Wed, Aug 22, 12:54pm by Staff Writer
Round 24 of the 2018 NRL season provides a glimmer of hope for the Wests Tigers in their pursuit of a finals berth. If the Tigers lose on Thursday night to the Manly Sea Eagles, they will be essentially eliminated from finals contention, unless the Brisbane Broncos or New Zealand Warriors also lose.
Wests Tigers versus Manly Sea Eagles
Thursday, 23 August 2018 at 7.50pm AEST at Campbelltown Stadium
The Wests Tigers are in survival mode after last weekend’s 20-10 loss to St George Illawarra. The Tigers spurned a wonderful opportunity to make up ground on the New Zealand Warriors, who lost to Canterbury on Sunday.
It was the Tigers lack of potency in the red zone, which cost them on Saturday night, as they failed to capitalise on a dominant first 20 minutes of play.
The Tigers are $1.55 favourites at Sportsbet to beat a Manly side hoping to avoid the wooden spoon. They are paying $2.45.
It was a game of two halves at Lottoland last weekend; with Manly surrendering a 22-6 lead just before half-time to concede the next 34 points against the Gold Coast Titans.
It was a lifeless performance from the Sea Eagles after half-time, who conceded five tries in a 20 minutes span.
These sides have met only once at Campbelltown Stadium and that game was won by Manly.
Wests have been poor favourites this season, losing to the Titans, Bulldogs and Dragons in recent times. Although they are better to back as underdogs this season, the Tigers should be taking care of business against an even more inconsistent team and keep their feint finals hopes alive.
Best bet- Wests Tigers to cover 4.5-point handicap at $1.90
Sydney Roosters versus Brisbane Broncos
Saturday, 25 August 2018 at 7.35pm at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The Sydney Roosters relinquished top spot on the table after a 14-12 loss to Canberra in round 23.
The Chooks are $1.50 to beat the Broncos at Allianz Stadium, with the visitors paying $2.62 at Sportsbet.
Brisbane produced another dominant display at home, defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 38-18.
The issue for the Broncos this season has been consistency, particularly on the road. They have a chance to assure themselves of a finals position with a win in Sydney on Saturday night.
The Roosters’ round 22 match against South Sydney seems to have taken plenty out of both sides, as they were defeated in round 23.
It was a flat start for the Chooks, who were down 12-0 at half-time. Despite attacking the line late in the match, they were unable to break through a usually porous Canberra defensive line.
These two sides played out one of the game’s of the season in round 11, when the Broncos stormed home to claim a 28-22 victory.
The Roosters have won the past two patches played at Allianz Stadium, including in last year’s finals series. Two points decided both of those fixtures.
It should be another close game on Saturday night, but the Roosters have the slight edge given they are playing at home and have a good record at Allianz Stadium this season.
Best bet- Sydney Roosters Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3.10
St George Illawarra Dragons versus Canterbury Bulldogs
Sunday, 26 August 2018 at 4.10pm AEST at Jubilee Oval
The St George Illawarra Dragons are finally back in the winner’s circle after a 20-10 win against the Wests Tigers last weekend.
The Dragons now find themselves inside the top four and with remaining fixtures against Canterbury and Newcastle, are favoured to finish with a double chance, ahead of the Penrith Panthers.
The home side are $1.58 at Sportsbet to make it two wins in a row when they host the Bulldogs at Jubilee Oval. The Dogs are paying $2.40.
Canterbury have found renewed vigour in recent weeks, playing a more expansive, attacking style of football.
Five-eighth Lachlan Lewis nailed a long field goal to win the game for the Dogs against the New Zealand Warriors last weekend.
His defensive efforts have been exemplary in his brief first grade career and he certainly has the pedigree to play at full back.
The Dragons will again be without Gareth Widdop, who is expected to miss until finals.
The Dogs famously knocked the Dragons out of finals contention last season with a 26-20 win in the final round of the season. St George gained revenge for that loss with a narrow 18-16 win in their annual Queen’s Birthday clash this season.
Canterbury are a better side than they were in round 14, but with plenty to play for and a big crowd on hand at Jubilee Oval, the Dragons should win a close game. Last week’s win will certainly have boosted morale for the big V.
Best bet- St George Illawarra Dragons Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3
The New Zealand Warriors ($1.65) will want to stamp their finals ticket sooner rather than later when they host Penrith ($2.25) on Friday night.
Superstar Johnathan Thurston plays his final game for the North Queensland Cowboys ($1.60) when they host Parramatta ($2.35) on Friday night.
Canberra ($2.35) will look to send their home fans off with a win against South Sydney ($1.60) at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
The injury-hit Melbourne Storm ($1.44) will sweat on the fitness of captain Cameron Smith ahead of their trip to play the Gold Coast Titans ($2.80).
Cronulla ($1.38) are building momentum at the right time of the season and should handle Newcastle ($3.07) in the Shire.
NRL Round 24 Odds – Sportsbet
Wests Tigers $1.55 v Manly $2.45
New Zealand Warriors $1.65 v Penrith $2.25
North Queensland $1.60 v Parramatta $2.35
Canberra $2.35 v South Sydney $1.60
Gold Coast $1.44 v Melbourne $2.80
Sydney $1.50 v Brisbane $2.62
Cronulla $1.38 v Newcastle $3.07
St George $1.58 v Canterbury $2.40
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