The following are previews with betting tips for Finals Week Three of the 2017 NRL season.
Storm v Broncos
Fri Sep 22, 7:55pm, AAMI Park
Two of the NRL’s glamour clubs will meet this Friday night to decide who will become one of 2017’s grand finalists. With the ‘big-dance’ only one game away, the stakes are high but both teams will head into the match in extremely different circumstances. The Broncos have limped into the final four contenders without captain Darius Boyd after a woeful loss to the Roosters in week one. Conversely, their opposition in Melbourne secured a week’s rest after a nail-biting win over the Eels in their last game.
The Broncos will welcome both Darius Boyd and Tevita Pangai Jr back from hamstring injuries with Kodi Nikorima shifting to the halves and Benji Marshall returning to the bench. The Storm have elected to name an unchanged side for the game.
The Storm boast an impressive record against the Broncos, winning 19 of their last 23 meetings with their Brisbane rivals. The Queenslanders will be playing on Melbourne’s home turf, but will hope their returning skipper gives them a boost. Wayne Bennett will deploy an expansive game-plan in a bid to out-enthuse the Storm, but their shaky execution in recent weeks will stand in their way. If Brisbane can produce their best defensive effort – particularly on the edges of the field – they stand a chance but expect the Storm to strangle Brisbane’s premiership hopes in another composed display.
Betting Tip: Broncos +10.0 @ $1.96 (Pinnacle)
Roosters v Cowboys
Sat Sep 23, 7:40pm, Allianz Stadium
The Cowboys produced yet another wonderful upset against the Eels last week as the 2015 premiers – still without regular co-captains Matt Scott and Jonathan Thurston – find themselves only one game away from the grand-final. A determined Roosters outfit will stand in their way and after producing a sloppy win over the Broncos in week one of the finals, the ‘Chooks’ should be wary of another upset as they look to repeat the heroics of their 2013 premiership campaign.
Matt Scott has been named in the reserves for the Cowboys in a curious move from coach Paul Green. After suffering what seemed like a season-ending knee injury only six months ago, Scott’s presence on the team list could be mind-games in an otherwise unchanged line-up. The Roosters will welcome back Daniel Tupou on the wing with Zane Tetevano also joining the bench.
The Roosters will go into the match as heavy favourites but the Sydney club will face a difficult contest against a battle-hardened Cowboys side bursting with finals experience. Expect a loose game with the Queenslanders sure to chance their arm against their heavily favoured opposition, but the Roosters class should see them get the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -8.0 @ $1.95 (Ladbrokes)
Roosters -8.0 @ $1.95 (Ladbrokes)