Thu, Feb 16, 3:12pm by Staff Writer
The Rugby League action heats up with the staging of the Charity Shield and the World Club Series this weekend.
NRL Charity Shield
With the NRL Charity Shield on this Sunday, it can mean only one thing. Rugby league is just around the corner. South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons will reignite their rivalry once again in the traditional NRL curtain raiser. Both sides will be disappointed with their 2016 finish on the ladder and will want to kick off 2017 with a win.
The Rabbitohs have named a strong squad for the Charity Shield. Sam Burgess will lead a side filled with plenty of quality including Robbie Farah at hooker. With the only major absence from the squad being Greg Inglis. As such they are favourites with William Hill priced at $1.52. Despite finishing one place on the ladder lower than the Dragons in 2016 they will be confident of beating them in the Charity Shield. Especially with the Rabbitohs being the current holders of the Shield.
Many of the big guns have been brought in by the Dragons for the Charity Shield. Gareth Widdop, Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizell, Jason Nightingale and Russell Packer have all been drafted in to try and wrestle the Shield away from the Rabbitohs. With a focus on the opening Rounds of the NRL, the Dragons will be looking to test their combinations while they try to overturn a price of $2.55 with William Hill.
Bet of the Match: Rabbitohs to Win by 1-12 points $2.90
World Club Series
While attentions in Australia will be on the Charity Shield, both Cronulla Sharks and Brisbane Broncos are in the UK for the World Club Series. The NRL sides have dominated the World Club Series in recent years and will be hoping to continue that form.
Cronulla as NRL Premiers will take on Super League’s 2016 Champions Wigan Warriors. The Sharks will still be high on confidence after their maiden Premiership victory in 2016 and will want to cement their credentials by beating the UK’s best. Wigan earned their place after defeating Warrington Wolves in the Grand Final ensuring their second appearance in four years in the World Club Series. Cronulla are favourites will William Hill priced at $1.33 in contrast to Wigan at $3.35.
Bet of the Match: Cronulla to Win by 13+ points at $2.35
By virtue of being the only other NRL side to accept the invitation to the World Club Series, the Brisbane Broncos will face the Warrington Wolves. The Wolves lost in the Grand Final in 2016 while the Broncos only managed to make the semi-finals of their playoffs. With little on this match other than a preseason fixture for the Broncos and inconvenient midseason match for the Wolves, it is hard to see past Brisbane taking the win at $1.17. An expected weakened Wolves squad currently stand at $5.00.
Bet of the Match: Brisbane to Win at $1.17
While these preseason matches don’t carry the same weight as the NRL fixtures, the Charity Shield and World Club Series are a sure sign the greatest Rugby League competition in the world is only weeks away.
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