The top five teams on the NRL ladder all banked round 12 wins, although Parramatta Eels, Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders only narrowly put away their bottom-four opposition. Penrith Panthers maintained the competition lead with the stand-out display of the weekend, and Cronulla Sharks and South Sydney Rabbitohs grabbed spots in the top eight after staging big comebacks.
Round 12 losers Newcastle Knights, Manly Sea Eagles, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons will be desperate to bounce back this week and revive flagging campaigns. Meanwhile, New Zealand Warriors haven’t yet given up on finals footy after a stunning upset last Friday – despite the off-field setbacks continuing to pile up for the nomadic club.
Sportsbet’s NRL round 13 preview takes the first hit-up with tips for each encounter, including fearless NRL round 13 predictions and NRL round 13 teams news.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
THURSDAY 6 AUGUST – 7:50PM
St George Illawarra Dragons rescued their reputation – and Paul McGregor’s prospects of staying on as head coach – with an impressive 4–2 run after losing their opening four games. But back-to-back losses to Cronulla and Souths have left the 11th-placed Saints four points adrift of the top eight.
Losing 32–24 to the Rabbitohs after racing out to a 16–0 lead was bitterly disappointing. The continuation of fullback Matt Dufty’s hot form streak was a positive takeaway, but high-profile five-eighth Corey Norman has been axed in favour of returning rookie Adam Clune in an NRL round 13 teams shock.
Fourth-placed Sydney Roosters remain NRL premiership favourites, but they are enduring a rough period. After going down to Canberra, the injury-ravaged premiers have made hard work of wins over the unfancied Warriors (18–10) and Gold Coast (18–12).
Josh Morris is back on deck, but Kyle Flanagan joins a short-term injured list that still contains Brett Morris and Boyd Cordner.
The Roosters have won 12 of their last 15 against the Dragons, including the last four encounters in a row by double-digit margins. The Saints put up a gallant fight in round 7 this season before fading late in a 26–12 loss.
The Roosters have failed to cover in five of their last six and are giving up a big start once again, rendering the Dragons good value against the line.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Sydney Roosters
Best bet: Line – St George Illawarra Dragons +12.5
MANLY SEA EAGLES V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 7 AUGUST – 6:00PM
After righting the ship with consecutive wins over Parramatta and North Queensland, Manly received another confronting reality check in the shape of a 42–12 defeat by Penrith last Saturday. The ninth-placed Sea Eagles have also lost Dylan Walker for another stint in the casualty ward, where he will be joined by reliable centre Brad Parker.
The NRL round 13 preview should be commending a Warriors side fizzing from a 26–20 upset over Wests Tigers on Friday – their best win of a tortured 2020 campaign, and the club’s first away from its temporary Gosford base. Instead, the embattled squad is in further disarray after interim coach Todd Payten rejected the Warriors’ offer of the full-time gig, and veteran halfback Blake Green secured an immediate release to join Newcastle.
Green has rightly been criticised at times for his patchy performances, but the absence of his steadying leadership on and off the field leaves an unexpected void at a time of constant flux for the 4–8 Warriors. Kodi Nikorima’s confident display and a wholehearted engine-room effort against the Tigers does provide some confidence for the road ahead, however.
Chanel Harris-Tavita now gets a free run at cementing the Warriors’ number 7 jumper.
Manly are 24–10 against the Warriors, winning 13 of the last 16 clashes. The Warriors have won two of the last three encounters – including a stirring 24–16 upset at Mt Smart in late 2019 – but they have not beaten the Sea Eagles in Australia since 2009.
Another backs-to-the-wall win may be too much to expect from the Warriors. But they should be able to run an under-strength Sea Eagles side close.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Manly Sea Eagles
Best bet: Line – Warriors +12.5
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V BRISBANE BRONCOS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 7 AUGUST – 7:55PM
The Wayne Bennett–Anthony Seibold feud was one of the spiciest storylines of 2019 – and the animosity between the rival coaches has not subsided. It sets the scene for another bitter showdown between Brisbane and Souths, although both teams have lost significant ground on last year.
