View UniBet’s preview of Round 14 of the 2016 NRL home and away season below.
Brisbane v Canberra | Thursday, June 9, 7.50pm (AEDT), Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane are in the midst of a real form slump and face the high-flying Raiders off a five-day turnaround and a flight back across the Tasman.
With Jack Wighton suspended, Stuart resisted the temptation to put speed machine Jordan Rapana in the no.1 jersey, instead calling up Zac Santo to fill the breach.
Brisbane look very short at the prices and the start looks tempting but desperation might just see the hosts home.
Last time they met: Rd 12, 2015 – Canberra 12-24 Brisbane
Unibet Odds: Brisbane 1.28 Canberra 3.75
Line tip: Canberra +10.5 (Best bet)
Wests Tigers v Souths | Friday, June 10, 7.50pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium
The Tigers have a chance to complete the double over Souths for the first time since 2008.
Robbie Farah slots back into the line-up having been rested for last Sunday’s clash with the Roosters and with Matt Ballin ruled out for the season he is unlikely to miss too much more football despite his rocky relationship with Jason Taylor.
Souths coach Michael Maguire refused to criticise the match officials after his side had a golden point field goal wiped off for obstruction, instead calling on his players to be more accountable for their actions, particularly in defence.
Sam Burgess was immense for the Bunnies last week and once again looms as a key figure but I don’t think there’s as much between the teams as the betting suggests and the Tigers look capable of another upset.
Last time they met: Rd 9 – Souths 22-30 Wests Tigers
Unibet Odds: Wests Tigers 2.60 Souths 1.52
Tip: Wests Tigers
Line tip: Wests Tigers +5.5
Newcastle v NZ Warriors | Saturday, June 11, 3pm (AEDT), Hunter Stadium
Newcastle remain winless on the road after a comprehensive defeat in Townsville made it seven losses on the spin.
Nathan Brown bolstered his injury-ravaged squad this week with the acquisitions of Brendan Elliott andMitch Barnett from the Roosters and Raiders respectively, both men looking for a more consistent opportunity in the top grade.
The Warriors produced their most complete performance of the year to dominate the Broncos and with four of their next five matches against sides outside of the playoff places they are gifted an opportunity to make a charge.
Issac Luke suits up for his 200th NRL match and that should keep his teammates focused.
Expecting this to be a high scoring encounter, Knights fans can draw positives from the fact they have won this fixture in each of the past two seasons but everything points to a strong win for the visitors.
Last time they met: Rd 4 – NZ Warriors 40-18 Newcastle
Unibet Odds: Newcastle 3.60 NZ Warriors 1.30
Tip: NZ Warriors
Line tip: NZ Warriors -10.5
Parramatta v Gold Coast | Saturday, June 11, 5.30pm (AEDT), TIO Stadium, Darwin
The Eels have Eddie Hayson to thank for taking much of the heat off them with match-fixing supplanting the salary cap as the hottest issue in the game at present.
With star signing Kieran Foran gone for the season, Brad Arthur has named powerful backrower Kenny Edwards as a makeshift pivot with Corey Norman tasked with the responsibility of leading the side around the park.
Nathan Peats was the first casualty of the Eels’ need to shed players and lines up against his former club having already made an impact.
Indeed, “heat” will be an issue here with players needing to adjust to the expected 30-plus degree temperatures in Darwin.
Found this a tough game to line up, the Titans have thrived on underdog status and may struggle with the favourites tag against an Eels side who enjoy the trip north.
Last time they met: Rd 21, 2015 – Gold Coast 24-14 Parramatta
Unibet Odds: Parramatta 2.10 Gold Coast 1.75
Line tip: Parramatta +2.5
Roosters v Melbourne | Saturday, June 11, 7.30pm (AEDT), Allianz Stadium
The Roosters played some excellent wet-weather football to see off the Tigers in awful conditions with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves leading from the front as the Chooks also got plenty of mileage out of their young halves.
Waerea-Hargreaves will no doubt be steeling himself for a confrontation with the man who took over his role as leader of the Kiwi Test pack, Jesse Bromwich.
The Storm eased to a comfortable win over Penrith and this week signed winger Josh Addo-Carr to replace the departing Marika Koroibete.
Craig Bellamy has given both Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk the week off from training to freshen them up but they are certain starters on the weekend.
These two teams have played in some epic contests in recent seasons but with Dylan Napa suspended andBoyd Cordner out for some time the Storm look too strong.
Last time they met: Qualifying Final, 2015 – Roosters 18-20 Melbourne
Unibet Odds: Roosters 2.90 Melbourne 1.43
Line tip: Melbourne -7.5
Manly v Penrith | Sunday, June 12, 4pm (AEDT), Brookvale Oval
The Eagles are in a sorry state with injuries to Daly Cherry-Evans and Jamie Lyon the bullet point to their disappointing loss in the capital.
Trent Barrett’s side lack bulk, particularly in the backrow, and were noticeably outmuscled by the home side in the absence of Martin Taupua.
Jamie Soward’s career is at the crossroads after he was demoted to the NSW Cup as punishment for a number of substandard displays.
Teenage replacement Nathan Cleary, the son of former coach Ivan, has been slaying them at that level and this week received a glowing endorsement from the club’s greatest no.7, Greg Alexander.
With both teams struggling, it’s hard to get too enthused about this match, I think it will be a real grind but Penrith have more ability in their side at present and the Eagles continued to be dogged by uncertainty.
Last time they met: Round 10 2015 – Manly 10-11 Penrith
Unibet Odds: Manly 2.65 Penrith 1.43
Line tip: Penrith -6.5
St.George-Illawarra v Bulldogs | Monday, June 13, 4pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium
Boyd Cordner’s injury opens the door for Tyson Frizell to force his way into Laurie Daley’s plans after he was the 18th man heading into Origin 1.
It’s somewhat of a surprise to learn that Paul McGregor’s side are unbeaten at “home” this year, although they were soundly beaten by Souths in their only appearance at Homebush.
The Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking loss on the bell to the Sharks, although earlier wins over the Panthers and Titans in similar fashion suggest that they were due to finish on the wrong end of a close one.
Think this game will be closer than the betting implies but the Dogs look to have a bit more strike power out wide.
Last time they met: Qualifying Final, 2015 – Bulldogs 11-10 St George/Illawarra
Unibet Odds: St George-Illawarra 2.80 Bulldogs 1.45
Line tip: Dragons +8.5
Sharks v North Queensland | Monday, June 13, 7pm (AEDT), Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Sharks remain at the summit of the ladder and can open a decent gap on the premiers with victory here.
James Maloney took the plaudits for booting his side home but coach Shane Flanagan was more measured in his praise having watched his five-eighth miss a couple of earlier kicks.
Michael Morgan is a huge inclusion for the visitors and takes plenty of pressure of Johnathan Thurston.
Both clubs have a healthy mix of grunt and work-ethic in their back rows with Wade Graham touted for Origin while Ethan Lowe is one of the most underrated players in the game.
Should be a cracker.
Last time they met: Round 1 – North Qld 20-14 Sharks
Unibet Odds: Sharks 1.91 North Qld 1.91
Tip: North Qld
Line tip: North Qld +1.5