We’re nearly halfway through the NRL regular season and a surprising top four leads us into Round 12.
On one hand, we have the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm; two clubs that really have been the benchmark for a few years now. On the other, we have the North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos, whose woes throughout the COVID seasons were well documented.
There are sure to be plenty more twists and turns this weekend, and you can find my complete NRL Round 12 Tips below.
The Storm and Sea Eagles reignite their rivalry first-up on Thursday night, and betting would have you believe that the result is a foregone conclusion.
The Storm remain firmly entrenched in the top four, but is it a case of ‘No Papenhuyzen, No Storm?’ since the star fullback’s injury, they’ve suffered heavy defeat to the Panthers and the Cowboys (granted, two other top four clubs), and their performance this week will surely be an indicator of how they’re actually travelling.
In my opinion, the Sea Eagles were robbed by poor officiating in Round 11, and they should be stepping out this week having beaten Parramatta. I think that they’ll be extremely hungry this week, and I think that they are serious value to cover the line as outsiders.
The match of the round comes up first thing on Friday, and the Panthers will have their hands full with the Cowboys in Penrith.
The Panthers are unlucky not to remain undefeated in 2022, but they have responded extremely well to their only loss of the year, recording dominant wins over the Storm and Roosters at their last two.
The Cowboys have been nothing short of outstanding this season, particularly in considering how poor they were in 2021, and particularly in considering how poor everyone thought that they would be in 2022. I am a genuine believer following last week’s win over the Storm, and I think that they can push the reigning premiers all the way as well.
Who is the best hooker in the #NRL today? Damien Cook? Harry Grant? Reed Mahoney?
— Neds (@NedsAus) May 23, 2022
The Broncos will start clear and justifiable favourites when they host the Titans in Friday night footy.
The Broncos are another side who looked likely to miss the eight in 2022, and after six rounds, that looked almost certain. Fast forward to Round 12, however, and they have won five on the trot, in impressive fashion, to sit in the top four.
The Titans have returned to their historic position as Queensland’s third best NRL side, and wins have been few and far between in 2022. That being said, they have been competitive in the last couple of weeks, but finals already look to be out of the question.
Even without Adam Reynolds last week, the Broncos proved too classy, and I think that the result of this one is open and shut.
Two of the NRL’s battlers will do battle when the Warriors and Knights step out on Saturday afternoon.
For a side that boasts plenty of depth and ability on paper, the Warriors have shown virtually none of it on the field this season, and almost every game will be a tough ask this year. Coach Nathan Brown will almost certainly be the next coach shown the door, and I’m confident that will happen before they Warriors finally return home to New Zealand in a few weeks.
Speaking of embattled coaches, the Knights’ Adam O’Brien is the other currently under the pump, and realistically, a loss for either club this week could result in a sacking.
I’m staying away from match betting in this one.
One of the more intriguing contests of the week looks like materialising between the Bunnies and Tigers on Saturday evening.
What is going on at Redfern? Latrell Mitchell obviously an enormous loss, but he wouldn’t have been the difference in some of the lacklustre performances that this club have returned in 2022, and they don’t look a shade on the side that nearly won a premiership last year. They’ve lost two of their last three matches, beating only the Warriors in that time, and they suffered a particularly damning result at the hands of the Raiders in Round 11.
The Tigers have continued to improve as the season has progressed, and I thought that they were still game in defeat to a very good Cowboys side in Round 11. I really do not rate Souths’ current form, so I am backing the upset!
The tightest market in Round 12 of the NRL (at publish) is that between the Sharks and the Roosters on Saturday night. Both shape as a genuine top eight clubs, and there is a case to be made for both this week.
The Sharks’ recent form has slipped a little, but they returned a tough performance to ultimately sink the Titans on the Gold Coast last week, and they should take plenty of improvement into this clash.
The Roosters meanwhile became the latest club to feel the wrath of the Panthers, but given almost every club has or will feel that in 2022, I’m happy to put a pen through that result. Prior to that, they destroyed the Titans and beat the Eels, and they’ll be confident in their chances again.
Roosters legend Craig Fitzgibbon will lead the Sharks against his old club in Round 12 of the #NRL.
— Neds (@NedsAus) May 26, 2022
The last-placed Bulldogs will have their hands full again when the Dragons visit on Sunday afternoon.
With Trent Barrett either quitting or given his marching orders (who really knows) prior to their last match, I gave them a real chance to step up to the plate in Round 11, but they didn’t, and lost to the Tigers. This is probably a tougher task, and I can’t really imagine them reversing their fortunes.
The Dragons broke back into winning form at the expense of the Warriors last week, and this is the perfect opportunity for them to make it two in a row.
As if it hadn’t already been a big week in the nation’s capital, Round 12 of the NRL wraps up when the Raiders host the Eels on Sunday afternoon.
Three weeks ago, the Raiders were arguably the most out of form club in the entire NRL, and attention turned to club legend and coach Ricky Stuart’s time at the club. It’s almost as though the playing group heard the scrutiny and decided to do something about it, because they have since recorded enormous wins over the Sharks and Rabbitohs.
The Eels have been let down by severe inconsistency again this season, and there is literally no doubt at all that they were lucky to scrape past Manly in Round 11, having suffered defeat to the Roosters the week prior. I don’t think that they are a premiership threat, but they’re certainly good enough to make the eight.
I’ve found this one pretty difficult to line up, but I think that the Raiders can return another competitive performance at home.