Wed, Sep 25, 5:52pm by Rob Sheeley
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The NRL is down to the final four and without a defending premier after the Newcastle Knights claimed the scalp of the Melbourne Storm last Saturday night. In the process, the Knights have established themselves as the fairy tale team of the finals, with them being the only side who finished outside the top four in the regular season.
Betting wise, the Knights are now the rank outsiders of the remaining quartet at $8.00 after their 18-16 win over Melbourne, with Wayne Bennett’s coaching wizardry again rising to prominence. They face the arduous task of beating the Sydney Roosters this week for a place in the grand final.
The Sea Eagles prevailed 24-18 against a depleted Sharks outfit and are $5.50 to win the title. They take on the Rabbitohs in, what promises to be, one of the most anticipated matches in a long time.
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Punters are still very keen on the sides who finished first and second to win the premiership as they return from their week off for this game. The Roosters are the favourites to win next weekends grand final at $2.50, while the Rabbitohs are $2.60.
We will have full previews of both matches right here in the coming days. All previews will include the main betting odds, an in-depth analysis and free suggested bets. Let’s take a brief look at the grand final qualifying matches.
7:45pm, Friday 27th August at ANZ Stadium
ANZ Stadium will be a sea of red and green as the South Sydney army continues to grow. The team is looking for their first grand final berth since 1971. But while the Rabbitohs faithful are convinced that a 2013 premiership win is their destiny, the Manly Sea Eagles will have other ideas. The boys from the northern beaches may have some injury concerns, but they will be ready to greet the Rabbitohs head on with their tough and uncompromising style.
The Rabbitohs earned themselves a week off with a win over the Melbourne Storm in the first week of the finals. This would have been invaluable for players like their superstar fullback Greg Inglis who is carrying a niggling knee injury. The pressure will certainly be on for the Rabbitohs with a large weight of expectation upon them. Whether or not it will prove too much for a team harbouring some young and inexperienced players will be a feature of this match.
The Sea Eagles continued their march towards the 2013 grand final with a methodical 24-18 disposal of the Cronulla Sharks last weekend. Yet with a few injury clouds over key players the question has to be posed; are the Sea Eagles battle hardened or are they battle weary? If they can field their full strength side, I think they can pull off an upset here.
Early Prediction – Sea Eagles by 8.
7:45pm, Saturday 28th September at Allianz Stadium
In recent weeks, the Newcastle Knights have sprung more surprises than a game of pass the parcel at a children’s birthday party, but have they got more for us? They take on the premiership favourites in a fight to the death this Saturday night in, what looks to be, a real David and Goliath type scenario.
The Roosters would have been expecting a match up with Melbourne in this game prior to last weeks boil over. They now face a side who they defeated by some sixteen points in their only encounter this season, and they will be expecting to do the same again. The Roosters actually look to be an attractive price at $1.35 and punters could well latch onto that price early. I’m expecting the Roosters to book their place in the grand final here and, on that basis, they are also worth backing to win the premiership at $2.50. They certainly won’t be that price next week.
The Knights have now beaten both the premiers and runner’s up from 2012 in the past two weeks. The finals expertise of their coach Wayne Bennett is again being heralded, and rightly so. This week looks like a very tough assignment for the Novocastrians but then again, so did the match against the Storm last week. If they can win this one then they can win the premiership, but it really looks like they’re going to need something miraculous to happen to win this.
Early Prediction – Roosters by 14.
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