NRL Round 23 Tips and Predictions - 4 best bets and a multibet to back

Steve Bennett 21 Aug 2019
  • Four tips for the weekend
  • Combine them in a multibet

The fight is on for a finals berth and here’s what I’ve come up with for this week’s multibet…….

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS vs PENRITH PANTHERS
The Cowboys have experienced their worst season in almost 10 years and last week were humiliated by the Knights, going down 42-6 in Newcastle. The Panthers didn’t fare much better after starting favourites at Suncorp Stadium, they too finished on the losing side of the scoreboard, beaten 24-12 by the Broncos.

Team Changes
Cowboys – The shock loss of Matt Scott (after suffering a mild stroke earlier this week) sees Scott Bolton come into the starting line-up. Murray Taulagi will play on the wing with Jordan Kahu named in the centres. Coen Hess drops back to the interchange bench. Jason Taumalolo is an outside chance of playing so he has been named in the reserves. 

Panthers – Winger Josh Mansour will miss the match with a back injury and his place will be taken by 18-year-old Stephen Crichton who is returning from an ankle injury. Jarome Luai returns from an eye injury and will start from the bench.

Key Match-Ups
The highlight in this match will be the battle in the halves, as Morgan and Clifford take on the Origin pairing of Maloney and Cleary. Whoever wins this battle should finish ahead on the scoreboard as well. Scott Bolton and Jordan McLean will have to be on their game if they are to win their front row battle against James Fisher-Harris and Panthers’ skipper James Tamou who comes up against his former club here.

Head to Head
Played: 38  Panthers:20  Cowboys:18
Last Met: 2018, Round 9: Cowboys 26 bt Panthers 20 @ Carrington Park, Bathurst

Prediction
The Cowboys are a 10-point better side in Townsville and I believe they will need every one of those points if they are to beat the Panthers in this clash. They have had a year they would rather forget and one which has been filled with injuries to so many key players. The loss of Matt Scott this week was just the icing on the cake for them. The Panthers are still a real chance of playing finals football this year. They currently sit ninth on the ladder but a win here (and other results going their way), they could be sitting 7th come dinner time on Sunday. If Maloney and Cleary can control the middle and have their kicking game on song, they should take home the points.

CRONULLA SHARKS vs NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Sharks managed to overcome the Dragons last week with an 18-12 victory, won on the final few minutes. The Warriors couldn’t have played much worse than they did as they succumbed to the high-flying Roosters in a 42-6 drubbing at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Team Changes
Sharks – Matt Moylan will be missing from the Sharks after injuring his hamstring yet again. This sees Josh Dugan move to fullback and Josh Morris comes into the centres while Ronaldo Mulitalo takes the number five jersey. Andrew Fifita returns from injury and will start from the bench, pushing Billy Magoulias back to the reserves.

Warriors – David Fusitu'a returns to the side, pushing Adam Pompey back to the reserves. Centre Gerard Beale is out for the remainder of the season after being carried off last week, and his place is taken by Patrick Herbert. Isaac Luke is back as the starting hooker. Jazz Tevaga moves to lock and Lachlan Burr drops to the bench. This pushes Ligi Sao back to the reserves.

Key Match-Ups
Warriors skipper, Tuivasa-Sheck will look for ways around his opposite number (Josh Dugan) who can be vulnerable in defence when filling in at the back. Another halves battel looms with Shaun Johnson up against his old club and the Warriors running with Chanel Harris-Tavita ahead of Kodi Nikorima who starts from the bench this week. The back-row battle also looks a real crowd-pleaser with Sharks skipper Paul Gallen and origin star Wade Graham locking horns with Adam Blair and Isaiah Papali'i.

Head to Head
Played: 38  Sharks:22  Warriors:16
Last Met: 2019, Round 19: Warriors 19 bt Sharks 18 @ Mt. Smart Stadium

Prediction
After being belted by the Roosters last week, one could be excused for thinking that the Warriors have put the cue in the rack for the year. It would take a miracle to see them making the top-eight now, with so many other results having to go their way. Still, if they can win their last three matches, it is still mathematically possible. However, I can’t see that fairy-tale turning out too well. The Sharks are currently in eighth place on the ladder and should the Broncos go down this weekend, the Sharks could be sitting seventh with a win here. That’s exactly how I see this game panning-out.

