NRL 2024 Round 3 – Betting tips & Predictions

James Salmon
NRL Betting Tips
NRL 2024 Round 3

Round 2 of the 2024 NRL season went, for the most part, as expected, with only a couple of surprising results taking place over the course of the weekend. Just four teams remain winless two games in, and while they won’t exactly be hitting the panic button just yet, the pressure on a couple of those teams who entered the season with very high expectations will quickly begin to mount if they don’t get on the board soon. Round 3 will pit one of those, the Rabbitohs, up against their old rivals in the Roosters in a game which always delivers plenty of storylines, while a couple of days earlier the round kicks off with a Grand Final rematch between the Panthers and the Broncos which looms as an early season classic. Below, we take a look at all eight games set to take place in Round 3. 

Round 3 Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Panthers vs Broncos Thursday, 21st of March at 8.00pm AEDT $1.28$3.65
Warriors vs Raiders Friday, 22nd of March at 6.00pm AEDT $1.42$2.85
Roosters vs Rabbitohs Friday, 22nd of March at 8.05pm AEDT $1.60 $2.35
Bulldogs vs Titans Saturday, 23rd of March at 3.00pm $1.81$2.00
Dragons vs Cowboys Saturday, 23rd of March at 5.30pm $2.85$1.42
Tigers vs Sharks Saturday, 23rd of March at 7.35pm $3.65 $1.28
Eels vs Sea Eagles Sunday, 24th of March at 4.05pm $1.85$1.95
Knights vs Storm Sunday, 24th of March at 6.15pm $2.25$1.65

Penrith Panthers vs Brisbane Broncos


The 2023 Grand Final between the Panthers and the Broncos saw the unequivocal two best teams over the season lock horns in the last day of the year, and the much anticipated contest delivered in spades. Contrary to the expectations of most, the significantly less experienced Broncos jumped out of the blocks and with 20 minutes to go had the Premiership within their grasp. Unfortunately for them, the experience of the then-two-time reigning champions and in particular that of a guy by the name of Nathan Cleary came to the fore when it mattered most, and three late tries in a row saw the Panthers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for a third straight flag. The Broncos have had six months to brood over that loss, and they will no doubt be itching to get a chance to lay a few hits on the team that broke their hearts last October. But despite having to deal with the difficulties remaining motivated early in the season while hunting for an incredible fourth straight Premiership, and having lost a number of players to the salary cap squeeze, the Panthers remains a formidable opponent. They find themselves locked away as Premiership favourites early in the year, a position they’re very comfortable with, and the only team near them in the betting is – you guessed it – the Broncos. Many expect these two teams to again be fighting it out on Grand Final Day a few months from now, and though there is plenty of water to go under the bridge this could very feasibly be not just a Grand Final rematch, but also a Grand Final preview. We could hardly ask for a better Thursday night matchup, with the two best teams going head to head in a game which will no doubt involve plenty of venom, and there will no doubt be a few sore bodies come Friday morning. The Panthers will no doubt look to be a bit less leaky than they uncharacteristically were last Grand Final day, and in a bruising, low scoring and tight affair, they can record their second win for the season.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Broncos +10.5 $1.90
Panthers 1-12 $2.85 
Under 37.5 total match points $1.90

Predicted Squads

Penrith Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Taylan May 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Lindsay Smith 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Daine Laurie  15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Liam Henry 17. Luke Garner 

Brisbane Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 
4. Selwyn Cobbo 5. Deine Mariner 6. Ezra Mam  7. Jock Madden 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Brendan Piakura 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Martin Taupau

New Zealand Warriors vs Canberra Raiders


The Warriors are the second of the aforementioned winless teams who entered the season with high expectations, and if at the end of Friday night they remain that way the pressure will be well and truly beginning to mount. After finishing in the top four and making a Preliminary Final last season they have lost each of their past two, though in fairness they haven’t exactly played poorly, going down by four points to each of the Sharks and the Storm in the first two weeks. The Raiders’ start to the season couldn’t have been more contrasting; though they made the top eight last year they are not widely expected to repeat that this season, but far from lying down and accepting that fate they have come out and recorded two 16+ point victories and find themselves on top of the ladder two weeks into the season. But they have had a much easier start to the season than the Warriors, and though their win over the Knights was impressive, the Tigers who they beat last week don’t exactly pose the same challenge as the Warriors will this weekend. They certainly deserve credit for their start to the season and as the old adage goes, you can only beat the teams in front of you, but they will likely struggle to continue their winning ways this weekend. If an upset takes place on Friday night then expectations for both of these teams may begin to be reset, but the Warriors should really be able to get their first win of the season on the board in Christchurch. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Warriors to win $1.42
Warriors -7.5 $1.90
Warriors 13+ $2.55

