The fate of several NRL clubs could be decided this week with just over two months remaining before the NRL Finals series.
Things get off to a fast start on Friday with a top-eight blockbuster between the Panthers and Roosters scheduled from Penrith, followed by a must-win game for both the Knights and the Warriors on Saturday.
The Dragons and the Raiders could also do with a win when they meet in Wollongong, followed by a very important game for the luckless Titans on Sunday afternoon against Manly.
This shapes as a crucial round with every team on the bye next week, so be sure to find out who we’re backing in our 2021 NRL Round 15 Preview here!
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday June 17, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Broncos left Canberra empty-handed last week and they aren’t about to find Thursday’s game against the red-hot Bunnies any easier.
Brisbane came up 29 points short against Wayne Bennett’s star-studded squad back in April and the Broncos’ recent slew of injuries makes this a tough rematch.
Souths, meanwhile, have coasted to back-to-back double-digit wins over the Eels and Knights with the squad just about back to full strength.
The Bunnies had no trouble scoring last week against Newcastle, a worrying sign for Brisbane with Dane Gagai, Damien Cook and Jai Arrow set to return to the side following last week’s Origin.
Xavier Coates could potentially return for the Broncos this week, but they’d probably like to have Katoni Staggs, Brodie Croft, and Anthony Milford on the field.
Overall, the Broncos are averaging 31 points to opponents this year, which spells big trouble against a Rabbitohs side that has crept into the top five in points scored.
With an impressive 10-2 record as the away favourite over the last 12 months, the Bunnies should be winning this comfortably.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs to Cover the Line (-16.5 Points) @ $2.00
North Queensland Cowboys
Friday June 18, 6:00pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium
The Sharks have hit a bit of a purple patch as they look to extend their winning streak to four on Friday against the Cowboys.
It wasn’t pretty, but Cronulla managed to squeak out a last-second win over the half-strength Panthers last week to slide up to ninth, while the Cowboys are simply looking to forget all about their disheartening 50-18 loss to Manly at Pines Park.
Home field advantage largely explains why the Cowboys are favourites in betting, but the Sharks should feel pretty confident knowing they won 48-10 when these two sides met back in April.
Better yet, Cronulla has won six straight over North Queensland dating back to 2018, two of which have come away from home.
That said, trusting either side is incredibly difficult for punters on the back of two questionable defensive performances last week.
It’s hard to feel confident, but with the Cowboys sporting a 5-2 record at home this year and Kyle Feldt returning to the side, North Queensland are worthy of a mulligan.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Win @ $1.70
Friday June 18, 7:55pm, Panthers Stadium
The stage is set for a Friday night blockbuster between two genuine premiership contenders.
After suffering back-to-back losses, the Panthers will be hungry to get back to business with their stars returning from a rest, while the Roosters will be equally as eager to push for a top four spot after pulling off a miracle last Saturday against the Titans.
The fact only one point separated these two sides when they met in the Qualifying Final last year adds further spice, although that hasn’t stopped the bookies from installing Penrith as double-digit favourites at the line.
The inclusion of Nathan Cleary Isaah Yeo is enough to make this a matchup nightmare for Trent Robinson, especially with a long list of troops still absent on the sideline.
While no one is reading anything into a pair of losses to the Tigers and Sharks, it’s also safe to say the Panthers should be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they look to reclaim the top spot on the ladder from the Storm.
If you throw in Penrith’s outstanding 14-0 record as the home favourite over the last 12 months, this really shapes as a tough night for the Roosters with the Panthers’ electrifying playmakers returning.
Tip: Back the Panthers to Cover the Line (-10.5 Points) @ $2.00
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday June 19, 3:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
There’s definitely a ‘line in the sand’ type feel to Saturday’s game in Newcastle.
The 11th placed Warriors and the 14th placed Knights are quickly running out of time to qualify for the finals, and the fact both sides are looking to erase back-to-back losses only adds further intrigue.
Newcastle put up an early fight last week against the Bunnies but ultimately lacked the firepower to fend off Souths potent attack.
Fortunately, there could be good news on the horizon with both Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Peace a chance at playing this week.
On the flip side, the Warriors received another harsh blow on the injury front with Chanel Harris-Tavita suffering a pectoral injury in the blowout loss to the Storm last week.
New Zealand is already missing David Fusitu’a and Peta Hiku, leaving head coach Nathan Brown well short on playmakers heading into a tough road assignment.
The Knights have played to a strong 4-2 record head-to-head and a 3-0 record at the line as the home favourite against the Warriors, and they should be winning this game providing Ponga and Pearce suit up.
Currently averaging 16 points a game, the Knights desperately need to find a spark on attack, and this does look the perfect game for them in front of their home fans.
Tip: Back the Knights to Cover the Line (-2.5 Points) @ $1.90
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Saturday June 19, 5:30pm, WIN Stadium
We’ve got even money on offer between the Dragons and Raiders on Saturday night in a game both sides desperately need to have.
After a bit of a purple patch through March and April, the Dragons have cooled off significantly in recent weeks with only one win from their last five games.
Last week’s 28-6 loss to the Bulldogs was the lowlight of the season for head coach Anthony Griffin, and it’s fair to say the Red V won’t hold particularly fond memories of the Raiders with three straight losses dating back to 2019.
To make matters worse, the Green Machine is also coming off a much-needed win over the Broncos last week.
It’s hard to read too much into a blowout win over the reigning wooden spooners, but it was encouraging to watch the Raiders string together two consistent halves for the first time in a while.
The Dragons also have some injury concerns that could make this a tough ask with Zac Lomax questionable to play with a thumb injury.
Neither of these two sides have been particularly exciting to watch but considering the Raiders have been a better team on the road than they have been at home this year, the edge has to go to the rejuvenated Raiders.
