NRL – SEMI FINALS WEEK 1 PLAYS
Welcome to Week 1 of the NRL Semi Final series where we are down to the final eight teams and now we are at the business end of the season.
Elimination Final : Friday, September 9th, 7.55pm, Suncorp Stadium
BRISBANE BRONCOS v GOLD COAST TITANS
SPORTSBET BETTING: BRISBANE BRONCOS $1.28 – GOLD COAST TITANS $3.85
There are no second chances on offer for the losers this week however with the Titans trying to defy recent history that shows in their past nine games against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium they have headed south empty handed on each occasion.
The rivalry got off to a bright start in 2007 when the newcomers sprung a 28-16 upset, audaciously taking their home game to Brisbane’s backyard and pulling their host’s pants down in front of more than 47,000 fans.
A Darren Lockyer field goal was all that separated them in the rematch in Round 17 before a crowd of 48,621 but as the Titans have struggled in recent years so has the rivalry waned.
In the past 14 meetings Brisbane have won 12 with an average winning margin of 14 points, Gold Coast’s only successes coming in hard-fought four-point wins at home in 2012 and 2014.
It’s a rivalry in need of a reboot and there is no better way to do that than fight out a finals classic in front of a full house on Friday night.
The Broncos have had some injury concerns at training with Andrew MCullough, Josh McGuire, Alex Glenn and Tom Opacic all spending time away from the main group during the build-up but all have been named by coach Wayne Bennett and are expected to play.
There are no such concerns for the Titans who have named the same team that went down 32-16 to the Cowboys last week with Anthony Don, William Zillman and Lachlan Burr named on an extended seven-man bench.
Played 20; Broncos 15, Titans 5. It’s a rivalry in only its 10th season but there have been 12 players to have played for both the Broncos and Titans in that time; Ashley Taylor, Josh Hoffman and James Roberts all with recent ties to their opposition on Friday night. If Hoffman was to score a try this week he would become the first player to have scored a try for the Broncos against the Titans and also a try for the Titans against the Broncos. The Broncos have won the last nine meetings at Suncorp Stadium with Gold Coast’s record at the venue standing at three wins and 13 losses, two of those wins coming against Canterbury.
OUR TIP: BRISBANE BRONCOS by 6pts
Qualifying Final: Saturday, September 10th, 5.35pm, GIO Stadium
CANBERRA RAIDERS v CRONULLA SHARKS
BETTING: RAIDERS $1.56 – SHARKS $2.50
Rugby league can be a cruel game sometimes.
The Sharks headed to Melbourne last week with the chance of winning their first minor premiership since 1999.
That chance slipped away as the Storm prevailed by 20 points. Making matters worse, Cronulla wouldn’t even finish second with the Raiders leapfrogging them less than 24 hours later after flogging the Wests Tigers 52-10.
Canberra welcome back prop Junior Paulo (back) who will start instead of now 18th man Paul Vaughan as Ricky Stuart’s men look to make it a whopping 11-straight victories.
The Sharks have lost Joseph Paulo (knee) for a couple of weeks but coach Shane Flanagan has welcomed back Ricky Leutele. Leutele starts in the centres and Gerard Beale returns to the bench and will be joined by 18th man Kurt Capewell.
Played 66; Raiders 31, Sharks 35. The Raiders and Sharks have traded wins in 2016. They last played in Round 22 when the Raiders prevailed by 16 points at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Since 2010 that these teams have traded two wins for two losses.
OUR TIP: CANBERRA RAIDERS by 10pts
Qualifying Final: Saturday, September 10th, 7.55pm, Suncorp Stadium
MELBOURNE STORM v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
BETTING: STORM $1.74 – COWBOYS $2.15
12 months ago North Queensland knocked the Storm out of the finals and then went on to win the premiership.
This season the two sides meet a little earlier, but arguably just as much is on the line.
A preliminary final berth awaits the winner, while the loser must go the long route in order to have a chance at the Provan-Summons trophy.
