The following are previews with betting tips for Finals Week Two of the 2017 NRL season.
Broncos v Panthers
Fri Sep 15, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane will be looking to keep their season alive after a late-season form slump saw them produce a woeful performance against the Roosters in the first week of the finals. Meanwhile, the Panthers will be riding high from their last-start win over Manly, reversing the result of their round 26 meeting only two weeks ago. Both teams go into this match in patchy form and missing key players and the result hinges on which team responds best to adversity.
Both teams have named unchanged sides for the clash with respective captains Darius Boyd and Matt Moylan still absent.
Broncos fans will be frustrated with their squad’s lack of cohesion. While their opposition have been battling injuries and off-field drama all year, the Broncos – who at one time led the competition earlier in the season – were well positioned for another grand-finals appearance, only for their defence to fall apart. The Panthers have found a way to win in recent weeks but have struggled against heavyweight teams. If the Broncos can return to something near their best, they will take the game but expect the contest to be much closer in a scrappy, high-scoring affair.
Betting Tip: Broncos 1-12 @ $2.90 (Luxbet)
Eels v Cowboys
Sat Sep 16, 7:40pm, ANZ Stadium
A depleted North Queensland outfit produced one of the upsets of the year last week against Cronulla but the Cowboys shouldn’t expect the same result to come easily against the Eels. Parramatta were edged by the Storm in a tight contest in the first week of the finals with the resurgent club continuing to outperform expectations.
Both teams have named the same 17 to take the field as last week. Justin O’Neill could also be a late inclusion for the Queenslanders with the former Maroons representative named in the reserves.
The Cowboys showed a lot of heart against the Sharks, but the Cronulla club were far from their best, a luxury the Queenslanders won’t find with Parramatta. The Eels have been on a war-path to the grand final as years of frustration concerning their past under-performance gives them a hard edge and a hunger that usually eclipses that of their opposition. The Cowboys have been impressive in their run to the finals, but the physicality of their opposition will prove the difference. It may not be pretty, but expect the Eels to get the win.
Betting Tip: Cowboys +8.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Broncos 1-12 @ $2.90 (Luxbet)