NRL Finals Week Three Previews and Betting Tips
Sharks v Cowboys
Fri 23 Sep, 7:55PM, Allianz Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will take on the Cronulla Sharks this Friday night in week three of the finals after another legendary clash between the Cowboys and the Broncos last week ended Brisbane’s finals aspirations with a try in extra-time. Their opposition in the Sharks stunned everyone in week one of the finals with an upset over the Raiders, and Sharks fans be thankful for the rest last week against an undoubtedly fatigued Cowboys outfit.
For the Sharks, captain Paul Gallen will return at lock, with Sam Tagataese joining an extended bench. The Cowboys will similarly make one change with Kalyn Ponga making way for veteran Kane Linnett in the centres.
While the Cowboys will head into this match as favourites, the North Queensland squad will be heavily fatigued after a brutal extra-time contest with the Broncos last week. The Sharks play an extremely physical brand of football and with a week to recuperate and train for the contest, expect the reigning premiers to fall one short of the grand final.
Betting Tip: Sharks +2.0 @ $2.00 (Ladbrokes)
Storm v Raiders
Sat 24 Sep, 7:40PM, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm will play the Canberra Raiders this Saturday night after the Raiders disposed of the Panthers in style last week. The Storm will have benefitted from their week off having won a tough game against the Cowboys in week one of the finals. After key spine players Josh Hodgson and Blake Austin proved their fitness at the last minute for the game against the Panthers, both teams should go into the match in-form and confident they can win.
The Raiders will go into the match unchanged, while the loss of Nelson Asofa-Solomona for the Storm will mean Christian Welch comes onto an extended bench, joined by Felise Kaufusi and Matt White.
It will be an interesting contest between the Raiders’ extremely dominant forward pack and the Storm’s suffocating defence through the middle of the field. Both teams will attempt to play a different style of football that suits them, but expect the massive amount of finals experience in the Storm’s 17 to give them an edge over the more inexperienced Canberra outfit. Storm to get the points.
Betting Tip: Raiders +7.5 @ $2.00 (Ladbrokes)
Sharks +2.0 @ $2.00 (Ladbrokes)