NRL 2023 Round 26 – Betting Tips, Odds & Predictions

NRL 2023 Round 26

Just two rounds remain in the NRL season, and still the ladder is tight enough that there are certain teams who could theoretically both make the top four, or miss the top eight entirely. The most notable of those teams is the Sharks, who this weekend take on the Knights on Sunday afternoon in perhaps the most significant game of the round. Elsewhere, the Panthers will take on the Eels on Thursday night, while the Raiders host the Broncos on Saturday night in another huge game. With plenty on the line this is a round not to miss, and we’ve previewed all eight games set to take place over the course of the weekend below.

Round 26 Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Panthers vs EelsThursday, August 24 at 7.50pm$1.10$7.00
Warriors vs DragonsFriday, August 25 at 6.00pm$1.14$5.75
Dolphins vs CowboysFriday, August 25 at 8.00pm$3.35$1.33
Storm vs TitansSaturday, August 26 at 3.00pm$1.12$6.25
Roosters vs TigersSaturday, August 26 at 5.30pm$1.16$5.25
Raiders vs BroncosSaturday, August 26 at 7.35pm$3.00$1.39
Bulldogs vs Sea EaglesSunday, August 27 at 2.00pm$2.85$1.43
Knights vs SharksSunday, August 27 at 4.05pm$1.70$2.15

Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels

The penultimate round of the 2023 NRL home and away season kicks off with a rematch between last year’s Grand Finalists, though it’s not quite the blockbuster for which many would have been hoping. The Panthers have certainly done their part – they continued on their merry way last weekend with a 26-point win over the Titans to make it eight wins on the trot and maintain their hold on first spot, where they sit just ahead of the Broncos. The Eels, meanwhile, have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks with finals on the line, losing four of their last five games, the latest of which was a particularly uninspiring 22-point loss to the Roosters the week after they went down by 44 points to the Broncos. Their finals hopes are now all but over; with two games to go they’re a game and points difference outside of the top eight, so barring back to back losses for the Rabbitohs and assuming neither the Cowboys nor Roosters don’t win both of their last two games, Parramatta will be watching on in September the year after they made it to the final two. Even if they had a finals spot to play for it would be hard to imagine them coming away from Penrith with a win, but with their finals hopes shot they hardly stand a chance.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Eels to score 3+ tries – $1.50
Panthers 13+$1.45
Panthers to win$1.10

Predicted Squads

Penrith PanthersPenrith Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. SuniaTuruva 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Soni Luke 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Zac Hosking 17. Spencer Leniu

Parramatta EelsParramatta Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Will Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Sean Russell 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Dylan Brown  8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J'maine Hopgood 14. Joe Ofahengaue  15. Ryan Matterson 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Brendan Hands

New Zealand Warriors vs St. George Illawarra Dragons

The Warriors were made to work for their victory against the Sea Eagles last weekend, but a late try ensured they got over the line for their 15th win of the season with a 29-22 victory. That win all but assured them of a top four berth – they’re two wins clear of the Sharks, meaning for them to miss Cronulla would need to win both of their last two games and the Warriors would need to lose both of their last two. With a game in New Zealand against the 16th placed Dragons this weekend, that seems highly unlikely. Despite their terrible win/loss record, the Dragons continue to be competitive nearly every weekend, and last round’s ten-point loss to the Storm was the fifth loss in a row which has come by 12 points or less, with a win over the Tigers thrown in the middle of that. That would suggest that this won’t be a cakewalk for the Warriors, and a victory won’t be quite as simple as just turning up. They should, however, be able to get the job done, overcoming a plucky opposition to maintain their hold on third spot and hopefully avoid the Panthers in the first week of the finals as a result.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Warriors 1-12$3.40
Warriors/Warriors half-time/full-time double$1.40
Warriors to win$1.14

Predicted Squads

New Zealand WarriorsNew Zealand Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. AddinFonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitch Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. MarataNiukore 13. Tohu Harris
14. Dylan Walker 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran

St. George Illawarra DragonsSt. George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan  2. Mat Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. MikaeleRavalawa 6. TalatauAmone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Billy Burns 12. Dan Russell 13. Michael Molo 14. Connor Muhleisen 15. Ryan Couchman16. Ben Murdoch-Masila  17. Zane Musgrove