Tip: Back the Raiders to Win @ $1.90
Saturday June 19, 7:35pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium
The Storm moved into the top spot on the ladder last week with a blowout win over the Warriors, and they look very likely to remain there with another favourable game against the Tigers on Saturday.
Melbourne’s attack has been lethal during their 11-game winning streak, which does spell potential disaster for a Tigers team that just gave up 40 points to the Eels last Sunday.
Michael Maguire’s men were on the receiving end of a 50-22 blowout when these two sides met last September, and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see a similar margin unfold now that Adam Doueihi is set to miss a week following a head knock.
As for the Storm, things are only looking up with reinforcements like Kenny Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona returning to the side.
The Tigers haven’t been awful defensively this year, but the fact the Storm have put up 40 points or more in three of their last five games makes them impossible to back against.
With an equally impressive 7-0 record on the Sunshine Coast to their name, the Storm at the line seems a safe play.
Tip: Back the Storm to Cover the Line (-22.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday June 20, 2:00pm, Bankwest Stadium
The Dogs proved to everyone last week that they won’t go down without a fight in a memorable 28-6 win over the Dragons.
Trent Barrett’s side was impressive from start to finish thanks to some superb finishing from Jake Averillo, but this is obviously a much tougher task against an Eels side that is hoping to record back-to-back rivalry wins.
Parramatta stomped all over the Tigers last week in a 40-12 bloodbath at Bankwest, and although the Dogs might put up an early fight, it’s hard to ignore the fact the Eels won by 22 when these two sides met last month.
The Eels might have to go about their business this week without Maika Sivo due to suspension, but even so, there’s enough talent on Brad Arthur’s healthy roster to cope.
Parra has won three straight over the Dogs dating back to the start of last year, while it’s also worth noting the Eels rank third in points scored so far.
Combine that with an outstanding 11-3 record at the line – the second-best in the league – and the Eels look a sensible bet to keep rolling.
Tip: Back the Eels to Cover the Line (-21.5 Points) @ $1.90
Gold Coast Titans
Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday June 20, 4:05pm, CBUS Super Stadium
A game against the red-hot Sea Eagles couldn’t have come at a worse time for Titans head coach Justin Holbrook.
Left with a sour taste in their mouth following a last-second loss to the Roosters last week, the Titans know this is a must-win game if they hold any hope of digging themselves out of the 12th spot on the ladder.
The fact Manly piled on 50 points against the Cowboys last week without Tom Trbojevic is an alarming side for every club, but even more so for a Titans outfit that has allowed the third-most points in the league.
Turbo is set to make his return to the club post-Origin on Sunday, and as the market suggests, his inclusion alone has been enough to push the line well in favour of Manly.
The Titans can rest a little easier knowing David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui are set to play after passing their HIA’s, while there’s also a good chance Anthony Don returns from a hip injury.
Still, the Sea Eagles punished the Titans 36-0 when these two sides met back in April and it’s almost impossible to ignore how awful this team has been defensively this year.
There’s a good chance we see some points with a few star players returning, but it’s tough to fade Manly on the back of last week’s performance.
Tip: Back Manly to Win & Over 51.5 Total Points @ $2.70
Round 15 is headlined by a couple of top eight blockbusters as we begin to cast our eye towards the finals!
The Eels and the Storm kick things off in another Thursday night belter, followed by a potential finals preview between first and seventh as the Panthers battle the Sharks on Friday.
The Roosters have a huge opportunity to bounce back from last week’s loss to the Storm when they face the Tigers on Saturday afternoon, followed by another crucial game for the Rabbitohs against a down and out Manly side.
This shapes up as one of the toughest rounds to pick, but with favourites coming through more often than not, we’re confident we’ve found a few winners in our 2020 NRL Round 15 Preview below.
Thursday August 20, 7:50pm, Bankwest Stadium
The Storm have edged their way into favouritism in the NRL Premiership market following last week’s enormous win over the Roosters.
Parramatta, meanwhile, are simply looking to bounce-back after having their unbeaten run at Bankwest snapped by the Dragons last week.
Once again, the Eels failed to play a full 80 minutes against St George, a trait that is sure to cost them against a red-hot Storm side shooting for nine wins in a row.
Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster are both a chance to return this week for Melbourne, but the Storm do look a little thin out wide with Suliasi Vunivalu nursing a broken jaw.
The Eels came away from their clash with the Dragons unscathed and they will need every bit of help they can get if they are to shake the purple monkey off their back.
Melbourne has won each of its last four games over the Eels dating back to 2017 with two of those wins coming by 30+ points.
The Storm also holds the best record in the league when it comes to covering the line at 10-4, so with a few familiar faces returning, you have to fancy Melbourne to cover this slim line.
Tip: Back the Storm to Cover the Line (+6.5 Points) @ $2.00
Friday August 21, 6:00pm, Panthers Stadium
Every win is crucial for these two sides with a handful of teams waiting in the wings to take their spot.
Penrith sits a point clear of the Storm atop the table after holding on for a win over the Warriors last week, while the Sharks find themselves seventh after dismantling the Titans at Jubilee.
These two sides have met once already this year in what was a rather forgettable game.
The Panthers hammered Cronulla 56-24 thanks to four tries from Charlie Staines on debut, but fortunately for Sharks fans, the youngster is set to miss this clash as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
On the plus side for Penrith, Brian To’o is a chance at returning, while the Sharks are playing wait and see with Shaun Johnson, Josh Dugan and Andrew Fifita.
The Panthers can make it 10 wins in a row on Friday and it’s difficult to see the Sharks bringing that streak to an end if the aforementioned names don’t suit up.
