The NRL’s top four teams all emerged victorious in round 13, while the separation between the top eight and the bottom half of the competition is becoming more clearly defined with Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers sliding at a rapid rate.
The unfancied New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans are making things difficult for tipsters and punters, however, finding hot form as their seemingly futile campaigns enter the home stretch.
Last week saw two outsiders bank wins, while four covered. With big lines set across the board, there’s plenty of value on offer for underdog punters this weekend, which kicks off courtesy of a heavyweight duel.
Sportsbet’s NRL round 14 preview takes the first hit-up with tips for each encounter, including fearless NRL round 14 predictions and NRL round 14 teams news.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS V MELBOURNE STORM: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
THURSDAY 13 AUGUST – 7:50PM
The lead-up to these NRL superpowers’ round 8 showdown was dominated by Cameron Munster’s absence, yet Melbourne pulled off an incredible 27–25 golden-point victory over Sydney Roosters in one the best games of the past decade.
Munster is sidelined again, joining the incomparable Cameron Smith in the casualty ward. But the Storm have nevertheless won seven straight, lapping the Bulldogs 41–10 on the Sunshine Coast despite also resting brilliant fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who is set to return this week.
Sydney Roosters have been limping through an injury-hampered period, making hard work of three straight wins over also–rans the Warriors (18–10), Titans (18–12) and Dragons (26–18). The premiers will be bolstered by blue-chip veteran Josh Morris, but Brett Morris, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner are still missing. Halfback Kyle Flanagan has been named in jersey 21.
The Storm have won seven of their last nine regular-season clashes with the Roosters. Incredibly, the last six were decided by three points or fewer.
Munster’s a huge out given Smith is still injured. But the Storm are in great form and have lost a regular-season game by more than seven points only once in the past two years. The Roosters should get jhome but expect yet another nailbiter.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Sydney Roosters
Best bet: Line – Melbourne Storm +7.5
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS V PENRITH PANTHERS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 6:00PM
The more bombshells that land on the Warriors, the better the team plays. Blake Green’s exit, Todd Payten’s rejection of the head coach role, and the double signing of Nathan Brown and Phil Gould to steer the club from the end of the year all dropped in a matter of days. But the Warriors still managed to pull off a gutsy, at-times-brilliant 26–22 win over Manly in the wet at Lottoland – giving the club back-to-back victories for the first time since May 2019.
The Warriors hung tough after seeing 16-point leads eroded twice by sin-bin stints, and the pack outplayed their more illustrious Sea Eagles counterparts. Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita were superb in their first outing as a halves combination and the makeshift three-quarter line showed more enterprise than we’ve seen in a couple of years, despite the conditions.
On the downside, loan player Jack Hetherington has likely played his last game for the Warriors after copping a big suspension, although he would have sat out this week’s game against usual club Penrith anyway.
The Panthers remain atop the NRL ladder, with last Saturday’s 28–12 win over Canberra – which was more convincing than the scoreline suggested – their eighth in a row. They’ve only got one loss against their name.
Stacked with an attacking arsenal to match any in the competition, the Panthers have a ruthless defence (they’ve conceded more than 16 points just twice in 2020) and deserve to rank alongside the Roosters and Storm in the NRL premiership conversation.
The Panthers have won 12 of their last 16 games against the Warriors, including a 26–0 shut-out at Campbelltown in round 4 this season. The last four encounters produced totals of 40 points or less.
It’s hard to go past the streaking Panthers head-to-head, but the Warriors have easily covered big lines in their past three games and look outstanding value against the start once again.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Penrith Panthers
Best bet: Line – New Zealand Warriors +17.5
PARRAMATTA EELS V ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – 7:55PM
It will take a major slump for the 11–2 Parramatta Eels to fail to finish in the top four, but the title contenders have been well below their best in recent weeks. After a nervy 18–16 win over the last-placed Bulldogs in round 12, goal kicking and a bit of luck got the blue-and-golds home 14–12 against the Sharks in atrocious conditions on Sunday.
