The following are previews with betting tips for Round 25 of the 2023 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
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Despite losing some crucial players at the worst time of the season, Cronulla have surged back into form and potential top-four contention with impressive consecutive wins over the Rabbitohs and Titans. They will face a Cowboys outfit who enjoyed a bye last week but are desperate to break back into the top-eight after their last-start loss to the red-hot Broncos saw the Queensland club drop to ninth on the competition ladder.
Cronulla’s only change comes with the return of Tom Hazleton on the bench, displacing Jesse Colquhoun in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, North Queensland will welcome the return of Jeramiah Nanai in the second-row in a huge boost, pushing Coen Hess back to the middle rotation off the bench.
With only three games remaining before the finals, both teams are running out of chances to advance their position on the competition ladder. The Queenslanders should be fresh from a bye and a good block of training, while Cronulla will carry momentum from their morale boosting victories that has put them firmly back in the finals race. This match could go either way but expect the near full-strength Cowboys playing for their season to get the win.
Betting Tip: Cowboys -4.5 @ $1.95 (bet365)
Firming for their best finish to an NRL season in over a decade, the Warriors are a dangerous prospect heading into the finals but facing only bottom-eight teams for the rest of the regular season, coach Andrew Webster will be demanding excellence from his troops after their narrow win over the wooden-spooners in the Tigers last week. They will face a Manly outfit sitting two wins outside the top-eight and hoping other results fall their way after a disappointing last-start loss to an understrength Penrith line-up.
The Warriors will welcome Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s return at fullback from concussion, with Bunty Afoa also replacing the injured Mitchell Barnett at prop in an otherwise unchanged 17. For the Sea Eagles, Brad Parker will be absent due to concussion with Morgan Harper drafted into the centres with Jake Arthur’s inclusion on the bench coach Anthony Seibold’s only other change.
Manly will be desperate to keep their season alive but face a Herculean task against an in-form Warriors squad looking for their sixth consecutive win. Rookie head coach Andrew Webster will be eager to dispel any thoughts of complacency for his team. Expect the Warriors to get the points.
Betting Tip: Warriors -12.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
With both teams sitting two wins outside the top-eight on points differential with only three games remaining in the regular season, Friday night will bring a desperate showdown between the Roosters and Eels as they battle to break into finals contention. The Eels endured a crushing defeat against the in-form Broncos for a woeful 44-point loss, while the Roosters kept their season alive with a classy win over the courageous Dolphins.
The Eels’ finals hopes suffered a massive blow against Brisbane, with superstar halfback Mitchell Moses ruled out for the season with a fractured eye socket. Daejarn Asi will shift back to the halves with Maika Sivo’s return from injury pushing Bailey Simonsson to centre. Reagan Campbell-Gillard will also return from suspension at prop in a timely boost to an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Roosters have named only one change with the return of Angus Crichton from a knee injury off the bench. Sam Walker is also a chance of returning after he was named in the reserves, with Drew Hutchison likely to make way if he comes into the squad.
Given the absence of their opposition’s chief playmaker in Mitch Moses, the Roosters will go into this match as firm favourites – particularly after arresting their form slump with consecutive wins. The Eels have struggled to field a consistent team all year and while they will bring the trademark physicality at the core of Brad Arthur’s coaching style – expect the class and consistent combinations the Roosters have enjoyed in recent weeks to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Roosters -3.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
The Dolphins suffered yet another frustrating loss against an improved Roosters last week, particularly disappointing given their bravery to hold their opposition scoreless for almost the entire first-half of play. They will face the lowly Tigers who have been rocked by news coach Tim Sheens will not remain the club’s head-coach in 2024, although they still produced a brave effort against the third-place Warriors in their last game.
The Dolphins have suffered a huge blow with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Connelly Lemuelu, Ray Stone, Kenny Bromwich and Jeremry Marshall-King ruled out injured. Harrison Graham and Euan Aitken come in at hooker and second-row respectively with Robert Jennings and Jack Bostock set to form a new centre-combination. JJ Collins will also join the bench as the NRL’s newest club understandably struggling with poor depth in their first season. Meanwhile, the Tigers have named an unchanged squad.
Given the Dolphins’ injury woes, the Tigers are in the unusual position of being favourites for coming into this game. While the Queensland club may struggle defensively on their edges with a new centre-pairing – the experience in their forward rotation should make this a tight contest. This match could go either way but expect Wests to come away with a narrow win.
