NRL – SEMI FINALS WEEK 3 PLAYS
Welcome to Week 3 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 four teams left in this year’s race to be the premiers.
ROOSTERS $2.90, COWBOYS $3.75, BRONCOS $4.00, STORM $5.00
BRISBANE BRONCOS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
BETTING: BRONCOS $2.10 – ROOSTERS $1.80
In the most anticipated end to a trilogy since Tina Turner joined Mad Max in the Thunderdome, the Broncos host the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium for the second time this season in a sudden-death encounter many hoped would serve as the culmination to our season.
In Round 6 it was a Ben Hunt golden-point extra-time try that earned Brisbane a confidence-building 22-18 win over the competition favourites that was remembered largely for the confrontation between Sam Thaiday and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Four months later the Roosters had to fight through the losses of both Waerea-Hargreaves and halfback Mitchell Pearce during the game to record a gritty 12-10 win in which both teams completed at better than 80 per cent.
Senior Broncos players say it was that game that showed the younger members of the squad what was required to win big games at this time of the season and which will hold them in good stead on home soil.
With his side having earned a week off Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has named the same 17 that defeated the Cowboys in Week One of the finals while the Roosters welcome back Origin half Mitchell Pearce from a hamstring injury, with Jackson Hastings dropping back to the bench and Matt McIlwrick missing out.
It’s been 15 years since the Broncos and Roosters met in the 2000 Grand Final in front of more than 94,000 fans at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and the build-up in Brisbane all week has resembled a premiership decider come one week early.
Round 6: Broncos 22 – 18 Roosters (Suncorp Stadium)
Round 24: Roosters 12 – 10 Broncos (Allianz Stadium)
OUR TIP: BRISBANE BRONCOS by 4pts
MELBOURNE STORM v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
BETTING: STORM $2.05 – COWBOYS $1.80
With big-game players on both sides of the park the stakes could not be higher in Saturday night’s preliminary final.
The Cowboys are desperate to book a grand final berth, 10 years after they last made an appearance in a title decider, while the Storm are looking to enter the big dance for the sixth time in 10 years.
With 17 wins this year North Queensland are poised to turn their greatest ever home-and-away season into a maiden premiership triumph.
Standing in their way will be a Melbourne side who (pardon the pun) have hit a purple patch right when it matters most, with their last three wins coming against the only other sides left in the premiership race.
The Storm’s winning run included a 14-6 win over the Cowboys just three weeks ago at AAMI Park, a result that put an end to the visitors’ minor premiership aspirations. After turning the finals series on its head in week one with an upset win over the Roosters, Craig Bellamy’s side’s confidence will be sky high.
So too should North Queensland who put the Sharks to the sword last week with a 39-0 dismantling. However they have not strung two wins together since early August and could not ask for a better time to do it than on Saturday night.
Melbourne have their injury concerns, most notably their leading try-scorer Marika Koroibete who is racing the clock after suffering a lacerated Achilles in the qualifying final. Jordan McLean and Tim Glasby are also battling knee complaints but look set to take their place in the side, heavily taped. The Cowboys have named an unchanged 17, with Ray Thompson again added to a five-man bench.
Round 4: Cowboys 18 – 17 Storm (1300Smiles Stadium)
Round: 25 Storm 14 – 6 Cowboys (AAMI Park)
OUR TIP: COWBOYS by 10pts
*** SEMI FINALS WEEK 3 – HEAD 2 HEAD SELECTIONS ***
H2H MULTI: $3.78
Here are our best plays for Week 3 for the 2015 NRL Semi Final Series.
Friday: Brisbane Broncos V Sydney Roosters
(Suncorp Stadium: 8pm)
OUR SELECTION: BRONCOS (H2H) ($2.10)
Saturday: Melbourne Storm V North Queensland Cowboys
(AAMI Stadium- 7.45pm)
SELECTION: COWBOYS (Line: -1.5pts) ($1.91)
TWO LEG MULTI PAYING: $4.01
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