NRL Round 22 Preview

Mitchell Dale - Editor Rugby League Week
Editor of Rugby League Week, Mitchell Dale, provides TattsBet with an exclusive Round 22 Preview of the NRL.

Broncos v Bulldogs 

Suncorp Stadium
Friday August 8 @ 7.50pm (AEST)

To say both sides are desperate is like saying Jarryd Hayne is playing decent footy at the moment. Boy do these two teams need a win! After sitting two points off top spot at the halfway point of the season, Brisbane have dropped five of their past six, and are now out of the eight. Meanwhile, Canterbury have relinquished a share of the lead with three straight losses, and are now facing a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time since Round 15, 2010. The return of Josh Reynolds form suspension didn’t give the Dogs the spark they had hoped for last weekend, but he will be better for the run. Meanwhile, Brisbane will have to do without their talisman Justin Hodges as they attempt to right a badly listing ship. Expect a low-scoring affair – neither team has scored more than 24 points in a single match in the past five clashes.

My tip: Bulldogs 1-12

Rabbitohs  v Sea Eagles 

Friday August 8 @ 7.50pm (AEST)

What a belter of a game this promises to be! At the scene of so many great tussles between the two clubs in the 1970s, Manly can all-but wrap up the minor premiership with a win. However, a loss here to second-placed Souths will have them looking over their shoulders over the last month of the season. The Sea Eagles have won only one of the past three regular season games against the Bunnies, but they did knock off Souths when it mattered most in last year’s preliminary final. Souths hammered an average Newcastle side last Sunday – but they looked pretty good doing it. That said, South Sydney have won only one of their past four games immediately after racking up the half-ton. It should be one of the games of the year – and may not be the last times the two meet this year.

My tip: Rabbitohs 1-12

Knights  v Storm 

Hunter Stadium
Saturday August 9 @ 5.35pm (AEST)

Melbourne have looked every inch the title contenders over the past month – they certainly appear to be timing their run to perfection. They have clinically dismantled their opponents over the past three matches – a hallmark of grand final-winning Storm sides of the past. Newcastle’s season of woe dipped to another low last Sunday when the rampant Rabbits posted 50 up in Cairns. Newcastle average 16.58 points per game in 2014, their least since 1993 (15.32) – hardly the kind of stat they’ll enjoy as they attempt to win consecutive home games for the first time since Round 6 last season. Melbourne are undefeated in their past seven regular season fixtures against the Knights, and I can’t see that run breaking this weekend.

My tip: Storm 1-12

Cowboys  v Tigers 

1300SMILES Stadium
Saturday August 9 @ 7.35 (AEST)

The Tigers have won 11 of the 16 games between these clubs since their 2005 grand final, but on what we have seen from both the two lately, it is hard to go past the Cowboys. The Tigers appear shot ducks, while the Cowboys are starting what looks like a similar run to the one they enjoyed at the back-end of last year. On top of that, North Queensland have won 12 of their past 13 games at home. And the return of Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper has added plenty of punch to their pack. It all points to a Cowboys win.

My tip: Cowboys 13+

Eels  v Raiders 

TIO Stadium, Darwin
Saturday August 9 @ 8.30pm (AEST)

Parramatta are winless in their past nine ‘home’ games away from Pirtek Stadium... both surely that run will end this weekend in Darwin. Given the form Jarryd Hayne is in at the moment, he could probably roll the Raiders on his own! That said, Canberra do have a decent record against Parra of late – they are chasing a fifth consecutive win over the Eels, which would be the longest-ever streak for the men in green against Parra. Winning teams at TIO Stadium have scored a combined 90 points in two matches (Cowboys 50 and Penrith 40), and if the Hayne Plane continues to soar, it could a points-fest here again.

My tip: Eels 13+

Warriors  v Sharks 

Mt Smart Stadium
Sunday August 10 @ 2.05pm (AEST)

The Warriors have been successful in five of their past six games at Mt Smart Stadium... while the Sharks have won their past five against the boys from across the ditch. But if Cronulla want to extend that run, they will have to do it without Wade Graham and Luke Lewis, who are the latest victims of the injury plague swarming around the Shire. The Warriors looked superb in pumping a horrendous Canberra last Sunday – and will carry plenty of momentum into this game. The Sharks have amazingly won their past three on the road – and are shooting for four-straight for the first time since Round 1, 2008. Can’t see it happening, though.

My tip: Warriors 13+

Dragons  v Panthers 

WIN Stadium
Sunday August 10 @ 3.05pm (AEST)

The Red V have had a rotten time of it against the Panthers of late. St George Illawarra haven’t beaten Penrith since Round 26, 2011 and have scored just 36 points in the four games since. But they will like their chances against an injury-hit Panthers. Clearly, Penrith used up all their luck for 2014 during the Origin period. Since then, it has been injury upon injury for the Mountain Men. Penrith’s win over the Dogs last Friday was arguably their gutsiest of the year - but came at a huge cost, with Kite, Taylor and Cartwright all now gone for the season. It is a sign of the Panthers’ superb depth that they can all on the likes of Tim Grant and Kevin Kingston to fill the void… but I think the injury toll will catch up with them this week.

My tip: Dragons 1-12

Roosters  v Titans 

Allianz Stadium
Monday August 11 @ 7.05pm (AEST)

The Titans’ season has gone from good to bad to bloody awful . . . and reached its lowest ebb when foundation coach John Cartwright stood down last Tuesday. He will hang around for one final game this Monday night, giving the Titans plenty of motivation to send him out a winner. But recent history suggests that is unlikely. The Titans have won just two of their past 11, and have not scored more than 22 points in a match since Round 5. However, they do have a good record against the Roosters, and have made a habit of knocking them off their perch in recent seasons, including a 30-22 win at Allianz in Round 25 last year that nearly cost the Roosters the minor premiership. The Roosters looked strong against the Dragons last Saturday, and the return of the underrated Mitch Aubusson will be a big boost this Monday. The other plus for the Chooks is their record in Monday Night footy – they won four of their past five MNF games.

My tip: Roosters 13+

Mitchell Dale - Editor Rugby League Week

Mitchell Dale, Editor Rugby League Week


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