Wed, Sep 21, 2:25pm by Christopher Duffy
The NRL Finals have reached the penultimate stage, as four sides face off in the Preliminary Finals for a place in the Grand Final. It is the four top sides from this year’s regular season who have made it through the gauntlet of the playoff system to get to this stage. The Storm, Raiders, Sharks and Cowboys are only one step away from the chance to battle it out for the ultimate prize in rugby league.
Sharks v Cowboys, Allianz Stadium, Friday September 23, 7:55pm AEST
Match one sees third against fourth as the Cronulla Sharks host the North Queensland Cowboys. Despite the home ground advantage for the Sharks, William Hill hold them at second best for this match priced at $2.16. After grinding out a victory over the Raiders in week one of the Finals, Cronulla have had the bonus of a week off to prepare for this match. While the Cowboys battled away in Townsville with the Broncos, the Sharks head into this fixture well rested. They will be looking to take advantage of that rest and will aim to keep the tempo of the game high to run the Cowboys off their feet.
WATCH: We pick out the Best Bets for the NRL Preliminary Finals
North Queensland will undoubtedly be suffering physically and mentally from last week’s victory over Brisbane. The toil it must have taken on their minds and bodies over 80 minutes plus extra time alongside it being a brutal encounter means they will have to recover incredibly quickly for this match. Despite that William Hill have them priced as favourites to advance to the Grand Final and challenge for back to back NRL Premierships priced at $1.78. If they can overcome the fatigue and are still in this match in the last 20 minutes be ready for some Cowboys magic to seal victory.
Bet of the Match: Cowboys to Win by 1-12 points at $2.90
Storm v Raiders, AAMI Park, Saturday September 24, 7:40pm AEST
The Melbourne Storm has been ruthlessly efficient all season and will look to be the same in this fixture. William Hill holds them as heavy favourites priced at $1.44. At home, in particular, their form has been exceptional and they will be confident that they can dispatch of the Raiders. With the benefit of a rest week before this game, the Storm will look to come out of the blocks fast and blow the Raiders away.
Canberra claimed victory the last time these two teams met, 22-8, albeit they were the home team. This statistic has been of no consequence with regards to their price as William Hill holds them at $3.01. Having been one of only a few sides to beat the Storm this year they will head to Melbourne in high spirits. Confident that they have necessary tactics to overcome a side who many have tipped from the start of the season to be in the Grand Final.
Bet of the Match: Storm to Win by 1-12 points at $2.75
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