A few surprises greeted punters when rugby league emerged from its Covid19-Coma last weekend while a few other teams underlined their premiership aspirations with emphatic victories. This week’s round tosses up even more questions with Parramatta putting its r unbeaten season on the line against a tough Manly outfit in a marquee clash. Another win by the Eels would cement their top four claims along with the Roosters, Canberra and Manly. Having conceded just 14 points in their opening 240 minutes, Parramatta deserve to be sitting on top of the ladder. Canberra could not have been more impressive in crushing Melbourne at AAMI Park last week, not an easy thing to do.
Coach Ricky Stuart has a real gun in English halfback George Williams who set the Raiders alight. Look for some fireworks in the Storm v Souths match with both sides licking their wounds following painful losses last week. The Titans and Bulldogs are the teams under most pressure with the Titans looking down the barrel of 15 successive losses. Likewise the Bulldogs, yet to win this season, will be desperate to open their 2020 account. They finally welcome back Kieran Foran for their clash with the Dragons who’ve undergone a host of changes after failing to post a point last week against the Warriors. One thing is certain, 2020 is going to be a tough season for the Sharks, Dragons, Titans and Bulldogs who will be 0-4 if they can’t find a win this weekend.
Check out our free NRL betting tips for this week’s games plus in-depth game analysis from our expert NRL tipping team. If you like to place NRL multi bets you can checkout or NRL same game multi tips plus our straight multi bets for round 4.
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NRL Tipping – Thursday, June 4
Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters
Venue: Suncorp Stadium | Start: 7:50 PM
Brisbane Broncos – Comprehensively beaten again by Parramatta when re-launching season 20202 last week but the scoreline was misleading as the Eels only got the upper hand through sheer weight of possession under the new rules. There were some positives for Brisbane, including halfback Brodie Croft. However Injuries to and the judiciary have forced a few changes and Brisbane will field a young and inexperienced side with fans getting to see exciting young Tongan prospect Tesi Niu, an 18-year-old who has drawn early comparison with club legend Darren Lockyer, quite a lot of pressure for a young player to carry into his NRL debut. Captain Alex Glenn (lacerated calf) will be replaced in the back-row by Ethan Bullmore while Brisbane will miss aggressive centre Katoni Staggs (suspended) who spot has gone to Herbie Farnworth. In a further blow to the Broncos they could lose hooker Jake Turpin (knee) for a few games handing another young gun Cory Paix to make his NRL debut alongside Niu. This will be the latest version of the Baby Broncos.
Sydney Rooster – The two-time back-to-back premiers flexed their considerable muscle last week in dominating South Sydney to record their first victory for 2020 and underlying their claims for a rare premiership hat-trick. With Boyd Cordner back and JWH dominating the middle the Roosters controlled the game. The Roosters had a big victory at the judiciary with star utility Victor Radley cleared to line up against the Broncos. Radley is a player who can come up with big moments when his side needs a lift. Another positive for the Roosters would be if damaging Prop Siosiua Taukeiaho if he recovered from a hamstring injury. James Tedesco is the player who will terrorise Brisbane if their forwards bust them open.
NRL Tipping – Friday, June 5
Penrith Panthers v NZ Warriors
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium | Start: 6:00 PM
Penrith Panthers – Penrith are unbeaten but are lucky to be so after escaping with a heart-stopping 14-all draw against a gallant and unlucky Newcastle last round. The Panthers got out to a 14-0 after the Knights lost key playmakers Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson in the opening 10 minutes. It’s hard to gauge Penrith’s performance as they went from being in total control and running up a big score. But they struggled and lost their way a bit in the second half when Newcastle played on adrenalin and emotion almost snatching one of the club’s bravest wins in the end. Coach Ivan Cleary has stuck solid with his side with only one change of the bench as Liam Martin replaces Billy Burns. Hopefully five-eighth Matt Burton has put in some extra kicking practice through the week after missing five field goals.
