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NRL Round 18 Tips and Predictions - 4 best bets and a multibet to back

Steve Bennett 11 Jul 2018
  • Four tips for Round 18 of the 2018 NRL season
  • Combine them in a multibet

After a round full of upsets last week, we hoping to bounce back with a clean sweep here in Round 18.....
 
PENRITH PANTHERS vs CRONULLA SHARKS
If the Panthers were racehorses, they would all be subject to swabbing. After losing at home to the out-of-sorts Sea Eagles, they turned it all around last week. Minus their Origin stars, they faced a full-strength Warriors side and never looked like losing. Their shock 36-4 win could have a serious psychological impact on the New Zealand based side who were totally outclassed on the night.

The Sharks enjoyed the week off with a Bye after snatching a last gasp victory over the Warriors in round 16.

Assuming all Origin players back up here, the battle between Moylan and Maloney should be worth the ticket price alone. Both players have the skills to win the game for their sides. Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita will face the likes of Trent Merrin and James Tamou while Panthers lock James Fisher-Harris could prove to be a real headache for the Sharks middle defence, based on the impact he had in last week’s game.

Head-to-head: Played 89; Sharks 48 wins, Bulldogs 38 wins, 3 draws
Previous result: Sharks won 26-22 at Southern Cross Group Stadium in round 7

It’s always hard predicting the winner of match between two sides who match each other across the park at the best of times but it’s even harder when you try to predict who will and who won’t back-up from Origin. So, I am making my decision based on all players returning for this clash and with the home ground advantage, I am leaning towards the Panthers getting up in a close one.



BRISBANE BRONCOS vs NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
The Broncos did exactly what the Panthers did and surprised everyone with their solid performance in beating the Titans 34-0 in front of a shell-shocked Gold Coast crowd. While the Titans were missing Jai Arrow and Jarrod Wallace the Broncos were weakened more so without Corey Oates, James Roberts, Andrew McCullough and Josh Maguire with Matt Gillet still out injured. 

Meanwhile the Warriors would rather forget their dismal performance against a severely weakened Panthers outfit where they conceded 36 points and could only manage a single try in the 80 minutes.

Again, if the Broncos players can back-up, they will be hard to beat at home, while the Warriors have plenty of face to save after last week. The key match-up here will be the battle of the halves with Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford facing off against Blake Green and Shaun Johnson who were both well below their best against the second-string Panthers halves last week.

Head-to-head: Played 40; Broncos 23 wins, Warriors 17 wins
Previous result: Broncos won 27-8 at Mt Smart Stadium in round 6

The Broncos attack was merciless last week against a Titans defence who just couldn’t hold them out. In front of a Suncorp crowd, if they can reproduce that effort they should run away with this game. 



ST.GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS vs WESTS TIGERS
Both sides are coming off losses from last round and will be anxious to turn things around here. The Dragons were thumped by the reigning premiers and conceded 52 points in the process. Meanwhile the Tigers had the week off, no doubt licking their wounds from their shock 30-12 loss to the Titans in front of a stunned Leichhardt Oval crowd.

The Dragons have most of their forward pack backing up after Origin Three and will need to be at their best to hold out the fresh and fit Tigers pack. Robbie Farah’s clash with Cameron McGuiness will prove a vital one as both hookers will be looking to pick up extra yardage for their sides. 

The return of Benji Marshall makes the clash in the halves an interesting one as he faces off against the Dragons captain Gareth Widdop, while Luke Brooks stands opposite the QLD utility player Ben Hunt who will be out to impress the Dragons fans after the recent backlash he has copped from his Origin Two performance.

Head-to-head: Played 34; Dragons 19 wins, Wests Tigers 15 wins
Previous result: Dragons won 16-12 in round 13, 2017

Whilst the Dragons have scored close to double the amount of points this year than the Tigers, it has been their defensive efforts of late that needs urgent attention. The Tigers have a solid line defence and with Moses Mbye playing his second game for the club this week, they have a few more points in them. While the Dragons may get away with the game, the points start on offer for the Tigers are too tempting to resist.



CANBERRA RAIDERS vs NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
While the season is over for the visiting Cowboys, they still have plenty of pride to play for here. The Raiders, however, still have a ‘sniff’ at a top eight finish but they must keep winning to keep that dream alive. They left it til the last minute of play before overcoming the Bulldogs in last week’s 32-28 victory.

The Jonathan Thurston led Cowboys are again without co-captain Matt Scott but welcome back front-rower John Asiata who returns from a pec injury. With Michael Morgan out for the rest of the season, Lachlan Coote retains his fullback role while Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess are expected to back-up from Origin duties.

The battle of the halves could be the drawcard here with Thurston and Te Maire Martin standing off against Aiden Sezer and Sam Williams. Both pairs have a solid kicking game and field domination will certainly play a huge role in this game. 

The ground-making Jason Taumalolo will give the Raiders’ defence no end of trouble which puts pressure on Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii to keep him in check as best they can. The battle of the hookers will also play a major part with Jake Granville looking to outplay Josh Hodgson in the dummy half role.

The Raiders will have the home ground advantage with the cold weather also playing in their favour. Paul Green will have the Cowboys pumped as they are also on a mission, that of avoiding the wooden spoon so a victory here is just as important to them. The Raiders should still get the points here but you can expect this to go down to the wire.




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NRL Round 18 Tips and Predictions - 4 best bets and a multibet to back

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