NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 25 | 2021

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MrG’s Game Handicaps for this round

+6.5 Raiders v Roosters – Mackay
+6.5 Sharks v Storm – Robina
+28.5 Eels v Panthers – Robina
+2.5 Broncos v Knights – Suncorp
+20.5 Cowboys v Eagles – Townsville
-2.5 Rabbits v Dragons – Sunshine Coast
-10.5 Titans v Warriors – Robina
-8.5 Tigers v Bulldogs – Redcliffe

Recommended Bet List

Bet 5 units Storm-Panthers Grand Final Quinella $2.75
Tabcorp | Sportsbet
On numbers the Storm or Panthers are now an approx 95% chance of either winning the premiership and likely now the clearest stand out top 2 and likely Grand final quinella pairing that we have seen for many many years. On numbers and reality the Eagles are now for mine the only real chance of challenging these two into that final game but would likely then have to win two or three games at their best to make the GF. We already have Storm outright to win comp as a futures bet, rather than hedge with the Panthers I think the better option and value right now is to take the quinella option now a week prior to the finals starting when we still have approx 10 teams taking up some % of the market and so this price much higher now than in a week or weeks to come.

Bet 1.5 units Roosters -2.5 $1.90
Roosters have 5 key ins back this week and have been much stronger than those below them on the table when they drop back to this level, Raiders have outs and some injury doubts and periods of very soft defence

Bet 1.5 units Sharks-Storm points over 46.5 $1.90
Storm have at least 10 possibly more out here and have been leaking 20 a week last 4 weeks, Sharks have something to play for here, game profiles with 48+ points

Bet 2 units Panthers -15.5 $1.90
Expect Panthers full tilt here and want to build strong form into finals, Eels have forced outs + expected to rest a few and play well under strength

Bet 1 unit Broncos +5.5 $1.90
Knights off winning 5 straight have nothing to play for here, expect they will rest key players, attack has been very poor, Broncos have been positive and if against weaker opponent have decent chance here

Bet 1 unit Broncos $2.15
Market continues to tighten 5.5 to now 2.5 which certainly suggests my expectation of Knights resting further key players looks likely, we already have +5.5 as some insurance, also want to play the straight up head to head price now, expect with multiple outs and little for Knights to play for Broncos can give this a shake

Bet 1 unit anytime try Daniel Tupou (Roosters) $1.78 x Brian To’o (Panthers) $1.49 // $2.65

BB – Indicates Best Bet

Any longer term plays that have been recommended in prior weeks will be listed at the base of this message

Individual Game Tips

Roosters, Sharks, Panthers, Broncos, Eagles, Rabbits, Titans, Tigers

Game Preview Notes

Notes – Round 25:
Final round and final named team lists obviously become very important with so many teams either resting players (or many players) and or getting to games where they have less to play for due to prior results. I still suspect further outs for Storm and Knights and possibly the Eagles, while we have the Raiders then Sharks results influencing what the Titans might be playing for. Also, a Sharks win (v Storm) and then Panthers win (v Eels) would mean Panthers finish first and Minor Premiership – but also then influence who they each play in week 1 of the finals (Rabbits or Eagles).

+6.5 Raiders v Roosters – Mackay

Ground: Mackay
52.5 Total Points (market position)

The intent here from both teams should produce a good game. The Raiders are playing for a finals position while the Roosters will now finish 5th or 6th but Robinson’s intent is obviously to perform well here and build their form and combinations into week 1 of the finals.

Final teams and the health and fitness of some looks a tricky read. The Raiders have further outs and then some doubt or injury concerns over Wighton, Tapine and whether Sam Williams is back. Like many this team list is very patched up from where they started the season. The Roosters have named 5 very key ins with the return of Waerea-Hargreaves and Crichton amongst the forward ins and adding significant quality and leadership while Josh Morris, Keighran and Ikuvalu strengthen their edges and sure up both attack and defensive combinations. Clearly after the events of last week they have another key long term out in Manu.

The Roosters record even with the busted up team list that they now play with when dropping back a level in playing those at the top of the table has been very good, the coach has done a first class job of coaching what he has each week to then perform, aided by some quality leadership and performance by a few of their senior guys. Manu is a big out, but this week these 5 ins will make a big difference to what they bring and prior to last week they had still won 3 of their prior 4 and a couple of games where they could well have lost (but didn’t). They meet a Raiders offering that has been very patchy through the last few months and has also lost so many senior players in particular key play makers, down 0-16 quickly and easily last week to the Warriors (who have nothing to play for) and some up and down results across the 4 or 5 weeks prior I think they are still a level behind this Roosters line up. Defensively they have had plenty of lapses and can leak 24 to 26 a week consistently, they would need to be at their very best here to win.

