NRL Previews

NRL Tips & Betting Preview Round 20 2020 | BlueBet

NRL Round 20 Preview

After 6 long months we approach the untraditional September finish of the regular season and with the minor premiership now all wrapped up in the hands of the Penrith Panthers attention turns to the makeup of the final 8 and the battle for the wooden spoon. Read on as we preview a final round that features a couple big grudge matches and local rivalries.

Brisbane Broncos ($2.05) vs North Queensland Cowboys ($1.78)

Thursday, 24th September 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium

Round 20 kicks off with the battle for the spoon as the Brisbane Broncos take on arch rivals the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, in a replay of the 2015 grand final. Unfortunately both sides are a far cry from the sides that they were back then and with the Broncos staring down the barrel of their first ever wooden spoon then they will know what’s at stake in this must win fixture. This match became all the more important after the Bulldogs shock victory last week, which has resulted in the Broncos now sitting last on points differential and knowing that a loss in this fixture would leave them with no hope of getting off the bottom of the table. Standing in their way is arguably their biggest rival in the Cowboys, who like the Broncos, have had a below par season as they languish in 14th place and only ahead of the Broncos by one win. If the Broncos were to win come Thursday night then it would be their fourth consecutive win against the Cowboys, a feat that they haven’t achieved in over 10 years. Last week the Broncos were again unable to put together an 80 minute performance as their first half let them down in a 26-12 loss to the Eels. This was the Broncos 10th consecutive loss and they will be hoping for a change of fortune in what will be club champion Darius Boyd’s last game before retirement. For the Cowboys they went down 32-12 to the competition leaders the Panthers as they were also blown off the park in the opening 40 minutes. After trailing 20-0 at the break the Cowboys will be proud in their effort to make it 12-12 in the second 40 and will take confidence in the successful return of Jason Taumalolo. As a result Taumalolo has been elevated to the starting side in the lock position alongside Josh McGuire who returns from suspension at prop, with Corey Jensen, Francis Molo and John Asiata the new faces on the bench. For the Broncos their injury crisis deepens as Kotoni Staggs is named in the unfamiliar position of five eight as Jesse Arthars comes into his centre position, David Fifita is out injured & replaced by Jordan Riki, Corey Oates moves to the bench with Xavier Coates on the wing and Payne Haas returns in the front row in place of Ben Teo, who moves to the bench. As mentioned previously the Broncos hold the dominant record over the Cowboys in recent times but with the bulk of talent that the Broncos have on the sidelines at the moment it’s hard to side with them in this one. Add to the fact that arguably their most damaging player who terrorised the Cowboys in their game earlier this year, David Fifita, is out and the Cowboys get a couple of big names back in the forwards then we are siding with the men from North Queensland. To add a little bit of extra value 12 of the last 13 fixtures between these sides have been decided by 12 points or less so we’ll lean towards the Cowboys in a close one on Thursday night.

Recommended Bet: North Queensland Cowboys 1-12 $3.10

Gold Coast Titans ($2.35) vs Newcastle Knights ($1.60)

Friday, 25th September 6:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium

Friday’s first game looks like an incredibly important game for both the Gold Coast Titans and the Newcastle Knights at Cbus Super Stadium. For the Titans they are currently on one of their best winning streaks in recent memory as they have put together four consecutive wins in what has been a combination of both clinical attack and also controlled defence. During this streak they have defeated the Dragons, Bulldogs, Broncos and the Sea Eagles as they have climbed up to 9th spot and a 5th consecutive win against a team inside the top 8 would fill the Titans with plenty of confidence for season 2021. On the other hand the Knights have secured themselves a spot in the finals for the first time since 2013 and they will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month as they head into the finals. Last week the Knights breezed past the Dragons in a 42-18 victory, in what has been a consistent high scoring theme for them over recent weeks. This week sees both sides welcome back a couple important players. For the Titans they welcome back centre Brian Kelly as Treymain Spry moves out to the wing and veteran Corey Thompson drops out of the side. For the Knights they welcome back winger Edrick Lee & centre Bradman Best as Star Toa’a & Gehamat Shibasaki drop out whilst hooker Kurt Mann returns in place of Chris Randall who moves to the bench with Phoenix Crossland out of the 17 and Sione Mata’utia starts in the back row in place of the injured Lachlan Fitzgibbon. In recent history both sides have been relatively even in winning three a piece from their last six but where there does appear to be a bit of value is in the total points market. With five of their last six clashes eclipsing this week's total points line by an average of 11 points per game then we’re quite keen on the overs in this one. Add to the fact that both sides have hit the overs total in four of their last six matches this season then we’re keen on another high scoring affair between the two sides. 

