It is every footy lover’s dream final round of the regular NRL season this week with the top eight still very much an open affair, Round 26 far from a ‘dead round’ as too often is the case at this time of year.
Any number of things can happen at the end of the eight matches played over the next few days, with nothing for certain bar this is a round of footy not to miss!
NRL Round 26 Upset Tip: Cowboys to beat Shars on Sunday @ $2.37 through bookmaker.com.au
Things kick off on Friday night with a must-win match for the Brisbane Broncos who are hanging onto the eighth rank by the skin of their teeth.
Tonight they have the home ground advantage against the Penrith Panthers for retiring warhorse Petero Civoniceva’s last game, and if they lose this it is bye bye finals.
They don’t have the moment coming into the game having lost their last six consecutive games and will be down on confidence playing a Panthers outfit that won 36 – 22 over the Titans last week.
There’s a log-jam of teams or vying for that important eighth spot this week with the Broncos equal completion points with the Wests Tigers (9th) who have a really tough test playing the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night at Leichardt Oval.
The Tigers suffered a bad loss when going down 44 – 20 to the Roosters last Sunday while Melbourne miraculously fought back to win 20 – 18 over the Sharks on Monday night in a match they really didn’t deserve to come away with.
Meanwhile it would also help the Broncos’ case if the currently seventh-ranked Canberra Raiders failed to beat the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday arvo across the ditch.
But the Green Machine are on a role having defeated the Doggies 34 – 6 last Friday night while the Warriors have been very disappointing over the past couple of months including their 38 – 6 loss at WIN Stadium to the Dragons last Saturday.
The other Friday night clash tonight meanwhile sees the third-ranked South Sydney Rabbitohs play the 11th-ranked Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, the Bunnies looking for another win after an easy go beating the Eels 38 – 6 last Sunday to stay inside that top four.
It is also a huge round for the Manly Sea Eagles who play the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Park this Saturday and the Cowboys.
Manly are in fourth spot and want to stay there to secure a home ground final next week, and even though they comprehensively beat the Broncos 16 – 6 last Friday night they didn’t impress in the second 40 minutes failing to post any points.
The North Queensland Cowboys played much better when they won 22 – 14 over the Knights up in Dairy Farmers and they will be praying the Sea Eagles go down, and that they can defeat the Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Stadium on Father’s Day to sneak inside that top four.
Round 26 comes to a close on Sunday night with a big match between this year’s Wooden Spooners, the Parramatta Eels, and the Dragons.
While both teams have said good-bye to the finals they will now prepare to say goodbye to a plethora of retiring players including Eels’ veterans Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh.
There won’t be much between these ones in the odds, so skip the bet on this one maybe and just kick back and enjoy what is sure to be an emotion charged finish to the round and the careers of some true champions.
The full 2012 NRL Round 26 draw, odds and tips are detailed below.
Don’t miss out on your last chance to back your team this season before we move into the finals.
Head to bookmaker.com.au and access the hottest NRL odds as well as a $400 bonus bet if you are a new customer that deposits and quotes the code BONUSBET!
2012 NRL Round 26
Friday August 31, 2012 (7:35pm) – Hunter Stadium
- Newcastle Knights ($2.42) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.57)
Friday August 31, 2012 (7:35pm) – Suncorp Stadium
- Brisbane Broncos ($1.20) v Penrith Panthers ($4.60)
Saturday September 1, 2012 (5:30pm) – Skilled Park
- Gold Coast Titans ($4.45) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.21)
Saturday September 1, 2012 (7:30pm) – Leichardt Oval
- Wests Tigers ($2.21) v Melbourne Storm ($1.67)
Saturday September 1, 2012 (7:30pm) – ANZ Stadium
- Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.17) v Sydney Roosters ($5.10)
Sunday September 2, 2012 (3:00pm) – Toyota Stadium
- Cronulla Sharks ($1.59) v North Queensland Cowboys ($2.37)
Sunday September 2, 2012 (4:00pm) – Mt Smart Stadium
- New Zealand Warriors ($2.50) v Canberra Raiders ($1.53)
Sunday September 2, 2012 (6:30pm)
- Parramatta Eels ($1.98) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.83)