The 2011 State of Origin is beginning to take its toll on some of the representative-rich teams in the NRL Telstra Premiership competition including the mighty St George Illawarra Dragons.
Coached by the master of league Wayne Bennett, the Dragons are this year vying for their third Minor Premiership win on the trot as well as back-to-back title as the season’s NRL premiership winning club.
At the start of the season punters couldn’t get any NRL Futures odds of more than $3 on the in-form Red and White’s to win the coveted 2011 NRL Grand Final on the first Sunday of October.
But now midway through the 26-round regular NRL season, the Dragons and their once flawless wall of defence is marred by injury, a big part of that thanks to the plethora of players they have had in the State of Origin series for 2011.
League supports can now get NRL betting odds as long as $4 on the Dragons to win the 2011 NRL Premiership at Luxbet.
The St George Illawarra casualty ward seems to be growing round by round, the club without Cameron King (Pectoral) since the opening round and Matt Cooper (cheekbone) since round 13.
Other sidelined players for the quickly crippling Dragons line-up includes State of Origin Blues duo of Beau Scott (medial ligament / ear drum) and Ben Creagh (ankle) who are at least a fortnight away from returning.
There’s also winger Brett Morris, the flyer out with a hamstring injury for the past three weeks.
Fifteen rounds in, the Dragons have dropped into second spot on the NRL Ladder under the Melbourne Storm who scored the top spot thanks to their tidy 12 – 4 win over the Wests Tigers at Leichardt Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Currently the Storm are the $6 third favourites at Luxbet to score this year’s NRL Premiership trophy, with the Manly Sea Eagles the surprise of the season sitting as the $4.50 futures second elects.
Melbourne Storm have racked up the most wins for the season so far with 11, while St George gave up their spot at the top when failing to rope in the rapidly improving Brisbane Broncos last Friday night.
Both the Dragons and the Broncos had a number of players backing up from State of Origin Game 2, but it was the home-side heroes who best performed and Brisbane rattled the Dragons with a strong 21 – 14 victory in front of a roaring Suncorp Stadium crowd.
In a further blow for the joint-venture Dragons, captain Ben Hornby has been added to the growing list of injured stars when he suffered an ankle injury that saw him sit out the entire second-half of last Friday night’s loss.
Brisbane, who farewell skipper Darren Lockyer at the end of the season, are the final NRL team at single-figure odds to win the premiership paying a still-appealing $9 through Luxbet and sit fifth on the Ladder with 10 victories – equal with the Dragons, Sea Eagles and the fellow Queensland-club the Cowboys.
The Sea Eagles will get their chance to knock the Storm off the top rung when they take on the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval on Monday night, Manly the raging favourites to do just that.
Starting this Friday night, the NRL Premiership moves into Round 16 and a top-of-the-table blockbuster is scheduled for Monday June 27, the Dragons hosting the Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium.
Whether you fancy the Dragons to bounce back and defeat Manly next week, or you want to get in on the exciting State of Origin betting markets for next month’s do-or-die decider, leading online bookmaker Luxbet have all your NRL odds covered.
Sign up with Luxbet during this year’s NRL Premiership and enjoy a bonus bet up to $400 simply by opening a new account and quoting the promo code BONUS400 when you make your first deposit!