ST.GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS
The Dragons (along with the Cowboys) have been the under-achievers this year and last week’s loss to Sharks just amplified that point as they went down 18-12 to record their 14th loss of the season. The Roosters on the other hand, lived up to their competition favourite’s label by destroying the Warriors 42-6 at the SCG.

Team Changes
Dragons - Mikaele Ravalawa has been dropped to the reserves with Jonus Pearson taking his wing position. Jackson Ford has been promoted to the starting side after a successful debut off the bench last week at the expense of Patrick Kaufusi who moves back to the interchange bench. 

Roosters – Captain Boyd Cordner remains on the sidelines, having still not recovered from his calf strain. Siosiua Taukeiaho however, returns from his calf injury pushing Sitili Tupouniua back to the reserves.

Key Match-Ups
NSW Origin fullback James Tedesco is in white-hot form this year and will be out to show make-shift Dragons number one, Corey Norman what it’s all about. Norman was caught out of position several times last week and he simply can’t afford to let that happen this week against one of the competition’s heavyweights. The halves battle will be all one-way traffic unless Dragons’ halfback Ben Hunt injects himself into the game a lot more than he has been this year. The real battle with be up front in the engines room with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and  Isaac Liu out to dominate the Dragons pairing of English International James Graham and NSW Origin forward Paul Vaughan. 

Head to Head
Played: 37  Dragons:19  Roosters:17  Drawn:1
Last Met: 2019, Round 7: Roosters 20 bt Dragons 10 @ SCG

Prediction
With their season well and truly done and dusted, the Dragons will need to be super positive going into this one. They only have next year to look forward to now (and that will start with the loss of skipper Gareth Widdop who is returning to England) and a poor attitude here will most certainly be reflected on the scoreboard. The Roosters have moved up a gear since their shock-loss to the Cowboys in round 17 and since then they have scored a massive 190 points in their next five games. They are frightening stats for any opposition and all I can see in that figure getting even bigger this week.

CANBERRA RAIDERS vs MANLY SEA EAGLES
The Raiders really stamped themselves as true premiership contenders last week when they did what no other side has ever done before, and came from 18-0 down to beat the Melbourne Storm 22-18. Meanwhile, the Sea Eagles also made sure the rugby league world knew they were still in contention with a comprehensive 32-12 drubbing over the Wests Tigers. 

Team Changes
Raiders – Joseph Tapine is out with a rib injury and he is replaced by Ryan Sutton at lock. Hudson Young comes into the side and will start off the bench.

Sea Eagles – Des Hasler made no changes to his side with Curtis Sironen and Brad Parker still out with injury.

Key Match-Ups
(Turbo) Tom Trbojevic has been in good form since the Origin series and will have to remain that way with Raiders’ number one Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad playing better with each game. Both backlines are star-studded and will be looking for every opportunity to gain the upper hand out wide. Raiders halves pairing of Sezer and Wighton looks to be working well and they may have to lift even further if Cherry-Evans and Walker get just an even share of possession. Again, the feature of this match will be the up-front battle with Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake standing toe-to-toe with Iosia Soliola and last week’s match-winning try scorer Josh Papalii. Manly’s forwards will also have to be alert when the Englishmen, Josh Hodgson and John Bateman get their hands on the ball. 

Head to Head
Played: 55  Sea Eagles:33  Raiders:21  Drawn:1
Last Met: 2019, Round 7: Sea Eagles 24 bt Raiders 20 @ Lottoland 

Prediction
Arguably the match of the round, this is sure to go down to the wire. The Sea Eagles have won four of their past five games, only suffering a shock-loss to the Warriors in Auckland in Round 21 and last week’s win over the Tigers couldn’t have been any more impressive. The Raiders were turning heads, winning four in a row before an unlucky loss to the Roosters two weeks back. But they had the doubting Thomas’s thinking again with that super winning performance over competition leaders Melbourne last week and will be looking to backing that effort up here in front of their Viking-chanting home crowd. Manly are 5-5 with road trips so far while the Raiders have been caught out several times at home with a 6-4 record. A top-four spot is still on the line for both clubs (with the Eels breathing down their necks). Possession and field position will decide this one and I favour the home side getting the better in both departments.

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NRL Round 23 Tips and Predictions - 4 best bets and a multibet to back

Looking for this week's winning NRL best bets, predictions and multibet selections? We've picked out the best four bets and a multibet to be backing.

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