Melbourne earnt the right to host this fixture after playing a season of consistently good footy to finish the regular season on top, while the Cowboys held off challengers to claim the final double chance position last weekend.
These two sides have met twice this season with the Storm winning on both occasions, although this will be their first meeting at AAMI Park as the Storm played their home fixture at Suncorp Stadium in Round 10.
Melbourne have named the same 17 that beat the Sharks last weekend, although Nelson Asofa-Solomona is free to return from suspension and may be a late call-up.
The Cowboys have made just the one change, as Matt Scott is named despite being under an injury cloud, and Patrick Kaufusi drops out of the side. Scott Bolton returns to the bench.
Played 32; Storm 22, Cowboys 10. These two sides have played three times in the past 12 months, with Melbourne holding a 2-1 advantage in that time span. The one win to North Queensland however was in the most important game, as the Cowboys smashed Melbourne 32-12 in last season’s preliminary final. The Storm have won both games this season by a combined nine points.
OUR TIP: MELBOURNE STORM by 4pts
Elimination Final 2: Sunday, September 11th, 4.10pm, Allianz Stadium
PENRITH PANTHERS v CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
BETTING: PANTHERS $1.48 – BULLDOGS $2.73
The opening weekend of the finals wraps up with the only all-Sydney clash of the weekend as the in-form Panthers host a Bulldogs side that hasn’t quite clicked of late at Allianz Stadium.
On the wrong side of plenty of extremely narrow losses earlier in the year, Anthony Griffin’s Panthers have now won seven of their past eight games and plenty of those by big margins.
With respect to the likes of Manly, Newcastle and Wests Tigers they didn’t have a lot to beat in some of those games but they gutsed out a win on the Gold Coast against fellow finalists the Titans after their hosts came back to tie things up from 14-0 behind, and a big win up in Brisbane was one of the best Panthers performances of the year.
Griffin has named the same 17 that got the job done against Manly last week, with Moses Leota added to an extended bench.
Canterbury remain hard to get a read on. The late-surging Rabbitohs completely outclassed them last week as a late-season slump of three straight losses has seen them slip to a seventh-place finish. They haven’t beaten a top-eight side since downing Brisbane during the Origin period in Round 16.
Coach Des Hasler is without fullback Will Hopoate for religious reasons while Hopoate’s fellow outside back Sam Perrett is still unavailable with a neck injury. It means Brett Morris moves to fullback with Tyrone Phillips called up on the wing. Big Sam Kasiano is a welcome return from a two-week suspension on the bench. He pushes Dany Fualalo to 18th man.
Played 89; Panthers 35, Bulldogs 51, Drawn 3. The Dogs have seven wins from their past 10 trips to Allianz while Penrith have won just four from 10. The two teams haven’t met at the venue since a 30-14 win to the 2004 premiership-winning Bulldogs to book a spot in that year’s Grand Final.
OUR TIP: PENRITH PANTHERS by 8
*** SEMI FINALS WEEK 1 – HEAD 2 HEAD SELECTIONS ***
BRONCOS, RAIDERS, STORM, PANTHERS
H2H MULTI: $5.14
Here are our best plays for Week 1 for the 2016 NRL Semi Final Series.
Saturday: Canberra Riders v Cronulla Sharks
(GIO Stadium: 5.35pm)
OUR SELECTION: CANBERRA RAIDERS (Line: -5.5pts) ($1.91)
Sunday: Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
(AAMI Park – 7.55pm)
SELECTION: MELBOURNE STORM (Pick Your Own Line: -2.5pts) ($1.96)
TWO LEG MULTI PAYING: $3.74
Markets Supplied By: SPORTSBET.COM.AU
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site and the information contained in any email correspondence from OneSelection2Win is intended as a guide only.
If you use this information – or any other information associated with OneSelection2win – it is at your own risk. OneSelection2Win accepts no liability for any financial losses.