Ryan Matterson, who brings some valuable X factor to the Parramatta pack, will return from a two-week concussion-related absence in an NRL round 14 teams boost.
St George Illawarra Dragons were far from disgraced in three straight losses to the Sharks (28–24), Rabbitohs (32–24) and Roosters (26–18). But the Saints have sunk to 12th with a 4–9 record and the finals ship is disappearing over the horizon. Meanwhile, coach Paul McGregor’s future will be discussed at a board meeting next week – the second time in 2020 he’s had his head on the block.
McGregor will roll the dice on moving Ben Hunt back to hooker – a ploy that netted the Dragons two wins in three games recently – and reinstating Corey Norman to five-eighth. Paul Vaughan will miss another game after admitting to a protocol breach, while Tariq Sims and Trent Merrin are also out.
Parramatta have taken control of their rivalry with St George Illawarra over the past seven years, winning nine of the clubs’ previous 10 games. The Eels prevailed 32–18 in round 8 and 12–4 in round 20 last season, with Clint Gutherson starring in both and Maika Sivo scoring three tries across the two games.
The high-flying Eels should take the win – despite being on a tight turnaround – but against the backs-to-the-wall Dragons, who have had an eight-day break, this is another NRL round 14 preview fixture that should be closer than the odds suggests.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Parramatta Eels
Best bet: Margin – Parramatta Eels 1–12
CRONULLA SHARKS V GOLD COAST TITANS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 3:00PM
Cronulla came agonisingly close to finishing round 13 in sixth spot, scoring three tries to two but ultimately going down 14–12 to Parramatta in the wettest conditions of 2020. It was just the Sharks’ second loss from their last eight games.
Although Shaun Johnson’s goal-kicking radar was off, his magnificent run of form continued. Tyros Siosifa Talakai, Royce Hunt, Will Kennedy, Toby Rudolf and Ronaldo Mulitalo are enhancing their reputations at a rapid rate. But the team is crying out for Chad Townsend’s steady influence after Matt Moylan made a shaky return at five-eighth.
Alhough still in the bottom four, the 4–9 Gold Coast Titans are another team on the improve. After gutsy losses to heavyweights Penrith and Sydney Roosters, the Titans took North Queensland to the cleaners 30–10.
AJ Brimson has added a new dimension to the Titans’ attack in just two games back, while front-row duo Moeaki Fotuaika and Jaimin Jolliffe completely dominated their Kangaroo rep opponents last weekend.
Cronulla is on a four–match winning streak against Gold Coast, which culminated in a 40–10 thrashing at Cbus Super Stadium in round 8. The Sharks scored 28 unanswered points in the second half as Johnson ran riot.
The Sharks, with an opportunity to really cement their spot in top eight, have to be favoured in NRL tipping here. But the Titans will put up a bigger fight than last time these teams met, and shape as a value option to cover for the third week in a row. Meanwhile, six of the Sharks’ last seven games have produced 50-plus totals.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Cronulla Sharks
Best bet: Total – over 43.5 points
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 5:30PM
Brisbane are taking some major heat off how poorly North Queensland is travelling. The 14th-placed Cowboys have won just one of their last 10, while last Sunday’s diabolical 30–10 loss to the Titans was their sixth in a row.
While their defensive resolve is severely lacking, the Cowboys have no idea what to do with the footy – averaging fewer than 11 points per game over the past six rounds. Skipper Michael Morgan endured a woeful return at halfback on the Gold Coast. There’s a surprise in the NRL round 14 teams, with Scott Drinkwater returning at fullback, pushing rookie flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to the wing.
Middling South Sydney Rabbitohs edged back up to seventh by ,winning the games they should, including last Friday’s 28–10 defeat of the Broncos. Since the NRL’s restart, the Bunnies have won all six games against teams currently outside the top eight, but lost all five to teams ranked above them.