NZ Warriors – Everyone’s favourite team after making so many sacrifices to get the competition back up and running. Once again the Warriors showed what they are capable of in shutting out a pretty disappointing St George last weekend when they set a club record of 44 successive sets without an error. That kind of control and discipline will win most matches. Veteran forward Adam Blair played like a 20-year-old last week and his clash with Villame Kikau and Issah Yeo will be a cracker. It’s hard to tip the Warriors with any confidence because they are the NRL’s Jekyll and Hyde side but if they reproduce the kind of performance from the last week they will be right in the game.
Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Venue: AAMI Stadium | Start: 7:55 PM
Melbourne Storm – Questions are being asked if Melbourne are still the NRL force they were a few years ago. It is not often they are dominated like they were by Canberra Raiders at home last start but as they say in racing “they will be a lot better for the run” I am certainly not going to the one to write them off just on that one loss as coach Craig Bellamy and skipper Cameron Smith are far too wily not to come up with some answers. There were some suggestions the new ruck rules could go against the ageing Smith and the Raiders certainly handled that part of the game better. I liked the suggestion of trying Smith at halfback and playing Brandon Smith at hooker as an experiment. Look, Melbourne still has a quality football side with several representative players and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back against a South Sydney side also coming off a painful loss to the Roosters.
South Sydney Rabbitohs – Failed to rise to the occasion last week against the Sydney Roosters who whacked them off the park. Souths lacked some variety against the Roosters without Cody Walker and he has one more game to serve of his two-match suspension. Star fullback Latrell Mitchell is still below his best but there were a few encouraging signs last week but he still has to do better and contribute more around the ball. He was also caught out of position a few times defensively which he needs to work hard on as sides will take any advantage they can get. Hooker Damian Cook can create problems for the big Roosters forwards using his pace out of dummy half and under the new rules which should suit his style of play. These two packs will go hard with Totola and Burgess up against Bromwich and Welch.
NRL Tipping – Saturday, June 6
Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles
Venue: Bankwest Stadium | Start: 5:30 PM
Parramatta Eels – The Eels are flying and this looks a really entertaining clash between two in-form sides. Parramatta’s defence has been simply awesome so far conceding just 14 points in three games and as a result they sit on top of the premiership ladder. They are playing some tough yet entertaining football and getting the rewards with halfback Mitchell Moses in great early form. His clash with Daly Cherry-Evans will be a ripper and both have the attack and kicking skills to turn the game. The Eels backline is playing some wonderful attacking football and veteran centre Michael Jennings is closing in on 150 tries and could one or two here. There is a lot to like about the style Parramatta are playing so far this season but Manly will go at them for 80 minutes and this is a real test of their character.
Manly Sea Eagles – Manly is a team capable of beating any opposition on its day. They have so many weapons across the park and their forward pack is as good as any running around. The Trbojevic brothers give Manly a point of attack in the forwards and backs with Tom capable of blowing away any side when the ball comes his way. Manly easily disposed of the hapless Bulldogs last weekend but Parramatta won’t fold up like a soggy deck of cards and this clash has all the ingredients of a battle royale. Two big packs going at it. Campbell Gillard, Junior Paulo, and lanky off-loader Shaun Lane getting into the faces of Fonua-Blake, Marty Taupau and Jake Trbojevic chopping down anything in gold and blue make for an appetising contest.
Nth Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks
Venue: North Queensland Bank Stadium | Start: 7:35 PM
Nth Queensland Cowboys – No Jason Taumalolo. That is huge for the Cowboys as he is worth 200 metres a game and creates so much collateral damage with his hit-ups. Still, the Cowboys can win without him if they play with discipline and control the ball and complete their sets. I really liked the way their young halves, Jake Clifford and Scott Drinkwater handled things last week against the Titans but Cronulla will offer a lot more resistance than a side on a 14-game losing streak. If Cowboys fullback Valentine Holmes, a former Shark, continues to improve in his 4th game back since his NFL experiment then the Cowboys attack with be hard to control. Holmes’ brilliance set up three tries last week and the signs are good he is getting his old magic back.
