NRL Round 1 tips, best bets, predictions and previews.
After four long months the NRL finally returns as the 2021 season begins with some blockbuster showdowns, with reigning premiers Melbourne Storm facing South Sydney Rabbitohs in a mouth-watering opener on Thursday night, while last season’s minor premiers Penrith Panthers launch their campaign against the North Queensland Cowboys – read on below as we preview every NRL Round 1 game, along with providing our best bets and tips.
NRL Round 1 Tips
NOTE: We will link all NRL Round 1 tips and previews to this article once published throughout the week.
Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Round 1 Tips
- Thursday March 11 | AAMI Park | 8.05pm AEDT
It doesn’t get much bigger than this to launch the season – it would be no surprise if these two teams squared off in the Grand Final six months down the track, but it’s Melbourne who have been hugely dominant over Souths in their recent history, winning nine of their last 10 meetings.
Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury Bulldogs NRL Round 1 Tips
- Friday March 12 | McDonalds Jones Stadium | 6.00pm AEDT
Newcastle haven’t exactly had the most ideal off-season with the drama surrounding Mitchell Pearce, while the Bulldogs will be determined to get off to a winning start under new coach Trent Barrett. Canterbury have won eight of the last nine encounters between the teams and appears great value for the upset here.
Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels NRL Round 1 Tips
- Friday March 12 | Suncorp Stadium | 8.05pm
Brisbane endured a nightmare season in 2020 as they picked up the wooden spoon with just three wins from 20 games. Parramatta have won their last three meetings by a combined scoreline of 118-18.
New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans
- Saturday March 13 | Central Coast Stadium | 3.00pm AEDT
The Warriors will once again base themselves out of Gosford due to travel restrictions and they have a tough opening test against a strong Titans side that is expected to challenge for the finals this season.
Sydney Roosters vs Manly Sea Eagles
- Saturday March 13 | SCG | 5.30pm AEDT
The Roosters ran out of steam towards the end of last season but will almost certainly be premiership contenders once again in 2021. Manly are again without star fullback Tom Trbojevic for the start of the season, but this could be a tight tussle, with three of the last four games between the teams being decided by eight points or less.
Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys
- Saturday March 13 | Panthers Stadium | 7.30pm AEDT
Can the Panthers repeat their incredible 2020 season this year and go one step further than their Grand Final runner-up showing? The pressure and expectation will be on when they host the Cowboys to launch their season on Saturday night.
Canberra Raiders vs West Tigers
- Sunday March 14 | GIO Stadium | 4.05pm AEDT
Canberra have established themselves as a top four team over the last few years and nothing less will do in 2021. The Raiders have a great recent record against the Tigers having won seven of the last eight matches between the teams.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla Sharks
- Sunday March 14 | Jubilee Stadium | 6.15pm AEDT
The Dragons already appear in shambles before the season has even started and are many punters’ pick for the wooden spoon. Cronulla have won the last two meetings by 1-8 margins and should just edge out their rivals again to conclude Round 1.