Tip: Back the Panthers to Cover the Line (-8.5 Points) @ $2.00
St George Illawarra Dragons
Friday August 21, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
It’s a fairly simple course of action for the Dragons from here on out.
Paul McGregor’s former side remains in control of its own destiny after claiming a season-defining win over the Eels last week.
St George faces a favourable run over the next three weeks with games against all three Queensland teams, the first of which kicks off on Friday against a Broncos side reeling on and off the field.
To their credit, Brisbane did put up a fight in the first half last week in Canberra before things went downhill very quickly in the second half.
St George has won three straight over Brisbane dating back to 2018, two of which have come by 13 points or more.
Despite what their record suggests, it’s easy to forget that the Dragons took the Sharks, Bunnies and Roosters to the sword prior to last week’s win over the Eels.
Things are starting to trend slightly upward for the Saints, so don’t be surprised if they record a statement victory on Friday night.
Tip: Back the Dragons 13+ @ $2.40
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday August 22 ,3:00pm, CBUS Super Stadium
The Raiders will be hoping to pick up where they left off last week in their second-half demolition of the Broncos.
After trailing 8-6 at the break, Canberra piled on five unanswered tries in their 36-8 victory, a result that leaves them firmly in the hunt for a spot back inside the top four if things go their way.
Despite Kevin Proctor’s biting charge, the Titans also enjoyed a respectable second half in their loss to the Sharks.
Returning home to CBUS is a big plus for the Titans, although they won’t hold particularly fond memories of the Raiders after losing 24-6 to the Green Machine in Canberra back in Round 1.
Blowout results have become all too common when these two sides get together.
Canberra has won each of its last three games over the Titans by 13 points or more and its difficult to see this one going any other way with the Gold Coast nursing a few injuries.
Jai Arrow suffered a shoulder injury last week, while Dale Copley’s season is over after suffering a pec tear.
With plenty at stake, back the Raiders to win big.
Tip: Back the Raiders to Cover the Line (-10 Points) @ $2.00
Saturday August 22, 5:30pm, Leichardt Oval
The Roosters will be hoping that some added reinforcements can help them forget all about last week’s no-show against the Storm.
Brett Morris, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou are all a chance to lace the boots against the Tigers in a game that holds plenty of finals implications.
A win for the Roosters is crucial with the fifth-place Raiders breathing down their neck, while the Tigers simply need to win out if they wish to earn a spot back in the eight.
Wests got the job done last Sunday against the Bulldogs, but it was hardly convincing.
The Tigers fought their way back from the death to win on a late field goal from Luke Brooks, and although the two points are all that matters, it’s difficult to feel confident in Wests moving forward.
Sydney has covered in five of their last six away games against the Tigers and they look very difficult to fault with their supporting cast returning to the fold.
The Chooks are also 4-1 following a previous loss, so it’s worth backing them to cover a fairly generous line.
Tip: Back the Roosters to Cover the Line (-8 Points) @ $2.00
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday August 22, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium
There’s still plenty of footy left to play, but this really does feel like a game that could decide the top eight for good.
Manly’s season is basically over after losing a heartbreaker to the Knights last week, while the Rabbitohs were on the opposite end in a one-point thriller over the Cowboys.
The Sea Eagles’ season took another direct blow last week as Brendan Elliot suffered what is feared to be an ACL injury. Joel Thompson is also out indefinitely with a split tongue.
These two sides met twice last year with Souths emerging victorious on both occasions.
The Bunnies don’t look anything special, but their perfect 6-0 record as the home favourite over the last 12 months has to be respected.
Daly Cherry-Evans inspired Manly on multiple occasions last week, but the Sea Eagles looked fairly defeated after the loss to the Knights.
The Rabbitohs have to win this game if they wish to keep up with the Sharks and with a healthy lineup, they should prove too much for Manly in the end.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs 1-12 @ $2.70
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday August 23, 2:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Both the Bulldogs and the Warriors will be hoping to build on their respective performances last week.
New Zealand took the Panthers right down to the wire in their six-point loss, but this does shape up as a ‘now or never’ type game as they currently find themselves six points off the eight.
The Bulldogs can also hold their heads high after putting a real scare into the Tigers last Sunday.
Canterbury was unlucky to lose on a last-second Luke Brooks field goal, but there was plenty to like about the way the Dogs fought up until the final siren.
Will Hopoate could potentially return this week, while the Warriors carry on with their long list of ailments and outs.
This is by far one of the toughest games to pick of the entire round, but it’s worth giving the Kiwis the benefit of the doubt based on last weeks performance against the ladder leaders.
The Warriors are 6-5 at the line following a previous loss, while it’s worth noting these two sides both rank top five in missed tackles, so don’t be surprised if we get a high-scoring game.
Tip: Back the Warriors to Cover the Line & Over the Points Total
North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday August 23, 4:05pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Knights remain at home for the third week in a row as they look to extend their winning streak to three against the struggling Cowboys.
Newcastle had their hands full last week with the Sea Eagles but ultimately did just enough to squeak out a 26-24 victory thanks to some late brilliance from Enari Tuala and Kalyn Ponga.
Despite what their record suggests, the Cowboys could follow Manly’s lead by giving the Knights more than they bargained for.
North Queensland put in a spirited 80-minute performance last week against South Sydney, one they are sure to build on with a few big names slowly returning from injury.
The Knights, like most clubs, are battered and bruised as they carry on without Bradman Best for the foreseeable future.
North Queensland, meanwhile, looked much steadier last week with Michael Morgan back in the side, although the Cowboys will have to wait at least another week for Valentine Holmes to return.
The Cowboys made short work of the Knights when they met back in Round 7 winning 32-20, and although a lot has changed since then, it wouldn’t be surprising if North Queensland kept this game close.
