North Queensland Cowboys
HAS there ever been a better NRL grand final?
The Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys have played out one of the great deciders in the competition’s history just hours ago.
In the first ever NRL grand final decided via golden point, the Cowboys prevailed, 17-16 in a thriller, aptly finished off by a field goal from quadruple Dally M Trophy winner Johnathan Thurston, the little master winning the Clive Churchill Medal to seal his status as on of the game’s all time greats.
And, with the scoreline so tight, the team at CrownBet.com.au has the two teams joining the Sydney Roosters as a trio of favourites for next year’s NRL title.
They are all $7 and impossible to split.
Our friends over at Sportsbet.com.au could not split the two grand finalists in the betting for next year.
But they’ve wound the two teams in a lot tighter than the CrownBet team, leaving the Roosters at the same quote.
Spokesman Ben Hawes said the bookie had installed the Broncos and Cowboys as joint $5.50 favourites for the 2016 premiership.
Minor premiers the Roosters are on the second line of betting at $7, despite being bundled out of the finals by the Broncos in the prelim.
Hawes said the other chances in the market were the South Sydney Rabbitohs ($10), Canterbury Bulldogs ($10), New Zealand Warriors ($11), Melbourne Storm ($11), Manly Sea Eagles ($15), Cronulla Sharks ($15) and Penrith Panthers ($15).
He said the Gold Coast Titans were the $51 outsiders.
“The odds tell us we will be having repeat all Queensland team grand finals,’’ Hawes said.
Last night’s match started at a break neck pace, with the first points coming from a Corey Parker field goal, in what many thought was a let off for the Broncos – the commentators felt the Cowboys would have been relieved that they didn’t have to face a set of six.
Parker slotted from 40m out to make it 2-0 and then The Broncos turned it into a 95m sprint for the line to make it 8-0, after Corey Oates finished off a beautiful chain of passes in a classic grand final try.
The Cowboys looked under pressure, but Matt Gillett put the ball down in a tackle and that gave Justin O’Neill the chance to cross, thanks to some slick work out of dummy half from Jake Granville.
The latter was involved again in the next try, helping put James Tamou over from close range after breaking through Sam Thaiday’s tackle.
Thurston finished that try off to give the Cowboys a 12-8 lead.
But Thurston proved he was human, dropping the ball and allowing the English international Jack Reed to barrel his way over the line.
Jordan Kahu’s conversion gave the Broncos a 14-12 half time lead with both teams looking tired and really needing the break.
The game tightened up after half time, turning into a defensive struggle that featured only a Kahu penalty goal that made it 16-12.
The Broncos looked home for all money as the final siren sounded, but Kyle Feldt crossed on the last play of the game to tie up the scores.
Thurston had a chance to win it, but his effort from the sideline missed and the match went to golden point.
Poor old Ben Hunt.
The Broncos man is a good player.
But he will forever be remembered for dropping that ball in the grand final.
He spilled it from the kick off, reminiscent of Herschelle Gibbs ‘dropping the World Cup’ when he spilled Steve Waugh’s chance in the cricket and Fremantle’s Tommy Sheridan spilling that mark in front of Cyril Rioli in last weekend’s AFL preliminary final up against Hawthorn.
All those single plays had dire circumstances for their respective teams.
And so it was that Hunt set the stage for Thurston’s fairy tale.
It gave him the second chance he needed to win it and he made no mistake, coolly slotting a field goal from 15 metres out to give the Cowboys their first ever NRL premiership after they used up their set.
“I’m speechless, I can’t believe it,” Thurston said after the game.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what we’ve just done.
“I love these boys. They’ve worked so hard. I see it every day. The sacrifices they make. I love the club. Wow, I can’t believe it.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green said the win was a long time coming and heaped praise on his Thurston.
“This means so much to everyone up there,” Green said.
“We’ve been trying for 20 years to take a premiership up there and we have finally done it.
“The ice that Thurston showed there was incredible.”
On the Broncos side of things, it was the first time they had ever lost an NRL decider in seven attempts, and it was master coach Wayne Bennett’s first loss in eight tries in a grand final, but it meant a sad end to the career of retiring captain Justin Hodges, who obviously leaves a huge hole to fill.
“The Cowboys have been a quality side — you are led by one of the greats players of all-time,” Hodges said.
“To my boys, I love youse like brothers, keep your heads up and you will be back here with that ring, I promise you.
“To the Broncos fans back home, we are sorry but this group of men will get it done for you.”
The crew at Sportsbet is also running a special on the little master.
The bookie has opened market on whether or not Thurston will win another Dally M award for the NRL’s best player.
The bookie has him at $4 to win a fifth Dally M, with him to never be the number one player again a very short $1.22.
He won the game’s most coveted individual award this year, adding it to the three previous ones in 2005, 2007 and 2014.
But, even at 32, it’s hard to bet against a guy who appears to be at the peak of his powers winning it for a third year in a row.
It’s hard to find words to describe the North Queensland co-captain.
Before he arrived, the Cowboys made one finals series in their first 10 seasons.
He’s played 11 years since then and they’ve made it to the finals seven times, including a grand final loss to the Wests Tigers in that time.
For Queensland, he has never missed a State of Origin match since his debut, winning best on ground five times. He is the only player to appear in every one of Queensland’s eight straight Origin series wins and owns the record for most goals in an Origin match with nine. He is also Origin’s all time leading scorer.
The premiership medallion was the missing piece to his career.
But his legacy is now surely sealed, adding the flag and Clive Churchill Medal to his already bursting NRL resume.
Speaking of Origin, our mates over at WilliamHill.com.au have installed New South Wales as $1.80 favourite to win the 2016 series, despite the fact they were defeated by Queensland this year, two games to one.
Thurston, incidentally, was the top scorer in that series too, with 26 points.
You just can’t keep that guy down.
Here’s hoping he plays forever.
2016 NRL Premiership market
Brisbane Broncos ($5.50)
North Queensland Cowboys ($5.50)
Sydney Roosters ($7)
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($10)
Canterbury Bulldogs ($10)
New Zealand Warriors ($11)
Melbourne Storm ($11)
Manly Sea Eagles ($15)
Penrith Panthers ($15)
Cronulla Sharks ($15)
Parramatta Eels ($21)
St. George Illawarra Dragons ($23)
Canberra Raiders ($23)
Newcastle Knights ($34)
Wests Tigers ($34)
Gold Coast Titans ($51)
THE Sunshine State showdown looms as the tightest NRL grand final in years.
The Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys both opened up at $1.90 with sportsbet.com.au after the weekend’s preliminary finals.
The Cowboys drifted out to $2 on the back of a mountain of early money for the Broncos, but it didn’t take long for the bookie to wind them back.
Now both sides are $1.92 to hold aloft the Provan Summons Trophy.
“This grand final is going to be a huge one for the state of Queensland and there’s no separating either teams in the early betting,’’ sportsbet.com.au’s Will Byrne said.
“The odds suggest the grand final is a 50/50 proposition, but the early money is for the Broncos, who’ve never been beaten in a decider,” the bookie’s Christian Jantzen added.
The Sportsbet boys have a couple of specials on the grand final to give you a little added inspiration.
For punters who place head to head bets on the grand final and their team doesn’t win, they can get their money back, up to $100, provided their selection keeps the margin within eight points.
Given that the two sides haven’t been split, this one could be a tight one.
They’re also offering a unique special on the first try scorer, whereby punters’ picks that don’t cross first, but manage to put down the second or third of the match, will give them money back up to $100.
And if that doesn’t whet your whistle, our mates at WilliamHill.com.au have fired off a pair of specials themselves.
The bookie is also offering top odds on the favourite in the NRL finals on the day of the game when compared to major Australian online bookmakers, Sportsbet, TAB, Crownbet, Ubet (Tatts) and Ladbrokes. That’s also on head to head markets.
In the prelims, The Broncos booked their spot in the grand final with a 31-12 hammering of minor premiers the Sydney Roosters.
The Broncos, fresh from having the week off after going straight through to the prelim, crossed for an early try after just 90 seconds and then turned it into a procession for newly crowned NRL coach of the year Wayne Bennett, opening up a 16-0 lead after just 20 minutes.
That effectively ended the contest.
“The early try was something we didn’t expect but it set them back and gave us momentum straight away – it certainly gave us confidence,” Bennett said.
“We were on – we were fresh and on and that’s what we can produce.
“The Roosters were struggling with the pace of the game early because they didn’t have a week off.
“We had the benefit of the week off and we were sharp – much sharper than they were because they had a tough game last week – that’s the way it works.
“We were looking good because we hadn’t been knocked around from last week and had 14 days sitting at home ready to play.”
He urged his charges to seize the day against the Cowboys.
“The hardest part is getting here and when you do it’s a lot easier,” Bennett said of his side winning it’s way into a grand final.
“It was important to get it done, otherwise you come back next year and there is no guarantees about next year – it’s the greatest myth of all time what we are going to do next year.”
The grand final may have a sad script for one star, with the retiring Justin Hodges charged with a dangerous throw.
There’s no doubt the 33 year old will fight the charge.
The grade one charge attracts 125 base penalty points but two prior offences lift the total to 175, incurring a ban.
“It’s a little bit worrying but I know myself in the tackle, there was nothing in it,” Hodges said.
“Obviously, I have to go down on Tuesday and fight the charge to live out my dream to play in the final again.”
And the man he tackled, Aiden Guerra, with whom he plays on the Queensland State of Origin team, has backed the ageing gun to take his place.
“I think common sense will prevail on that tackle,” Guerra said.
“It was a penalty – nothing more, nothing less.
“He’ll be right.”
The Cowboys vs. Melbourne Storm game produced an almost identical result to the other prelim, the Queenslanders proving too good for their southern opponents, winning 32-12.
Cowboys coach Paul Green heaped praise on his team’s consistency in the match.
“It was a good performance, we were consistent with our effort through the whole game,” Green said.
“We knew they would take us on through the middle and I thought our boys stood up really well.
“They have the best dummy half in the world there and if you make an error he is going to make you pay and I thought we were really good on him in particular.”
North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston said he was looking forward to grand final week.
“This is what you set out to do every October, I am really happy for the boys and the club it is going to be an enjoyable week,” Thurston said.
“We needed to be better than what we were last week and I thought the boys were.”
Thurston is the concern for the Cowboys, benched with 10 minutes to go due to a niggle, but he says he will play.
“It’s just a little bit of a cork to the groin, nothing too serious,” he said.
“It’s good to see two Queensland sides there at the big dance.
“They (Brisbane) were impressive beating the Rooster – we will have to play our best football to beat them.”
Speaking of Thurston, the little master has just nabbed himself his fourth Dally M record for the competition’s best player, an NRL record.
While he wasn’t at the count, preferring to get around his team mates ahead of grand final week, Thurston could have been forgiven for struggling to find things to say after doing it three previous times.
“I can’t explain what it means to be standing here in front of family, friends and team-mates especially,” Thurston said.
“The first people I’d like to thank are the teammates I train with every day.
“This award is as much their’s as it is mine.
“The coaching staff that have put the structures in place for us to execute, our medical staff and all our fans who travel to watch us play.
“We play the game for friendships.
“I get to run around with my best mates week in and week out, when you’re playing at Origin level and for your country as well.
“It’s about having fun out there, it’s a team game.
“The boys I have around me, they do all the hard work for me, I put the cream on top.
“It’s been a heck of a year, I couldn’t be more proud standing up here with my fourth Dally M award.”
Thurston was the raging favourite with sportsbet.com.au and he did punters justice, winning by a record 11 vote margin.
He’s also the punters pick for the Clive Churchill Medal at $3.25, with Jantzen reporting that 40 per cent of all money bet on the market had been for Thurston.
In other NRL news, South Sydney Rabbitoh’s pair Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray have apologised to family and friends after the pair overdosed on prescription drugs and were hospitalised, early last week.
“We couldn’t thank enough the doctors, nurses, ambulance people from St Vincent’s Hospital,” Walker said.
“I would also like to say sorry to our friends and family.
“It is a mistake that we have made and it is a lesson that we have learned and we hope everyone can take a lesson out of this.”
Gray stressed it was important to take prescription medication only as directed.
“We would like to say that we’ve learned from our mistakes and hope that everyone can learn from our lessons, not only rugby league players but just people in general, and just take prescription medication as it is on the prescription box.”
The incident is being probed by both police and NRL Integrity Unit.
