NRL finals footy is back! With the closest top 8 finish seen in years, the 2018 NRL Finals Series is set to electric. With only 2 points separating 1st from 8th, the title of 2018 NRL Premiers looks to be anyone’s to claim.
There are no second chances are available for the Warriors, Panther, Broncos, and Dragons, and we look forward to a great weekend of fast and furious rugby league.
Finals kick-off this Friday night as we see the 2nd place Storm take on the 3rd place Rabbitohs in front of their home fans.
7:50pm Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm came out firing last weekend but switched off in the second half against Penrith. This lapse cost them the game and the title of Minor Premiers.
In their defense, Melbourne were without the services of 7 of their regular NRL players and this week should see the return of Billy Slater and Cameron Munster to give the side a boost.
The Rabbitohs saved one of their best performances of the year until the final round of the regular season, smashing the Tigers 51 – 10.
The Rabbitohs were ruthless in attack and defence and proved too good all across the park.
If the Rabbitohs can get into the same grind and build on the momentum the forward pack provides, they will be a tough side to beat.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs 1 – 12 @ $3.20 (BET NOW)
Rabbitohs by 8
5:40pm Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors @ ANZ Stadium
These teams only met two weeks ago in New Zealand, with the Warriors claiming a 20-point victory.
Last week the Panthers welcomed back key play maker James Maloney, which proved the difference in an ill-disciplined win over the Melbourne Storm.
The Warriors finished the regular Season in 8th position to claim a finals birth. The Warriors surprised everyone early in the season with being competition leaders, however, mid-season injuries saw the Warriors lose their way a little.
Winning 4 out of their last 5 matches, the Warriors are the team gaining all the momentum heading into the finals.
It is always an entertaining game when these two side so battle, but I think the Warriors experience will prevail.
Betting Tip: Total Tries 5 – 6 @ $3.00 (BET NOW)
Warriors by 14
7:50pm Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks @ Allianz Stadium
The Sharks are the outsider leading into this game, although they have won their last four games and finished on the same amount of regular season wins as the Roosters.
The only thing letting the Sharks down in the race for the minor premiership was there defensive record. The Sharks will rely on the experience of their big name players to guide them through the finals series to repeat the glories of 2016.
With a resilient forward pack and back line with the names Cronk, Mitchell and Tedesco, the Roosters are a quality outfit across the field and they finished the regular season with claiming the Minor Premiership.
The Roosters head into this match after thrashing the Eels by 34 points, with Latrell Mitchel bagging a hat-trick and Blake Ferguson scoring a first-half double.
The Rooster look like the team to beat early in this finals series and I think the Shark will have their work cut out for them.
Betting Tip: Half Time Margin Roosters 5 – 8 @ $5.50 (BET NOW)
Roosters by 8
4:10pm Brisbane Broncos v St. George Illawarra Dragons @ Suncorp Stadium
The Dragons enter this game as the well-deserved underdog with their early season form capitulating at the season’s end. In recent times it is unknown which Dragons side will be running out on the field.
This is finals footy and there are no second chances for either side this weekend. The Dragons have a highly experienced side across the park and will be hoping that this experience shines through when it really matters.
This week should see the return of 5/8th Gareth Widdop, which will give the Dragons more attacking direction.
The Broncos on the other hand are a young, inexperienced side full of enthusiasm and belief. Brisbane handed Manly a 48 – 16 point flogging in their final match of the regular season with big winger Corey Oates scoring 4 tries.
The Broncos finished only one spot higher on the ladder by 9 competition points. This game is set to be a tight one, but with the Broncos earning a home final, the Suncorp Stadium crowd could be the difference.
Betting Tip: Broncos 13+ @ $2.20 (BET NOW)
Broncos by 16