Predicted Squads

New Zealand Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 
3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Mitch Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris 14. Chanel Harris-Tevita  15. Tom Ale 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Dylan Walker 

Canberra Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Matt Timoko 4. Nick Cotric 5. Xavier Savage 6. Ethan Strange 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papalii 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine  11. Hudson Young 12. Zac Hosking 13. Morgan Smithies  14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Ata Mariota 17. Pasami Saulo 

Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs


The Roosters vs the Rabbitohs is the oldest and probably the strongest in the league, and the fact that they have found themselves in similar positions on the ladder and have faced off in a couple of finals in recent years has only strengthened it. Rarely is there a dull edition of this rivalry, and with the Rabbitohs having started the year with two consecutive losses this would be a big game for them regardless of who they were coming up against. They were slow out of the blocks against the Broncos last Thursday night, and though they fought back with two early tries in the second half they quickly conceded three more and were ultimately beaten relatively comfortably. The Roosters, interestingly enough, have had the same fixture as the Bunnies but in reverse, and while they impressively beat the Broncos in Round 1 they, like the Rabbitohs, fell victim to an impressive Sea Eagles side in a disappointing showing last weekend. Very little separates these two teams since the Ron Coote Cup – awarded to the winner of this fixture – came into existence, with the Roosters having won 18 and the Rabbitohs 16. But in recent times, it’s been Sydney who have had the upper hand, winning three of the last four games, all by double figure margins. Based on the Rabbitohs’ indifferent start to the season, there is a good chance that they will be able to continue their winning ways in this matchup in a heated contest – albeit not necessarily by as significant a margin as they have managed in recent times.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Roosters to win $1.60
Roosters -3.5 $1.90
Roosters 7+ $2.25

Predicted Squads

Sydney Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph Suaalii 
4. Joey Manu 5. Dom Young 6. Sandon Smith  7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Angus Crichton  15. Naufahu Whyte 16. Nat Butcher 17. Terrell May 

South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell  2. Alex Johnston  3. Isaiah Tass 4. Richard Kennar 5. Taane Milne 6. Jack Wighton 7. Cody Walker 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Sean Keppie  11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Cameron Murray 13. Shaq Mitchell 14. Siliva Havili 15. Davvy Moale 16. Tallis Duncan 17. Tom Burgess 

  • The Cowboys have won four consecutive games against the Dragons by an average of 19.25 points, each of them by at least 12 points. 
  • The Panthers have lost just five games on their home turf in the past four years, but the Broncos last season lost just a solitary game by more than 12 points.
  • The Knights managed to get up over the Storm last season, but prior to that they had lost 11 consecutive games against them, including the most recent two by a cumulative 98-6. 

Multi of the Week

Cowboys 13+ $2.50
Panthers 1-12 $2.85
Storm to win $1.65
Bet $10 for $117.56 with PlayUp

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Gold Coast Titans


After what looms as an electric start to Round 3, Saturday’s first game doesn’t quite have the same level of appeal, but with both of these teams needing to show some improvement this year and having started, to put it nicely, terribly, there is plenty on the line for the Bulldogs and the Titans in this one. The perennially disappointing Bulldogs have theoretically strengthened their team in the off-season in a way that should prevent them from putting in the disappointing performances which have been all too common in recent years, but the dividends of those moves have been notably absent in the first two weeks of the season. After opening up their year with a 26-8 loss to the Eels they were just as bad last week, managing just one try en route to a 25-6 loss to the Sharks. Bad as those efforts have been, the Titans start was even worse. Coming up against a team widely tipped to finish in the bottom two in the Dragons, the Titans put in a woeful Round 1 performance, going down 28-4, and making matters worse they had an extra week to think about it after being scheduled for a bye in Round 2. Having had two weeks to mull over what went wrong in that opener, they should be desperate to send a message in this game. These are two of the hardest teams in the league to trust which invariably makes tipping this game pretty difficult, and anything from a big win to the Bulldogs to a big win to the Titans to anything in between feels like a distinct possibility. But the Bulldogs’ inability to atone for their Round 1 defeat last week was seriously concerning. A team whose cohesion and motivation has seemed to wax and wane for years, they’ve come out of the blocks really poorly in 2024, and though the Titans’ first game didn’t exactly inspire confidence, they can make some sort of amends with a win on the road in Round 3. With betting sites installing them as slight underdogs, they look like good value to bounce back.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Titans to win $2.00
Titans +1.5 $1.90
Titans 1-12 $3.20

