Mon, Jul 30, 12:02pm by Staff Writer
Five rounds remain in the 2018 NRL regular season, with spots in the top four and top eight still up for grabs.
The Melbourne Storm remain Premiership favourites after a dominant 44-10 win against the Canberra Raiders on Saturday night.
The Storm are priced at $3.40 to win their second flag in as many years, and are locked on 30 points with South Sydney atop the NRL ladder.
Melbourne were at their clinical best, taking a 24-4 lead into half-time. They have now won eight matches in a row and are $1.04 to finish the second inside the top four.
South Sydney host the Storm this Friday night in the match of the round, but needed the full 80 minutes to dispatch of bottom-placed Parramatta on Saturday.
The Eels led 20-6 in the second half before a furious Rabbitohs comeback saw them steal a 26-20 win.
The Bunnies are $6 to win the flag at Sportsbet and their impressive season thus far has them in second spot on the ladder and $1.25 to make the top four.
The Roosters are in ominous form at the right end of the season, crushing the Dragons 36-18 on Sunday afternoon.
With that win, the Chooks overtake the Dragons into third spot on the table and are clear second favourites to win the flag at $3.75.
New South Wales centre Latrell Mitchell was in sparkling form on Saturday, outclassing his adversary Euan Aitken and scoring two tries.
The Roosters have the NRL’s best defence and their attacking game is finally starting to click. The only concern for the tri-colours is a potential medial ligament injury to five-eighth Luke Keary, which would sour their wonderful victory.
After occupying top spot for the first half of the season, the Dragons are well and truly out of sorts at present.
Losers of three of their past four matches, St George have slipped to fourth on the table, one game clear of the three teams below them.
St George appears lethargic after the Origin period, with a number of their players participating and not being rested from club football in the weeks following. They are $9 to win the flag and $1.55 to cling onto a top four spot.
Penrith produced an absolutely stunning comeback on Saturday afternoon to crush the spirits of Manly fans at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
Trailing 24-6 with less than 15 minutes to go, Penrith miraculously scored four straight tries, including three tries in four minutes to win 28-24.
It was an important win for the visitors who keep in touch with the top four. They are $11 to win the Premiership and $3.75 to finish in the top four.
Manly’s loss has them in 14th spot on the table, one game clear of bottom-placed Parramatta.
Brisbane produced a hard-fought 12-10 win against Cronulla to join the Sharks on 26 competition points.
Winners of two straight matches, the Broncos are $13 to win the flag and $4 to make the top four.
The rub-of-the-green finally eluded the Sharks this weekend as a number of close calls went against them in the loss, despite opportunities to score late. They are $13 to win the flag, which would be their second in three seasons.
The most disappointing team from the weekend’s play was the Wests Tigers. With an opportunity to edge closer to a top eight position, the Tigers were poor against the lowly Dogs.
Canterbury were deserving of their 16-4 win, with the loss leaving the Tigers two games outside the eight on 24 points. They are $101 to win the Premiership and $5.50 to play finals.
The Gold Coast Titans managed their fifth win of the season with a five tries to nil second half that blitzed the New Zealand Warriors at CBUS Super Stadium on Sunday.
The Warriors put together one of their trademark Jekyll and Hyde performances after a gallant loss last weekend. They cling to eighth spot and will be thankful for the Tigers loss on Friday night.
New Zealand are $1.10 to play finals and $34 to win the flag, but anything is possible with the Warriors, so that $1.10 is far from a sure thing.
Dally M favourite Kalyn Ponga returned for the Newcastle Knights on Friday night, who lost narrowly 20-18 to the Cowboys in Townsville.
North Queensland trailed 18-6 at half-time, but a controversial pass at the end of the game set up their match-winning try, in a rare bright spot in what has been an otherwise disappointing season for the Cows.
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