NRL Round 17 Preview

Mitchell Dale - Editor Rugby League Week
Editor of Rugby League Week, Mitchell Dale, provides TattsBet with an exclusive Round 17 Preview of the NRL.

TattsBet NRL Round 17 Preview

Bulldogs v Sea Eagles
ANZ Stadium
Friday July 4 @ 19.50 (AEST)

Tough to see the Doggies winning this one. They might be only two points behind competition leaders Manly, but the Eagles come into this game in much better shape. The Dogs have won one of their past four. On the other hand, Manly are riding a three-game winning streak, which started back in round 13 with a 32-10 win over the Dogs in the mud at Brookvale. Origin halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson lined up for Canterbury that night, but will be missing on Friday to Origin duty. On the other hand, Manly will be without Queenslander Daly Cherry-Evans – the only change to the side that trumped the Roosters last weekend. On top of that, Des Hasler’s old side has performed well against his new side over the past few years, winning five of their past eight clashes.

My tip: Sea Eagles 13+

Dragons v Cowboys
WIN Jubilee Oval
Saturday July 5 @ 17.35 (AEST)

A month ago, the Dragons looked like they were hurtling towards wooden spoon contention. Now, they are chasing three straight for the first time since they opened the season with a hat-trick of victories, and the world is a much happier place for the Big Red V. Another win this weekend over the injury-hit, travel-shy Cowboys will keep the Dragons two competition points outside the eight, heading into a bye next weekend. The Red V have benefitted from the Origin period – even though they have lost Trent Merrin and Josh Dugan to the NSW side and Brett Morris to injury, the fact they have two Kiwis (Marshall and Nightingale) and an Englishman (Widdop) in their backline means they still have plenty of firepower. This Saturday will be an emotional day for the Dragons – it is their first game at Kogarah since the passing of RLW Immortal Reg Gasnier. They won’t be short on motivation. The stats also suggest the Cowboys will struggle. They are 0-7 away from Townsville this year, and have won just five of 21 matches away from home without Johnathan Thurston. It’s all pointing one way – to a Dragons victory.

My tip: Dragons 1-12

Roosters v Sharks
Allianz Stadium
Saturday July 5 @ 19.35 (AEST)

Just when the Sharks thought their season couldn’t get any worse, another drama bubbles (bad pun, sorry!) to the surface. Since their gutsy win over Brisbane last Friday, which should have injected confidence into the club, they’ve lost their star player and their interim coach – both in controversial circumstances. Now they have to pick themselves up off the canvas and face the defending premiers. Not only that, the Sharks will be without the glue that holds them together, Paul Gallen. The Roosters have lost Daniel Tupou, Boyd Cordner and Aidan Guerra to Origin, but when you consider the Sharks are missing Gallen and Luke Lewis, the Chooks have got off lightly. After a tough loss to the Sea Eagles last weekend, expect the Roosters to take out their frustrations on a very fragile Sharks outfit.

My tip: Roosters 13+

Tigers v Panthers
Leichhardt Oval
Sunday July 6 @ 15.05 (AEST)

Here’s two good reasons why the Tigers can win this weekend: they are riding a seven-match winning streak against the Panthers; and they’re back at their spiritual home, Leichhardt. Here’s two words why they can’t win: Robbie Farah. The Tigers are a totally different team when their champion skipper isn’t there. Not only does Farah bring leadership, creativity and a sublime kicking game to the Tigers, he brings confidence. And that is sadly lacking when he is away. The Tigers have lost their past four matches without Farah, scoring a measly 36 points in that period. The loss of Aaron Woods can’t be underestimated either. Without Woods, the Tigers are easy targets for forward pack bullies. As for Penrith, they have not lost anyone to Origin – again – and, despite a loss to the Warriors last weekend, are still looking good. The Panthers will record their first win over the Tigers since 2010, and send the Leichhardt faithful home in a bad mood.

My tip: Panthers 1-12

Rabbitohs v Titans
ANZ Stadium
Monday July 7 @ 19.05 (AEST)

Michael Maguire sure does love throwing a curve ball. The Rabbitohs coach has reacted to his side’s disappointing loss to the Cowboys last week by benching Kiwi Test hooker Issac Luke, opting to start with rookie Api Koroisau. That’s bad news for the Titans, because you can guarantee Luke will be out to wreak havoc once he does get onto the field on Monday. And, while there’s no Inglis, McQueen or Te’o for the Rabbitohs, there is still a tribe of Burgess boys, and inspirational skipper John Sutton. The Titans will again be without Bird, Myles and Taylor on Origin duty, along with the recently-retired Ashley Harrison, but the return of impressive rookie Paul Carter from suspension will help them in the middle. Another key point for the Titans is the naming of electric half Albert Kelly on an extended bench. After an amazing start to the year, Kelly has been hampered by injuries and personal problems. But his return might just be the spark the Titans need to snap their six-game losing streak.

My tip: Rabbitohs 1-12

Mitchell Dale - Editor Rugby League Week


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