Betting Tip: Dolphins +9.5 @ $1.95 (Colossalbet)
An understrength Penrith outfit produced a clinical second-half against Manly last week in an impressive victory that kept the reigning premiers at the top of the competition ladder. They will face a Titans squad still licking their wounds after a 30-point drubbing at the hands of Cronulla but buoyed by the recent long-term retention of superstars David Fifta and captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – the Gold Coast club will relish the test against the competition’s best.
Penrith will benefit from the return of Mitch Kenny, Jahrome Luai and Tyrone Peachey at hooker, five-eighth and centre respectively in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Titans will field an inexperienced spine in the absence of both halves in Tanah Boyd and Kieran Foran. Highly-rated rookie Tom Weaver is set for his NRL debut at halfback alongside Jayden Campbell at five-eighth. Keano Kini will retain the fullback role, although he could make way for AJ Brimson after he was included in the reserves. Moeaki Fotuaika will also return from suspension at prop with Jacob Alick joining the bench.
Penrith will be looking to maintain their high standards heading into the finals series. Expect some fierce opposition from the Titans’ classy pack, but their rookie playmakers will learn some tough lessons against the competition’s elite.
Betting Tip: Panthers -21.5 @ $1.90 (Boombet)
The Storm bounced back from a disappointing round-23 loss to Penrith with an emphatic 46-point win over a hapless Raiders outfit in a powerful statement for their premiership campaign. They will face a battling St George squad who went down against Souths last week as they battle to avoid the wooden spoon with a tough run home.
Jonah Pezet is on standby for Cameron Munster, who may miss this clash due to the birth of his second child in an unchanged Melbourne outfit. For St George, Francis Molo and Zac Lomax will return at prop and centre respectively in a welcome injection of class into their squad.
With their top-four berth still under threat, expect another intense performance from Melbourne as they warm into top-form at the perfect time of the season. Expect St George to put up a courageous fight in the first quarter before Melbourne’s consistency and fitness prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Storm -14.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Sunday afternoon will bring a mouth-watering showdown between the Knights and South Sydney. Sitting seventh and eighth on the competition ladder respectively and under threat from both North Queensland and the Eels, a loss in this game could be decisive in both teams’ finals chances. Souths enjoyed a solid last-start victory over St George as the team works their way back into form after a concerning slump, while Newcastle produced a powerful performance over the Bulldogs in an impressive 36-point romp.
Newcastle’s only change comes with the return of Bradman Best at centre in a welcome boost. Halfback Jackson Hastings is also under an injury cloud after sustaining an ankle injury last week, but has been named to play. Meanwhile, Michael Chee Kam will join the Rabbitohs’ bench with Hame Sele and Tevita Tatola also possible late inclusions to return from injury in what would be an enormous boost to Souths’ middle rotation.
Expect a brutal contest between two sides desperate to stay in the finals race. The Rabbitohs’ form has been developing slowly since the return of superstar Latrell Mitchell and coach Jason Demitriou will be pushing his troops for a massive performance against a spirited Newcastle outfit. The Knights have been tenacious in their form resurgence but expect the big game experience of the Rabbitohs to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -2.5 @ 1.93 (Picklebet)
The Raiders’ top-four aspirations took a massive blow in last week’s woeful 46-point loss to Melbourne, leaving fans to rue the club’s inconsistent form heading into the finals after such a promising Origin period. They will face a struggling Bulldogs outfit who were put to the sword by the Knights last week with rookie head coach Cameron Ciraldo facing a mountain of work to get his squad competitive for the finals next year.
Retiring Raiders legend Jarrod Croker will return from a hamstring injury in the centres to add some much-needed experience into his struggling team. Tom Starling and James Schiller will join the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Canterbury’s only changes come with the return of Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Ryan Sutton to their forward rotation off the bench and at lock respectively.
Expect a massive response from Ricky Stuart’s troops after their humbling performance against Melbourne spelt trouble for the Raiders’ finals campaign. Canterbury will need to summon a Herculean performance to produce an upset against their highly-motivated opposition. Raiders to get the win
Betting Tip: Raiders -9.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Dolphins +9.5 @ $1.95 (Colossalbet)