I marked the Roosters with this line up an approx 6 point fav, and I expect that off the loss last week, all the drama surrounding that and then the key ins they will have a point to prove here this week and a want to perform and build into the following week finals game.

+6.5 Sharks v Storm – Robina

Ground: Robina
46.5 Total Points (market position)

The guess work here is the final Storm line up. They have omitted 8 and all of them key starters or top 17 players including the likes of Munster, Welch, Faufusi, both Bromwich brothers and Addo-Carr has a short term injury. Looking at the 21 named it would suggest that there could then be further late changes and the possible resting of additional key players like Hughes, Branson Smith and or Papenhuyzen but this now is only guess work. What Bellamy has made clear is that he does want to rest players, he did same final round last year against the Dragons (and lost the game), that also then and could well again now cost them the minor premiership but Bellamy has always maintained that while that’s a nice acknowledgement on the way through he’s more focused on the final prize and premiership title. Given his record he clearly knows what he is doing, but it has to leave them very underdone here this week. They do have quality depth, but taking 8 to 10 of your front line players out has to leave you venerable.

The Storm also come off a loss last week, a surprise loss and one that saw them not break the long term winning streak record, Bellamy would be very annoyed at both – but he would have also had a plan many weeks ago of how he wanted to manage things through these next few weeks. They will be up, they will be focused to put in a good performance, but a much weakened list. What is also worth noting is that through the last 4 or so weeks they have been conceding 20 or so points a week far higher than their prior and normal season average of 12 and so also making them far more venerable in each game. With a weakened list and some D that has not been as strong as normal this match up gets very interesting.

The Sharks scenario is they to are also playing for a finals spot. Had both teams been all but full strength then it would likely be 18 or so between them, and the Sharks have been a mid table team at best. But if we take those 8 to 10 out for the Sharks then I am back to an approx 6 to 8 between them. The Sharks last 4 games are an ordinary form line, but they come off two wins and have again improved with Moylan back and a few key changes they have made with Tracey left centre and Metcalf off the bench. Their overall play through the last two wins has been far more positive and I liked the way they knuckled down last week to come from behind and then pull away for a win. They have to play some attack here, they have to stay in the scoreboard contest, and potentially mount some attacking and points pressure on the Storm and upset any groove they might try and get into.

I give the Sharks a decent chance here, but that also swings around the final Storm team list. Right now I think the +9.5 is a healthy position (Sharks have covered 6 straight as an underdog and 7 of 9 as an underdog off a win), but I think the game profiles with attack and points and so I think that is the best play. The Storm have been leaking more than usual and then with all of their outs look to likely leak more, as well as have to play some attack given what looks the style of game likely. The Sharks like to play attack, and they to can concede points and 4 of their last 5 games have seen totals of 40 to 70 points. The total points mark of 46.5 for this match up looked too low, it is then also a 6pm game (less night time dew) and on a ground (Robina) that provides an excellent surface.

+28.5 Eels v Panthers – Robina

Ground: Robina
44.5 Total Points (market position)

Two teams that look to take very different paths into this game. The Eels off a very credible win last week now rest and or have outs of up to 13 players and look devoid of key play makers and or defence and have all but put their hand up for the loss. They clearly accept now that they will finish outside the top 4 and want to rest everyone up and be ready to give it their best shot into next week and their finals run. The Panthers have decided to go all out and named all but possibly their best list, their focus it seems is to keep building the quality of their play, their combinations, match fitness and alike, smash through this week and build confidence and belief into next weeks semi final, and should they win that then have their week off and rest.

I think the market has now caught up to be about the right position, something like 28.5 was where I marked it on the back of what I though might likely occur. We have a good early position well under the now market, hope Panthers put their foot down as we expect and get on with the business.

+2.5 Broncos v Knights – Suncorp

Ground: Suncorp
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Interesting game and match up and I’m not sure it is clear cut. The Knights have 4 staring line up players out but have also named bench players who can slot in for the like of Ponga and Pearce, and the Knights are also in a spot now where they can’t improve their table position so I am all but sure they rest one if not both players. As then mentioned numerous times through recent weeks the Knights attack and overall form has been very patchy if not ordinary so then if we have Brailey already oy and take any of these other key strike players out that all really brings them back to the field. Mentally I then think they are passengers here as well, nothing to play for, can’t improve their spot, numerous players rested, looks to me much like the Knights have little care this week.

The Broncos are never good things but gee they look to get their chance here if all of this unfolds this way. They have been positive for many weeks, improved their defence and had some attack in them, last game of the season off what had for months been a disaster year but through recent months has looked more balanced and positive – and no expectation or anything to play for, why not have a crack and go out on a good note. If they get beat no one expected anything different, should they aim up its all positive!