Predicted Squads

Canterbury BulldogsCanterbury Bulldogs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 
4. Stephen Crichton 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton  7. Drew Hutchison 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Josh Curran  11. Villiame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Jaeman Salmon 14. Kurt Mann 15. Sam Hughes 16. Liam Knight  17. Kurtis Morrin 

Gold Coast Suns AFLGold Coast Titans: 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 
4. AJ Brimson 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Klese Haas  12. Beau Fermor 13. Keenan Palasia 14. Chris Randall 15. Isaac Liu 16. Erin Clark 17. Jaimin Jolliffe 

St. George Illawarra Dragons vs North Queensland Cowboys


In a season they entered with relatively low expectations, the Dragons started off 2024 in impressive fashion, demolishing the Titans to the tune of 24 points to get their season started with a win. But they could hardly have done a worse job in backing up that performance. They were woeful in their second game of the season, failing to give a whimper against the Dolphins in the last game of Round 2. Things started badly with two opposition tries in the first ten minutes, and it only got worse as the Dolphins piled on five more in the second half to run out 38-0 winners. The disparity between their opening two games could hardly have been more significant, and if they put in a display like they did last week against the Cowboys they could be in for even more pain. The Cowboys have a lot to prove this year after an erratic 2023 follow up to their Preliminary Final the previous year, but they started impressively with a 25-point win over the Dolphins and franked that with a thrilling one-point victory over the Knights last weekend. They could just as easily finish top four as they could miss the finals entirely, but two wins to start the year is a great platform and with the Dragons up next, they shouldn’t have too many problems making it three from three. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Cowboys to win $1.42
Cowboys -7.5 $1.90
Cowboys 13+ $2.40

Predicted Squads

St. George Illawarra DragonsSt. George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Zac Lomax 3. Moses Suli 4. Jack Bird 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Kyle Flanagan 7. Ben Hunt  
8. Hame Sele 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Tom Eisenhuth  12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Connor Muhleisen 15. Michael Molo 16. Raymod Faitala-Mariner 17. Luciano Leilua 

North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes  4. Zac Laybutt 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 
7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson  10. Jason Taumalolo 11. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Rueben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Thomas Mikaele 

Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks


Rounding out a relatively uninspiring Saturday of NRL is a contest between the Tigers and the Sharks which the visitors should be expecting to win relatively easily. They’ve started the year in impressive fashion as they attempt to re-establish themselves as a team capable of finishing in the upper echelon of the ladder, beating last year’s Preliminary Finalists in the Warriors in New Zealand before easily disposing of the disappointing Bulldogs in a powerful display last weekend. The Tigers, meanwhile, have started just as expected, with Benji Marshall receiving a rude welcome to life as an NRL coach. In fairness they weren’t completely woeful in their season opener after a Round 1 bye, but they were on the receiving end of a pretty hefty defeat at the hands of a Raiders side not expected to do too much damage this year, and the Sharks will pose an even sterner test for the reigning Wooden Spooners this weekend. The Tigers will not likely be winning all that many games in season 2024, and this certainly doesn’t shape up as one that they will be running out victorious at the end of. The Sharks have looked really solid to start the season, and should be able to notch up a second consecutive double digit win at Leicchardt Oval.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Sharks to win $1.28
Sharks 7+ $1.60
Sharks -11.5 $1.90

Predicted Squads

Wests Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. Charlie Staines 3. Justin Olam 4. Solomona Faataape 5. Junior Tupou 6. Lachlan Galvin  7. Aidan Sezer 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Api Koroisau  10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i  12. John Bateman 13. Fonua Pole 14. Bud Sullivan 15. Alex Seyfarth  16. Alex Twal 17. Samuela Fainu 