The 6–6 Rabbitohs climbed back into the top eight in round 12 with a 32–24 win over the Dragons, overturning a 16-point deficit on the back of an Alex Johnston hat-trick and a dynamic display from five-eighth Cody Walker. But the Rabbitohs remain a long way short of the top-four material of the club’s 2018 and 2019 campaigns.
The Broncos have lost nine of their 10 games since the NRL’s resumption. A 36–26 loss to Cronulla in round 12 was a solid step forward, although conceding three tries in the last 10 minutes when they had put themselves in a winning position was another indictment on a team that has lost the plot.
In NRL round 13 teams news, the Rabbitohs are sweating on the fitness of halfback Adam Reynolds, while the Broncos finally welcome back David Fifita. Brodie Croft also returns from a week off with injury to replace the out-of-sorts Anthony Milford (hamstring).
The Broncos have won eight of their last 10 against the Rabbitohs. Wayne Bennett took the spoils in both of last season’s grudge matches, but Seibold’s Broncos carved out an impressive 22–18 victory in round 2 – their last outing before the COVID-19 hiatus and the disintegration of their campaign.
With the Broncos tabling only one win against the last-placed Bulldogs and nine losses – all by double-digit margins – since the restart, only the bravest of punters would be backing them to win with any sort of confidence. Souths are a mid-level team but have done a good job of accounting for the premiership’s also-rans in 2020.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head–to-head: South Sydney Rabbitohs
Best bet: Margin – South Sydney Rabbitohs 1–12
MELBOURNE STORM V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 8 AUGUST – 3:00PM
Second-placed Melbourne Storm are riding an impressive six-match winning streak, following up landslide victories over Gold Coast and Brisbane with a hard-fought 26–16 result against Newcastle.
But the perennial heavyweights must negotiate the rarest of inconveniences for the next few weeks: an injured Cameron Smith. The incomparable captain has missed just one NRL game since retiring from rep footy in 2017; fortunately, the Storm have Kiwi Test hooker Brandon Smith to call upon as a dummy-half replacement. Gun fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has also been ruled out, replaced by Nicho Hynes.
Bottom-placed Canterbury Bulldogs are clearly lacking in class but their tenacity shines through on a weekly basis. After rolling Newcastle in round 11, they fought back from an 18-point deficit against big guns Parramatta before losing by just two points.
But the Bulldogs just don’t have the requisite attacking firepower to turn gritty performances into regular Ws, with the team failing to score more than three tries in a match in 2020. The NRL round 13 teams announcement revealed an unchanged Bulldogs line-up.
The Storm have won their last four against the Bulldogs, including an 18–16 eclipse in round 4 and a 28–6 cruise in round 11 last season. Only one of the teams’ last eight clashes has produced more than 34 points.
The likes of Brandon Smith, Cameron Munster, Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane should ensure the Melbourne machine keeps churning out clinical wins despite the absence of their influential skipper.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Melbourne Storm
Best bet: Total – under 41.5 points
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V WESTS TIGERS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 8 AUGUST – 5:30PM
Newcastle slid to seventh on the weekend, but the 26–16 defeat to Melbourne was a vast improvement on an insipid 18–12 loss at the hands of Canterbury in round 11. The injury news keeps getting worse, however, with centre sensation Bradman Best now sidelined.
The Knights have rolled the dice by bringing veteran Warriors half Blake Green into the fold, which will see the in-form Kurt Mann switch to the apparently cursed number 9 jumper.
Wests Tigers tumbled to 10th via a bitterly disappointing 26–20 loss to the embattled Warriors on Friday. It was the Tigers’ fourth loss in five games and arguably their worst of the season having led 8–0 early and 14–8 at half-time.
The Tigers have been dealt a hefty blow with brilliant hooker Harry Grant being ruled out of the match; Moses Mbye moves into dummy half. Michael Maguire has recalled Luke Brooks to the halves, while infamously erratic centre Joey Leilua returns from suspension.
