This is it, State of Origin selection happens next week and Round 10 of the NRL Telstra Premiership is the last chance players have to earn one of the coveted Blue or Maroon jerseys.
So what’s on the cards? Plenty friends, plenty.
Things get underway with a big double-header at Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium for the newbies).
The entrée is really the mouthwatering main with the Brisbane Broncos hosting the reigning premiers with the Manly Sea Eagles coming to town for the first time since locking the home team out of the semis last year.
Second up is the Gold Coast Titans taking on the Canterbury Bulldogs, not quite as appetising but still worth a watch.
Teams with a bye this week are the Wests Tigers who only just beat the Titans last week by one point, and South Sydney Rabbitohs who perhaps would have liked to keep the momentum going after getting the better of the red hot Sharks 34 – 28 on Monday night.
This leaves punters with seven matches to sink their teeth into and below the team at NRLleague.com.au take a quick look at what’s install, who are the favourites and underdogs in the NRL odds for each game, and provide that all-important NRL match tip and margin.
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2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 10
Friday May 11, 2012 (7:00pm) – Suncorp Stadium
- Brisbane Broncos ($2) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.80)
The odds are close and so will the score. This is going to be a beauty ladies and gentlemen so strap yourselves in. These two teams are neck-and-neck in the stats having played 34 times to date, Brisbane narrowly holding the advantage with 17 wins. Manly have won six of the last eight, including their big semis win here last season when Broncos left the competition. The Broncos, even with Peter Wallace, will be keen to atone for that and Wallace’s replacement Ben Hunt is well equipped to do the job.
Foran is still out for the Sea Eagles, but late mail is that Justin Hodges is in doubt with a foot injury.
So they both have players missing, they both want it, but who want’s it more? Our bet is Brisbane after their winning streak came to an end in NZ last weekend while Manly won their second on the trot but not by much.Brisbane by 4
Friday May 11, 2012 (8:45pm) – Suncorp Stadium
- Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.33) v Gold Coast Titans ($3.30)
Bit of a snoozer compared to the first match of the night but the Gold Coast Titans came within a point of the Wests Tigers last Saturday night and they do like playing in Brisbane – seemingly more than at home.
Bulldogs had a blinder over the Eels last Friday night 46 – 12, and while Parramatta don’t take much to beat these days neither do the Titans.
They get a full seven day break and should get the win, easily.Canterbury by 20
Saturday May 12, 2012 (7:30pm) – Mt Smart Stadium
- New Zealand Warriors ($1.35) v Sydney Roosters ($3.20)
Warriors get the home ground advantage for the second week in a row and will have taken great confidence having bought down the second best team in the comp with a win over the Broncos last Saturday night.
The Roosters meanwhile beat the Knights 24 – 6 so both teams come off a win. Neither has been consistent or really that impressive this season, but of the two you would have to say the Warriors at home.Warriors by 8
Saturday May 12, 2012 (7:30pm) – Hunter Stadium
- Newcastle Knights ($2.24) v North Queensland Cowboys ($1.64)
Knights were shocking when going down to the Roosters last week but are tipped for improvement here. They get the home ground advantage and the Cowboys have some player doubts with captain Thurston and big boy Matty Scott both injured but playing.
Still the Cowboys were on fire thrashing the Dragons 30 – 6 at home last Friday, they get a nice break and if they can back up they win.Cowboys by 2
Sunday May 13, 2012 (2:00pm) – Canberra Stadium
- Canberra Raiders ($1.43) v Parramatta Eels ($2.80)
Eels were thrashed, again, this time by the Bulldogs 46 – 12 in Round 9. They are going to end up with the wooden spoon most likely and it’s a shame because on paper they aren’t a bad team.
But they are playing bad, very bad, and we think $2.80 is probably pretty short.
The Green Machine are out of form and need this to get back on track. After their thrashing by the Roosters back in Round 8 (44-22) they went down again last weekend at Brookvale in a tight one with Manly.
At home against the Eels they should be okay.Canberra by 12
Sunday May 13, 2012 (3:00pm) – Toyota Stadium
- Cronulla Sharks ($3.40) v Melbourne Storm ($1.32)
Any other team playing Melbourne at the moment and they pay $7. As it is the Sharks are at $3.40.
Cronulla’s magic run came to an end with a shock loss to the Rabbitohs last Monday night.
Don’t like backing a team off a loss from a Monday night even when it is this team at Shark Park.
Without Paul Gallen the Sharks lack that something extra at the moment, and he’s 50-50 to come back from the knee injury.
What are we talking about all this for? They are playing the Storm who come off a 44 – 10 walk in the park over the Panthers and they’ll get double figure wins (10 from 10) for the season here, sorry Sharkies.Melbourne by 24
Monday May 14, 2012 (7:00pm) – Centrebet Stadium
- Penrith Panthers ($3.50) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.29)
What a snorer. Do we even care who wins this one? Panthers are doing worse than nothing and are fighting not to get the wooden spoon this year with the Eels and Titans. They probably deserve it but.
They’ll have an easier time playing the Dragons than the Storm but this should be a nice one for St George to get a bit of fire back.Dragons by 12
*Odds quoted Win price and subject to change – see bookmaker.com.au for updates and to bet now!