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NRL Sunday Specials: Penrith and Manly to march on towards finals

Fri, Aug 18, 1:02pm by Staff Writer

Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers, GIO Stadium, Sunday August 20, 2pm AEST

Things are starting to get serious with regards to the top eight in the NRL. When Canberra take on Penrith this Sunday, both sides need the two points for the win.

If the Raiders lose then they will be mathematically out of contention. Whilst depending on other results, all the Panthers hard work in recent weeks could be undone if they lose as they may slip out of the top eight. That, however, would rely on wins for the Sea Eagles, Cowboys and Dragons.

Back to the match in hand though and this has the prospect to be one of the clashes of the Round. Both sides are in fine form with Raiders having won their last three matches and the Panthers boasting the best current form in the league with six straight wins.

It is upfront in the pack where Penrith’s season has begun to gain some real momentum. If they can continue against the Raiders then could well overcome their price of $2.44 with William Hill.

The Raiders are favourites for this one as they stand at $1.56 with William Hill for the win. Their hopes for making the Finals will be boosted by the fact that this match is in Canberra. Not many sides travel to play in the nation’s capital and get away with a win. The Raiders home form could be the deciding factor.

Bet of the Match: Penrith to Win by 1-12 points at $3.75

Canterbury Bulldogs v Manly Sea Eagles, ANZ Stadium, Sunday August 20, 4pm AEST

Manly head into this weekend’s clash against Canterbury on the back of a gut wrenching last minute loss to the Tigers. The Sea Eagles dominated for much of the game but allowed Wests to fight their way back into the game in the second half. Something they cannot afford to do against the Bulldogs if they are to stay in the top eight.

With a real battle going on all around them on the ladder, Manly simply need to keep winning to keep their place. They need as the old cliché goes ‘to play for the full 80’ this week as they stand as favourites with William Hill at $1.28.

The performance of talisman Daly Cherry-Evans will have a huge impact on the outcome of this game. When he’s on form there appears to be no stopping Manly going forward. The Bulldogs will most likely already have their eyes on their end of year holiday after four consecutive defeats and having been out of Finals contention for a long time.

Yet, pride is still on the line for Canterbury as their players look to stake a claim for improvements in 2018. They can also have a say in the make-up of the top eight as they take on the Sea Eagles this week and then the Dragons in the final Round.

Denying one of those sides a Finals position will be little consolation but it will be some. They are priced at $3.70 with William Hill.

Bet of the Match:Manly by 1-12 points at $3

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