The following are previews with betting tips for Finals Week 3 of the 2020 NRL season.
Storm v Raiders
Friday, Oct 16, 7:50pm AEDT
After the Roosters handed Canberra a grand-final defeat last year, it was fitting that the two powerhouse clubs should meet again in the 2020 finals series. The Raiders’ narrow victory over the reigning premiers ended their rival’s campaign to win an unprecedented three consecutive titles but Ricky Stuart’s troops have little time to dwell on their victory as they face yet another massive test in the Melbourne Storm. The Victorians were dominant against Parramatta in their last match and outside of Penrith, the Storm has been the standout team in the 2020 season.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has the luxury of naming an unchanged squad, while the Storm may be boosted by the return of Dale Finucane as the veteran lock works his way back from a calf injury. Despite suffering a knee injury in their last match, dynamic five-eighth Cameron Munster has been named and is expected to play.
While the Storm will have benefited enormously from a rest last week, Canberra also had the luxury of resting most of their squad in the last round of the regular season. Contests between these two clubs have been consistently close of late with each club notching a victory from their two matches this year. Expect a high quality match with both coaches fielding a settled team, but the Raiders will need to overcome a difficult same-day travel schedule, while the Storm will be more comfortable in their pre-game routines having played out of Suncorp Stadium already this season. Either club could win but expect the consistency and strike within this Melbourne outfit to set them on the path to another grand-final.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 43.5 @ $2.00 (PlayUp)
Panthers v Rabbitohs
Saturday, Oct 17, 7:50pm AEDT
Despite placing sixth on the competition ladder at the end of the regular season, the Rabbitohs stamped themselves as a premiership dark-horse with their round-20 mauling of the Roosters. Wayne Bennett’s squad have adjusted wonderfully to the rule changes and having scored a combined total of 144 points in their last three games, Souths may well boast the firepower to knock the Panthers from their perch. Penrith looked in superb touch in their field-goal victory over the Roosters in week one of the finals series and will enter this match very fresh given Ivan Cleary’s policy around resting his squad.
Souths have named an unchanged squad heading into this clash in good signs for Wayne Bennett. For the Panthers, Viliame Kikau will be the only notable absence due to suspension with Kurt Capewell set to shift to the second-row and Spencer Leniu joining the bench.
Penrith will enter this contest as front-runners with the minor-premiers making a habit of dominating their opposition from the outset in 2020. Souths will be well-placed to respond after overcoming poor starts to win a number of games, but much of this contest will come down to fatigue and the ruck. Wayne Bennett will be pressing his squad to cut down on their errors as they will directly impact both these areas of the game. With both these teams boasting the best running dummy-halves in the game in Api Koroisau and Damien Cook there will be a fiery arm-wrestle in the middle. This game could go either way but expect Penrith’s superior defence and consistency across 80 minutes to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Panthers -6.5 @ $1.95 (Pointsbet)
Panthers -6.5 @ $1.95 (Pointsbet)