NRL grand final markets
Brisbane Broncos ($1.92, out from $1.80) vs. North Queensland Cowboys ($1.92, in from $2 @ Sportsbet)
Brisbane Broncos 1-12 ($3)
Brisbane Broncos 13+ ($5)
Draw ($21 @ Sportsbet)
North Queensland Cowboys 1-12 ($3)
North Queensland Cowboys ($5)
Clive Churchill Medal winner
Johnathan Thurston ($3.25 @ Sportsbet)
Anthony Milford ($7)
Ben Hunt ($7)
Corey Parker ($9)
Michael Morgan ($10)
Jake Granville ($17)
Matt Scott ($17)
Darius Boyd ($17)
Who: Melbourne Storm vs. North Queensland Cowboys
When: Saturday, September 26th, 7:45pm
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
A SPOT in the 2015 NRL grand final is up for grabs as the Melbourne Storm host Johnathan Thurston and the North Queensland Cowboys.
The story couldn’t be more different for two sides that are used to varying successes. The Storm are looking to book their sixth final berth in the last 10 years, whereas the Cowboys last made the final 10 years ago.
From the outset, this season was tipped to be the year the Cowboys got their premiership, but standing in their way is the professional Storm outfit which holds a very good home record at AAMI Park.
The Storm not only hold a good home record (54 wins from 64 games), but they also hold dominance over the Cowboys with a 20-9 record.
There are some injury concerns for the Storm with Marika Koroibete suffering a lacerated Achilles in the qualifying final against the Sydney Roosters. Christian Welch Nichol and Dayne Weston have been named on an extended bench to cover.
This game is one of contrasting styles as the Storm will be looking to slow the ruck down and the Cowboys will be vying to play as quickly as possible. If referees Matt Cecchin and Ben Cummins let Melbourne get away with a slow play-of-the-ball, then the Storm might get the better of the Cowboys in this pivotal game.
Betting the Storm vs. Cowboys
Melbourne Storm – $2.05 (+1.5)
North Queensland Cowboys – $1.80 (-1.5)
The Cowboys opened as shorter favourites at $1.70, but there has been 50 per cent more money invested on the Storm according to Sportsbet.com.au.
Both sides have been backed to win 1-12, which isn’t surprising as it’s a good way to return a profit, but seeing as this is do-or-die, we’re focusing purely on the head-to-head market.
On paper, this game is effectively a coin-toss as you can make positive and negative statements for both teams this Saturday.
The Storm are the older brother; they have been there before and most of the players have big-game experience in the NRL. They took down the Sydney Roosters away from home in their last game and the Roosters have since manhandled the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Storm are vying for their sixth final berth in 10 years and when you have the experience and class of both Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, it makes them awfully tough to beat.
The negatives for the Storm is that their flying winger Marika Koroibete could miss the game due to a nasty laceration of his Achilles, and they don’t really have a top-class replacement.
The Storm’s expectations have also been reached, according to some NRL insiders, and many believe the Cowboys have built into this season with more momentum.
The Cowboys have had an interesting season to say the least. They started very poorly before going on a long winning streak which was only broken due to State of Origin duties. They have also given some teams very big leads, but they flexed their muscles by storming back into contention and eventually winning those games.
There were doubters that the Cowboys would allow teams to get big leads in the finals, but they have been staunch on defense and their offense looks stellar.
It’s obvious to say this game could go either way and there is no real bad bet in this. You should feel confident in backing both the Storm and the Cowboys as they both have every reason to win on Saturday night.
First tryscorer lineups and odds
There is still no report on whether Marika Koroibete will line up for the Storm and that potential exclusion will likely have an effect on the betting markets.
Korobiete is the stand-alone favourite at $9 to score the first try and the Storm need his attacking prowess. Filling in for the injured Billy Slater has been one thing, but covering for a potent try-scoring winger is an added worry coach Craig Bellamy will not want.
“He has really improved a lot in the last 24 hours, we were all a bit doomy and gloomy on Monday to be quite honest,” Bellamy said.
“We haven’t really made a decision there yet, I don’t want to have to make a decision if we don’t need to.
“We will just see how Marika goes today [Thursday] and if it doesn’t look so good we will probably make a decision from there.”
The Cowboys remain unchanged and Kyle Feldt has seemingly come through his injury scare with a full bill of health. Rap Thompson has been added to an extended bench.
1. Cameron Munster – $15
2. Marika Koroibete – $9
3. Will Chambers – $14
4. Kurt Mann – $18
5. Matt Duffie – $10
6. Blake Green – $0
7. Cooper Cronk – $26
8. Jesse Bromwich – $31
9. Cameron Smith – $35
10. Tim Glasby – $51
11. Kevin Proctor – $26
12. Tohu Harris – $34
13. Ryan Hinchcliffe – $41
14. Ken Bromwich – $34
15. Dale Finucane – $61
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona – $41
17. Jordan McLean – $61
18. Christian Welch Nichol – $0
19. Dayne Weston – $0
North Queensland Cowboys:
1. Lachlan Coote – $15
2. Kyle Feldt – $10 at CrownBet.com.au
3. Justin O’Neill – $19
4. Kane Linnett – $18
5. Antonio Winterstein – $9.50
6. Michael Morgan – $0
7. Johnathan Thurston – $23
8. Matthew Scott – $41
9. Jake Granville – $18
10. James Tamou – $56
11. Gavin Cooper – $21
12. Ethan Lowe – $26
13. Jason Taumalolo – $26
14. Rory Kostjasyn – $0
15. John Asiata – $26
16. Scott Bolton – $34
17. Ben Hannant – $61
18. Ray Thompson – $0
Storm vs. Cowboys – who wins?
If you can detect some uncertainty in this article, you’d be on the money. We simply think this game is too close to call as both sides match up evenly.
Put a gun to our head and we will tip the Cowboys at $1.80.
Why? As previously mentioned, they were expected to make the final this year and they haven’t done anything to push us off that idea.
We would be very surprised if either team won by a big margin, but that threat does lie with the Cowboys. They have the potential to blow teams away like the Sharks last week, but the Storm usually keep it close and try score the ugly win.
Enjoy the game and we’ll be back to preview the NRL final next week.
Who: North Queensland Cowboys vs. Cronulla Sharks
When: Saturday, September 19, 7:45pm
Where: 1300Smiles Stadium, North Queensland
If what we saw from the Cowboys last week against the Broncos is anything to go by, we’re in store for some great rugby league this Saturday.
In a losing effort, the North Queensland Cowboys looked simply superb and playing at home will make a huge difference.
The Sharks scored an impressive and surprisingly easy win against the lacklustre Rabbitohs, so they should not be underestimated, but the betting suggests the Cowboys will be heading to the preliminary final next week.
