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NRL Finals – Week 1

Fri, Sep 11, 9:02am by Kevin Pitstock

Well, the top 8 teams have been decided and the business end of the season is upon us. At this stage, there is not one standout team that you can say is a clear favourite to take out the premiership title. Let’s turn our attention to the games this weekend.

Storm v Sea Eagles – ETIHAD Stadium 7:45pm
Team news: The Storm welcome back Jeff Lima from a hand injury and he’ll start from the bench in place of Hep Cahill. Adam Blair is also free to play after beating a drumstick charge at the judiciary. The Sea Eagles welcome back Jamie Lyon from injury and he’ll start at 6 with Kieran Foran likely to drop back to the bench, meaning Heath L’Estrange drops off.

Game news: Grand Final replay to get the weekend’s action going and I am expecting a bruising encounter. Both teams will play physical and don’t be surprised if there are some fireworks from both sets of forwards. It is going to be a close game and a cracker. Storm in tight one.

  • Tip: Storm by 4
  • Odds: Storm – $1.90, Sea Eagles – $1.90
  • Footy TAB: Storm +0.5
  • Best bets: Safety – Storm +12.5 Value Bet: Either team under 6.5 or Storm 1-12

Titans v Broncos – Skilled Stadium 6:30pm
Team news: The Titans have Mat Rogers and Brett Delaney both under injury clouds. The Broncos have no injury concerns, with Clinton likely to start over McGuire.

Game news: Titans were poor last week but I expect a better performance from them this week, being at home as well. The Broncos have been good recently and are now 5 straight and carry the best form into the finals. I think this is going to be another close game with injuries to determine who wins. If Rogers plays, the Titans are a real show. Titans in a very close game.

  • Tip: Titans by 2
  • Odds: Titans – $2.50, Broncos – $1.50
  • Footy TAB: Titans +5.5
  • Best bets: Safety – Titans +12.5 Value Bet: Either team under 6.5 or Titans 1-12

Bulldogs v Knights – ANZ Stadium 8:30pm
Team news: The Bulldogs will be as named, with Daniel Holdsworth keeping the 7 jersey. The Knights have a few injury worries with Isaac De Gois rated only a 50-50 chance. His likely replacement is either George Ndaira or Matt Hilder. Zeb Taia is rated 70-30 to play.

Game news: The Bulldogs were woeful last week, missing tackles and making countless errors. The Knights put an inept Panthers team to the sword last week. I expect the Bulldogs to bounce back this week and win this game. They haven’t lost 2 games in a row all season and I doubt it is going to happen now against a Knights team that has a 25% success rate away from home. Dogs comfortably.

  • Tip: Bulldogs by 12
  • Odds: Bulldogs – $1.50, Knights – $2.50
  • Footy TAB: Titans +5.5
  • Best bets: Safety – Bulldogs Value Bet: Bulldogs 1-12

Dragons v Eels – WIN Jubilee Oval 4:00pm
Team news: The Dragons have Justin Poore in doubt with a calf strain with Ben Hornby also recovering from a stomach bug. The Eels have Krisnan Inu in doubt, although Nathan Hindmarsh and Eric Grothe should be fit to return.

Game news: The Eels’ bubble burst last week with the Dragons handing them a caning. To be fair, they knew they had qualified for the semis and coupled with a few key injuries, were never in the hunt. The Dragons were at their clinical best and once again looked like contenders after a few lean weeks. Dragons again this week, but not by as much as last week.

  • Tip: Dragons by 10
  • Odds: Dragons – $1.45, Eels – $2.65
  • Footy TAB: Eels +6.5
  • Best bets: Safety – Dragons Value Bet: Dragons 1-12

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