Don’t forget, Newcastle trailed Manly 12-0 in the first half last week, raising alarm bells against a Cowboys side that put up 30 points in their loss to the Rabbitohs.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (+8.5 Points) @ $2.00
All eyes might be on next fortnight’s Origin decider, but in the meantime, there’s plenty happening at club level as we try and sort through the contenders and pretenders in the leadup to the finals.
A week off offers several sides the chance to hit the reset button, and in case you weren’t already aware, there are only two points separating eighth from 14th on the ladder.
This week is all about primetime blockbusters, kicking off with the Tigers and Bunnies on Thursday night.
Throw in a Grand Final rematch between the Rosters and the Storm on Friday, and you’re set for a big weekend of footy.
So, if you need tips, be sure to read on below for our complete 2019 NRL Round 15 Preview.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday June 27, 7:50pm, Western Sydney Stadium
A single point proved the difference between winning and losing for both the Tigers and the Rabbitohs in Round 14.
Wests travelled to North Queensland as the underdogs to face the Cowboys, and after three unanswered tries in the first half, the Tigers eventually walked away with a gutsy 28-27 victory.
The Cowboys made things interesting in the second half scoring a pair of tries in the opening 10-minutes, but the brilliance of Michael Chee-Kam saw Wests over the line as the Tigers second-rower scored the game-winner with seven minutes remaining.
Things were equally close for the Rabbitohs against the Panthers, only Souths were on the wrong side of a fairytale ending.
A slow start to the game certainly played a part in the Bunnies’ fourth loss of the season, but a complete lack of possession eventually paved the way for an agonizing one-point loss.
The week off couldn’t have come at a better time as both sides took some time to regroup. Wests are still a massive chance at playing finals, while the Bunnies are hoping to keep in touch with the ladder leading Storm.
Fresh legs should mean plenty of points, but this is also the perfect revenge game for Dane Gagai following his Origin goose egg on Sunday night. Questions are now being asked of this Rabbitohs outfit and considering their last two meetings against the Tigers have resulted in well over 40 points, it’s worth backing Souths to answer the call.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs 13+ @ $2.60
St George-Illawarra Dragons
North Queensland Cowboys
Friday June 28, 6:00pm, WIN Stadium
Tough to envision either club playing finals, but this is still a key matchup as far as the bottom eight is concerned.
After pounding the Bulldogs into submission three weeks ago, the Dragons backed up with a 20-point loss to Manly at Brookvale ahead of last week’s bye.
The Cowboys also need to make up for lost time, or should we say lost points. North Queensland has now lost two straight games by a combined total of three points, which in turn has lent itself to a slim line ahead of Friday night’s clash.
Since both sides are tied on 12-points each, this game feels like a must-win. St. George has won three of the last five meetings, but the Dragons will need to be at their best if they wish to make up for their 24-12 loss to the Cowboys back in Round 1.
North Queensland are one of the few sides with a better record on the road than at home, and with a 4-1 record as the line underdog against the Dragons, it’s worth backing the Cowboys to at least keep this game close.
To win, the Cowboys need to do what they’ve done all year: keep their hands on the ball. North Queensland leads the league in possession, which spells bad news for a Dragons side that ranks third in ineffective tackles.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.90
Friday June 28, 7:55pm, TBA
The Storm put their five-game winning streak on the line as they head south to face the Roosters in Adelaide, a game pitting first and third against each other in a Grand Final rematch.
These two sides got together at Adelaide Oval last year, playing out a low-scoring 9-8 game.
The Storm walked away victors that night, but they’ve since lost two straight to the Roosters, including last year’s Grand Final blowout.
If Round 6 taught us anything, it’s that we should expect plenty of points on Friday night. It was all one-way traffic for the Roosters in the first half, while the Storm came surging back in the second to challenge the reigning premiers.
Neither coach will read too much into their last meeting, but Trent Robinson won’t be blind to the stat sheet. The Storm dominated possession last time out, and they also lead the league in points and tries.
The odds suggest this one is a bit of a coin flip, especially on neutral turf. It’s a big travel week for those players returning from Origin in Perth, but it’s hard not to give the edge to the Storm as the more in-form side.
Back-to-back losses aside to the Roosters aside, Melbourne are 5-1 away from home, and they’ve also managed to hold their last three opponents to under 10-points each.
The odds are dead even, but in case you’re still not convinced, the Storm are also 3-2 as the away favourite against Sydney and perhaps, more importantly, 15-5 over the last calendar year following a win.
Better yet, Melbourne are 4-1 over the last five years following a week off, so expect Craig Bellamy’s side to crack the scoresheet early.
Tip: Back the Storm to Win @ $1.90
Gold Coast Titans
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday June 29, 3:00pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Titans have enjoyed an extra week at home to dwell on their loss to the Warriors back in Round 14.
Gold Coast will be hoping to make something of this game ahead of their scheduled bye next week, but nothing is a given against the in-form Manly Sea Eagles.
Des Hasler’s side could potentially push for a spot inside the top four this week if they can successfully string together their third win on the trot.
Manly head to Queensland following a 20-point win over the Dragons at home a fortnight ago, while they’ll also be hoping for both Tom and Jake Trbojevic to back up their outstanding Origin performance at club level.
There was something special about Manly’s win over the Dragons. The Sea Eagles had some real zip about them, and they should play with revenge on their mind this week considering the Titans have won three straight games against them.
These two sides met only a month ago at Brookvale, a game the Titans won by 18-points.
Just like last time, the result wasn’t enough to persuade the bookies. Manly are 4-2 as the away favourite against Gold Coast, while the Titans are 5-11 on the back of a loss over the last 12 months.