Cowboys vs. Sharks odds
When they markets opened, some bookmakers were offering as much as $1.40 for the Cowboys, but those markets have now firmed up and the Cowboys currently sit at $1.38 with Sportsbet.com.au.
Like the Friday night game and the Roosters, we’re expecting multi-bet punters to have the Cowboys running through their selections.
Cowboys (-8 line) – $1.38 to win at Sportsbet
Sharks (+8 line) – $3.15
Both NRL games this week have identical lines, but we’re predicting a very different game here as the Cowboys are very strong at home.
They were forced to play the Broncos at Suncorp last week and that’s a tough ground to play at for any team. Losing 12-16 is nothing to be embarrassed about and the quality of the game was simply outstanding.
The Cowboys were out of their feet come the 80th minute whistle, but they never gave up and they still had a chance to win in the dying seconds. Expect a similar style of game from the Cowboys which will suit them more than it will the Sharks.
The Sharks are getting eight points from bookmakers, which does seem quite generous considering they’re coming off a 28-12 win over the Rabbitohs last week.
The men from Cronulla don’t have as much experience in the finals as the Cowboys and they aren’t expected to win the competition ($16 at Sportsbet). That doesn’t bode well for them here and we are expecting the home side to win comfortably by 10 points.
The pace of the game will be too much for the Sharks, which have beaten the Cowboys twice this season already, but this game is what the Cowboys have been waiting a few years for and they should take it out.
Cowboys vs. Sharks team lists and first tryscorer markets
Teams are unchanged for both sides with Rory Kostjasyn (Cowboys) and Matt Prior (Sharks) being added to an extended bench mid-week.
North Queensland Cowboys:
1. Lachlan Coote – $13
2. Kyle Feldt – $9 at Bet365.com
3. Justin O’Neill – $17
4. Kane Linnett – $17
5. Antonio Winterstein – $9
6. Michael Morgan – $17
7. Johnathan Thurston – $20
8. Matthew Scott – $41
9. Jake Granville – $17
10. James Tamou – $51
11. Gavin Cooper – $18
12. Ethan Lowe – $23
13. Jason Taumalolo – $26
14. Rory Kostjasyn – $23
15. John Asiata – $23
16. Scott Bolton – $34
17. Ben Hannant – $51
18. Ray Thompson – $26
1. Michael Gordon – $20
2. Sosaia Feki – $14
3. Gerard Beale – $26 at WilliamHill.com.au
4. Ricky Leutele – $26
5. Valentine Holmes – $9.50
6. Jack Bird – $23
7. Jeff Robson – $41
8. Chris Heighington – $51
9. Michael Ennis – $51
10. Sam Tagataese – $51
11. Luke Lewis – $20
12. Wade Graham – $34
13. Paul Gallen – $51
14. Ben Barba – $26
15. Anthony Tupou – $34
16. Andrew Fafita – $26
17. Jayson Bukuya – $41
18. Matt Prior – $41
Cowboys vs. Sharks stats and exotic bets
Granted, many of these statistics were compiled when the North Queensland Cowboys were absolutely horrible, but if you’re betting on the Sharks they might give you that added confidence.
In 33 games played between these two sides, the Sharks have won 20 which includes both games played this season. They won 18-24 at 1300Smiles Stadium in June and backed that up with another solid 30-18 win at home in August.
That was a rare loss for the Cowboys at home, which boast an 80 percent win rate at home. They have been in inconsistent form towards the latter part of the season, but they looked prime last week and they will be very tough to beat.
Sportsbet are offering an exotic bet featuring star playmaker Johnathan Thurston. Punters can bet that JT will be the leading points scorer for the competition at $2.20. For this bet to cash, the Cowboys will likely have to win on Saturday.
Leading points scorer market:
James Maloney – $2.15
Johnathan Thurston – $2.20
Cameron Smith – $11
Michael Gordon – $11
Corey Parker – $13
Moses Mbye – $51
They are also running a leading tryscorer market which features both Cowboys and Sharks players. Shaun Kenny-Dowall is the current favourite at $5 with the Cowboys Antonio Winterstein on the second line of betting at $7.
Fellow Cowboys back Kyle Feldt has been well backed in the market at $13 with Justin O’Neill at $34. The Sharks are represented by Valentine Holmes ($34), Jack Bird ($41), Sosaia Feki ($67), Luke Lewis ($101), Michael Gordan ($101) and Tim Lafai at $126.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall – $5
Antonio Winterstein – $7 at Sportsbet.com.au
Daniel Tupou – $7
Blake Ferguson – $8
Marika Koroibete – $8
Kyle Feldt – $13
Michael Jennings – $13
Corey Oates – $15
Jordan Kahu – $15
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – $17
Anthony Milford – $21
Ben Hunt – $23
Curtis Rona – $23
Brett Morris – $23
Matt Duffie – $23
Justin O’Neill – $34
Valentine Holmes – $34
Jack Bird – $41
Kane Linnett – $41
Jack Reed – $51
Josh Morris – $51
Kurt Mann – $51
Cameron Munster – $51
Lachlan Coote – $67
Sam Perrett – $67
Will Chambers – $67
Sosaia Feki – $67
Luke Lewis – $101
Michael Gordon – $101
Tim Lafai – $126
WHAT a superb first week of finals the NRL dished out on the weekend.
Three games decided by two points or less, punctuated by the Melbourne Storm providing a massive upset against minor premier Sydney.
The 131,794 fans who flocked through the gates at the court finals set a record for week one of an NRL finals series and we’re now left with the Brisbane Broncos as the $3.50 favourites with WIlliamHill.com.au to win the premiership, after they handled state rivals North Queensland, 16-12 on Saturdaynight.
A massive crowd of 50,000 packed out Suncorp Stadium for the derby and the bitter rivals did not disappoint them, The Broncos much vaunted defence holding tight against a North Queensland side that had more possession and ran for nearly 500m more than its opponent.
Ben Hunt broke through for the first try of the match, scything through the Cowboys’ defence, before former Bronco Antonio Winterstein was set up by the great Johnathan Thurston to give North Queensland its first.
Anthony Milford gave the Broncos a 10 point buffer when he made it over thanks to some brilliant work from young buck Kodi Nikorima, but the Cowboys had one last effort in them, Thurston taking matters into his own hands to reduce the margin to four points. But that’s where is stayed and the Broncos will enjoy a week’s break, while the Cowboys must now navigate past the Cronulla Sharks, who whacked the South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-12 to boot them out of the finals, one year after they won it all.
