NRL Round 23 Tips & Preview

There’s only three rounds remaining in the 2019 NRL regular season and unfortunately, that means only three more weeks of eight fixtures and eight opportunities to find a winner.

Typically, there’s some genuine class differences, some big lines and prices, as well as some truly mouth-watering clashes between the likes of Brisbane and Souths, Canberra and Manly respectively.

Get on into the NRL Round 23 tips and betting previews below.

Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Bulldogs to Win ($3.40)

The round is underway on Thursday night when a pleasingly resurgent Dogs outfit lines up opposite Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium.

Obviously, a horror start to the season, but given the genuine lack of experience and star power at Dean Pay’s disposal, it was both understandable and less than surprising. Since Origin however, they’ve started to string together some quality, tough performances (albeit far too late) and they are now anything but easy beats.

Last week, some backwater Eels twitter account had a dig at my pre-season preview, 23 weeks after it was published mind you, essentially saying ‘haha, we’ve made the finals’. Given the Eels’ run home is this game (which I think they’ll lose), the Broncos in Brisbane and Manly, I’m more than happy to say they’ll finish eighth and go on to Mad Monday celebrations a week later. Looking forward to the screenshot and retweet, boys 😉

North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers
Cowboys to Win ($2.07)

Friday’s early game takes us north of the border and the Cowboys will surely be quietly confident of taking this one away from the Panthers.

North Queensland have weathered a tough season and have never looked like making the eight, but a couple of wins to end the season and potentially derail the campaign of a team or two would surely breathe a little bit of confidence into their cause, and 2020 prospects.

A good opportunity for the Panthers to hold the pressure on Brisbane and Cronulla here but at this point, who bloody knows what they’ll do, especially in Queensland. Last week’s fumble around Suncorp Stadium more than underlined the fact that they just are not a premiership threat and beside the Eels, I think they’ll be the Week 1 easy beats should they somehow fall into the finals.

I think that the Cows are a legit shout of winning this and I’m more than happy to take them as outsiders.

Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Broncos to Win ($2)

I am a major pot on the Broncos somehow scoring 20 Friday night primetime games a season but, in this instance, I think it’s more than fair. Surely everyone is looking forward to sitting down and watching Souths roll into town.

The Broncos have found form and the Rabbits have lost it. I think that really squares this ledger and given the old coach swap and this being Wayno’s return to the old country, there’s every chance it will be the game of the round, with plenty of sparks.

The Bunnies need to re-find their best quick-smart if they’re not going to be that club that crashes out in straight sets, but I just can’t quite see them bouncing back this week against a club that is actually starting to show something, albeit against less-classy opponents.

Cronulla Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors
Xerri Anytime Try

An intriguing fixture begins Saturday’s three-game slate and it could be rocks or diamonds when the Sharks host the Warriors in the Shire. This could be one of the better games of the round but personally, it’s a big IF. IF the Sharks play to their ability and IF the Warriors translate some of their star power and don’t completely crap the bed.

The Sharks have been pretty hard to set the watch to. They’ve recorded some handy wins, but lost to some pretty ordinary opposition and realistically, they were lucky to get away with the win over St George last week. A repeat of that performance would see them labouring here.

The Warriors do remain the most untrustworthy side, however and I simply cannot make a case for them. The Sharks are too short in the market though, and I am happy to look for a price elsewhere.

Wests Tigers vs Newcastle Knights
Knights to Win ($1.80)

Lots on the line when the tenth-placed Knights travel to the eleventh-placed Tigers on Saturday afternoon. Both clubs are locked on twenty competition points and a loss here would all but spell the end of season 2019.

The Sea Eagles were a bridge too far for the Tigers in Round 22, but recent wins over the Cowboys and interestingly the Knights have kept the dream alive.

Newcastle recorded a necessary win over the Cowboys themselves last week and given the truly monstrous nature of that victory, they will be full of confidence ahead of their short trip south.

As much as I’d love to throw myself and my support behind the Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds), we need to think with our heads at this point of the season and I think this one will fall to the Knights.

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Sydney Roosters
Roosters (-11.5)

Fresh off another disappointing loss, the Dragons are tasked with stemming the Roosters’ impressive run of form on Saturday night.

The Roosters have started to recapture the form required to go back-to-back and the Dragons should prove to be but a slight speed bump in the acceleration towards September.

Not much else to say really; 11.5 points looks a pretty achievable figure for mine!

Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans
Titans (+20.5)

We’ll have to hold our breath and hope when the Neds Gold Coast Titans travel to Melbourne to take on the league-leading, but wounded Storm on Sunday.

Let’s be fair – the Titans simply have not been up to scratch in 2019 and focus is surely on a fresh start, fresh faces and a fresh place in 2020.

Melbourne suffered a shock loss to the Raiders in Round 22, made even more puzzling by the fact they were leading 18-0 at the break, and I seem to think that if anything, that will only make them more lethal here.

Stranger things have happened; remember that time Marnus Labuschagne was given out at Lord’s? Titans at the line.

CLICK HERE for Titans Tips vs Melbourne Storm

Canberra Raiders vs Manly Sea Eagles
Manly to Win ($2.40)

What a way to finish the round. There’s every chance that the result of this game will determine who finishes third and who fourth, and I simply cannot wait to see the Sea Eagles arrive in the nation’s capital.

Both clubs enter this tie in exceptional form and off the back of massive wins. Both appear to have timed their run towards the finals to absolute perfection and if both clubs bring their A-games, which I’m anticipating they will, this could be the best game we’ve seen for some time.

Boy were the Raiders good in the second half last week. That was easily their best forty of the season and a repeat of that twice would surely see them too strong, particularly with a Viking clap deafening the away side.

The Sea Eagles are really starting to turn it on. That one little hiccup against the Warriors aside, a win over their own over the Storm and last week’s flogging of the Tigers put them in excellent stead to record another W here.

For mine, there’s too much of a disparity in the head-to-head prices and for that reason alone, I’ll be backing Manly as outsiders.