The Dolphins vs North Queensland Cowboys

The Dolphins bright start to the season is now just a speck in the rearview mirror, with last weekend’s loss to the bottom of the table Tigers their fifth in succession. The league’s newest club now finds themselves at 8-14 and in 14th spot after spending a large portion of the season inside the top eight, but despite the disappointment of their lost season they have still exceeded the very low expectations most had for them entering the year. One team which has not done that is the Cowboys. Following their dreadful first half of the season they flew back into finals contention and a few weeks ago were one of the in-form teams of the comp, but just when they seemed to be primed for a genuine crack at September they’ve gone and lost three games in a row. The latest of those was a disappointing 20-point defeat at the hands of the Sharks – in Townsville no less – last weekend. Fortunately for them the Rabbitohs also suffered a loss meaning they remain outside of the top eight on only points difference, but with the Bunnies set to enjoy a bye and get the automatic two points this week, the Cowboys may well need to win both of their last two games by big margins to get inside the eight. They’re right up against it to play finals, but against a struggling Dolphins team they should at least be able to keep their hopes alive heading into the final round.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Cowboys to win$1.33
Cowboys 7+$1.68
Cowboys -9.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

DolphinsThe Dolphins: 1. Kodi Nikorima 2. JamayneIsaako 3. Jack Bostock 4. HamisoTabuai-Fidow 5. TesiNiu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan  8. Jesse Bromwich9. Harrison Graham 10. Mark Nicholls 11. FeliseKaufusi 12. Connelly Lemuelu 13. Kenny Bromwich 14. JJ Collins 15. Josh Kerr 16. Euan Aitken 17. Jarrod Wallace

North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Murray Taulagi 4. PetaHiku 5. Semi Valemei 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Jason Taumalolo 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville
15. Coen Hess 16. HeilumLuki 17. Griffin Neame

  • Though they’ve lost five of their last six games, the Dragons haven’t lost any of those games by more than 12 points.
  • The Knights have won seven games on the trot and are 8-3 on their home turf.
  • The Broncos have won five games in a row by at least 16 points.

Multi of the Week

Warriors 1-12$3.40
Knights to win$1.70
Broncos -8$1.90
Bet $10 for $109.82 with PlayUp

Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans

The Storm weren’t at their absolute best last weekend and won’t be particularly happy with conceding 28 points to the Dragons, but fortunately they scored 38 themselves to maintain their hold on fourth spot. But with the Sharks notching up a big win of their own, Melbourne’s hold on a double chance remains tenuous, and with the possibility of the Sharks winning their last two games and with the Storm having to take on the Broncos last week, there is every possibility that who finishes fourth will come down to points difference. At present, the Storm have a seven-point buffer on the Sharks in that regard, but they’ll be very keen to extend that margin heading into their final round clash with Brisbane. This weekend presents a good opportunity to do that. Though the Titans have shown some good improvement at times this year, with their finals hopes now dashed they have struggled to compete the last couple of weeks. A fortnight ago they went down 36-6 to the Sharks, and last weekend wasn’t much better as they were pummelled by 26 points by the Panthers. The Storm will be hoping to do a similar thing to them this weekend. Just a fortnight ago the Storm beat the Raiders by 46 points in Melbourne, and they’ll be hoping to inflict another big punishment on their visitors to AAMI Park this Saturday.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Storm -19.5$1.90
Storm 13+$1.50
Storm to win$1.12

Predicted Squads

Melbourne StormMelbourne Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Will Warbrick 3. Marion Seve 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes  8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eli Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Bronson Garlick 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Tepai Moeroa 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Gold Coast Titans

Gold Coast Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tom Weaver 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. David Fifita 12. Klese Haas 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 14. Kruise Leeming 15. Isaac Liu 16. Joe Stimson 17. Jacob Alick

Sydney Roosters vs Wests Tigers

Somehow, the Roosters’ finals hopes are still alive, albeit only just. They’re actually tied on points with the Rabbitohs in eighth place, but their disastrous points difference means they’ll need to find an extra win than their biggest rivals to jump into the eight, or hope that either the Knights or Raiders lose both of their last two games. The Roosters, of course, need to win both of their last two games to give themselves a chance, and they shouldn’t have any problems doing that this weekend. The Tigers actually managed to secure their fourth win of the season last week, getting reward for a period in which they’ve consistently been reasonably competitive without managing to get any reward for their spoils. But that was against the struggling Dolphins, and the Roosters in their current form are a much different proposition. It’s been a tough year for Sydney but they’re finishing it strong, and they should have no issues keeping their finals hopes alive heading into the final round with a big win against the bottom placed team in the league on Saturday evening.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Roosters 1-12$3.30
Roosters/Roosters half-time/full-time double$1.41
Roosters to win$1.16

Predicted Squads

Sydney RoostersSydney Roosters: 1. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Drew Hutchison 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Fletcher Baker 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Sandon Smith  15. Egan Butcher 16. Terrell May 17. Angus Crichton

Wests TigersWests Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Triston Reilly 4. AsuKepaoa 5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. ApiKoroisau 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jake Simpkin 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. John Bateman 13. Fonua Pole 14. Alex Seyfarth 15. Alex Twal 16. Shawn Blore 17. Justin Matamua

