NRL – SEMI FINALS WEEK 2 PLAYS
Welcome to Week 2 of the NRL Semi Final series where we have two very intriguing games to be played for week 2 of the 2016 semi final series.
Finals Week 2: Friday, September 16th, 7.55pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v BRISBANE BRONCOS
BETTING: COWBOYS $1.47 – BRONCOS $2.75
It’s on again.
Perhaps the greatest rivalry in modern rugby league will again take place on Friday night as the North Queensland Cowboys host the Brisbane Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium.
The semi-final between last year’s grand finalists is set to bring out the best in both sides as they battle for a preliminary final berth against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
The last three meetings between these two teams have each been decided by a single point, with the Cowboys winning last year’s premiership decider in an exhilarating golden point battle that was widely described as the greatest grand final of all time.
Brisbane hit back with an Anthony Milford field goal in extra-time in Round 4 this year but just two months later in Round 11 Johnathan Thurston again won it for his side with a field goal five minutes from full-time.
The only other meeting between these sides within the last 12 months came in last year’s qualifying final, with the Broncos prevailing 16-12 in front of a huge Suncorp Stadium crowd.
If Brisbane were to win on Friday night it would be the ultimate grand final revenge for last year’s heartbreaking defeat, but it’s set to be their most difficult assignment of the season as they visit a North Queensland side that has only lost one game at home all year.
For the Cowboys, centre Kane Linnett is out with a hamstring injury. The inexperienced Javid Bowen will replace him in the only change for North Queensland.
Brisbane will welcome back Tom Opacic from a shoulder injury and Jonus Pearson will shift back to 18th man. There is a chance Pearson may play as centre James Roberts heads to the judiciary to fight his contrary conduct charge on Wednesday night.
Played 45; Cowboys 13, Broncos 30, Drawn 2. It took 17 games stretching the course of a decade for North Queensland to finally register a win over ‘big brother’, but just like any little bro, they’ve come of age to give as good as they get. The Cowboys hold a sparkling 4-1 record over Brisbane in finals matches, but if you’re one for patterns then the Broncos are looking good considering no side has strung consecutive wins together in the last seven meetings – and it’s the visitors’ turn to win here.
Round 4: Suncorp Stadium – Brisbane Broncos 21 def. North Queensland Cowboys 20
Round 11: 1300SMILES Stadium – North Queensland Cowboys 19 def. Brisbane Broncos 18
OUR TIP: COWBOYS by 4pts
Finals Week 2: Saturday, September 17th, 7.45pm, GIO Stadium
CANBERRA RAIDERS v PENRITH PANTHERS
BETTING: RAIDERS $1.85 – PANTHERS $2.00
It’s the question on every Raiders fan’s lips: Will Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson play in Canberra’s elimination semi-final clash against the Panthers on Saturday afternoon?
Austin hasn’t been sighted since Round 24 after he broke his hand in a training mishap. The five-eighth has been named in place of Sam Williams this week and is at the very least rated a better chance of playing than influential hooker Josh Hodgson.
Hodgson was carried off midway through the Raiders’ last-start 16-14 loss to the Sharks with ankle ligament damage and bone bruising – and while he’s been named by coach Ricky Stuart he’s rated very unlikely to play.
The Panthers have had no such injury troubles and have named the same team for the third straight week following their bruising 28-12 win over the Bulldogs last Sunday.
Played 69; Raiders 34, Panthers 34, Drawn 1. The Raiders and Panthers have shared the chocolates in their two clashes this year. The two clubs started their respective 2016 campaigns against one another with the Shaun Fensom-inspired Raiders emerged 30-22 victors in Round 1. They last played in Round 9 in Bathurst when a Peter Wallace field goal separated the two teams.
Round 1: GIO Stadium – Canberra Raiders 30 def. Penrith Panthers 22
Round 9: Carrington Park (Bathurst) – Penrith Panthers 19 def. Canberra Raiders 18
OUR TIP: PENRITH PANTHERS by 10pts
*** HEAD 2 HEAD SELECTIONS ***
H2H MULTI: $2.94
Here are our best plays for Week 2 for the 2016 NRL Semi Final Series.
Friday: North Queensland Cowboys v Brisbane Broncos
(1300SMILES Stadium: 7.55pm)
OUR SELECTION: NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (Pick Your Own Line: -3.5pts) ($1.59)
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers
(GIO Stadium – 7.45pm)
SELECTION: PENRITH PANTHERS (Pick Your Own Line: -5.5pts) ($2.67)
TWO LEG MULTI PAYING: $4.24
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