Cronulla SharksCronulla Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 
4. Sifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall  7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Oregon Kaufusi 11. Jack Williams 12. Teig Wilton 13. Cam McInnes 14. Dale Finucane 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Royce Hunt 17. Thomas Hazelton 

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Parramatta Eels vs Manly Sea Eagles


The Eels and the Sea Eagles both entered the 2024 season trying to establish themselves as legitimate finals contenders after missing out on the eight last year, and neither will be too disappointed to the way they’ve started the season. Certainly the Sea Eagles have reason to feel pretty good about their first two games; with the Rabbitohs and then the Roosters their first two opponents it would have been no surprise to see them sitting at 0-2 a fortnight in, but instead they knocked off the Bunnies in Vegas by 12 points and then backed that up with a professional seven-point defeat of the Roosters last Sunday. The Eels, meanwhile, started off the season with a powerful 26-8 win over the Bulldogs, though backing that up in Penrith was never going to be an easy task. They actually did a reasonable job of it and at half-time were leading 18-16 – an impressive offensive feat considering that even knocking out a double figure score in Penrith can be an arduous task – but unfortunately for them, they didn’t score again and a two-minute period which saw back-to-back tries for the home team saw the visitors go down 26-18. Back on their home turf this week they will be keen to bounce back, but the version of the Sea Eagles that we have seen so far this season has looked like one very capable of playing finals if they can stay healthy. This should be a really tight game between two teams likely to be fighting for similar spots in the bottom half of the top eight later in the year, but on the road the Sea Eagles can sneak over the line to record a third victory in as many games to start the season. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Sea Eagles to win $1.95
Sea Eagles +1.5 $1.85
Sea Eagles 1-12 $3.05

Predicted Squads

Parramatta Eels Parramatta Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Haze Dunster 3. Will Penisini 4. Morgan Harper 5. Sean Russell 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Brendan Hands 
15. Ryan Matterson 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Wiremu Greig 

Manly Sea Eagles : 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Raymond Tuiamalo Vaega 3. Tolu Koula 4. Reuben Garrick 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ben Trbojevic 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Karl Lawton 15. Josh Schuster 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Nathan Brown

Newcastle Knights vs Melbourne Storm


The season hasn’t exactly started the way that the Knights would have hoped. After their barnstorming finish to 2023 which saw them finish fifth and make a semi-final after finding themselves in 14th just a couple of months out from the finals, they had reason to be pretty optimistic coming into this season, but a 28-12 defeat at the hands of the Raiders in Round 1 was a rude awakening. They were a lot better last week, jumping out to a 12-0 lead at half time against the Cowboys in Townsville, but they gave up two early tries to all but concede that advantage in the second half before a 76th minute try to Jeremiah Nanai tied the scores, and Chad Townsend resigned them to a second consecutive defeat to start the season with a near immediate field goal in extra time. They do at least get to return home, where they went 9-3 last season, this weekend, but things don’t exactly get any easier up against the Storm. Melbourne have had two vastly different games to start the year but the results have been the same; in the first, they kept the Panthers scoreless in an impressive defensive display, running out 8-0, while last week they conceded 26 points to the Warriors. That game looked almost certain to end in defeat, but an incredible last three minutes which saw them manage two converted tries got them over the line. Though they weren’t at their best throughout that game, they proved that they still have the ability to perform when it matters most that has defined them for over a decade, and their Round 1 performance against the Panthers was an imposing one. They haven’t yet had to leave the comforts of AAMI Park but they have nonetheless been handed a difficult draw to start the season up against top four teams from last season in consecutive weeks, and they have passed the test with flying colours. With Ryan Papenhuyzen back and having seemingly not missed a beat – he scored two tries in last weekend’s win – they look every bit a Premiership threat, and can continue their winning ways in a tight game against the Knights to conclude Round 3.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Storm to win $1.65
Storm 1-12 $2.90
Storm/Storm half-time/full-time double $2.30

Predicted Squads

Newcastle Knights Newcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Tom Jenkins 3. Dane Gagai 
4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble  7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Kai Pearce-Paul 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jack Cogger 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Dylan Lucas 17. Jed Cartwright

Melbourne Storm Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Will Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Nick Meaney 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jonah Pezet 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Josh King 11. Joe Chan 12. Eli Katoa 13. Trent Loiero 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Christian Welch 16. Chris Lewis 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 

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