The following are previews with betting tips for the Preliminary Finals of the 2019 NRL season.
Raiders v Rabbitohs
Fri, Sep 27, 7:50pm
Despite a horrendous injury toll, the Rabbitohs will be looking to back up their courageous victory against Manly last week in their sudden-death preliminary final clash with the Raiders. Canberra enjoyed a week off after disposing of Melbourne in week one of the finals series in an impressive victory and Ricky Stuart’s troops should be primed for the performance of their life only one win away from the Grand Final.
Wayne Bennett has named an unchanged 17 for this clash, although centre James Roberts has withdrawal late as he battles a thumb injury. While a replacement has yet to be named, either Corey Allan or Ethan Lowe could join the starting side in a reshuffled back-line. For the Raiders, Joey Leilua will return to the starting side at centre after he was benched last-minute due to a freak eye-injury prior to Canberra’s clash with the Storm in an otherwise unchanged squad.
With the Rabbitohs backing up from three consecutive weeks of tough physical contests, Canberra will enter this match as firm favourites, particularly given the fact they had last week off. Souths coach Wayne Bennett has his depleted roster playing well, but their disjointed back-line has been a persistent issue for the club, which is made worse with the absence of James Roberts this week. Expect Souths to struggle to crack the Raiders’ defensive line and the rested, in-form Raiders to come away with the win and a shot at the 2019 premiership.
Betting Tip: Raiders -7.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Roosters v Storm
Sat, Sep 28, 7:50pm
The Roosters and Melbourne will face off in this week’s massive preliminary final clash in a rematch of the 2018 grand final as both clubs look to back up a fantastic season with a premiership victory. Melbourne responded to their shock loss to the Raiders in week one of the finals series with a superb 32-0 victory over Parramatta last week, while the Roosters enjoyed a week off after their dominant victory over Souths that kicked off the 2019 finals series.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy has named an unchanged squad for this clash, while the Roosters will miss enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves due to suspension. Lindsay Collins will join the bench as cover in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Recent form will see the Roosters enter the match as favourites, but with the last two meetings between these clubs being decided by one and two points respectively, this contest could go either way. Both teams have been in fantastic form of late, and the Storm’s massive win over the Eels would have gone a long way to restoring their confidence after a disappointing performance against the Raiders the week before. Expect a brutal, physical game between these two sides that may ultimately boil down to a contest of attrition. The fact they did not play last week should give the Roosters an edge over their opposition and expect the reigning premiers to come away with the win for consecutive grand-final appearances.
Betting Tip: Storm +4.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)
Storm +4.5 @ $1.91 (Pointsbet)