NRL Round 4 Tips & Preview

Round 4 of the 2021 NRL Premiership season will see eight games contested over five days!

Last weekend looked as though it would be one of the more well-contested rounds of the entire 2021 Premiership season, and we’re faced with almost the complete opposite of that in Round 4.

The first three games on the program will see a premiership favourite take on a genuine cellar-dweller, and I can already picture the mountain of NRL multis that will be placed in the coming days.

Owing to it being the Easter long weekend, we’ll be treated to a rare Monday afternoon match between Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels, and you can find a preview of every match and my complete NRL Round 4 tips below!

Manly Sea Eagles vs Penrith Panthers
Panthers (-19.5)

Round 4 is underway with what is easily the most one-sided match of the round, certainly is the market is to be believed.

The Sea Eagles have been just awful since the beginning of the season. They’ve returned probably one good half of football in six, and they enter this match off the back of another disappointing and hefty defeat to the similarly lowly Dragons.

The Panthers meanwhile have been nothing short of outstanding, winning each of their first three games, not conceding a point in their first two and beating fellow powerhouse the Storm last week.

There really isn’t a lot to say about this one, other than the 19.5-point line is still probably generous to the Sea Eagles’ chances.

Canterbury Bulldogs vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Souths (-21.5)

Things don’t get any more even in the first game on Friday night when the $7.75 Bulldogs chase their first win of the season against the $1.09 Rabbitohs.

The Bulldogs have been just as, if not more putrid than the Sea Eagles, and that was well and truly underlined when they became the first team since the 2020 Bulldogs to lose to the Broncos.

It was a convincing loss too – they failed to get on the board, and they have virtually no positive prospects of reversing that result this week.

The Bunnies are now 2-1, but sent a serious warning to the rest of the NRL with a thrashing win over fellow top four prospect the Roosters in Round 4.

They are playing with plenty of confidence and flair, are probably the most multi-dimensional attack in the league, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them put 50 on the hopeless Dogs this week.

Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos
Storm (-20.5)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a joke, but the one-sided contests continue in Friday’s primetime slot when the Melbourne Storm take on the Brisbane Broncos.

The Storm will not be pleased with their 1-2 start to the season, but given the losses have been tight and have come at the hands of the Eels and the Panthers, and their win came over the Bunnies, it certainly isn’t panic stations as of yet.

Combinations are starting to fire again, and Ryan Papenhuyzen is due another enormous performance after missing last week’s game.

The Broncos recorded a memorable win over the Bulldogs in Round 3, and there’s absolutely no denying what that should do for their self-esteem, their confidence and their parochial fan base.

This is a completely different kettle of fish, however, and they’d need to go to a new level to even compete for the full 80 minutes.

Cronulla Sharks vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sharks (-8.5)

Certainly nothing like the first three games of the weekend, but Cronulla also deserve pretty clear favouritism over the winless Cowboys first-up on Saturday afternoon.

I potted the Sharks at the beginning of the year and while I haven’t quite budged from that position, they’ve certainly over-achieved on what I expected from them.

A comfortable Round 1 win and a luckless Round 2 result, while they can be forgiven for being comfortably done by the Eels last weekend.

This looks the perfect opportunity for them to bounce back into the winner’s stall.

The Cows are just dreadful, and worryingly for their fan base, it looks as though Todd Payten is already on the verge of losing the dressing room and the confidence of the club (pure speculation from yours truly).

I think that they will be competitive against the Sea Eagles and the Bulldogs, but even Cronulla looks to be a bridge too far in 2021.

Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders
Titans to Win ($2.30)

The Neds Titans are flying!

I was confident they’d do the Warriors in Week 1, and while they clearly needed the run to tune up, they simply haven’t looked back.

Round 2’s win over the Broncos was something, but they absolutely put paid to the Cows last weekend and can continue their rise up the ladder with a win over the Raiders on Saturday evening.

The Raiders really have gone the opposite way.

Smart first-up winners, lucky to sneak away with one over the Sharks two back before charging out to a big lead over the Warriors last weekend, only to lose in the game’s final throws.

I personally don’t think that there’s any doubt Canberra faces another rise in class, and I’m more than happy to get around the $2.30 that is available for our boys this week!

Newcastle Knights vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Dragons (+7.5)

Arguably the most interesting game of the round could very well materialise when the Knights welcome the Dragons to the Hunter on Sunday afternoon.

The Knights recorded two eye-catching wins in the first two round of the year, but were stunned by Wests Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds) in Week 3.

To their credit, they did pull themselves back into the contest after trailing early but they ultimately couldn’t do enough to keep alive their unbeaten start, and they’ll be eager to fight back into winning form this week.

Like the Sharks, the Dragons are another side who have overachieved in the first few weeks of the 2021 NRL season, and enter this match with a 2-1 record and seeking a third W in succession.

There’s no doubt that the Knights are a tougher task for them, but a repeat of last week’s performance against Manly would find the Dragons tough to beat again, and I think that they can at least stick with the Knights the whole way.

Sydney Roosters vs New Zealand Warriors
Roosters (-6.5)

The penultimate match of the round also shapes as an interesting contest between Round 3 losers, the Roosters, and exciting Round 3 winners, the Warriors.

The Roosters remain one of the NRL’s best teams and their Premiership hopes have hardly taken a hit, but they were given a real touch up by Souths last weekend, which exposed plenty of holes that need to be filled.

The Warriors looked to be down and out after 40 minutes against the Raiders, but they rallied hard, aided by some magic that only some of their players seems capable of pulling off to ultimately finish over the top.

I don’t think that their chances of winning this match are completely hopeless, but I simply cannot look past the class and the potential in this Roosters line up.

Wests Tigers vs Parramatta Eels
Eels (-10)

Fresh off their first win of the season, and what a win it was, Wests Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds) face another big test in the form of the Parramatta Eels on Monday afternoon.

What the Tigers appear to lack in depth and experience, they often make up for in heart, backbone and team play, and that was on show in full force against the Knights.

There isn’t a side more deserving on success than the Tigers, they are extremely hard workers and they deserve everything good that comes their way.

The Eels have been humming along in largely impressive fashion since the beginning of the season and remain undefeated after three games: sitting second behind the Panthers on for and against alone.

They deserve their favouritism and will probably win; I’m just looking forward to another gutsy performance from our lads!