Wests Tigers have won five of their last seven against Newcastle, but the Knights powered to a 42–24 victory at Leichhardt Oval in round 2 this year.
The Knights have lost their only two games at home since the restart. The Tigers have only left Sydney once since the season resumed, losing to the Titans. This is the biggest flip of the coin in the NRL round 13 preview, with both sides in a funk. They are both desperate, too, and this seems like a clash destined to go down to the wire.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Newcastle Knights
Best bet: Tri-bet – either team by 8 or less
PENRITH PANTHERS V CANBERRA RAIDERS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 8 AUGUST – 7:35PM
Table-topping Penrith Panthers can equal a club record by winning their eighth straight match this weekend. One of the most impressive aspects of an unexpectedly strong campaign has been their ability to both grind out wins and blow teams off the park. Ivan Cleary’s side have bookended hard-earned wins over the struggling Cowboys and Titans with high-scoring victories against finals contenders the Sharks and Sea Eagles in the past four rounds.
Last week’s 42–12 Brookvale beat down was another warning shot across the bows of the NRL’s heavyweights. Nathan Cleary and Api Koroisau are guiding the team around brilliantly, James Fisher-Harris and Isaah Yeo are among the competition’s most valuable forwards, and Penrith’s back line is dripping with strike power.
The fifth-placed, injury-hit Canberra Raiders have pieced together three straight wins, edging out Sydney Roosters, Souths and North Queensland by narrow margins. Yet another injury blow – this time with rookie winger Semi Valemei breaking down – has been softened by the return of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback. Meanwhile, Raiders back-row duo John Bateman and Corey Harawira-Naera will be better for their round 12 return.
After winning four straight against the Raiders, the Panthers lost both games between the clubs in 2019. The Raiders prevailed 30–12 in round 8 and 30–18 in round 19. The teams’ last six encounters all produced 42 points or more.
The Panthers are impossible to back against on their recent form. The depleted Raiders have shown a ton of character of late but are due for a flat performance.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Penrith Panthers
Best bet: Line – Penrith Panthers -6
GOLD COAST TITANS V NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 9 AUGUST – 2:00PM
Gold Coast Titans are eyeing off the end of one of the longest current losing streaks in the NRL. North Queensland Cowboys have won their last 10 matches against the Titans, however, with seven decided by 12 points or more, including a 36–6 thumping in the first round of the NRL season’s return.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook’s methods are showing signs of bearing fruit, and the team was gallant in going down to NRL hot shots the Panthers (22–14) and Roosters (18–12) in the past fortnight. Livewire AJ Brimson made a handy return from injury at fullback last week.
Fellow bottom-four side the Cowboys, who also sport an unflattering 3–6 record, have lost five in a row and are struggling to put points on the board. But they have found a bit of defensive resolve in recent weeks, and were beaten just 14–12 by the Raiders last Saturday.
In a badly needed boost, the Cowboys are set to welcome captain and halfback Michael Morgan back for his first appearance since the NRL’s restart. Forward-pack cornerstone Josh McGuire also returns.
The Cowboys are at 0–4 away from Townsville since the season’s resumption, conceding an average of 34 points per game. Home-ground advantage may be enough to get the plucky Titans over the line for a drought-breaking victory.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Gold Coast Titans
Best bet: Result – Gold Coast Titans
CRONULLA SHARKS V PARRAMATTA EELS: NRL ROUND 13 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 9 AUGUST – 4:05PM
The NRL round 13 preview concludes with a smoky for the title of ‘game of the weekend’.
Parramatta Eels are just one point off the competition lead, muscling their way past Wests Tigers (26–16) and Canterbury (18–16) in the past two rounds. But coach Brad Arthur would have been filthy with Sunday’s performance, as the team took their foot off the gas after racing to an 18–0 lead against the lowly Bulldogs.
Like some other title-contending teams, the Eels are navigating their way through a mid-season lull… But the important thing is they’re still winning. Ryan Matterson should return after being stood down as a precaution last week.