The Broncos also then have a few key stats in their favour here as well, they have covered 12 of their last 18 when playing here at home and 5 of their last 6 as an underdog. The Knights Away record has always been poor (especially when favs) and overall they have covered just 5 of their last 20 Away from Newcastle games.

On the back of all of this scenario the 5.5 always looked too wide, and now day by day the market has come down to 2.5, which certainly smells along the lines of Knight’s outs. Given all of this and all of the angles to suggest the a) Broncos at home; b) the Broncos as underdogs and c) the Knights Away then the home side look well positioned with both options as an upset win and at the plus line.

+20.5 Cowboys v Eagles – Townsville

Ground: Townsville
54.5 Total Points (market position)

Looks very much dependent on prior outcomes what final team list Hasler decides to play here. A Roosters win and the expected Eels loos leaves them with a straight forward position of just a win here as their points differential is by far the best and so a win by any margin would then put them 4th. So Hasler will then have the options of resting some players should he wish.

The Cowboys overall have been horrible for the last 3 or so months with their full down hill slide starting when flogged at Brookvale by the Eagles 50-18 after getting out to an early 18-0 lead. And that’s about how pathetic their defence has been each week for the most part leaking 32 a week and a horrid run of losses and shit form to now sit bottom 3 on the table. Over the past few weeks they have got a few players back from injury and they have also thankfully chosen to play a few of their younger crew with a view toward next season and against a pretty pathetic Dragons offering last week they got a break through win with a 38-26 result. They are 5 from 11 at home (only 7 wins overall) and so have played their best here but have horrible record against the top of table teams.

The Eagles should win, but the final team make up and the fact that just a win is all that is required for a top 4 spot likely takes their foot off going too hard here. We certainly hope that they don’t get too lazy or complacent and they have shown touches of that at times over recent months, maybe Hasler starts with near his best team and gets them to a comfortable spot and then rests key players? The obvious bet option would be the Cows at the plus 22.5 but even with that amount of start some of the horrible defensive efforts they have delivered could well put such a margin at risk. The Cowboys have also only covered 5 of 19 this season when as an underdog (many with big lines) so they are always a major risk. Happy to just leave this alone and get the Eagles home for a win.

-2.5 Rabbits v Dragons – Sunshine Coast

Ground: Sunshine Coast
52.5 Total Points (market position)

Another nothing game and Rabbits can hardly improve their position and so will rest and or have out plenty with up to 10 or 11 outs. They one thing in their favour might be that many of their replacement kids do have talent and now get a rare chance to shine. The Dragons are rubbish, hopeless direction, shocking attitude and defensive effort and can’t wait for the season to be over. Over 4 of their last 5 outings for all the talk of them having an improved list with a whole range of player returns (which they did) they have conceded 38, 40, 34 and 50 and have now lost their last 7. Shocking game, I went looking for ways to be positive about the Dragons here and look for the right reasons to want to back them. Technically their head to head price looks attractive and they could and likely should win, but they are a mess, their overall attitude is crook and as we saw when they should have had a lot to their advantage a few weeks ago with a +12.5 start v Roosters they are just not a confident betting proposition. Maybe the Rabbits youth bring more enthusiasm and something a little more positive here? The Rabbits also enjoy a very healthy longer term record head to head winning 15 of the last 18 times they have met. Didn’t like the game, and had a small lean that maybe the Rabbits play some positive footy and trouble their opponent.

-10.5 Titans v Warriors – Robina

Ground: Robina
52.5 Total Points (market position)

A Raiders loss and Sharks loss then puts the Titans into a box seat of winning to then make the top 8. A Raiders loss and Sharks upset win would then mean the Titans having to win and also win by a certain margin to get 8th spot on points differential. So the Titans will know their fate by game day.

The Warriors have been making up the numbers for the last few weeks and laid down poorly last week to the Raiders, but if they get a sniff here and the game turns into some ad lib footy they can be a pain to their opponent. The Titans lost last week when they should never have, dominated all of the key stats yet murdered numerous chances to then lose in golden point, but that pretty much has been their season overall, promised plenty but have hardly delivered. They should win here, they likely have something to play for, so the ball will be in their court but they can be hard to trust and even harder to trust when under expectation and focus. I think something around 10 to 11 between them is about right but happy to leave the game well alone.

-8.5 Tigers v Bulldogs – Redcliffe

Ground: Redcliffe
52.5 Total Points (market position)

Gee, what a way to finish the seasons 25 rounds with this match up as the last game, yuk. Tigers have sunk to bottom 4, after a season that promised so much they have delivered zero. The worry here is that with nothing to play for and again off a couple of losses and with key play makers out do they mentally just drop their guard and offer little? They to have also been at their worst when under some expectation to win, we can have zero trust in them. The Bulldogs have been a bit more positive over their last two outings but have now lost 10 straight and are losing by margins that still suggest a +8.5 start here maybe puts them in the game, but hardly to advantage. Ugly game to finish the round, Tigers should win but best left alone.