Recommended Bet: Total Points Over 43.5 $1.90

South Sydney Rabbitohs ($4.00) vs Sydney Roosters ($1.25)

Friday, 25th September 7:55pm, ANZ Stadium

The games biggest and oldest rivalry comes to the fore on Friday night as the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. For years this rivalry has been one of the most heated in the competition and Friday nights edition will be no different as the Roosters look to string together their sixth consecutive win whilst the Rabbitohs will be desperate to bounce back from a shock loss last week. In this loss the Rabbitohs were outmuscled by a determined Bulldogs side as they went down 26-16 after they failed to withhold the Bulldogs momentum and take advantage of their own chances. On the other hand the Roosters showed their class by defeating the 8th placed Sharks 34-18 despite resting a number of key players in anticipation of this week's clash and the upcoming finals. This week will see the Roosters welcome back these players, who include James Tedesco, Jake Friend, Boyd Cordner & Siosiua Taukeiaho as Joey Manu, Lindsay Collins & Isaac Liu get a rest whilst Angus Crichton switches to lock and Lachlan Lam replaces Drew Hutchison on the bench. For the Rabbitohs Dane Gagai returns from suspension in the centres as Steven Marsters drops out whilst Jed Cartwright replaces the suspended Jayden Su’a in the back row with Patrick Mago joining the bench. Last time these two sides met was back in round three with the Roosters comfortably winning 28-12 in what was their second consecutive win against the Rabbitohs. With the Roosters dominant form in recent weeks as well as the return of arguably four of their most influential players then it is hard to look past them in this one. With the Roosters winning by 16 points or more in their last two against the Rabbitohs and with Souths showing some indifferent form since the loss of Latrell Mitchell then we’re going for the Roosters to cover the line in this week’s fixture.

Recommended Bet: Sydney Roosters -10.5 $1.95

Canterbury Bulldogs ($5.20) vs Penrith Panthers ($1.16)

Saturday, 26th September 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium

A Western Sydney battle between the 15th placed Canterbury Bulldogs and the newly crowned minor premiers the Penrith Panthers is brought to us from ANZ Stadium in the 3pm Saturday game. Both sides will be full of confidence in this one too as the Panthers have continued on with their club record winning streak whilst the Bulldogs earned a surprise win last week to get themselves off the bottom of the table. In this win the Bulldogs showed great desperation as they completed at 92% and forced the Rabbitohs into a host of errors due to their defensive pressure in a 26-16 victory. On the other hand the Panthers notched their 14th consecutive win as they defeated the Cowboys 32-12 after a blistering first half that was again filled with clinical finishing and strong defence. One more win would see the Panthers equal the 15 consecutive win record set by the Cronulla Sharks in 2016 and coach Ivan Cleary will be hoping they can do this against a Bulldogs side who defeated them in round 20 of last year. Despite the pressure of the record Cleary has chosen to rest a few stars with Viliame Kikau, Dylan Edwards and Stephen Crichton all out as Daine Laurie debuts at fullback, Tyrone May at centre & Kurt Capewell in the back row. James Tamou & Apisai Koroisau also return at prop & hooker respectively as Moses Leota drops to the bench whilst Matt Burton and Zane Tetevano join the bench in place of Mitch Kenny & Jack Hetherington. On the other hand the Bulldogs have gone with the same 17 from last week's victory with the only change being Josh Jackson moving to lock and Chris Smith to the back row. In recent history both sides have been relatively even by winning two a piece from their last four, but where there may be a bit of value is in the total points market. In the last five fixtures between these sides the total points has been 38 or under and with the Panthers resting a couple key attacking players then we could be looking at another low scoring fixture. Add to the fact that both sides have gone under the total points in four of their last six matches this year then we’re predicting another low scoring match between the two sides.

