Mon, Aug 20, 3:49pm by Staff Writer
The Sydney Roosters remain the team to beat in the NRL Premiership market, priced at $3.25 to win the Grand Final this season at Sportsbet.
Despite their 14-12 loss to the Canberra Raiders in round 23, the Chooks are in second spot on the ladder and looking at a home final in week one.
Canberra jumped out to a 12-0 lead at half-time against a poor Roosters side, who looked flat after their big win against South Sydney nine days ago.
The Roosters hit back in the second half with tries to Boyd Cordner and Victor Radley which tied the scores at 12-all. A Sam Williams penalty goal in the 70th minute was enough to clinch victory for the Raiders, who scored only one try for the afternoon.
The Melbourne Storm moved back into top spot on the ladder, but suffered a heavy injury toll during their 20-4 win against Parramatta on Friday night.
The Storm is $4 to win the Premiership this season. Captain Cameron Smith was interchanged late in the first half with a lower back complaint, while winger Suliasi Vunivalu had a hamstring strain, leaving the Storm with only two fit players in the second half.
Nelson Asofa-Solimona and Brandon Smith both suffered leg injuries, while forward Dale Finucane was also off at one point getting assessed for concussion. It was an admirable win for the Storm, who also played with Cameron Munster in the sin bin in the second half.
South Sydney paid the price for a fortnight of big matches against the Storm and Roosters, falling to the Brisbane Broncos 38-18 on Thursday night.
The Bunnies are $4.50 to win the Premiership, while the Broncos are $21. It was a crucial win for Brisbane, who has nearly assured its finals position, needing only a win or a Wests Tigers loss during the final two rounds to play finals.
Penrith’s run of three recent come-from-behind wins came to an end on Saturday as Newcastle defeated the Panthers 20-12.
It was one of the Knights’ best performances in recent weeks, as they moved Kalyn Ponga into the halves and it paid dividends.
A late fracas involving two players from each team resulted in four sin-bins and the NRL issued $1,000 fines on Sunday.
The loss is a costly one for Penrith, who drop out of the top four on point’s differential and are $21 to win the flag. They are now outsiders to finish in the top four at $3.75, with remaining matches at New Zealand and at Melbourne.
The Dragons are the side that have jumped into the top four and despite being without Gareth Widdop, managed a tough 20-10 victory against the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
It was a disappointing performance by the Tigers, who had a lot of the running in the first half, only to go into half-time behind on the scoreboard.
That loss effectively ends their finals hopes and they are $15 to play finals. They will need the Warriors or Broncos to lose their final two games to stand any chance.
St George is now $2.10 to finish in the top four, but is $21 to win the flag. They face bottom eight opposition in the final two weeks in the Dogs and Knights.
Cronulla showed why they are a team to fear come finals time, with a 28-16 win against North Queensland on Saturday night.
Johnathan Thurston’s final game in Sydney didn’t produce a win for the veteran, as the Sharks came home the stronger of the two sides after the match was close heading into the final 20 minutes.
Cronulla are $8 to win the flag and $2.25 to finish in the top four. They face the same opponents as the Dragons during the final two rounds, but trail by 17 in the point’s differential.
The Warriors spurned a great chance of earning a potential home final after they lost 27-26 to the Dogs on Sunday afternoon.
In a free-flowing game of football, the Warriors once again showed why they are not worth backing as favourites on the road. Their past three road matches as sub-$1.60 favourites they have lost.
A Lachlan Lewis field goal in the 78th minute was the difference, as the young five-eighth has certainly shown he is a player of the future this season.
The Manly Sea Eagles and Gold Coast Titans played out one of the more remarkable matches in the NRL this season.
After trailing 22-6 late in the first half, Gold Coast rattled off 34 straight points to shock the Sea Eagles, eventually winning 42-34.
With plenty of speculation about that Manly coach Trent Barrett won’t be at the club next season, the Sea Eagles were unable to turn the match in their favour after being so dominant in the first half.
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