This weekend we enter the third round of the coveted NRL Telstra Premiership finals for 2012 with two cracker matches playing out in the preliminaries to determine which teams will play in this year’s NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday September 30.
It has been an entertaining and controversial footy finals series so far with some of the early season picks for the premiership done and dusted.
Just four teams remain in the hunt for the title of 2012 NRL premiers, the clear favourites for which are the Canterbury Bulldogs paying $2.70 to win the series through bookmaker.com.au.
The first game on the cards tonight however sees the overall premiership betting second favouries Melbourne Storm play the rough and tumble Manly Sea Eagles at AAMI Park.
The Storm enjoyed a week’s rest last week having smashed the Bunnies 24 – 6 in the opening round of the finals and now get their chance to make the grand final and secure their first official premiership title having had their 2007 and 2009 wins stripped last year as part of the salary cap rort.
Manly won’t let that happen without a fight however, the Sea Eagles out to defend their premiership title and prove they can go back-to-back in the world’s toughest Rugby League arena without Des Hasler.
They were beaten by Des’ new crew the Bulldogs in finals week one 16 – 10 but made it through to the preliminaries with their much debated 22 – 12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys last week, the losing team having had to suffer through some downright dreadful calls.
But all that controversy is behind them and the focus is on tonight where the Sea Eagles are the current $2.28 roughies behind Melbourne ($1.63).
This is truly a deep-seated rivalry and one that won’t disappoint the crowds.
They also have a rich history in recent grand finals, Melbourne having defeated the Sea Eagles back in 2007 before getting thrashed 40 – nil the next year’s.
These two have met just once before at AAMI Park, Melbourne winning that match and the last between the two in a narrow 26 – 22 win at Brookvale back in Round 15.
It’s going to be close and it’s going to be a thriller so stay tuned and take a narrow margin in those NRL betting markets, maybe even take the field goal!
The second game of finals week three then takes place at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night with the Doggies ready to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Green & Red’s are the $5 roughies in the overall premiership markets and are the $2.60 outsiders for tomorrow night’s clash against Canterbury ($1.50).
Canterbury are the deserved favourites having lost just one game since May 11 when the Canberra Raiders, knocked out of the series last week when beaten 38 – 16 by the Bunnies, got the better of them in an upset back in Round 25.
South Sydney meanwhile lost their first game of the finals 24 – 6 to Melbourne but found form last week with their confidence-boosting semis victory.
Hasler has turned the Bulldogs from a scramble to a success in just a few months and now the club is looking down the barrel of their first premiership win in 18 years, something they won’t be giving away easily.
It has been much, much longer between premierships for the Rabbitohs meanwhile – 41 long years in fact and until this season had played just one finals game since 1989 when going down 30 – 6 to Manly back in 2007.
Their chance of making the grand final this year looks long odds too with plenty other than just form on the favourite’s side here including the Dog’s imposing record against the Bunnies at ANZ winning 11 from 14.
2012 NRL Preliminary Finals
Friday September 21, 2012 (7:45pm) – AAMI Park
Saturday September 22, 2012 (7:45pm) – ANZ Stadium
Whatever team you’re getting behind this finals the best NRL odds and betting options can be found online with the 100 percent Australian owned and operated bookmaker.com.au – home of the famous $400 bonus welcome bet offer!
Take note too that when you cash in on this awesome sign-up bonus offer by opening a new bookmaker.com.au account, depositing and quoting the code BONUSBET you don’t have to use your $400 all in one go!
Have a bet on the two preliminaries then if you’ve chosen to split your bet three ways you will still have a free bet left for the 2012 NRL Grand Final through bookmaker.com.au!
*Odds quoted are provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change