It’s back to the regular NRL season after the 2014 State Of Origin series was secured by the Blues for the first time since 2005 after NSW defeated Queensland in a Game 2 thriller on Wednesday night.
This weekend then there are six fixtures for the NRL Telstra Premiership Round 15 draw, many of the teams backing up without some notable rep players.
Teams with a Round 15 bye are: South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers.
Upset Round 15 Tip: Parramatta Eels ($2.20) to defeat the Storm on Sunday at Ladbrokes.com.au
Friday June 20, 2014
Canberra Raiders ($2.25) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.65)
GIO Stadium (7:450pm)
Things kick off tonight at GIO Stadium with the Canberra Raiders hosting the Canterbury Bulldogs, both coming off a string of losses.
Bulldogs have lost three straight dropping to sixth on the ladder after struggling without their star halves combo of Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson last week when going down 12 – 22 to the Eels.
They are favourites here with the boys back, but how they go after a brutal Origin showdown will be key.
- Tip: Bulldogs by 6 with Reynolds and Hodkinson still riding the Origin high
Saturday June 21, 2014
New Zealand Warriors ($1.48) v Brisbane Broncos ($2.70)
Mt Smart Stadium (5:30pm)
On Saturday then the New Zealand Warriors are favourites over the Brisbane Broncos who have a tough back-up from Origin travelling across the Tasman.
Broncos are fifth on the ladder and the Warriors 11th but only four points separate them.
NZ got a bye last week after going down 34 – 18 in Round 13 to the Bunnies, but lose Ben Matulino (knee) to injury.
Also off a bye, Brisbane is hit hard with injuries and Origin losses with Gillett, Hodges and Thaiday all out of the equation. Bent Hunt though does back-up in one positive for the visitors here.
- Tip: Warriors by 8 with Brisbane missing their defeated rep stars
Saturday June 21, 2014
Cronulla Sharks ($3.50) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.30)
Remondis Stadium (7:30pm)
Second on the ladder behind the Panthers but equal on 20 points, the Manly Sea Eagles play in Saturday night’s other clash going up against the Sharks (15th).
An obvious pick here with not much going for Cronulla in this Battle of the Beaches.
They do however get a whole host of players back including Todd Carney, Lewis Gallen and Anthony Tupou so that will count for something. But Andrew Fifita (hand) is out for at least eight weeks.
Manly come off the bye so those who didn’t play Origin are fresh, they do lose Anthony Watmough to a four match suspension however so he will also miss out on Origin 3.
- Tip: Manly by 16 points with the Sea Eagles boasting a big 58 to 23 wins from 83 played between these two
Sunday June 22, 2014
Melbourne Storm ($1.67) v Parramatta Eels ($2.20)
AAMI Park (2:00pm)
Another team that is going to struggle post-Origin is then the Melbourne Storm (9th) looking to claw their way back into Top 8 calculations when they play the Eels on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park.
Parra are seventh on the ladder after back-to-back wins, while the Storm also come off a win having held on to defeat the Titans 24 – 20 last Monday night.
It’ll be a tough trip down to Victoria for the Eels, who are just two points ahead of their rivals, but with Jarryd Hayne back and still living up his Origin success it could be key.
Melbourne get back skipper Cameron Smith and No. 1 Billy Slater, who the youngsters managed to win without last week, but they’ll be pretty deflated after Wednesday night’s loss so sniffing an upset.
- Tip: Eels in a 4-point upset win with Hayne to show Smith and co. why the Blues won
Sunday June 22, 2014
Gold Coast Titans ($1.62) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.25)
At first glance a bit of a nothing game here with 12 (Titans) playing 13 (Dragons), but this could show who stays in touch with a semi-finals dream and who is out for the count.
It’s desperation that will win this with the Gold Coast looking to break a nasty succession of losses sitting zero from five, and St George with only one win from their past five played.
Benji Marshall has showed a couple of flashes of his former greatness, if he can produce again here and Widdop and Dugan keep their cool they could get in.
- Tip: Marshall magic to flash long enough for Dragons to win by 4
Monday June 23, 2014
Newcastle Knights ($1.92) v North Queensland Cowboys ($1.92)
Hunter Stadium (7:00pm)
Toughest of the round to call with favouritism hanging on whether Johnathan Thurston (named) backs up for the Cowboys, and how the boys go down in Newcastle after their sad Origin loss.
North Queensland could struggle here with injury dramas a plenty including Matt Scott who came off in Origin with a fractured cheek bone and a decision pending on whether Brett Tate (knee) will ever play again after another horrific injury.
Newcastle are desperate for a win not having scored the two points since Round 6, while the Cowboys have gone 295 days without an away win – imposing hoodoos for both.
With the NQ crew’s injury dramas and the home ground advantage though think the Knights can get in narrowly.
- Tip: Scott and Tate will be missed by the Cowboys with Newcastle to win by 4
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