Mon, Aug 27, 12:50pm by Staff Writer
The Melbourne Storm are now a game clear on top of the NRL ladder after a hard fought 10-8 win against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night.
The Storm are $4.25 to win back-to-back Premierships, but continue to perform below their best, with injuries playing a big part.
Melbourne trailed 8-0 at half-time and looked ragged for the majority of the first 40 minutes. They put in a clinical second half and should have won the game by more as they dominated the ruck and controlled field position.
The Sydney Roosters have lost two on the trot but the Tricolours remain Premiership favourites at $3.50 at Sportsbet.
The Roosters’ 22-8 loss to Brisbane on Saturday night was marred by a dangerous tackle from front rower Dylan Napa that left Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough knocked out and unable to continue in the match.
Napa was handed a three match suspension on Sunday, with his loss sure to be felt by the Roosters already depleted front row stocks, with Jared Waraea Hargreaves already sidelined.
The Broncos threw themselves back into the Premiership mix with the win and have now defeated two top four team in as many weeks. They are $11 to win the Premiership.
South Sydney will be desperate to regain form after their third loss in a row as they fell 24-12. Souths’ top four hopes are in their own hands ahead of Thursday’s match against the Wests Tigers.
Souths are a game and more than 50 points clear inside the top four, but will be hoping for a final round win to regain their form, which has gone missing after a terrific season.
Canberra’s consecutive wins against top four teams has come too late for the Green Machine, who have always shown glimpses in games against quality sides this season, but failed to close it out late. That hasn’t been the case during the past two weeks and it gives them plenty to build on for next season.
The New Zealand Warriors sealed their 2018 finals berth with a dominant 36-16 win against Penrith on Friday night.
The Warriors are $15 to win the Premiership and this week play for a home final when they host Canberra on Friday night.
It was another poor performance from Penrith, who have lost two in a row, but could easily have lost their three matches prior to that, in what has been a lean month for the Panthers.
They are now the equal-biggest outsiders in the Premiership market at $34.
Cronulla is firming as one of the team’s to beat and have hit form in the right part of the season. The Sharks are $6.50 to win the Premiership after dispatching Newcastle 38-12.
They are in the box seat for a top four spot after the Dragons’ loss to the Bulldogs and are every chance to beat the Melbourne Storm in the first final, should the those sides be drawn against each other.
Newcastle held on valiantly for 60 minutes before conceding three tries in the final 20 minutes to lose by 26 points.
The Knights will be hunting their 10th win of the season this weekend against the Dragons in Newcastle.
It is a must-win for St George Illawarra if they want to enter the finals series with any momentum. The Dragons had their top four hopes in their own hands before Sunday’s abysmal 38-0 loss to the Dogs at Kogarah.
It was a terrific effort from Canterbury, as they completed at 100 per cent during the first half and led 18-0 at the break.
There was no relief for the Dragons after the break, as they looked a tired side with one round of the home and away season remaining. They are $34 to win the Premiership after leading the competition earlier this season.
The North Queensland Cowboys produced a 44-6 win against Parramatta in Johnathan Thurston’s final home game at 1300SMILES Stadium.
It was a clinic from the home side, who led 32-0 at the break to electrify the capacity crowd.
The Wests Tigers scraped home against Manly on Thursday night, but unfortunately for them it won’t be enough to push them into the finals with one round to go.
It was Manly who had all the early chances, but only led 8-6 at the break. A flurry of three tries in five minutes seemed to put the game beyond Manly’s reach early in the second half. However, they rallied back, with a Daly Cherry-Evans long-range field goal missing at full-time to give the Tigers a 22-20 win.
NRL Premiership Odds – Sportsbet
Sydney Roosters $3.50
Melbourne Storm $4.25
South Sydney Rabbitohs $5
Cronulla Sharks $6.50
Brisbane Broncos $11
New Zealand Warriors $15
Penrith Panthers $34
St George Illawarra Dragons $34
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