Following the incredibly gritty State Of Origin Game 1 clash on Wednesday night, this weekend we move into Round 12 of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership with another split round.
There are six games on the card this weekend, many of the squads for which are affected by the rough and tumble arena that is Origin and that saw the Blues defeat Queensland 12 – 8 to ignite hope for those South of the Tweed.
Upset Round 12 Tip: Broncos ($2) to beat Manly ($1.83) in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon
Teams with a bye this week are: Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers.
Most thankful for the week off will be the Doggies whose star halves combo of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds were a big part of why New South Wales were able to outscore and out defend the Queensland crew in the Origin opener.
Friday night footy has just the one match tonight then with a top-of-the-table Wests Derby between the Penrith Panthers (3rd) and Parramatta Eels (4th).
It should be a beauty too as the two are the closest on the ladder they’ve been since 1986 when they were last both inside the top four.
The big cats hold favouritism despite news their high profile Jamal Idris is out indefinitely to deal with personal issues.
Penrith come off a bye, before which they won back-to-back including a 36 – 0 Dragons annihilation, as do the Eels who have the same lead-up with Round 9 and 10 wins and a Round 11 break.
The big loss for the Eels though is champion fullback Jarryd Hayne, Origin I Man of the Match who will be rested this week.
- Tip: Parramatta by 6
The Sydney Roosters are then hosting the Canberra Raiders at Allainz Stadium in the first of two Saturday night showdowns.
This one should be an easy win for Sydney who are hot favourites, the Green Machine out to $5 in betting, to secure their fifth win in six games and secure their sixth spot on the ladder.
The Raiders meanwhile are near the bottom of the ladder (14th) after losing three on the trot before their huge 42 – 12 victory over a Cowboys crew depleted of their rep stars.
The Chooks also come off a nice Round 11 win having easily accounted for the Bulldogs 32 – 12 last Friday night.
The reigning Premiers are definitely the ones to beat here though as they start to build towards a similarly big finish they enjoyed last season that took them all the way to the Grand Final.
- Tip: Roosters by 16
The other Saturday night event is a similar story in that the North Queensland Cowboys, desperate to atone for their Round 11 disaster, are very short to defeat the Melbourne Storm who will feel the hit of Origin like no other club this week.
The Cowboys are 11th on the Ladder while Melbourne are up in fifth, but table positions count for little around State Of Origin time.
Sure North Queensland have skipper Johnathan Thurston, who had a very flat Game 1, and Matthew Scott backing up from the Maroons’ loss but Melbourne’s key three all suffered nasty injuries and aren’t backing up.
Cooper Cronk is out for up to 12 weeks after breaking his arm inside the opening 10 minutes, Cameron Smith is struggling with an ankle injury while fullback Billy Slater is also being rested after a grade-two AC join sprain to his right shoulder which could see him miss a full three weeks.
- Tip: Cowboys by 14
Other notable Round 12 games include the Brisbane Broncos who are slight underdogs to beat home the Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon; and the South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting the down-and-out St George Illawarra Dragons on Monday night.
See below for the full NRL Round 12 draw, match times and venues below.
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2014 NRL Round 12 Draw
Friday May 30, 2014
Penrith Panthers ($1.42) v Parramatta Eels ($2.90)
Sportingbet Stadium (7:45pm)
Saturday May 31, 2014
Sydney Roosters ($1.18) v Canberra Raiders ($5)
Allianz Stadium (5:30pm)
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.15) v Melbourne Storm ($5.75)
1300 Smiles Stadium (7:30pm)
Sunday June 1, 2014
Brisbane Broncos ($2) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.83)
Suncorp Stadium (3:00pm)
Monday June 2, 2014
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.22) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($4.20)
ANZ Stadium (7:00pm)
*All odds quoted are head-to-head from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change