Recommended Bet: Total Points Under 45.5 $1.88

Cronulla Sharks ($1.67) vs Canberra Raiders ($2.20)

Saturday, 26th September 5:30pm, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The final top 8 clash of the round sees the 8th placed Cronulla Sharks take on the 5th placed Canberra Raiders in what could potentially be a preview of their week one finals clash. If the Eels win this week then regardless of the result in this match we should expect to see a replay of this game the following week, except at the Raiders home of GIO Stadium. With both teams being well aware of this they will be desperate to earn a confidence building win against the opposition this week. This may be particularly important for the Sharks as they face the prospect of entering the finals without a win against a top 8 side, a feat that no side playing finals has ever achieved. Last week the Sharks continued on with this unwanted streak as they lost 34-18 to the Roosters and they will be reeling after two big injuries to Shaun Johnson and Royce Hunt in this match. For the Raiders they survived an early scare against the Warriors as they trailed 14-6 with Jack Wighton in the sin bin to bounce back and earn a 26-14 victory after another strong performance from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. Despite the temptation to earn a confidence building win Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has gone with the resting option as he has changed the bulk of his team. In the backs Adam Cook replaces Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback, Jarrod Croker & Jordan Rapana sit out with Harley Smith-Shields & Matt Timoko starting in the centres and Matt Frawley & Sam Williams start in the halves with both Wighton & George Williams rested. In the forwards John Bateman & Elliot Whitehead are rested with Hudson Young & Corey Harawira-Nawa starting in the back row whilst Josh Papali’i & Joe Tapine are both rested as Sia Soliola returns from injury & Siliva Havili moves to lock and Kai O’Donnell, Darby Medlyn & Jarrett Subloo join the bench. On the other hand the Sharks have replaced Johnson with Wade Graham in the halves whilst Nene Macdonald takes Sione Katoa’s wing spot, Josh Dugan is replaced by Mawene Hiroti and Teig Wilton joins the bench for Hunt. In recent history the Raiders have had the wood over the Sharks in winning their last two fixtures but with the wholesale changes made by the Raiders it’s hard to get a read on either teams form. As a result we’re looking at something a little bit exotic in this fixture. With the Raiders hugely weakened back five we are predicting the Sharks to target this through giving their backs a lot of early ball and are leaning towards Jesse Ramien as an anytime try scorer. With the strength of Ramien coming up against the much younger Timoko as well as Ramien being the 2nd highest try scoring player in the Sharks side this week then we’ll look for another Ramien try in a tough match to pick.

Recommended Bet: Jesse Ramien Anytime Try Scorer $2.30 

Wests Tigers ($3.30) vs Parramatta Eels ($1.33)

Saturday, 26th September 7:35pm, Bankwest Stadium

Saturday’s prime time game sees another local derby as the Wests Tigers take on the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium. Both sides are in the middle of a rough patch as the Eels have managed just three wins from their last six games whilst the Tigers have managed only two from their last six. Thankfully for the Eels one of their wins came last week as they defeated the last placed Brisbane Broncos 26-12 in an unconvincing win. Despite the victory the Eels struggled to make the most of their 60% possession as their attack failed to put the Broncos to the sword, like they were doing to teams at the beginning of the year. For the Tigers they were blown off the park by the second placed Melbourne Storm side in a 50-22 demolition that was highlighted by 47 missed tackles and 12 errors. These stats will concern coach Michael Maguire as the Tigers have now conceded 26 points or more in each of their last nine matches. As a result Maguire has made a host of changes to his side. Luke Brooks returns in the halves for Josh Reynolds, Tommy Talau starts in the centres over Joey Leilua, Alex Twal starts at lock with Matt Eisenhuth to the bench whilst Luke Garner takes Sam McIntyres back row spot. On the bench Elijah Taylor, Shawn Blore and Michael Chee Kam take the places of Russell Packer, Jacob Liddle and Josh Aloiai. For the Eels Junior Paulo and Shaun Lane return to the starting side with Kane Evans and Andrew Davey reverting to the bench. With the Tigers wholesale changes it’s hard to see them being able to fix their defensive frailties in such a short space of time and with the Eels winning the last four matches against them then we’re leaning towards another Eels victory. With the Eels forwards showing that they can get the field possession that their backs need then we’re predicting the Eels to find their mojo again against a poor Tigers defence and in doing so covering this week’s line.