Tip: Back Manly 1-12 @ $3.20
Saturday June 29, 5:30pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
It’s far from panic stations just yet, but things are starting to look a little desperate in Brisbane.
The Broncos return to the field following last fortnight’s disheartening 38-10 loss to the Eels in Sydney. Brisbane now finds themselves on the outside looking in, and with four other sides tied on 12-points, this game could mean the difference between an early holiday or an extended finals campaign.
The Knights are safe inside the eight for now, but Newcastle will be desperate to prove their blowout loss to Melbourne was nothing more than a bump along the way.
Newcastle fell by 30-points to this year’s premiership favourites, largely due to their porous defence that missed 48 total tackles.
The Knights head home to Newcastle this week, but it’s not like McDonald Jones Stadium has been a fortress. The Knights are 3-3 at home, while the Broncos have won two of their last three trips to Newcastle.
On the flip side, Brisbane are 1-5 on the back of a loss this year, and as has been the case all season, another slow start could cost the Broncos early.
With all that in mind, the safest play this week is the Total. Four of the last five meetings between the Broncos and Knights have seen 50-points or more, so back the Overs with confidence.
Tip: Over 41.5 Total Match Points
Saturday June 29, 7:35pm, TIO Stadium Darwin
The market says it all really – this top eight battle is almost too close to call.
Parramatta got their season back on track with a big win over the Broncos at home last fortnight, but there are plenty of reasons to feel confident in the Raiders, and it all starts with their three-game winning streak.
Canberra finds themselves as the favourites this week in Darwin, and although TIO Stadium could be called neutral ground, the Green Machine should be well supported up north.
Form-wise, it goes without saying the Raiders are the more consistent side. Canberra has won four of its six games away from home this year, compared to the Eels, who haven’t strung together back-to-back wins since Rounds 1 and 2.
Things only get worse for the Eels this weekend when you consider Canberra has won five straight games over Parramatta dating back to 2016. Throw in their Round 5 shutout loss to the Raiders earlier this year, and it’s tough to fade Canberra on their hunt for a spot inside the top three.
In case you need further convincing though, the Raiders are also 4-2 as the line favourite in all games against the Eels.
For some added value, Parramatta’s last three games have also gone Over the Total.
Tip: Back the Raiders to Cover the Line (-2.5 Points) and Over 39.5 Total Match Points @ $3.32
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday June 30, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
On paper, this might seem like a bit of a non-event, but a win for either side could vault them one step closer to a spot inside the eight.
Penrith’s awful start to the season has quickly turned into something promising with four straight wins on the trot. The extra week off couldn’t have come at a better time, and if the Panthers do manage to pull off a victory this week in Auckland, they’ll head into their scheduled bye week as one of the most dangerous sides in the competition.
The Warriors sit 10th on the ladder with everything to play for, but it’s tough to trust the Kiwis at home.
Like in years past, the Warriors are 3-4 in front of their home fans, but they do have the added bonus of having beaten the Panthers once already this year.
You only need to rewind back to Round 10 to find the last meeting between these two sides. The Warriors won 30-10, and if they can catch the Panthers off guard by breaking tackles and controlling the line breaks again, they’ll win this one easily.
The Panthers haven’t won in New Zealand since 2017, and with a 3-6 record as the away underdog over the last calendar year, it’s tough to build a case for Penrith.
In their eight losses this season, both sides have lost by an average margin of 15-points.
The Panthers also lead the league in missed tackles, errors and penalties conceded. So, with all that in mind, back the Warriors by plenty.
Tip: Back the Warriors 13+ @ $3.30
Sunday June 30, 4:00pm, ANZ Stadium
There’s plenty on the line this week for the Sharks as they hope to create a cushion between themselves and the logjam of teams vying for a spot inside the eight.
Cronulla fought gallantly a fortnight ago in Canberra only to come up short in a narrow 22-20 loss. Fortunately for punters, the Sharks are 3-1 on the back of a defeat, which puts Cronulla in play to rebound against the wooden spoon favourites.
The Dogs still occupy the bottom spot, but you can bet Canterbury will come out with a chip on their shoulder after back-to-back blowout losses to the Dragons and Roosters.
Unfortunately for the Dogs, Dean Pay’s side hasn’t beaten Cronulla since 2014. The Sharks are a perfect 4-0 as the away favourites over the last 12 months, and perhaps most importantly, 8-1-4 as the line favourite during the same time span.
Cronulla mightn’t be a top-four side this season, but they continue to do the little things right.
Knuckling down on silly errors should see them over the line this week.
Tip: Back the Sharks to Cover the Line (-8.5 Points) @ $1.90
Things return to normal this week post State of Origin.
Round 14 came and went as predicted, but the Dragons find themselves back on top of the ladder following Monday’s close win over the Bulldogs. Further down, the Broncos find themselves still in the eight despite their second-half blowout against the Storm, while Melbourne finds themselves back up to fifth on top of the Roosters.
We’re heading towards the nitty-gritty part of the season now, and this weekend’s eight game slate holds plenty of ladder implications.
Below are all of our 2018 NRL Round 15 tips.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 14 June, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Erasing a five-game losing streak against a miserable North Queensland side was nice, but Parramatta are in for a big reality check on Thursday night against Souths.
The Rabbitohs, fresh from a controversial two-point win over the Titans last week, are rolling right now, compiling six straight wins on the trot.
Funnily enough, South Sydney have won just two of the last five encounters against the Eels, but rest assured this Bunnies outfit has a lot more spring in their step than in years past. Last weekend’s fast start saw the Rabbitohs score two tries within the opening 20 minutes, while also dominating defensively in the tackles count.