Our friends at sportsbet.com.au have put up the Cowboys as $1.36 favourites to end the Sharks’ finals run in Townsville on Saturday night, with Cronulla the $3.15 outsiders.
“The Sharks are certainly the fairytale side of this year’s finals, but the Cowboys showed enough against the Broncos to suggest they’ll be tough to beat on their home turf,” the bookie’s Christian Jantzen said.
The Sharks have provided a great rags to riches story, going from winning the wooden spoon last season to winning a final this year.
They led 18-0 at half time and at one stage the lead was 24, before the Rabbitohs scored a couple of late tries to give the scoreboard some semblance of respectability.
Jack Bird, Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese scored tries for the Sharks, while Michael Gordon sent six over, while Dylan Walker and Chris Grevsmuhl managed to make it over for the Rabbits.
The Sharks will be sweating on Michael Ennis, after he was placed on report and will hope Valentine Holmes will recover from a corked quad.
The Sharks are the $13 outsiders to win the premiership, but Rabbits coach Michael Maguire has given them a glowing endorsement, comparing them to his side that broke a 43 year drought to win last season’s flag.
“I see Cronulla has a fair bit of belief there amongst their players and it would be great to see a club like that go on and do something special – if they believe they can then they will,” Maguire said.
“I see a team in Cronulla which I really hope they can go on and win the grand final to be honest.
“I think a club who hasn’t had a taste of what we were lucky enough to have last year deserves it.
“It’s not through luck either, it’s through hard work, but just sitting there and watching their fans and how happy they are to see their team aspire to dream I really hope they go on and take the opportunity because they’re a real credit.
“What they have been through, to see that club earn a chance at doing what we did – good on em.”
The Storm provided the boil over of week one, eking out a thrilling 20-18 win over the former premiership fancy, Sydney.
The Roosters could have been forgiven for thinking they’d walk home against a Storm side that hasn’t won a final since 2012.
They’d won 12 straight NRL games and collected top spot at the end of the regular season.
But they got all that they bargained for and more from the Purple army.
And the Storm will be making a bronze statue of prop Tim Glasby, the bruiser scoring just his second try of the season in what would prove to be the match sealer, nine minutes of from time.
His try backed up earlier ones from Marika Koroibete and Kurt Mann and four goals from Cam Smith.
The Roosters had Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Black Ferguson to thank for they tries, while James Maloney converted each of those.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy, always focussed, said his boys needed to improve, but he was quite happy with their performance to restrict the best team in the competition.
“I thought we made it hard on ourselves a few times with the footy,” Bellamy said.
“Our defence, at the end of the game too, but especially in the first half we didn’t build a whole lot of pressure and I thought they built more pressure but our defence was really good.
“We set ourselves some pretty good standards over the past month and we held up those standards.”
The Storm will enjoy the week off, but have concerns about Koroibete, who had a lacerated achilles, which sounds nasty, hero Glasby, who hurt his knee and Jordan McLean, who also suffered a knee complaint.
The Roosters will now have to contend with a fired up Canterbury at Allianz Stadium, but have been installed as $1.38 favourites at Sportsbet.com.au to bounce back from their loss to the Storm, while the Bulldogs are the $3.05 outsiders for the game.
“We’re giving the Roosters another chance and we’re expecting the punters to get behind them against the Doggies as well,” Jantzen said of the finals betting market.
The Bulldogs scraped into the second week of finals by the narrowest of margins – one points – 11-10 in a golden point victory over a depleted St George Illawara side.
The Dragons toiled manfully, despite losing perhaps their best player in Benji Marshall and back rower Joel Hamstring early in the second half.
It was a dour, physical match, that really only came to life when the Dogs ripped the lead off the Dragons in the 78th minute, before Gareth Widdop levelled it up in the 80th after slotting one from an off side penalty decision that left the Bulldogs supporters livid.
Widdop went from hero to villain in exra time, though, missing a field goal and then booting his crack at a 40-20 out on the full, which gave the Dogs the impetus for the field goal that would win them the match.
2015 NRL week two finals markets
Sydney Roosters ($1.38) vs. Canterbury Bulldogs ($3.05)
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.40) vs. Cronulla Sharks ($2.95)
2015 NRL Premiership market
Brisbane Broncos ($3.50)
Sydney Roosters ($3.75)
Melbourne Storm ($4)
North Queensland Cowboys ($5.50)
Canterbury Bulldogs ($11)
Cronulla Sharks ($13)
GOODBYE regular season and hello NRL finals!
This is where the fun begins and we have all the latest market updates, odds and form so you can make some money this weekend.
The best eight teams have qualified for week 1 of the finals where the top four and bottom four will play among each other to eventually eliminate two teams.
The two winners of the 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 games will get a bye in Round 2 of the finals and the other four teams will be playing to survive.
The finals kicks off on Friday night where the minor premiers Sydney Roosters take on the always tough Melbourne Storm at Allianz Stadium.
Roosters vs. Storm
Friday, September 11, 7:55pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters – $1.40 (-7.5)
Storm – $3.00 (+7.5)
The Roosters couldn’t have performed much better over the closing weeks of the NRL regular season if they tried, and they lost one of their major play makers in the process.
Mitchell Pearce is again sitting this game out, but he should be ready to go for Round 2 if they happen to lose this Friday night against the Storm.
The market suggests the Roosters will be too good for the Storm, which are always tough to beat in the finals and with the star duo of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, they have the ability to pull off a major upset.
Bettors will rarely find a better price for the Storm, in fact we’ll challenge anyone to find a price higher than $3 for them this season. That means the value is there for Storm backers, but the Roosters are battle-hardened and will want that vital week off.
Tip: Roosters to win ($1.40) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Tupou to score at $1.80
Bulldogs vs. Dragons
Saturday, September 12, 5:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs – $1.30 (-9.5)
Dragons – $3.60 (+9.5)
The Bulldogs find themselves in fifth position on the ladder and that means they get to face the Dragons in Round 1 of the finals.
That also means they get to play the team currently paying $81 to win the premiership and this should be an easy win for the Canterbury side, which comes into this game on the back of a last minute win against the Warriors.
That late try was extremely important as they now face the Dragons which limped into the finals and have really looked out of sorts towards the end of the regular season.
To their credit, the Dragons have enough talent to produce a good performance on their best day, but we expect the big Bulldogs pack to dominate and record a comfortable victory.
