This weekend we move into Round 24 of the 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership which is the third last round before the semis light up stadiums around the country.
There’s certainly been some major developments in regards to the top eight over the past couple of weeks, most notably teams dropping down the NRL Ladder with a tough run to the finals now on the cards.
The team to beat is still the Canterbury Bulldogs who are 11 wins and counting, on track for the club’s best ever effort of 17 consecutive victories.
Round 24 Upset Tip: Sharks to beat South Sydney @ $2.67 through bookmaker.com.au
Last week they handed the in-trouble Brisbane Broncos with their fourth loss on the trot when reigning supreme 22 – 14 on Sunday arvo and on the short back-up tonight they play the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.
The Tigers also come off a good win having beaten the Dragons 22 – 12 in Round 23 and are desperate to keep ahold of that eighth rung on the ladder having won just three of their past eight games.
The other Friday night footy feature is perhaps one of the most crucial of the round with the Broncos to host the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium in a ‘we’ve-both-been-through-Bennett’ clash.
Brisbane, who seemingly only a blink ago were sitting second on the ladder, must win this to finish the round in top eight.
They lose and there is a very real chance they will be outside of semis contention which would be just the second time in 21 seasons they weren’t there in the finals.
And unfortunately for the sunshine staters there is also a very real chance they could lose to the second ranked Storm who look to have gotten their mojo back after a 24 – 16 win over the Titans at AAMI Park seven nights ago.
The Broncos get Josh Hoffman back this week after he missed last week for disciplinary reasons, and there is also talk of Corey Parker being a sneaky late inclusion despite the injury issues there.
The blockbuster of Saturday night will then play out at Toyota Stadium when the sixth-placed Sharks take on third-ranked South Sydney Rabbitohs in a top eight beauty that is sure to go down to the wire.
Cronulla kicked some Warriors’ booty two back but then had the tables turned when defeated 26 – 4 by the Knights on Monday night.
On the short back-up they will need to rise to beat the Bunnies who also suffered a bad loss in Round 23 when going down 23 – 6 to the Sea Eagles.
Funnily enough the Newcastle Knights and the Manly Sea Eagles will play each other this weekend when the two clash at Brookvale Oval on Sunday arvo.
Manly will want to win to stay inside the top four while the Knights are currently in ninth making this a must-win for them to get back inside the top eight.
Newcastle have certainly been impressive over the past month beating the Sharks (Round 23), Raiders (Round 21), Warriors (Round 20) and Manly (Round 19) with their only loss being to the Minor Premiership winners (yes we’re announcing it already) in Round 22.
The other big match of the round in regards to top eight positioning is then Monday night’s showdown between the Dragons and the North Queensland Cowboys at WIN Stadium.
While St George (12th) have kissed their semis’ dream goodnight for this year the Cowboys are still very much in contention sitting fifth on the ladder after an effortless 52 – 12 victory at home over New Zealand.
The full 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 24 draw and tips can be found in the table below.
Whether you’re backing or sacking our selections make sure you get the hottest NRL odds online by betting with bookmaker.com.au – home of the $300 bonus welcome bet offer for new customers that quote the code BONUSBET!
2012 NRL Round 24
Friday August 17, 2012 (7:35pm) – Suncorp Stadium
- Brisbane Broncos ($2.28) v Melbourne Storm ($1.63)
Friday August 17, 2012 (7:35pm) – ANZ Stadium
- Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.41) v Wests Tigers ($2.93)
Saturday August 18, 2012 (5:30pm) – Canberra Stadium
- Canberra Raiders ($1.42) v Sydney Roosters ($2.90)
Saturday August 18, 2012 (7:30pm) – Toyota Stadium
- Cronulla Sharks ($2.67) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.48)
Sunday August 19, 2012 (2:00pm) – Skilled Park
- Gold Coast Titans ($1.43) v Parramatta Eels ($2.85)
Sunday August 19, 2012 (2:00pm) – Mt Smart Stadium
- New Zealand Warriors ($1.34) v Penrith Panthers ($3.30)
Sunday August 19, 2012 (3:00pm) – Brookvale Oval
- Manly Sea Eagles ($1.34) v Newcastle Knights ($3.30)
Monday August 20, 2012 (7:00pm) – WIN Stadium
- St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.40) v North Queensland Cowboys ($1.58)
*All odds quoted are provided by bookmaker.com.au and are subject to change