Canberrra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

There is plenty on the line in Saturday night’s matchup between the Raiders and the Broncos. The Raiders managed to secure a really important win against the Bulldogs in Round 25, giving them a two-game buffer on the teams occupying 8th through to 10th spot, but a really bad points difference means that they may still need to win another game to make it through to the finals. With their last two coming against the Broncos and then in Cronulla against the Sharks, that’s no guarantee. The Broncos are absolutely humming right now, keeping the pressure on Penrith in first place with win after win after win. Their latest was a dominant 54-10 defeat of the Eels, making it six wins in a row and nine of their last ten. They have truly established themselves as the best team in the league outside the Panthers, and are virtually a lock to finish inside the top two and earn themselves a home Qualifying Final. Not that a home final will necessarily matter to them – they’re 10-1 on the road this year anyway, but no doubt they’d prefer to be playing in front of a raucous home crowd for their first final. For the time being, they can lock up that top two spot with yet another road win, and put the Raiders finals prospects in doubt with a solid victory.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Broncos to win$1.39
Broncos 7+$1.77
Broncos -8$1.87

Predicted Squads

Canberra RaidersCanberra Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. James Schiller 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papalii 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joe Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Emre Guler 14. Tom Starling 15. Ata Mariota 16. Trey Mooney 17. Matt Frawley

Brisbane BroncosBrisbane Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Deine Mariner 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Jock Madden 8. Tom Flegler  9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Brendan Piakura 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Keenan Palasia

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Canterbury Bulldogs vs Manly Sea Eagles

There isn’t a whole lot riding on Sunday’s first game. The Sea Eagles are still only a game and a half outside of the top eight, but with the Rabbitohs set to pick up an automatic two points for the bye this weekend they won’t be able to make up the ground that they need to in order to qualify for finals. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have been out of contention for a while. They’ve at least been able to pick up a win here and there in recent weeks, but their defence has been truly awful, with 30+ points conceded in eight of their last nine games. The Sea Eagles aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they should be able to put a few points on the board in this one. But with nothing really to play for, it would be no surprise if they suffer a big drop off in performance after a competitive effort against the Warriors last week. The Sea Eagles in normal circumstances should win this game comfortably, but after the disappointment of last week it’s easy to see them going off the boil a little, meaning the Bulldogs could be decent value at long odds.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Bulldogs to win$2.85
Bulldogs 1-12$4.30
Bulldogs +8$1.87

Predicted Squads

Canterbury-Bankstown BulldogsCanterbury Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Toby Sexton 8. Luke Thompson 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Liam Knight 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Corey Waddell 13. Harrison Edwards 14. Karl Oloapu 15. Max King 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Tevita Pangai Junior

Manly Warringah Sea EaglesManly Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Raymond Vaega 6. Jake Arthur 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. ToafofoaSipley 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Sean Keppie 11. HaumoleOlakau’atu 12. Ben Trbojevic 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Josh Schuster 15. Aaron Woods 16. Kelma Tuilagi 17. Ethan Bullemor

Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks

What a huge last weekend it was for both of these teams. The Knights have absolutely come from the clouds to put themselves in finals contention, and after a hugely impressive 29-10 win over the Rabbitohs last Sunday – their seventh successive victory – they are now very well placed to earn an unlikely September berth. They may well have already done enough, but to be certain of making it they’ll need to win another game, and the Sharks won’t make it easy for them this weekend. The Sharks are half a game ahead with a 13-9 record, but courtesy of their excellent points difference they have more than likely assured themselves of a finals spot after a scintillating 32-12 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend. They have hit form at the right time of the year, winning three games in a row with relative ease, and not only have they basically locked up a finals spot but they’ve put themselves in the mix for the top four. Assuming the Storm don’t lose their last two, Cronulla will need to win both of theirs to give themselves a chance, but with Melbourne set to take on the Broncos next week there’s every possibility that two Sharks’ wins to round out the season could see them jump into the top four. But just as they’ll make life difficult for the Knights, so too will the Knights for them. This should be a fantastic game between two in-form teams with plenty to play for, but the Knights’ record in Newcastle is hard to ignore. They’re 8-3 on their home turf this season, and with seven consecutive wins behind them too, they can officially lock up a finals spot with a tight win to conclude the round.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Knights 1-12$3.10
Knights 1-10$3.70
Knights to win$1.70

Predicted Squads

Newcastle KnightsNewcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Clune 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington  17. Mat Croker

Cronulla-Sutherland SharksCronulla Sharks: 1. Connor Tracey 2. SioneKatoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. SiosifaTalakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. BlaykeBrailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Cam McInnes 14. Jack Williams 15. Royce Hunt 16. Tom Hazelton 17. Matt Moylan

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