Wed, Jul 18, 2:54pm by Staff Writer
Round 19 of the 2018 NRL season features a number of enthralling contests, but is highlighted by South Sydney veteran John Sutton playing his 300th game for the club on Saturday when they play the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.
Brisbane Broncos versus Penrith Panthers
Friday, 20 July 2018 at 7.55pm AEST at Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will be hoping to bounce back from a dreadful 26-6 loss to the Warriors on Sunday when they host Penrith on Friday night.
The two sides can’t be split in the market, each paying $1.90 to win at Sportsbet.
Penrith will regain the services of their origin trio Nathan Cleary, James Maloney and Tyrone Peachey for the match.
The halves pairing have been missing from the Panthers past two matches, which features a win against the Warriors and a 24-12 loss to the Sharks last Friday night.
The past five matches between the two sides have been split 3-2 in favour of Brisbane. They last met in the finals last season where the Broncos were 13-6 winners in the semi finals.
Brisbane led 12-0 before a late Penrith surge cut the margin to just six points with 15 minutes to play. The Broncos held on for the win, to end the Panthers season.
This Penrith side is far better than that team last year, with the Broncos struggling in the middle of the park to make features in what is one of the weaker forward packs in the NRL at present.
There should be plenty of points in this one and the Panthers will be too strong, guided around the park by their refreshed halves pairing of Cleary and Maloney.
Best bet- Penrith to win at $1.90
Newcastle Knights versus Gold Coast Titans
Saturday, 21 July 2018 at 3pm AEST at McDonald Jones Stadium
Gold Coast have won four of their past five matches against the Newcastle Knights, but sit below the Novocastrians ahead of their match on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights are $1.95 underdogs at home, with the Titans paying $1.86.
Newcastle held on for an 18-16 win against Parramatta last Friday night, while the Titans were disappointing in a 20-12 loss to the Roosters.
Despite a number of crucial decisions going against them, the Titans ball security and defence was poor against an inexperienced Roosters side.
Halfback Ash Taylor has failed to regain his form from earlier in the season and is not playing with enough confidence to steer his side to victory.
The Knights will be without Kalyn Ponga once again through injury, with Nick Meaney filling in at fullback after an impressive debut performance last weekend.
Mitchell Pearce also returned to the side last round and should offer an improved performance after nearly two months out of the game.
Jai Arrow returns to the Titans pack, which holds a decisive advantage over the Knights.
These sides met in round 11 and it was a late flurry from the Titans that got them the 33-26 win after trailing by eight points with 16 minutes to go.
The Knights always play better at home and should be favourites in this one, with the Titans offering no value on current form.
Best bet- Newcastle Knights Big Win Little Win 1-39 at $3.40
New Zealand Warriors versus Melbourne Storm
Sunday, 22 July 2018 at 2pm AEST at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
The New Zealand Warriors erratic recent form continued in round 18 when they earned a shock 26-6 win against the Broncos in Brisbane.
It was the sort of dominant performance the Warriors put in early in the season, but which has been lacking in recent times.
They host the Melbourne Storm on Sunday as $2.27 outsiders at home, with the Storm $1.64 favourites.
Melbourne have won their past five matches against the Warriors at all venues, including a 50-10 thumping on ANZAC Day this year.
The Storm toppled Manly 14-13 last weekend without five of its Origin players. They will welcome their return into the side this weekend, which will strengthen their hopes of winning this game.
New Zealand are clinging to a position in the top eight, with the side falling away badly in the latter part of season’s past.
Past captain and veteran Simon Mannering this week announced his retirement after over 300 games for the Warriors, so the team shouldn’t be short of motivation.
The Warriors interchange lacks depth and spark, so look for the Storm to dominant after the first quarter of the match and win comfortably.
Best bet- Melbourne Storm to cover 3.5-point handicap at $1.91
Parramatta ($1.68) are favourites to beat the Dogs ($2.20) at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night in what is essentially a pick-em game between two teams out of finals contention.
The Sharks ($1.52) host a desperate Raiders ($2.55) side on Friday at 6pm, with Blake Austin promoted back into the starting team for Canberra.
Wests ($3.35) won’t be afraid of the challenge posed by league leaders Souths ($1.33) on Saturday afternoon after downing the Dragons last round.
The Cowboys ($2.52) have had a horror season 2018 and host a desperate Dragons ($1.53) side that has slid down the table during Origin.
Manly ($2.50) take on top four contenders the Roosters ($1.54) in the final game of the round at Brookvale Oval.
NRL Round 19 Odds – Sportsbet
Parramatta $1.68 Canterbury $2.20
Cronulla $1.52 Canberra $2.55
Brisbane $1.90 Penrith $1.90
Newcastle $1.95 Gold Coast $1.86
Wests Tigers $3.35 South Sydney $1.33
North Queensland $2.52 St George $1.53
New Zealand $2.27 Melbourne $1.64
Manly $2.50 Sydney $1.54
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