NRL Round 22 Preview: Betting, Odds & Predictions

There are now just four rounds to go in the NRL season, but a congested top eight means that plenty could still change over the next month leading into the finals. Round 22 will see a number of huge games take place which will have a major impact on the makeup of the finals, beginning with a Grand Final rematch between the Panthers and the Storm on Thursday night. The next day the Eels host the Rabbitohs in another big game, while Saturday will see the red-hot Roosters take on the Cowboys. It’s set to be a huge weekend of NRL action, so take a look at our previews of all eight games below.  


Penrith Panthers ($1.54) vs Melbourne Storm ($2.50)

August 11, 7.50pm @ BlueBet Stadium

Round 22 of the NRL season kicks off in earnest with a Grand Final replay between the Panthers and the Storm on Thursday night. The Panthers, of course, won that Grand Final and were far too good when these sides met earlier in this season, and also enter this game in far superior form to their Melbourne-based counterparts. They have lost just two games this season and are winning most weeks without breaking a sweat, and while the Storm have won two in a row, those wins have come against fairly meek opposition and were preceded by four consecutive losses.

Perhaps one factor in the Storm’s favour, however, is how much they have on the line in this game. While the Panthers have already all but sewn up top spot, the Storm are perched perilously in fourth position, just a game ahead of the Broncos in seventh. Their fate is in their own hands and, as they’ve shown plenty of times in the past, they are certainly not a club to wilt in the face of such pressure.

Equally, however, the Panthers are undeniable at the moment, and have been all season. They might not have a lot to play for, with top spot all but sealed, but they’ll no doubt want to hit the finals running. Regardless, with so much on the line this should be a high-intensity game, and will likely yield a much closer result than the 32-6 scoreline last time they met.



New Zealand Warriors ($2.52) vs Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.54)

August 12, 6.00pm @ Mt. Smart Stadium

After a massive clash to kick off the round, Friday evening’s first encounter is a much less inspiring matchup. Neither the Warriors or the Bulldogs will be playing finals this year, and the Warriors especially don’t look particularly concerned about ending the season on a high note. They lost by 38 points to the Rabbitohs last week, and are now sitting ahead of just the Tigers and the Titans.

The Bulldogs, at least, have shown a desire to end the season on a positive note. They’ve actually been very competitive of late, winning four of their last seven and taking a couple of very good sides right to the brink. With the respective form lines of these two sides, it’s easy to see why the Bulldogs are $1.54 favourites.



Parramatta Eels ($2.35) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.60)

August 12, 7.55pm @ CommBank Stadium

The big games come thick and fast on Friday night as the Eels host the Rabbitohs, with these two sides among the most in-form in the league and fighting for similar spots in the top eight. The Eels, courtesy of consecutive impressive wins, find themselves sitting in fifth spot and outside the top four on points differential only, while five wins in six weeks has seen the Bunnies skyrocket up the ladder to sixth. A win here would see them leapfrog the Eels, and give themselves a genuine chance at earning the double chance.

Last time they met, the Rabbitohs were far too good and beat the Eels by 18 points, but that was on their home turf where they boast an 8-2 record so far this season. Their road record is less flattering. They’ve won just four of their ten games away from home, while the Eels have been solid at home, winning six of nine. With both of these sides playing some of their best football of the season in recent weeks, this should be a high-quality game, and will have a major impact on the shape of the top eight.



Sydney Roosters ($1.65) vs North Queensland Cowboys ($2.25)

August 13, 3.00pm @ SCG

A third blockbuster clash in four games begins Saturday’s action, with a Roosters side playing their best footy of the season coming up against the second-placed Cowboys at the SCG. Sydney is still perched relatively perilously in eighth place, just a game ahead of ninth, but the way they are playing suggests they shouldn’t have too many issues locking in a spot in the finals, where they could easily cause some damage. 

A win against the Cowboys would only serve to strengthen those expectations. North Queensland have been terrific all year, and a third consecutive win last weekend means they are now sitting comfortably inside the top four. It’s hard to imagine them being dislodged over the next four weeks, but a loss here – which is very feasible given the way the Roosters are playing – would certainly make their position there a little less certain.



Wests Tigers ($4.00) vs Cronulla Sharks ($1.25)

August 13, 5.30pm @ Scully Park

The Tigers don’t have a whole lot to play for over the next month, currently sitting in 15th place on the ladder, but for the Sharks this is a big game. One of the most improved sides of the season, they are sitting in third place and are very well-placed to end the season in the top four. With a number of sides nipping at their heels, however, they will need to finish off the season with at least a couple more wins to secure it.

They should be able to get one of those this weekend, though the Tigers have been causing a few problems for quality teams of late. They have beaten the Broncos and went very close to doing the same against both the Panthers and Cowboys, so a strong showing here certainly isn’t out of the question.



Brisbane Broncos ($1.13) vs Newcastle Knights ($6.00)

August 13, 7.35pm @ Suncorp Stadium

This is a game that the Broncos simply have to win. After establishing themselves as a top four contender they’ve dropped consecutive games, first to the Tigers and then the Roosters, and have fallen to seventh place on the NRL ladder as a result. Their spot in the top eight is secure enough barring a catastrophe, but if they want to get back into the race for the top four they’ll need to turn things around quickly. 

This Saturday night’s game presents a great place to start. The Knights enjoyed a rare win against the Tigers last weekend, but prior to that hadn’t been giving much of a whimper in most games. Oddly they’ve actually been better on the road than they have been at home so far this year, but this will be a tough task at Suncorp Stadium.



Canberra Raiders ($1.46) vs St. George Illawarra Dragons ($2.75)

August 14, 2.00pm @ GIO Stadium

The Raiders weren’t able to mount any sort of a challenge against the Panthers last week, ending a three-game winning streak which had put them in with a decent chance of jumping inside the top eight. That opportunity remains, but with the Roosters in such devastating form they will have to win potentially all of their games if they’re to grab it.

 The Dragons, meanwhile, who were for a long time mired in the same battle as the Raiders, have effectively dropped out of the race as a result of consecutive losses, the latest of which came at the hands of the Sharks. They are still a mathematical chance of playing finals, but realistically their season is done, and the Raiders can put the final nail in their coffin this Sunday afternoon.



Gold Coast Titans ($2.75) vs Manly Sea Eagles ($1.45)

August 14, 4.05pm @ Cbus Super Stadium

The Sea Eagles have had a tumultuous past couple of weeks both on and off the field, and three straight losses have seen their finals hopes almost extinguished. There is, however, the faintest of flames still flickering, and to keep it alight they have no choice but to win this weekend.

 Fortunately for them, they are coming up against the bottom team in the league. The Titans haven’t won a game since the middle of May, and appear hellbent on finishing on the bottom of the ladder. They have, at least, been reasonably competitive in a few games of late, but they’ve still only got within single figures of an opponent twice in the past nine games. Manly aren’t firing on all cylinders at the moment, but this is a game that they should be winning. 



**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change