Tip: Bulldogs -9.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Bulldogs/Bulldogs at $1.65
Broncos vs. Cowboys
Saturday, September 12, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos – $1.60 (-4.0)
Cowboys – $2.40 (+4.0)
The all-Queensland blockbuster which promises to be a classic where the Broncos take on Johnathan Thurston and the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Brisbane Broncos opened slightly shorter at $1.57 and were quick to drift to $1.60, but there should be plenty of financial support for the team that finished second in the regular season.
The Broncos have suffered some defeats to the likes of the Roosters and Storm in recent times, but they were competitive in both and the style of the Cowboys will suit them better.
Johnathan Thurston has done a great job leading the Cowboys into the playoffs and who knows what to expect from them as we get to the business end of the year.
The Cowboys have been giving teams big starts all year and running them down, but a slow start against the Broncos – which like to lead – could mean the Cowboys will play in week 2.
We expect the odds to drop for the Cowboys, but ultimately the Broncos should be too good across the park.
Tip: Broncos to win ($1.60) at Bet365.com
Exotic: Over 38.5 points at $1.90
Sharks vs. Rabbitohs
Sunday, September 13, 4:10pm, Allianz Stadium
Sharks – $1.77 (-2.0)
Rabbitohs – $2.10 (+2.0)
Probably the closest game of the week as the Sharks take on defending champions South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Sharks enter this game having lost their final regular season game to the Sea Eagles, but that’s history now and they will be focused on the Rabbitohs which get a much needed inclusion into their line up.
Greg Inglis has been named in the Rabbitohs 13 for Sunday’s do-or-die clash and boy has he come back at a good time. The Rabbitohs have been struggling in all aspects of their game and they will call upon Inglis to provide them some spark.
The Sharks are used to fighting out close games and we see this going down to the wire. Most of the Sharks players don’t have that finals experience of the Rabbitohs, but this season just might be their year.
Tip: Sharks to win at $1.77
Exotic: >Draw at $21 with Sportsbet.com.au
The Clive Churchill Medal is awarded to the best player in Sunday’s NRL grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.
There has been relief for the Broncos, with captain Justin Hodges surviving the judiciary on Tuesday night, and considering he is playing his final NRL game, the $17 price on him being best on ground is very attractive.
There are three Clive Churchill Medal markets to bet on, giving punters a variety of ways to make money. Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston has been installed the $3 favourite with Sportsbet.com.au, with Brisbane counterpart Ben Hunt on the second line of betting at $6.50.
Sportsbet are offering ‘Clive Churchill Double Chance’ odds where they pair two players together. It just so happens that JT and Hunt are paired together which has attracted plenty of money at a short price.
The unglamorous forwards aren’t without their chances at big odds. The likes of Broncos Kodi Nikorima could come off the bench to provide sudden impact, and his odds of $151 wouldn’t turn anyone off.
Look for big games from Adam Blair ($23), Gavin Cooper ($29) and James Tamou at $29. All three forwards have been in devastating form this season and the Medal wouldn’t go amiss with either player.
2015 Clive Churchill Medal winner market
Johnathan Thurston – $3
Ben Hunt – $6.50
Anthony Milford – $7
Michael Morgan – $10
Corey Parker – $10
Matthew Scott – $13
Justin Hodges – $17
Jake Granville – $17
Sam Thaiday – $21
Jason Taumalolo – $23
Matt Gillett – $23
Adam Blair – $23
Darius Boyd – $23
Lachlan Coote – $26
James Tamou – $29
Gavin Cooper – $29
Andrew McCullough – $34
Ethan Lowe – $51
Alex Glenn – $51
Jack Reed – $81
Corey Oates – $101
Kane Linnett – $101
Justin O’Neill – $101
Kyle Feldt – $151
Jordan Kahu – $151
Ben Hannant – $151
Antonio Winterstein – $151
Kodi Nikorima – $151
Mitchell Dodds – $251
John Asiata – $251
Jarrod Wallace – $251
Rory Kostjasyn – $251
Scott Bolton – $251
Jo Ofahengahue – $251
We have highlighted Brisbane Bronco Anthony Milford at $7 as that price provides great value. The dynamic player can turn a game on its head and he has provided the attacking flair for Brisbane this season.
Milford is a prime candidate to win the Clive Churchill Medal and his moments of brilliance could see him get the nod.
At longer odds, Lachlan Coote at $26 provides some outsider value. The North Queensland Cowboys fullback has battled his way back from injury his entire career and he has been very solid for the Cowboys this season.
He hasn’t had a break out game this season where he has showed his real ability, but Coote has always had the potential to score multiple tries in one game and if he does, just give him the Clive Churchill Medal now.
Clive Churchill Double Chance
If you can’t decide between two players, Sportsbet has done the hard work for you and paired off some of Sunday’s best grand final players.
The most popular option has been Hunt/Thurston at $2.10. The Clive Churchill Medal is often won by the playmakers and these two have been in sublime form throughout the finals this season.
On the second line of betting at $4.25 is the pairing of Michael Morgan and Anthony Milford. Both players are second in command for their offense and that usually gives them more freedom with the ball. If either player has a standout game, they could win the medal.
Double Chance market:
Hunt/Thurston – $2.10
Milford/Morgan – $4.25
Parker/Taumalolo – $6.50
McCullough/Granville – $12
Boyd/Coote – $13
Blair/Tamou – $13
Gillett/Lowe – $16
Hodges/Linnett – $19
Glenn/Cooper – $19
Reed/O’Neill – $41
Oates/Feldt – $61
Kahu/Winterstein – $61
Most multi-bet punters will like their chances of either Hunt or Thurston winning the Clive Churchill Medal. Adding $2.10 to your multi-bet increases the payout significantly and over the past few years there have been plenty of halves be the difference in a decider.
Scott Prince, Cooper Cronk and Daly-Cherry Evans have all won in recent years and that should give the punters confidence.
Two locks have won in the last four years so those including Corey Parker and Jason Taumalolo should also be confident and their odds are much more appealing at $6.50 with Sportsbet.
Who: Brisbane Broncos vs. North Queensland Cowboys
When: Sunday, October 4, 7:15pm
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
The NRL Grand Final is here and it’s an all Queensland showdown between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.
Broncos captain Justin Hodges has been cleared to play after surviving a tip-tackle charge in what will be his final ever NRL game. The Broncos centre will be wanting to leave the game with a win and punters have rallied around the news of his inclusion.
The Cowboys were tipped by many to win the competition this season and they haven’t let anyone down to date. With a season full of epic comebacks, bad losses and quality wins, the Cowboys have prepared beautifully for this final where Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston seeks his second premiership.
