Tue, Apr 3, 8:41am by Staff Writer
St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors continue to be the surprise front runners in the NRL. Both teams sit joint top of the ladder with 4-0 records to their names, with the form especially impressive for the Warriors who finished last season in 13th. Indeed, neither of these sides made Finals last year.
A comprehensive 30-12 win for the Dragons over the Newcastle Knights ensured they kept their unbeaten record for the season as well as shortening their price for a Grand Final win to $6.50. They have edged ahead of preseason favourites, North Queensland Cowboys, to sit alongside the Storm. The new halves combination of Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop appears to get better every week.
The Warriors produced an inspired display as they beat the Roosters in Sydney, even without the injured Shaun Johnson. It was veteran Australian half back Blake Green who dominated the headlines following his performance to guide his side to an incredible victory. They moved to $13 to win the Premiership and stand well placed to finish in the top eight at $1.36 for the first time since 2011.
Despite recording their second loss of the season, Sydney remain favourites to secure the NRL Premiership this season priced at $5.50. With the calibre of players at their disposal this season it is a surprise to see the Roosters lose to anyone and they need to rediscover that winning formula quickly. When Finals time arrives, the Roosters will be expected to be in the mix.
Another side to taste defeat but remain heavily in contention for the Premiership are reigning Premiers, the Melbourne Storm. They went down to Cronulla in a controversial match in the Shire with many pundits complaining about the number of penalties blown by the referees. Regardless of the referee’s performance, the Storm were well off the pace but still stand at $6.50.
Victors on the night, Cronulla, boosted their own chances of another possible Premiership and moved to $13.
A third loss of the season for the North Queensland Cowboys has seen them slip in the race for the Premiership. Having been preseason favourites alongside the Roosters, they have now fallen to $7. The latest loss at home to Penrith was made even worse with injuries to Jordan McLean and Javid Bowen.
Penrith join the Sharks and Warriors on $13 following that victory as they continue to impress with a 3-1 record. James Maloney was instrumental in the win over the Cowboys as he dictated the play throughout. The sides transformation when he is on form is incredible to witness and he could potentially be the signing of the season.
Sportsbet Markets Premiership Top 8 Finish Top 4 Finish
Roosters $5.50 $1.20 $1.90
Storm $6.50 $1.20 $1.90
Dragons $6.50 $1.20 $1.90
Cowboys $7 $1.36 $2.25
Sharks $13 $1.52 $3.25
Warriors $13 $1.36 $2.50
Panthers $13 $1.45 $3
Broncos $17 $1.67 $3.75
Rabbitohs $23 $2.60 $6
Manly $26 $1.85 $4
Bulldogs $29 $4.50 $7.50
Eels $34 $4 $12
Tigers $41 $2.75 $6
Knights $51 $3.25 $7
Raiders $67 $4.50 $13
Titans $101 $5 $17
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