Longer Term Recommended Bet List

Bet 5 units Storm-Panthers Grand Final Quinella $2.75
On numbers the Storm or Panthers are now an approx 95% chance of either winning the premiership and likely now the clearest stand out top 2 and likely Grand final quinella pairing that we have seen for many many years. On numbers and reality the Eagles are now for mine the only real chance of challenging these two into that final game but would likely then have to win two or three games at their best to make the GF. We already have Storm outright to win comp as a futures bet, rather than hedge with the Panthers I think the better option and value right now is to take the quinella option now a week prior to the finals starting when we still have approx 10 teams taking up some % of the market and so this price much higher now than in a week or weeks to come.

Bet 6 units Storm to win Premiership $2.60
Clearly now the benchmark and the one to beat, Panthers likely to have longer term injury questions over Cleary (shoulder) and Luai (knee), Storm have key depth, confidence and quality combinations

Bet 3 units Eagles to make Top 4 $5.00
Think the price is way too high, Eagles have a very soft run home with only 2 games vs Top 4 contenders then a further 10 vs bottom 8 sides/contenders. Clearly they are very reliant on the fitness of Tom Trbojevic which is factored into the odds and my bet, but if he plays most of these games they give this a huge shake

Bet 3 units Raiders to miss Top 8 $2.00 Topsport $1.95 Tab
Lost 5 straight and should have been beat by 16th placed Bulldogs last week, not a happy crew from everything I hear, think bottom of the 8 gets very competitive in second half of the yr and have to take them on

Bet 4 units Panthers Minor Premiers $3.30 Topsport
Market is also available at Tab and Sportsbet $3.00
Undefeated after 3 rounds, quality longer home record and have depth in key positions, my numbers right now suggest they now appear as $2.00 chance

Bet 5 units Titans top QLD team $1.77 Topsport
Market is also available at Ladbrokes $1.75 and Sportsbet $1.67
We have a small interest speculator on Titans Top 4, think this is a positive way to cover our stake longer term. Three way contest, what we are betting is the final table position between Titans and Cowboys and I’m confident on the Titans progression late last yr (won last 5 games), key signings, positive off season + quality coach that this is the right play. Should Cam Smith turn up mid season as I expect then icing on the cake!

Bet 6 units Storm Top 4 $1.85
Looks an excellent longer term anchor bet, Bellamy’s record of top 4 finishes each season is unparalleled, as is his ability to replace players and bring his team back to the top. They will win near 90% of home games (Melb or Sunshine Coast), have near the best D once again and likely finish top two.

Bet 3 units Broncos most losses $5.00
Expected / rate them closer to $2.00, this price looks very very generous. The squad is weaker than last yr (and they finished with the spoon), start the season with key injury outs, question mark on whether Coach is up to this task and have a hard draw.

Bet 2 units Titans to make Top 4 $4.50
Think the Coach is quality, started to put his imprimatur in them late into the season with some very positive and exciting play/results. They have purchased astutely, top 4 might be a reach (you can save top 8 at $1.85 if you wish) but I just see a) lot of up side and b) a comp with potential long tail. They look the team with the flashing red light for me this season. There is some $5.00 available in some places.

Market Odds Comparison – a quick link to assist with the available odds across many possible providers – nrl-odds-comparisons

Staking: The recommended units bet is indicated next to each bet in the above bet list. The base bet is 1 to 5 units (and is also a reflection of confidence. Everyone chooses to bet in different bet sizes, from differing betting banks (the personal funds they put aside for betting). Some will bet $20 per bet, some $200 per bet. So as to keep things simple and clear for everyone to follow we then talk in bet units. Our advice is to decide what size betting unit is likely to work for you and call this your betting unit, remembering that you may have approx. 5 to 10 units of recommended outlay per week per sport and that you also run the risk of losing.

Game Notes Preparation: FYI, with the introduction of Thursday night games in recent years it is now near impossible with the work and list of things that I chose to do to have all game previews written and finished until late in each week or early Saturday am. With the final team lists not announced until Tuesday afternoon, which I then re rate against (current performance, key ins and outs / final team lists and then look to handicap each up coming game then consider a range of form and match up factors towards final potential bets and written game previews. In short with team lists announced late Tuesday that then leaves two days to work through these tasks. I will focus the first preview notes at any game that has a recommended bet so that any key factors and reasoning is then known in advance, and then be working through each game there after in order of day and time (from Thursday onward).

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