Both teams proved far too good for their rivals in the preliminary finals; the Broncos winning 31-12 over the Roosters and the Cowboys beating up the Storm in a similar scoreline of 32-12.
The fans will travel to Sydney to watch the two best teams go at it, but if you’re watching from home, why not end the season with a wager on the Grand Final.
Broncos vs. Cowboys head-to-head betting
Broncos – $1.88
Cowboys – $1.96
Bookmakers had both teams on even keel throughout the week, but after news that Broncos captain Justin Hodges was cleared of a dangerous tackle on Roosters’ Aidan Guerra, the line quickly shifted.
The Broncos have come in for support and the Broncos punters and fans aren’t the only ones relieved that Hodges will play his final game in the Grand Final.
“The past few days have been tough and today felt like the longest day and I just want to thank everyone for giving me a fair trial,” Hodges said.
“[I’m] just relieved that I get to finish one more game. To be honest, I just want to get through tonight. It’s been a tough day, just not knowing the outcome.”
Hodges is a key player for the Broncos, key enough to move the Broncos in from $1.92 to $1.88 and it’s almost certain that the Broncos will start the game as the favourite.
Punters for both teams will see value with both head-to-head prices. Cowboys backers will enjoy the almost even-money line and we’re predicting that will get out to $2 come Sunday night.
$1.96 for a side that features four-time Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston is good money in anyone’s book and we think the bookmakers might have got the current line around the wrong way.
Looking back at the season expectations, the Broncos and Cowboys had two different objectives. The Broncos objective was to welcome back coach Wayne Bennett and make their way back into finals contention, we’ll they’ve done that and now find themselves in the grand final.
The Broncos have exceeded their expectations with new halves pairing Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford, but that lack of experience might be found out on the grandest of stages.
This could well be all or nothing for the Cowboys. They were tipped as premiership contenders from the word go and they haven’t really shown punters any reason to not back them.
They have the games best player in Thurston and his supporting crew is firing on all cylinders. If they don’t win the grand final on Sunday, they will be left scratching their heads as to what went wrong this season, and therefore we believe they should be the favourites.
Heading into Melbourne and winning is not easy to do, let alone win by 20 points. They have the ability to attack through the forwards and the class of Thurston will likely outshine the halves of Brisbane.
Best bet: Cowboys to win ($1.96)
NRL Grand Final first try-scorer odds and tips
Another quality promotion being run by Sportsbet is their first tryscorer special. If your selected player scores second or third, then you get your money back. It’s as simple as that, so get involved and place a bet.
Teams remain unchanged after last week’s preliminary finals, with only Dale Copley being added to an extended bench for the Broncos, and Ray Thompson being named on the extended bench for the Cowboys.
Darius Boyd escaped the punters grasp last week when he scored first thanks to a miscue from Shaun Kenny-Dowall, but the bookmakers have trimmed him in to $23 for the Grand Final.
The popular elects are Corey Oates on the wing for the Broncos and Cowboys wingers Kyle Feldt and Antonio Winterstein. Good money has come for second-rower Gavin Cooper who continues to either score or set up tries for the Cowboys.
Cooper has nine tries on the season, five better than Broncos second-rower Alex Glenn who is next best on four tries.
Brisbane Broncos first tryscorer odds:
1. Darius Boyd – $23
2. Corey Oates – $9.50
3. Jack Reed – $17
4. Justin Hodges – $23
5. Jordan Kahu – $11
6. Anthony Milford – $13
7. Ben Hunt – $13
8. Sam Thaiday – $36
9. Andrew McCullough – $36
10. Adam Blair – $51
11. Alex Glenn – $26
12. Matt Gillett – $23
13. Corey Parker – $41
14. Jarrod Wallace – $61
15. Mitchell Dodds – $76
16. Joe Ofahengahue – $81
17. Kodi Nikorima – $34
18. Dale Copley – $0
North Queensland Cowboys first tryscorer odds:
1. Lachlan Coote – $21
2. Kyle Feldt – $10
3. Justin O’Neill – $17
4. Kane Linnett – $20
5. Antonio Winterstein – $10
6. Michael Morgan – $12
7. Johnathan Thurston – $26
8. Matthew Scott – $41
9. Jake Granville – $21
10. James Tamou – $61
11. Gavin Cooper – $21
12. Ethan Lowe – $34
13. Jason Taumalolo – $31
14. Rory Kostjasyn – $61
15. John Asiata – $61
16. Scott Bolton – $61
17. Ben Hannant – $61
18. Ray Thompson – $0
Best bet: Lachlan Coote ($21)
NRL Grand Final novelty bets
CrownBet.com.au have come out with some great NRL Grand Final novelty bets which feature anything from Cold Chisel to the colour of the drink poured over the winning coach.
We start with which song will Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel play first. The quintessential Australian band will play at halftime and although it’s not quite as big as the Super Bowl halftime show, it’s as good as we’re going to get.
Don’t go crazy on these novelty bets, but they do make the game and its entertainment slightly more exciting.
Cold Chisel first song:
Bow River – $4
Khe Sanh – $4.50
Cheap Wine – $5.50
Standing on the Outside – $8
You Got Nothing I Want – $8
Saturday Night – $8
Choir Girl – $11
Rising Sun – $11
Flame Trees – $13
Jimmy Barnes first outfit:
Tee Shirt Only – $2.50
Leather Jacket – $2.90
Footy Jersey – $4.50
Shirt Only – $4.50
Suit – $15
We are ruling out suit and footy jersey. Barnes, originally from Scotland, resides in Adelaide so his ties will unlikely be with the Broncos or the Cowboys. We like the tee shirt only option as the weather is expected to be a warm 32 degrees and we can’t see Jimmy putting on layers.
Actual Kick Off time:
This is a huge pet peeve for us as most of the advertised NRL starting times don’t even come close to starting on time.
Kick off is scheduled for 7:15pm, but seeing as this is a Grand Final, we’re going to allow for at least 5-10 minutes of lateness.
7:15 or earlier – $21
7:15:01 to 7:20:00 – $2.80
7:20:01 to 7:25:00 – $2.90
7:25:01 to 7:30:00 – $3
7:30:01 to 7:35:00 – $7
7:35:01 or later – $15
Colour of 1st Try Scorer’s Boots:
Sometimes the colour of the players’ boots brings more attention than the game itself, and CrownBet have framed a market just for those interested.
