Jones Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Eels $1.13 Knights $6

    FootyTAB: Knights +15.5

    The Eels juggernaut is cruising towards September, and their favourable draw continues with Friday night's match against the last-placed Knights. Bevan French has been named at fullback for the Eels despite picking up hamstring injury last week, while Tepai Moeroa is back at second-row after overcoming a rib complaint. Newcastle's Dane Gagai has been named at fullback for Nathan Ross (back). Shaun Kenny-Dowall (hamstring) is back on the wing for the Knights.

    Key: Prized recruit Mitchell Moses's strong form has been the catalyst for the Eels' winning run. He can continue on his merry way against the Knights.

    Tip: Eels

    Brisbane v Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm

    Head to Head: Broncos 32 Sharks 20

    Last clash: Round 1, 2017 - Broncos 26 bt Sharks 18 at Southern Cross Group Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Broncos $1.42 Sharks $2.90

    FootyTAB: Sharks +6.5

    Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is expected to start with Sam Thaiday at dummy-half before unleashing stand-in No.9 Ben Hunt from the bench. That ploy saw Hunt tear apart the Titans last week. Now he comes up against a Sharks defence that will be looking to atone for a sloppy performance against the Raiders. Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney is back after three weeks on the sidelines with a broken hand, but Jack Bird is out with a shoulder injury. Sharks skipper Paul Gallen will be desperate to celebrate his 300th match with a victory.

    Key: The Sharks' defence needs to get back to its best to hold out the Broncos who are running hot in the lead-up to the finals.

    Tip: Broncos

    SATURDAY, Aug 12

    St George Illawarra v Gold Coast at UOW Jubilee Oval, 3pm

    Head to Head: Dragons 11 Titans 7

    Last clash: Round 17, 2017 - Titans 20 bt Dragons 10 at Cbus Super Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Dragons $1.40 Titans $3

    FootyTAB: Titans +6.5

    The Dragons are in free fall, dropping out of the eight for the first time this season after losing four of their last five matches. Time is running out for them to save their season which started so promisingly. Meanwhile, the Titans piled pressure on coach Neil Henry with an insipid performance against the Broncos last week. Titans back-rower Kevin Proctor returns from a hamstring injury, while the Dragons get a boost with Origin forward Tyson Frizell also returning.

    Key: Have the Dragons got the mental strength to keep their season alive?

    Tip: Dragons

    Melbourne v Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park, 5.30pm

    Head to Head: Storm 18 Roosters 15

    Last clash: Round 16, 2017 - Roosters 25 bt Storm 24 at Adelaide Oval

    Tab Sportsbet: Storm $1.33 Roosters $3.30

    FootyTAB: Roosters +7.5

    The Storm are strong favourites for this top-of-the-table clash. A Melbourne victory will effectively wrap up the minor premiership, while the Roosters need to win to hang on to second spot. The Storm will be without five-eighth Cameron Munster for another week - not that it seemed to worry them last time out as they accounted for the Cowboys with Ryley Jacks in the halves. Roosters co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend both return from injury, although Daniel Tupou is out with a groin injury.

    Key: The "big three". The Roosters have never beaten the Storm outside Sydney when Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater have started.

    Tip: Storm

    Penrith v North Queensland at Pepper Stadium, 7.30pm

    Head to Head: Panthers 18 Cowboys 17

    Last clash: Round 16, 2017 - Cowboys 14 bt Panthers 12 at 1300SMILES Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Panthers $1.40 Cowboys $3

    FootyTAB: Cowboys +6.5

    This match shapes as a golden opportunity for the Panthers to cement their place in the top eight and leapfrog the Cowboys. A North Queensland victory will keep the pressure on the top four. It's an important chance for the Cowboys who have lost back-to-back matches against the Roosters and Storm, and still have to play the Broncos and Sharks during a tough run home. They lose winger Antonio Winterstein (hamstring) and second-rower Gavin Cooper (calf), with Javid Bowen and Coen Hess coming into the starting line up. Panthers skipper Matt Moylan has been named among the reserves as he races the clock to return from a hamstring injury.

    Key: The Cowboys have the highest completion rate in the league, while the Panthers are ranked 15th.

    Tip: Cowboys

    SUNDAY, Aug 13

    Warriors v Canberra at Mt Smart Stadium, 2pm

    Head to Head: Warriors 17 Raiders 20

    Last clash: Round 7, 2017 - Raiders 20 bt Warriors 8 at GIO Stadium

    Tab Sportsbet: Warriors $3 Raiders $1.40

    FootyTAB: Warriors +6.5

    Can the Raiders keep their faint finals hopes alive for another week? They were closer to their best last week, with a big win over Cronulla. Elliott Whitehead stays at lock after a strong performance there last week, with Joe Tapine in the backrow. Warriors Test hooker Isaac Luke has been named on the bench with Nathaniel Roache at No. 9, while second-rower Ryan Hoffman is back in the starting side after six weeks out with a foot injury.

    Key: Josh Hodgson's control of the game. If the star hooker can dictate terms, Canberra should easily hand the Warriors a sixth-straight defeat.

    Tip: Raiders

    Wests Tigers v Manly at Leichhardt Oval, 4pm

    Head to Head: Sea Eagles 15 Tigers 9

    Last clash: Round 19, 2017 - Sea Eagles 28 bt Tigers 16 at Lottoland

    Tab Sportsbet: Tigers $3 Sea Eagles $1.40

    FootyTAB: Tigers +6.5

    The Sea Eagles arrested their slide last week with a stirring come-form-behind victory over the Roosters. They can't afford another slump as they push for a top four finish. Their next three games are against sides out of the finals race, starting with the Tigers who are showing signs of improvement under coach Ivan Cleary. An upset would be a god-send for the Tigers who are one win ahead of the last-placed Knights in the battle for the wooden spoon.

    Key: Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic was inspirational for the Sea Eagles last week and starred against the Tigers in round 19. Expect him to be hard to stop again.

    Tip: Sea Eagles


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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