Recommended Bet: Parramatta Eels -8.5 $1.90

New Zealand Warriors ($2.25) vs Manly Sea Eagles ($1.65)

Sunday, 27th September 2:00pm, Central Coast Stadium

What looks like a great clash between two sides in the bottom 8 is brought to the fore in Sunday’s first game as the 12th placed New Zealand Warriors take on the 11th placed Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium. Both sides will be disappointed in the fact that they have missed out on finals this year but they will know that a win is very much achievable here. Last week saw both sides suffer disappointing losses. The Warriors will know that they missed a golden opportunity after leading the Raiders 14-6 with an extra player on the field only to be run down by a rampant Raiders backline. For the Sea Eagles they were also disappointing in a 42-24 loss to the Titans where they made a huge 14 errors and their defence leaked 30 points or more for the fourth time in their last five matches. Unfortunately for both sides they will both be without instrumental players this week as they lose their fullbacks Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tom Trbojevic to injuries. As a result Peta Hiku drops to fullback for the Warriors as Patrick Herbert moves onto the wing & Hayze Perham comes into the centres whilst in the forwards Isaiah Papali’i starts at prop with Tohu Harris moving to the back row with Eliesa Katoa and Jack Murchie & Jamayne Taunoa-Brown join the bench. For Manly Tevita Funa moves to fullback with Reuben Garrick forming a new wing pairing with Abbas Miski whilst in the forwards Taniela Paseka starts at prop with Morgan Boyle dropping to the pine and Corey Waddell starts in the back row in the place of Jack Gosiewski. In recent history the Warriors have dominated this contest in winning three of their last four meetings, including a 26-22 victory from round 13 of this year. Despite this & to our surprise the bookies have installed the Sea Eagles as favourites and for this reason we’re quite keen to take them on. With the Warriors still showing their ability to match it with top 8 teams in recent weeks then we’re keen on taking them with the line in this one in what should be a close encounter.

Recommended Bet: New Zealand Warriors +2.5 $1.90

St. George Illawarra Dragons ($1.74) vs Melbourne Storm ($2.10)

Sunday, 27th September 4:05pm, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The final game of the regular season sees the 2nd placed Melbourne Storm take on the 13th placed St. George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. In what will be Dragons interim coach Dean Young’s last game as head coach of the Dragons he will be hoping for a much improved effort after last week's embarrassing 24 point loss to the Knights. In this loss the Dragons completed at just 68% thanks to a huge 15 errors and failed to get out of their own half as their forwards were dominated. If the Dragons put up a similar performance this week then there could be another cricket score as the Storm’s attack flourished last week in a 50-22 victory over the Tigers. This victory was highlighted by 7 different individual try scorers as the Storm showed their ability to score out wide and through the middle. This week the Storm will welcome back star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen but will lose a host of other players as coach Craig Bellamy opts to rest a number of players with there being no possibility of them going up or down the ladder. In the backs Papenhuyzen takes Nicho Hynes fullback spot, Josh Addo-Carr & Suliasi Vunivalu are rested for Sandor Earl & Isaac Lumelume on the wings, Brenko Lee & Justin Olam are out for Paul Momirovski & Ricky Leutele whilst Cameron Munster & Jahrome Hughes will sit out for Ryley Jacks and Cooper Johns. In the forwards Cameron Smith, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Felise Kaufusi and Nelson Asofa-Solomona are all rested as Brandon Smith starts at hooker, Christian Welch & Tui Kamikamica start at prop, Tom Eisenhuth & Chirs Lewis start in the back row and Max King starts at lock. For the Dragons Adam Clune returns & Jayden Sullivan debuts in the halves as Ben Hunt is suspended & Corey Norman is dropped whilst Max Feagai starts on the wing with Jordan Pereira out, Euan Aitken returns in the centres for Brayden Williame and Jacob Host starts in the second row with Tariq Sims back to the bench. With both sides making so many changes it is again hard to get a read on either team's form and for that reason we’re going for another exotic try scorer bet. In recent weeks the Dragons strike player has without a doubt been Zac Lomax and with his two tries in last week’s match then we are leaning towards him to take advantage of a new Storm backline and cross the white line yet again.

Recommended Bet: Zac Lomax Anytime Try Scorer $2.00

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