Cronulla Sharks – Have had a few off-field dramas to deal with and they have a few on-field issues to address as well after letting the Wests Tigers over-run them last week. A few players are late casualties with big prop Andrew Fafita (knee) and Chad Townsend (hamstring) both ruled out. Matt Moylan comes into the side in the halves after his comeback last week against the Tigers. The Sharks need more direction and injection from halfback Shaun Johnson who was too quiet last week. They need him to involved himself much more. The Sharks have to find a way to get more attacking ball to Josh Duggan who can still be a handful in limited space and has a good try-scoring strike rate against the Cowboys.
NRL Tipping – Sunday, June 7
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium | Start: 4:05 PM
Canberra Raiders – Challenging for premiership favouritism after easily disposing of Melbourne Storm last when their newest English import George Williams taking to accolades with his running game and some big defence. Canberra look to have the right formula after making it to the GF last season and it’s a brave man who says they can’t go one better this year. Jordan Rapana drops to the bench for Bailey Simonsson as coach Ricky Stuarts only change. With such a strong set of halves in Williams and Jack Wighton the Raiders can attack sides from anywhere on the Park. Their pack, led by Josh Papali is big and mobile with another gifted Pommie Josh Hodgson the conductor, orchestrating the players around him with his probing runs and dangerous kicking game. Right now the Raiders look a super confident side and they are playing that way.
Newcastle Knights – Turned in the performance of the third round when after losing chief playmakers Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson, they climbed off the canvas from 14-0 for a 14-all draw with Penrith. Mitchell Pearce has been cleared to play this week and they also get their captain and gun attacking fullback Kalyn Ponga back which are both positives. If the Knights can reproduce their gusty second 40 minutes for this clash they will give Canberra a scare. They need get a lion’s share of the luck with 50-50 calls and defend like they did against the Panthers, but they will be mentally up after last week and wanting to claim a big scalp. Former Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough will make his debut for the Knights and his iron-clad defence will be a big bonus.
Gold Coast Titans v West Tigers
Venue: Suncorp Stadium | Start: 6:30 PM
Gold Coast Titans – The more you lose the closer you are to a win, or least that is how the saying goes. The Titans don’t look close to a win after dropping their last 14 games in a row so it is hard to get enthused about them here. Frustrated coach Justin Holbrook has made a number of changes (like moving the chairs on the Titanic) in the hope they may spark something. The speedy Tyrone Roberts is back in the number one jumper with Erin Clark at hooker. Nathan Petes and former Queensland Origin forward are two big casualties as Holbrook searches for answers. If there is one positive to Titans can hang onto it is that they have beaten the Wests Tigers in five of their past seven clashes.
West Tigers – The Tigers are on a high after coming off a come-from-behind win over Cronulla last round to win their second game of the season. After starting slowly and trailing 16-10 at halftime the Tigers roared back with three second-half tries to win comfortably. New hooker Harry Grant was very good with her passing service in the first half while Billy Walters injected himself well into the roles in the second half. The Tigers still have Benji Marshall marshalling his players and again the veteran settled them when things weren’t going well and lifted them when they got some momentum. This looks another two points in the Tiger’s bank balance.
NRL Tipping – Monday, June 8
Canterbury Bulldogs v St George Dragons
Venue: Bankwest Stadium | Start: 4:05 PM
Canterbury Bulldogs – The wheels fell off the Dogs against Manly last weekend but then again, their rivals St George Illawarra were woeful against the Warriors so maybe they can post their first win of the season here. The Dogs normally have a bit more bite than they showed last week and given the Dragons, stats are very similar this could turn into an arm wrestle, or one side could run up a score. Finally, the name Kieran Foran appears in the No.6 for the Bulldogs and even at 90 per cent, he is a big improvement. Lachlan Lewis and Foran need to outplay Ben Hunt and rookie debutante Adam Clune to have any chance of taking the points.
St George Dragons – Disappointed coach Paul McGregor has shuffled his spine in attempt to shake up his side. Corey Norman drops to fullback and young Adam Clune gets his chance to launch his NRL career despite suffering a broken nose at training this week. Former Origin forward Trent Merrin has won a recall to the interchange bench but Korbin Sims has lost his starting spot to Josh Kerr. Matt Duffy has been dropped. It’s hard to make a case for the Dragons who didn’t post a point against the Warriors but you get the feelings McGregor’s changes and a hard week on the training paddock will trigger some improvement.