Cronulla Sharks have surged up the ladder to sixth thanks to six wins from their last seven games. With Shaun Johnson in electric form, the Sharks have averaged 33.4 points during that period.
Given the quantity and calibre of their absentees in round 12, the Sharks’ late comeback to thwart the Broncos 36–26 was one of their more momentous wins of 2020. The line-up will be bolstered by the return of centre duo Jesse Ramien and Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan (who will slot into the halves with Chad Townsend still out) and Andrew Fifita.
The Sharks have had the wood on the Eels in recent years, winning six of the teams’ last seven encounters. The honours were shared in 2019, however, with the blue-and-golds prevailing 24–12 in round 4 and the boys from the Shire running away with it 42–22 in round 13.
The Sharks come into Sunday’s showdown with plenty of momentum behind them. An 80-minute performance remains elusive for John Morris’ outfit, but they are capable of piling on quick points and will test the Eels, who have hit a flat patch but were heavy midweek favourites to win this one.
NRL ROUND 13 TIPS
Head-to-head: Cronulla Sharks
Best bet: Line – Cronulla Sharks +6.5
OTHER NRL ROUNDS
2019 NRL Round 13 Preview
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – JUNE 7 – 6:00 PM
NRL Round 13 gets underway on Friday with an entertaining clash between the high flying Rabbitohs and the in-form Knights.
Souths won 7 straight games before last weekend’s 26-14 loss to a full strength Parramatta outfit. South’s were without a host of stars due to Origin and injuries, most notably fullback Alex Johnston, five-eighth Cody Walker and hooker Damien Cook.
The Knights lost 5 straight games prior to going on their current 5 game winning streak, which included a stunning 38-12 win over defending Premiers Sydney Roosters 2 weeks ago. The Knights are now placed 4th on the ladder for the first time since 2015.
Souths have won their last 9 straight games against the Knights.
Milestones: Sione Mata’utia will play his 100th club and career game.
Kalyn Ponga needs 6 points to reach 200 for his club.
WESTS TIGERS v CANBERRA RAIDERS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – JUNE 7 – 7:55 PM
These two NRL teams in Round 13 are both down on confidence and have been playing below their best for a few weeks now.
The Tigers have had two tough opponents in successive weeks and have been competitive both times, despite losing. They very nearly defeated the competition leaders Melbourne, before going down 24-22. Two weeks ago they lost to a red-hot Souths side 32-16.
The Canberra Raiders won 6 of their opening 8 games of the year to rise to third place on the ladder, however they then went on to lose their next three games in close encounters. They went down to the Roosters 30-24, Souths 16-12 and then the Cowboys 22-16. Last week they battled their way to a tough 12-10 victory over the last placed Bulldogs.
The Tigers won the last encounter between these two sides.
Milestones: Jordan Rapana will play the 100th game for his club.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS V MELBOURNE STORM PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 8 – 3:00 PM
The NRL Round 10 team lists for these two sides have had few changes, with the Storm having a few players backing up after Origin.
The Warriors backed up after two solid victories with a tough 8-2 loss to Brisbane in their last game before last weekend’s bye. They’ve had just 4 wins from 11 games this year and are well down on the ladder.
The Storm have won their last 3 games, however they have all been against teams outside the top 8, starting with their 64-10 demolition of Parramatta, a tight 24-22 victory over the Wests Tigers and then 28-6 against the Bulldogs.
The Storm have won their last 7 games against the Warriors.
Milestones: The Warriors need to score 3 tries to reach 2200 in their history.
CRONULLA SHARKS V PARRAMATTA EELS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 8 – 5:30 PM
This game looks set to produce one of the tightest NRL results in Round 13 given the Sharks are playing with plenty of starch and the Eels are near full strength.
The Sharks have battled their way through the season so far with plenty of players out due to injury, yet have managed to record 6 wins from 11 games. Their last match saw them come from behind to defeat the Dragons 22-9.
Parramatta has also had 6 wins this season, but 1 loss more than the Sharks. Last weekend the near full strength Eels defeated an understrength Souths side 26-14, ending a three game losing streak, and keeping the Eels inside the top 8.
