Crunch time is here and now is do or die for the clubs that have found themselves at the wrong end of the NRL Ladder come Round 18 this weekend with just eight weeks left until finals time in the 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership.
We’ve got a split round with just four games on the card with State Of Origin 2013 coming to its thrilling conclusion next Wednesday night, the injury-battling Blues hosting the all-conquering Maroons who will start hot favourites at bookmaker.com.au to make it eight straight series (and counting)!
But back to the non-rep footy on the cards this weekend.
Round 18 kicks off tonight at Suncorp Stadium with the down and out Brisbane Broncos, who will be without all their big name Origin stars, hosting the ferocious Cronulla Sharks.
While the Sharkies are without skipper Paul Gallen, who today was ruled out of Game III for Origin due to injury, they are still the red hot favourites for this one.
Brisbane loose and it’s goodbye finals. They are 13th on the ladder and without a win for a number of weeks unable to post any points in their big 32 – nil loss to Melbourne last Friday night in Melbourne.
Cronualla meanwhile are flying now in fifth spot on the ladder after beating the Tigers 36 – 22 last Friday night.
Stick with the favourites here we think.
The next match is on Saturday arvo with the Parramatta Eels underdogs at $3.80 to defeat the $1.30 Penrith Panthers.
Penrith have snuck into seventh spot after a huge 40 – 18 win over the Gold Coast in an upset last week and should have an easy time over the dead-last Eels (16th) who are in big trouble after getting 50 points posted against them in an embarrassing 50 – 10 loss at Brookvale on Monday night to Manly.
Sunday arvo then hosts a cracker down in Sydney with the Bulldogs (ninth) taking on the Storm (third), Canterbury desperate for an upset to get into that top eight.
Melbourne have their confidence back after last week’s easy kill but are at $3.80 to win being depleted of all their Origin stars for this making the Bulldogs the pick at $1.28.
The Round finishes up Monday night with the North Queensland Cowboys hosting the Sea Eagles.
Cowboys are at a juicy $2.88 missing their rep players and down after a 26 – 18 loss at Canberra last week.
Manly will have had a week to recover meanwhile after their outing in the park against the Eels in Round 17 and are the ones to stick with.
Get behind your favourites for the NRL this weekend and the Origin decider next Wednesday online now at bookmaker.com.au who are offering $2.10 lines on the State Of Origin!
2013 NRL Round 18 Draw
Friday July 12, 2013
Brisbane Broncos ($2.25) v Cronulla Sharks ($1.68)
Suncorp Stadium (7:45pm)
Saturday July 13, 2013
Parramatta Eels ($3.80) v Penrith Panthers ($1.30)
Parramatta Stadium (5:30pm)
Sunday July 14, 2013
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs ($1.28) v Melbourne Storm ($3.80)
ANZ Stadium (3:00pm)
Monday July 15, 2013
North Queensland Cowboys ($2.88) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.42)
1300SMILES Stadium (7:00pm)
*All odds quoted are head-to-head from bookmaker.com.au & subject to change
** Times quoted are local and subject to change