The Rabbitohs rolled on without much trouble, despite Wayne Bennett’s absence due to a COVID-19 protocol snafu. Jason Demetriou will handle the preparations again and he’ll have back-rower Jaydn Su’a’s back.
Souths have won their last four against the Cowboys, including convincing victories by 32–16 and 30–18 last year. Expect them to maintain both that run and their record of accounting for the competition’s also-rans in 2020.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: South Sydney Rabbitohs
Best bet: Margin – South Sydney Rabbitohs 13+
CANBERRA RAIDERS V BRISBANE BRONCOS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – 7:35PM
Somehow the cavernous hole Brisbane Broncos have fallen into keeps getting deeper and more harrowing.
Last Friday’s 28–10 loss to Souths – their 10th in 11 games since the NRL’s resumption – was bad enough. But before the weekend was out, coach Anthony Seibold had to take himself away from the team for family reasons, strike forward Tevita Pangai Jr was busted for a protocol breach and reportedly sacked, Darius Boyd bizarrely opted out of the team’s leadership group, and three staff went into a two-week COVID hold.
Tom Dearden’s form at halfback is a tiny glimmer of hope for Broncos fans, but there’s little NRL round 14 teams respite, with Jordan Riki and Cory Paix joining the bench in the only changes.
The 8–5 Canberra Raiders are snug in fifth spot, but their three-game winning run came to an end via a 28–12 loss to ladder-leading Penrith on Saturday. A 257m, two-try display from fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was an individual positive. The Green Machine are sweating on stand-in hooker Siliva Havili getting a clean bill of health this week.
Canberra snapped a six-match losing streak against Brisbane in the teams’ sole 2019 meeting, holding on for a 26–22 win at home in round 6. The rivals’ last six encounters were decided by 1–12 margins, while four of the last five produced 44 points or more.
Each of the Raiders’ losses in 2020 have been to in-form teams. The embattled Broncos are the antithesis of a side in good touch, making this one of most straightforward matches of the NRL round 14 preview to tip.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Canberra Raiders
Best bet: Line – Canberra Raiders -16.5
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V MANLY SEA EAGLES: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 16 AUGUST – 2:00PM
Newcastle Knights have struggled for consistency since early June. But after back-to-back losses to Canterbury and Melbourne, the sixth-placed Knights can use their 44–4 demolition of Wests Tigers as a platform to go on a run.
Kalyn Ponga was unstoppable against the Tigers – scoring two tries in a 20-point haul and chalking up three try-assists – while middle forwards David Klemmer, Jacob Saifiti and Mitch Barnett were dominant, combining for 523m. Daniel Saifiti is back to give the Newcastle pack an even more menacing look this week.
Manly Sea Eagles are ninth and just one win outside the top eight, but their finals hopes are fading rapidly. They have won just two of seven games since Tom Trbojevic’s injury, culminating in a shock 26–22 home loss to the Warriors last Friday.
The win came at an even greater cost with Addin Fonua-Blake ruled out for a few weeks, although Martin Taupau (concussion) will play this week, and injured trio Curtis Sironen, Joel Thompson and Brad Parker are set to return.
Newcastle ground out a controversial 14–12 win over Manly in round 8, showing outstanding defensive resolve but receiving the benefit of some questionable refereeing decisions.
The Sea Eagles have won two of their last three in Newcastle. But this shapes as a tough road trip, with confidence and personnel low, and their hosts coming off a big win.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Newcastle Knights
WESTS TIGERS V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS: NRL ROUND 14 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 16 AUGUST – 4:05PM
The NRL round 14 preview wraps up with a clash between two big round 13 losers.
The end to Wests Tigers’ NRL-worst finals drought – which dates back to 2011 – feels a long way away after a fifth loss in six games. Their 44–4 defeat to the Knights was their first by more than eight points since the restart and came on the back of a loss to the Warriors as 15.5-point favourites. Billy Walters’ season-ending injury compounded the horrific result, while hooker sensation Harry Grant is still a couple of weeks away from returning.