Parramatta won the last clash between these two sides back in Round 4 this year.
Milestones: Clint Gutherson needs to score 10 points to reach 250 for his NRL career.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V MANLY SEA-EAGLES PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 8 – 7:35 PM
NRL Round 13 Odds for this game are very close, with the Cowboys finally finding some winning form, while Manly are struggling somewhat.
North Queensland were slow out of the blocks in 2019, winning just 1 of their opening 5 clashes, but have since won 5 of their last 7 games, including their last 3 straight to get in touch with the top 8. Last weekend they scored a gritty 6-4 victory over the Titans despite being understrength.
Manly made a reasonably solid start to the season, recording 5 wins in their opening 8 games, before the injuries to in-form halfback and captain Daly Cherry-Evans and fullback Tom Trbojevic finally started to take their toll, as they lost to lowly out-of-form sides Gold Coast and Penrith.
The Cowboys won the last clash between these two sides.
Milestones: Kyle Feldt needs to score 6 points to reach 300 for his club and NRL career.
BRISBANE BRONCOS V GOLD COAST TITANS PREDICTION
SUNDAY – JUNE 9 – 2:00 PM
This should be one of the easiest NRL Round 13 tips to make as the Broncos are finally finding form and have a dominant record over the lowly, out-of-form Titans.
Brisbane had one of their worst starts to a season ever this year, winning just 2 of their first 8 games, but have turned it around via strong defence to record three wins in their last 3 games, against a solid Manly side 26-10, the defending premiers Sydney 15-10 and then the Warriors 8-2 a fortnight ago.
The Titans are heading towards another disappointing season, as they sit in second last place, having recorded just 3 wins from 12 games this year. Those wins came against the woefully out-of-form Panthers 30-24 and Newcastle 38-14 in consecutive weeks and then 36-18 against a fading Manly side 2 weeks ago. Last weekend their attack was miserable as they went down to the Cowboys 6-4.
The Broncos have won 19 of their 25 games against the Titans, including their last clash.
Milestones: Alex Glenn will play his 250th club and NRL career game.
PENRITH PANTHERS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS PREDICTION
SUNDAY – JUNE 9 – 4:05 PM
This match is expected to be a bit one-sided, however a recent form change for Penrith and the Roosters with a host of players backing up from Origin could level things up a fair bit.
Penrith were expected to be Premiership contenders in 2019, however after ten games they were sitting in last place on the ladder. Since then they overcome Parramatta 16-10 and then last weekend they beat Manly 15-12 to move up to 14th place.
The Roosters opened the season with a loss to traditional rivals Souths, before winning their next 8 straight games to sit at the top of the ladder. They then lost a tough match against the Broncos 15-10 before taking on the Knights, where they rested their star half Cooper Cronk, which proved to be diabolical, as Newcastle stormed home 38-12.
The Roosters have won their last 2 games against Penrith.
Milestones: Sio Siua Taukeiaho will play his 100th club and NRL career game.
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS V ST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS PREDICTION
MONDAY – JUNE 10 – 4:00 PM
The final game of Round 10 will see two out-of-form sides clash in on the Queen’s Birthday and the only Monday game of the round.
The Bulldogs are now sitting dead last, however in many of their games, they’ve been right in the contest, especially against top sides. After beating the Titans 22-16 three weeks ago, they’ve lost to the Storm 28-6 and last weekend they went down 12-10 in a spirited display against the Raiders.
The Dragons lost their opening two games, and their captain Gareth Widdop, before winning their next 4 straight games against bottom 8 sides (at the time) Brisbane, Newcastle, Canterbury and Manly. Their form has been on a gradual slide since, losing all of their last 5 games, with the last two being the worst – going down to Knights 45-12 and then blowing a half time lead against the Sharks to lost 22-9.
The Dragons won their last game against the Bulldogs back in Round 5 this year.
Milestones: Tim Lafai needs 2 tries to reach 50 for his NRL career.