The Eels notched their third win of the season last weekend, but that’s all you can say for a team that nearly let it slip by allowing two tries in the final 10 minutes.
Head to head, you can’t split these two – the Eels are 4-1 as the home underdogs, while the Rabbits are 4-1 as the away favourites.
Given their recent form, it’s hard to go against Souths right now, but Parramatta’s 4-1 record in Thursday night games over the last two years says this could be very close.
Back South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12 @ $2.75
North Queensland Cowboys
New Zealand Warriors
Friday 15 June, 6:00pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
David Fusitu’a anyone?
The league’s leading try-scorer outscored Manly all by himself last weekend, landing three tries in the Warriors 34-14 romping.
New Zealand must be licking their lips with the lowly Cowboys up next, but the trip to North Queensland hasn’t exactly been kind to the Kiwis. The Warriors have lost their last two visits to 1300SMILES Stadium, but their 5-1 record away from home this season almost certainly cancels that out.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Cowboys have been pretty ordinary on home soil, winning just two of their seven games.
North Queensland have a poor record at home as the head-to-head underdog, and it’s becoming tough to find any value in a team fresh from a loss to the wooden spoon favourites.
Sitting fourth on the ladder, a win on Friday night could place the Warriors in third if the Rabbitohs were to lose this weekend.
The Warriors haven’t strung together back-to-back wins since their 5-0 start to the season ended abruptly in Round 6, and with the Sharks, Panthers and Broncos ahead in the coming weeks, New Zealand will understand just how important this must-win game is.
Back New Zealand Warriors To Win @ $1.80
Friday 15 June, 7:55pm, Allianz Stadium
Second plays sixth in what is easily the game of the round on Friday night.
Penrith escaped by the skin of their teeth against the Raiders last week, while the Roosters were too good for the Knights.
The Panthers came out firing in Canberra with a Tyrone Peachey try in the third minute, but things looked a little flat for the premiership favourites from then on.
Sydney also opened the scoring in the third minute thanks to Luke Keary, but the Roosters went on to manhandle the Knights for the next half hour, walking away 18-16 victors.
The market is razor tight, but the Roosters might hold one slight advantage – Sydney are 2-0 over the last 12 months as the home underdog, while the Panthers are 3-4 as the away favourites.
These two haven’t met since March 2017, a game the Roosters won 14-12. Both sides have played out close battles recently, but it’s still a tough one to call, the Roosters have been great at home (5-2) while the Panthers have been equally impressive on the road (4-2).
Throw a dart or flip a coin if you’re really game, but this might be a market you’re best off staying away from.
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 16 June, 3:00pm, Belmore Sports Ground
The cellar dwellers meet up on Saturday afternoon in Sydney. Both sides roll in on the back of two straight losses, with the Bulldogs and the Titans both going down 16-18 respectively in Round 14.
It’s been a tough run for Canterbury, but they showed some fight against the Dragons on Monday, limiting the ladder leaders to just two penalty conversions in the second half. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the damage was done in the first half though, conceding two tries in the opening 10 minutes.
Gold Coast probably feels a little hard done by following a controversial loss to the Rabbitohs at home, but there was plenty of positives to take away after Ryan James scored twice.
So what do we make of these two entering Round 15?
The Dogs have had the Titans’ number recently, winning three of the past five encounters. Canterbury are also 4-2 against the Titans as the home favourite in head-to-head markets, while Gold Coast’s shocking 1-6 record on the road makes them a tough back this weekend.
The Bulldogs are currently tied for second in the league in set completion percentage, which doesn’t bode well for a Gold Coast side low on confidence defensively. Don’t expect anything crazy, but this could be a tidy win for the Dogs.
Back Canterbury Bulldogs To Win 1-12 @ $2.90
St George Illawarra Dragons
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday 16 June, 5:30pm, WIN Stadium
Enter two teams at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Dragons reclaimed top spot on the ladder with a tightly fought win over the Bulldogs on Monday, while Manly looked completely cooked from the get-go against the Warriors in New Zealand.
Having won just two of their last five clashes with St. George, Saturday night shapes up to be a potential bloodbath for the Sea Eagles. Manly enter as heavy outsiders at $3.50, and their 0-6 record against the Dragons as head-to-head underdogs spells disaster.
St. George have shown few signs of weakness this season, despite their rather unconvincing display against Penrith two weeks ago. They would’ve liked better second half production against the Bulldogs on Monday, but defensively the Dragons were able to keep their foot on Canterbury’s throat after allowing a try to open the second half.
Manly has looked second-rate against the Dragons recently, being outscored 87-32 across their two encounters last year. This one shapes up to be much the same, adding further salt in Manly’s already open wound.
Back St. George 13+ @ $2.20
Saturday 16 June, 7:35pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Broncos had their chance to snatch points away from Melbourne at AAMI Park last week. Errors and ill-discipline ultimately cost Brisbane in the end, not to mention Suliasi Vunivalu’s freakish AFL mark turned try in the 69th minute to seal it for the Storm.
Fortunately, the Broncos still find themselves in the eight, but it doesn’t get any easier with a trip to face the Sharks this week.
Cronulla got back in the winners’ circle with a gutsy win over the Tigers last week. Paul Gallen’s try in the 48th minute sparked a flame for the Sharks after being shut out in the first half, going on to win the game 24-16.
History says Brisbane holds the upper hand ahead of this one, even if the market doesn’t agree. The Broncos have won three of the last four against Cronulla, but their 3-4 record as the away underdog in the last year probably doesn’t fill punters with much confidence.
The Sharks come in as heavy favourites, but there’s a bit more than just bragging rights on the line here. A Cronulla loss could see them slip down to eighth on the ladder, while a Broncos win could see Brisbane leapfrog the Sharks.