Jacob Liddle returns from a long-term injury absence this week in the number 9 jersey, and Luke Garner and Josh Reynolds are also back in the 17.
The 2–11 Canterbury Bulldogs are still bringing up the rear but will be seeing this match as an opportunity to climb off the bottom of the ladder. Last week’s 41–10 loss to an under-strength Melbourne was a sizeable step backwards, however, after a gutsy upset of Newcastle in round 11 and a two-point defeat to heavyweight Parramatta.
Lachlan Lewis’s suspension sees Jack Cogger come into the halves, while Kerrod Holland replaces injured centre Jake Averillo – and Bulldogs fans do a collective facepalm.
The Tigers cruised to a 34–6 win over the Bulldogs in round 7, with wing pairing David Nofoaluma and Tommy Talau both collecting try doubles. The Bulldogs had won the previous three encounters between the Sydney rivals.
It’s impossible to get a read on this game, but Michael Maguire should have his side primed to bounce back.
NRL ROUND 14 TIPS
Head-to-head: Wests Tigers
Best bet: Margin – Wests Tigers 1–12
OTHER NRL ROUNDS
2019 NRL Round 14 Preview
CANBERRA RAIDERS V CRONULLA SHARKS PREDICTION
THURSDAY – JUNE 13 – 7:50 PM
NRL Round 14 gets underway on Thursday with an interesting clash between top 6 sides Canberra and Cronulla. The Sharks have a tremendous record against Canberra, especially in Canberra.
The Raiders won 6 of their opening 8 games to rise to third place on the ladder, before being on the wrong end of 3 close games. They went down to the Roosters by 6, Souths by 4 and the Cowboys by 6. They then struggled to a 12-10 win over the last placed Bulldogs before last weekend’s much more convincing 28-0 win over the Wests Tigers.
The Sharks have had an impressive season so far, considering their tumultuous off-season and huge injury toll over the first half of the year, to be sitting in 6th place. They’ve won 5 of their last 7 games, including impressive wins over Melbourne in Round 8, the Dragons in Round 11 and last weekends 42-22 win over the Eels.
Cronulla has won the last two games between these sides, and impressively, they’ve also won their last 6 straight games in Canberra.
GOLD COAST TITANS V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – JUNE 14 – 6:00 PM
These two NRL teams in Round 14 are playing with similar inconsistent form, which sees them both sitting well down the ladder.
The Titans had a pair of 4 game losing streaks either side of back-to-back wins to start the season, before recording a very good 36-18 win over Manly, a dour 6-4 loss to the Cowboys and last weekend’s impressive 26-18 win over the Broncos. They are without halfback Ash Taylor who has taken personal leave.
The Warriors had won just 2 of their opening 8 games before scoring solid wins in successive weeks over the Dragons and the Panthers. They then had a hard fought 8-2 loss against the Broncos before the bye. Last weekend they went missing in the second half, as the Storm cruised home to a comfortable 32-10 win.
The Warriors have won 15 of their last 17 clashes against the Titans, including their last encounter back in Round 4.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V WESTS TIGERS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – JUNE 14 – 7:55 PM
The NRL Round 14 tips for this match will see the reinvigorated Cowboys as favourites, on home soil, taking on an inconsistent and fading Tigers outfit.
After a very slow start which produced just 3 wins from 9 games, the Cowboys then won three tight games in a row, against the Eels by 7, the Raiders by 6 and the Titans by 2, to keep their season alive. Last week they went down in a spirited clash with Manly 22-20.
The Tigers opened with two great wins but have won just 3 of their 10 games since. They’ve lost their last 3 games against the Storm 24-22, Souths 32-16 and then last weekend’s very disappointing performance against Canberra 28-0.
These sides have both won 5 of their last 10 games against each other. The Cowboys won the last encounter 20-12.
MELBOURNE STORM V NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 15 – 3:00 PM
This game will have the most anticipated of all NRL results in Round 14 given both sides are in top form and at the top end of the ladder.
