NRL – SEMI FINALS WEEK 2 PLAYS
Welcome to Week 2 of the NRL Semi Final series where we are down to the final six teams and now we are at the business end of the season.
Here is the betting market for the final six teams.
BRONCOS $3.50, ROOSTERS $3.80, STORM $4.40, COWBOYS $5.50, BULLDOGS $13.00, SHARKS $16.00
SYDNEY ROOSTERS v CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
BETTING: ROOSTERS $1.38 – BULLDOGS $3.15
An unexpected hiccup for the minor premiers and a scratchy win for Des’s Dogs: that is the equation that led us to a tantalising semi final clash at Allianz Stadium this Friday.
Melbourne brought the game plan to edge out the minor premiers this week, and it leaves Trent Robinson with the unappetising prospect of rushing co-captain Mitchell Pearce back from a hamstring injury for a must-win clash against a side that seems to bring their best in the finals.
They’d have much preferred a week off to rest up and get everything right but they’re left with having to do things the hard way. Pearce has been named at halfback and will need to pass a fitness test on his hamstring later in the week. It pushes Jackson Hastings – who was one of his side’s best last week – to the bench, and Suaia Matagi to an extended bench. If Pearce is ruled out expect Hastings to start and Matagi to play.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler is something of a September specialist – sides coached by him have never failed to progress to a grand final appearance after winning in the first week of the finals. It’s happened five times so far (with Manly in 2007-8 and 2011, and with Canterbury in 2012 and 2014) for a 2/5 strike rate on the big day.
Hasler has named an unchanged side; Lloyd Perrett was added to an extended bench, presumably as cover for Frank Pritchard, but with Pritchard successful at arguing his case against a dangerous contact charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night expect an unchanged side on Friday night.
Round 10: Roosters 24 – 10 Bulldogs (ANZ Stadium)
Round 21: Roosters 38 – 28 Bulldogs (Allianz Stadium)
OUR TIP: SYDNEY ROOSTERS by 8
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v CRONULLA SHARKS
BETTING: COWBOYS $1.38 – SHARKS $3.15
Seven is a lucky number for many and will be inextricably linked with finals drama between these two teams after Cronulla snuck away with a 20-18 Elimination Final win in 2013.
The irony as North Queensland and Cronulla prepare to meet for the 38th occasion is that with the changes to the rules this season regarding kicks going dead in-goal, the Sharks could again use seven tackles to prematurely end the Cowboys’ season.
The Cowboys were in the most gripping of Week One finals encounters until the very last play of the game while the Sharks had to first repel a South Sydney onslaught before they were able to cruise to a 16-point win, just their second win in finals football since 2008.
The Sharks have been victorious in both meetings with the Cowboys this season, fighting back from an 18-0 half-time deficit to win 24-18 in Townsville in Round 16 and then scoring five tries to three in a 30-18 victory at Remondis Stadium in Round 22.
Cowboys coach Paul Green has added Rory Kostjasyn to the 17-man squad that went down to the Broncos 16-12 in Week One, while Michael Ennis’ escape from suspension will see the Sharks line up in the same formation for the second week in succession.
The prize for the winner is a Saturday night date with the Storm in Melbourne in a Preliminary Final while the vanquished will be left to rue a good season ultimately unfulfilled.
Round 16: Sharks 24 – 18 Cowboys (1300Smiles Stadium)
Round: 22 Sharks 30 – 18 Cowboys (Remondis)
OUR TIP: CRONULLA SHARKS by 4
*** SEMI FINALS WEEK 2 – HEAD 2 HEAD SELECTIONS ***
H2H MULTI: $4.34
Here are our best plays for Week 2 for the 2015 NRL Semi Final Series.
Friday: Sydney Roosters V Canterbury Bulldogs
(Allianz Stadium: 7.55pm)
OUR SELECTION: (Half/ Full Time Double) ($1.67)
Sunday: North Queensland Cowboys V Cronulla Sharks
(1300Smiles Stadium- 7.45pm)
SELECTION: CRONULLA SHARKS (H2H) ($3.15)
TWO LEG MULTI PAYING: $5.26
Markets Supplied By: SPORTSBET.COM.AU
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