There’s every reason this one turns out to be game of the round.
Neither side has been all that convincing this year, but Brisbane’s 3-4 record on the road makes it hard to go against the home favourites.
Back Cronulla Sharks To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points)
Sunday 17 June, 2:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
It seems just when we start to doubt the Storm, they prove us all wrong.
Melbourne’s usual speed and agility was on display again last week against Brisbane, as Josh Addo-Carr, Suliasi Vunivalu and Cameron Smith put on a show. That win marked two straight for the Storm, propping them back into fifth on the ladder.
The Knights are probably a welcome sight for the Storm this week. Newcastle held tough against the Roosters at home, but Kalyn Ponga’s second half try in the 75th minute was too little too late.
It’s been three straight years of dominance for the Storm in this fixture. The Knights haven’t beaten Melbourne since 2015, but Sunday may not be a complete annihilation.
Despite a few wayward weeks, the Storm rank Top 5 in the competition in points, tries and goals. Newcastle, meanwhile, rank first in set completion and third in tackles, so this could turn out to be close.
Back Melbourne Storm To Win 1-12 @ $2.90
Sunday 17 June, 4:10pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Just what has happened to this Tigers team? On the heels of a tough eight poss loss against the Sharks, all of a sudden Wests are 2-5 on the road this season.
A trip back to Campbelltown Stadium couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tigers, but the 10th place Raiders are certainly no cakewalk.
Canberra exceeded expectations against the Panthers last week, taking the premiership favourites to the sword. They eventually fell by just one-point at home, but there was plenty to take away from the performance.
Both of these teams are fighting hard for a place in the eight, but recent history shows this could go either way. Canberra have won four of the past five encounters between these two, but the Tigers are 4-2 in home games when they enter as the head-to-head favourite vs. the Raiders.
For the Tigers to win, they need to hit the scoreboard hard and early while also focusing on those missed tackles.
Wests have scored 20-points or more only three times this season, and another low scoring effort won’t cut it against a Canberra side that has lost four games by three-points or less.
For Canberra to win, they need to knuckle down defensively. The Tigers are great at gaining cheap metres on the run, which can’t happen if the Raiders wish to blow the Tigers out of the water like they have on the last two occasions.
Back Canberra Raiders To Win @ $2.20
This is the second round of the 2017 NRL season that will be disrupted by State Of Origin and there are only four games set to take place this weekend.
The lack of State Of Origin players always make these sort of rounds tough for punters, but those that do the hard work are often rewarded with plenty of value.
We have done that hard work for you and below are our complete 2017 NRL Round 15 tips.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Gold Coast Titans
Friday 16 June, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 - Gold Coast Titans 20
South Sydney do not have any players involved in State Of Origin, while the Gold Coast Titans will be without both Jarrod Wallace and Jarryd Hayne.
It is South Sydney that will start this clash as clear favourites and this is one of the shortest prices that they have started so far this NRL season.
It really is tough to see how the market has South Sydney this short – they have won only one of their past seven games and they have lost their past two games as home favourites.
The Gold Coast Titans could hardly have been more disappointing against the New Zealand Warriors last weekend and it is tough to back the Titans off that performance.
Gold Coast have won only two of their past eight games as away underdogs, but they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
There really is not as much between these two teams as the current market suggests and the Titans are a great bet to beat the line with a start of eight points.
Back Gold Coast Titans To Beat The Line (+8 Points)
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 17 June, 5:30pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne Storm 23 - North Queensland Cowboys 22
What should have been a blockbuster becomes something of an afterthought as both these teams are missing a number of players due to State Of Origin.
Melbourne made it three wins on the trot with their victory over the Cronulla Sharks last Thursday night and the most impressive fact was that they did it without Cooper Cronk in the side.
The Storm have won ten of their past 14 games as home favourites for a narrow profit, but they are only 5-9 against the line in this scenario.
The return of Johnathan Thurston buoyed the North Queensland Cowboys to a most impressive win against the Parramatta Eels last weekend, but they will go into this clash without Thurston as well as Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Coen Hess.
Winning without Thurston is always an issue for the Cowboys and that problem becomes even worse without Morgan.
The Cowboys have won two of their past six games as away underdogs and they are 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
While the lack of State Of Origin stars does hurt this game as a spectacle, it does present a quality betting opportunity in the Total Points betting market.
It is easy to see this game turning into something of a slug-fest without the stars in action and the Under really does look like a solid bet.
Back Under 37.5 Points
Saturday 17 June, 7:30pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Cronulla Sharks 24 - Wests Tigers 22
The Cronulla Sharks will be without five players due to State Of Origin commitments, but they will still go into this clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites.
Cronulla went down to the Melbourne Storm last Thursday night, but they obviously face an easier challenge against the Tigers – even if they will be missing James Maloney, Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes.
The Sharks are yet to turn Southern Cross Group Stadium into a fortress this season and they have won only seven of their past 11 games as home favourites, while they are 3-8 against the line in this scenario.
There will be no James Tedesco or Aaron Woods in action for the Wests Tigers this weekend, but that is a scenario that they need to start getting used to.
The Tigers have lost five games on the trot, but they have still proven to be a profitable betting play as away underdogs over the past 12 months – they have won three of their past ten games as away underdogs and they are 6-1-3 against the line in this scenario.
This will be a massive test of the Sharks’ depth and I believe that the Tigers are more than confident of giving their rivals a scare.
Back Wests Tigers To Beat The Line (+12 Points)
St George Dragons
Sunday 18 June, 4:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Parramatta Eels 24 - St George Illawarra Dragons 10
The Parramatta Eels go into this clash without any State Of Origin commitments, while the St George Illawarra Dragons will be without Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell.