Last weekend saw the Storm return to the top of the ladder after they recorded a comfortable 32-10 win over the Warriors last weekend. That was the fourth win in as many games, after beating Parramatta 64-10, the Tigers 24-22 and the Bulldogs 28-6.
The Knights opened their season with a win before losing 5 straight games. But they have dramatically turned things around since, winning all of their last 6 straight games, against Parramatta, the Warriors and Canterbury before scoring 3 impressive wins against the Dragons 45-12, defending Premiers Roosters 38-12 and then last weekend they beat the highly fancied South Sydney 20-12.
Melbourne has won their last 6 games against the Knights.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V PENRITH PANTHERS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 15 – 5:30 PM
This game looks set to produce one of the most intriguing NRL results in Round 14 given both sides are at opposite ends of the ladder and are in opposite form too.
Souths won 10 of their opening 11 games to move to the outright lead in the competition. However in their last two weeks, they’ve been defeated by Parramatta 26-14, with their side depleted due to Origin commitments and then they lost to Newcastle 20-12 last weekend, while being without their usual starting halves.
Penrith had a dire start to the season, especially for a club that was expected to be a genuine top 4 side. They had two very narrow, unconvincing victories out of their opening 10 games, to sit dead last on the ladder. They’ve turned their form around since, winning all of their last three games. They beat Parramatta 16-10, Manly 15-12 before last weekend’s 19-10 victory over the Roosters, which was their most impressive performance of the year so far.
South Sydney won the last encounter between these two sides and 8 of their last 11 games.
PARRAMATTA EELS V BRISBANE BRONCOS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – JUNE 15 – 7:35 PM
The NRL Round 14 team lists for both sides will see the Broncos Origin players returned and next to no changes to the Eels side.
The Eels were placed 5th after 8 rounds. They then suffered a humiliating 64-10 loss to Melbourne, followed by losses to the lowly placed Cowboys and Panthers. In Round 12 they toppled a depleted Souths side 26-14 but were comfortably disposed of by the Sharks last weekend 42-22.
Brisbane had a rare weak start to the season, winning just 2 of their 8 games before winning three straight matches against Manly 26-10, Sydney 15-10 and the Warriors 8-2. Last weekend they were poor as they went down 26-18 to the Titans.
Brisbane won the last match between these two sides.
MANLY SEA-EAGLES V ST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS PREDICTION
SUNDAY – JUNE 16 – 2:00 PM
Manly and the Dragons both had key players return from injuries last week, who helped their respective sides score important wins.
The Sea-Eagles won 6 of their opening ten games to move up into 5th place on the ladder, surprising many pundits. They then suffered back-to-back losses against bottom placed sides Gold Coast 36-18 and then Penrith 15-12. Last weekend, Tom Trbojevic returned to help his side record a 22-20 win over the Cowboys.
The Dragons had an impressive 4 game winning run, but then the mounting injuries, which saw Gareth Widdop, Corey Norman, Tyson Frizell and James Graham all succumbed to injuries at various times. The Dragons lost 5 straight games prior to last weekend’s 36-12 win over the Bulldogs.
The Dragons have won their last 4 straight games against Manly.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS PREDICTION
SUNDAY – JUNE 16 – 4:05 PM
This game will see two sides at either ends of the ladder but both on a similarly poor run of form and success.
The Roosters had won 8 straight games after losing their first match of the year. They have since gone on to lose their last three games, all against sides who had changed their form around dramatically. First it was a loss to the Broncos 15-10, then they went down to Newcastle 38-12 before last weekend’s 19-10 loss to Penrith.
The Bulldogs have been struggling for consistency all year and as such, sit in last place on the ladder, with just 3 wins from 13 games. They had an impressive win over the Tigers in Round 3, a good win against the Cowboys in Round 7 and then a tough win over the Titans in Round 10. Since then they’ve lost to the Storm, Canberra and the Dragons.
The Roosters have won their last 4 straight games against the Bulldogs.