Classic colours Blue and Grey/Silver have been the best backed boots, but there is support for the fluro colours. Red/Pink, Green and Orange/Yellow are all well liked in the market and we don’t quite believe the two current outsiders.
Gone are the days of black and/or white boots. They are both despised outsiders in the market and it’s a shame to see.
Blue – $3
Grey/Silver – $3.50
Red/Pink – $5
Green – $7.50
Orange/Yellow – $7.50
White – $10
Black – $11
Colour of Liquid Poured on Winning Head Coach:
This betting option might sound very american, but they do actually try and pour some liquid over the winning coach.
Here’s our problem however… if the Broncos do happen to win the Grand Final, we dare anyone to pour liquid over coach Wayne Bennett’s head – we doubt he’ll be having a bar of that.
Yellow/Orange – $2.20
Blue/Purple – 3.50
Red/Pink – $4
Clear – $6.50
Green – $10
THE NRL gods are giving everyone a Thursday night gift this week as the Broncos look to retake the lead for the premiership.
The Broncos square off against the Rabbitohs who are searching for some form heading into the finals, and the winner of this game could well decide the future of all top eight teams.
There are plenty of great games to bet on this week, including the Storm vs. Cowboys and Sea Eagles vs. Roosters this Friday night.
Rabbitohs vs. Broncos
Thursday, August 27, 7:45pm, Allianz Stadium
Rabbitohs – $2.30 (+3.5)
Broncos – $1.62 (-3.5)
Punters don’t really know what to make of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, after they lost 18-32 to the Bulldogs last week.
There is also an injury concern with fullback Greg Inglis so punters are leaning towards the Broncos who lost in a tight battle to the Roosters last week.
The Broncos didn’t do too much wrong in that defeat, so we’re expecting them to reclaim the top spot on the ladder and give the injury-troubled Roosters and Cowboys something to worry about.
Tip: Broncos to win ($1.62) at Sportsbet.com.au
Broncos: Broncos -3.5 at $1.90
Sea Eagles vs. Roosters
Friday, August 28, 7:45pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles – $1.90
Roosters – $1.90
Both teams suffered a blow last week, with the Sea Eagles losing to the Eels and the Roosters losing two star players when beating the Broncos.
For the Roosters, both Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Mitchell Pearce were injured in their 12-10 win over the Broncos and that puts them in a tough spot for the remainder of the season.
They are currently in first position with a superior for-and-against record and winning against the Sea Eagles will take them a long way to wrapping up the minor premiership.
The Sea Eagles were making a great run into the playoffs, but their hopes were significantly dashed when they lost to the Eels on Sunday.
This game could go either way, but we’ll lean towards Manly at Brookvale.
Tip: Sea Eagles to win ($1.90) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Manly 1-12 at $3.25
Eels vs. Sharks
Saturday, August 29, 3:05pm, Pirtek Stadium
Eels – $2.50 (+4.5)
Sharks – $1.53 (-4.5)
The teams that can’t make the playoffs are certainly making it hard on those that can! The Eels have already caused Manly some problems and they will be looking to push the Sharks back down the ladder.
The Eels season is done, but they appear to be playing with more spirit and that inconsistency is what makes them tough to beat.
The Sharks have been rolling and have their best shot in years at winning their first premiership title. They dispatched the Tigers last week and on paper, they should do the same against the Eels.
We’re sticking with the Sharks, which look much more focused this season.
Tip: Sharks -4.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Feki to score at $1.91
Knights vs. Bulldogs
Saturday, August 29, 5:35pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights – $3.65 (+8.5)
Bulldogs – $1.28 (-8.5)
Much like the previous game, the Knights are out to cause the upset, much like they did on Monday night against the playoff-bound Melbourne Storm.
This game should and probably will be different, however, as the Bulldogs’ big forward pack should simply roll through the Knights.
The Bulldogs have firmed into $6 for the NRL premiership after some very good form and they welcome back Brett Morris for this clash.
They should be too big and too strong.
Tip: Bulldogs -8.5 ($1.90) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Brett Morris to score first at $11
Storm vs. Cowboys
Saturday, August 29, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
Storm – $1.65 (-3.5)
Cowboys – $2.25 (+3.5)
This strikes as one of the most interesting games of the round as the Storm are looking to survive the last two rounds and make the playoffs, whereas the Cowboys are vying to win the minor premiership.
The Storm suffered a big setback on Monday night when losing to the Knights and it really came out of nowhere. Throughout the season they did show some flat patches, but losing to the Knights is not a great confidence builder heading into September.
The Cowboys lost Michael Morgan in their 50-16 win over the Warriors and James Tamou is in serious doubt for the next few games.
The Storm rarely lose two straight, but we can’t find the confidence needed to suggest backing any team in this game.
Tip: Both teams 1-12 at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Draw ($23) at Sportsbet.com.au
Tigers vs. Warriors
Sunday, August 30, 2:05pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Tigers – $1.45 (-6.5)
Warriors – $2.75 (+6.5)
Not a whole lot to get excited about here, but we’ll try. The Tigers and the Warriors both look tired and their fans must be pulling their hair out.
The Tigers are coming off a 18-40 loss to the Sharks and the Warriors, which led by 16-0, suffered a 16-50 loss to the Cowboys.
We think the Warriors have slightly more upside than the Tigers, so the +6.5 looks appealing.
Tip: Warriors +6.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Allwood to score first at $12
Titans vs. Dragons
Sunday, August 30, 4:10pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Titans – $2.65 (+6.0)
Dragons – $1.48 (-6.0)
The Dragons are sitting in a precarious position in eighth and a loss could see their top eight hopes fall to the wayside.
Trying to upset them will be the Titans which can’t make the playoffs and they are coming off a strong 28-12 win against the Raiders.
This game is D-Day for the Dragons and we can see them putting their best foot forward and keeping themselves in playoff contention.
Tip: Dragons to win at $1.48
Exotic: Dragons -6.0 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Raiders vs. Panthers
Monday, August 31, 7:00pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders – $1.55 (-4.5)
Panthers – $2.45 (+4.5)
Another dead-rubber here, but this game should at least provide some excitement for bettors.
Both teams can pile on the points so we’re expecting a high scoring game between two sides that couldn’t care less.
The Raiders looked poor against the Titans last week and the Panthers went down by seven points to the Dragons on Thursday night.
With such a big rest in between, we fancy the Penrith Panthers to be fresh and perform better on the day.
Tip: Panthers to win ($2.45) at Bet365.com
Exotic: Panthers HTFT at $3.90