It is Parramatta that will start this clash as somewhat surprising favourites.
The Eels were completely outplayed by the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend and they have really struggled when they have taken on the better sides in the competition so far this season.
In saying that the Eels have performed well as favourites – they have won five of their past seven games and they are 4-1-2 against the line as the punter’s elect.
St George Illawarra could hardly have been more disappointing against the Canterbury Bulldogs on Monday and they have definitely regressed somewhat after their positive start to the year.
The Dragons have won five of their past 16 games as underdogs for a narrow loss, but they are 9-7 against the line in this scenario.
There really is not much between these two sides and I am keen to back the Dragons with the insurance of a 2.5 points start.
Back St George Illawarra To Beat The Line (+2.5 Points)
This is the second round of the 2016 NRL season where State Of Origin players will be missing from action.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs would normally start as dominant favourites against the Parramatta Eels, but the Rabbitohs have struggled without their Origin stars in recent seasons.
The loss of Origin players is also set to hurt the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters, but the Manly Sea Eagles are still set to start as dominant favourites against the Gold Coast Titans.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 17 June, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 - Parramatta Eels 30
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have an excellent record against the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium and they have won the past seven games played between the two sides at the venue.
South Sydney suffered their second straight disappointing loss to the Wests Tigers last weekend and they will go into this game without halfback Adam Reynolds due to State Of Origin.
The Rabbitohs will go into this game as underdogs – despite their stellar record against Parramatta – and they lost their past two games as home underdogs, while they are a shocking 2-6 against the line when being given a start.
Parramatta showed plenty of toughness to beat the Gold Coast Titans last weekend and they look to have found some of the form that they showed before the salary cap scandal blew up their season.
The Eels have won their past four games as away favourites and their record against the line in this scenario is a profitable 3-1.
Parramatta don’t any names missing due to State Of Origin and they should be able to tough out their third victory on the trot against a South Sydney side that appears to have lost all motivation this season.
Recommended Bet: Parramatta Eels To Win @ $1.75
St George Dragons
Saturday 18 June, 7:50pm, WIN Stadium
St George Illawarra Dragons 20 - Melbourne Storm 10
The St George Illawarra Dragons have been one of the biggest winners from the 2016 NRL draw and they will face a Melbourne Storm side without their State Of Origin stars after already beaten a Johnathan Thurston-less North Queensland Cowboys three weeks ago.
Josh Dugan is the only big name missing for the Dragons and they go into this game with the same squad that lost to the Bulldogs last weekend, but they could lose Tyson Frizell to State Of Origin duty if Wade Graham is suspended for his high shot on Thurston.
The Dragons don’t start many games as favourites, but when they do they generally get the job done – especially in front of their home fans – and they have won four of their past five games as home favourites.
This is a very tough test for the Melbourne Storm as the loss of both Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk has forced a reshuffle – with Kenny Bromwich set to play out of position at hooker.
The Storm have won seven games in a row and they were at their brutal best against the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but whether they can keep that winning streak alive without Smith and Cronk is a big question.
Melbourne have actually been a profitable betting side as away underdogs – having won three of their past six games in that scenario – but their record without their State Of Origin stars is only fair.
The market seems to have got this game just about right, but there is definitely value in the Over/ Unders Points betting market.
The Dragons are notoriously an unders team – the under has saluted in 20 of their past 26 teams – and it is tough to see the Storm scoring more than 20 points without their chief playmakers.
Even with Cronk and Smith in the side, the under has saluted in 16 of the past 26 games played by the Storm and under 36.5 points looks like a great bet.
Recommended Bet: Back Under 36.5 Points
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday 19 June, 4:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
New Zealand Warriors 12 - Sydney Roosters 10
The New Zealand Warriors go into this clash on the back of two dominant wins over the Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights and may never have a better chance to record three wins on the trot this season.
There has been plenty to like about the way that the Warriors have played in the past fortnight and they will go into game as a clear favourite, but they are still tough to trust in this situation.
They have won just three of their past seven games as home favourites for a clear loss and they have been a losing betting proposition in just about every metric.
The Sydney Roosters’ season went from bad to worse when they suffered a 46 point drubbing at the hands of the Melbourne Storm last weekend and it is tough to know what to make of this side going forward.
The Roosters have been a profitable betting side as away underdogs in the past 12 months, but this is a side that is clearly lacking in confidence and it is impossible to have any faith in them whatsoever.
I don’t like either the New Zealand Warriors or Sydney Roosters as betting teams and I am more than happy to stay out of this fixture from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Gold Coast Titans
Manly Sea Eagles
Monday 20 June, 7:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Gold Coast Titans 30 - Manly Sea Eagles 10
The Gold Coast Titans have struggled against the Manly Sea Eagles in recent years and they have lost the past three games played between the two sides, but they face a side in turmoil this weekend.
The Titans had their winning run ended by the Parramatta Eels last weekend, but they will still go into this clash at Cbus Super Stadium as clear favourites.
Gold Coast generally saved their best football for their home fans and they have an excellent record at home in both head-to-head and line betting markets – winning six of their past ten games at home for a sizeable profit.
Manly have now lost five games in a row and they delivered a truly pitiful second half performance to throw away victory against the Penrith Panthers last weekend.
They will be buoyed by the return of Jamie Lyon and Martin Taupau, but they will still go into this clash missing a host of regular first-graders.
The Sea Eagles have a surprisingly strong record as away underdogs and they have beaten the line in four of their past six games in this scenario, while they actually went on to win three of these fixtures.
This game could end up being closer than the betting suggests and Manly with a start of 6.5 points is a positive betting play.
Recommended Bet: Back Manly Sea Eagles To Beat The Line (+6.5 Points)