With the 2014 State Of Origin series now done and dusted, Queensland enjoying a 32 – 8 pride win in the closer after missing out on the trophy for the first time in nine years, this weekend its back to the Telstra Premiership action.
Upset Round 18 Tip: Sharks ($2.10) to defeat the Knights ($1.75) through Ladbrokes.com.au on Sunday
We’ve got six games on the agenda with the last of the split rounds.
Teams with a Round 18 bye are: South Sydney Rabbitohs, North Queensland Cowboys, St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters.
Friday July 11, 2014
Manly Sea Eagles ($1.22) v Wests Tigers ($4.50)
Brookvale Oval (7:45pm)
Things kick off on Friday night with a Brookvale Oval beauty, the second placed Manly Sea Eagles hosting the Wests Tigers who are 10th on the ladder after their 26 – 10 loss to the Panthers last Sunday.
Manly will start hot favourites and are looking to return to winning form after their 23 – 16 loss to the Bulldogs a week ago.
They went down to the Tigers back in Round 5 but will take some beating here with Daly Cherry-Evans named to back up after playing for Queensland on Wednesday night where he set up the game’s opening try.
Tigers should have Farah and Woods back from Origin too but still find them hard to back.
- Tip: Sea Eagles to beat Tigers by 14 points.
Saturday July 12, 2014
New Zealand Warriors ($1.22) v Parramatta Eels ($4.33)
Mt Smart Stadium (5:30pm)
Saturday night there are two games playing with the New Zealand Warriors first-up at Mt Smart Stadium playing the Parramatta Eels.
Warriors are inside the top eight after back-to-back wins while the Eels are in ninth fighting for a spot in the semis after back-to-back losses.
New Zealand is very hard to beat right now with six of their past eight games won especially across the Tasman.
- Tip: Warriors to beat the Eels by 6 points.
Saturday July 12, 2014
Melbourne Storm ($1.50) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($2.65)
AAMI Park (7:30pm)
The other Saturday game is the Melbourne Storm and their host of Origin stars taking on the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Good game here with the Bulldogs shooting for their third win on the trot to secure their spot inside the top four while the Storm aren’t giving up on the finals currently sitting eighth and coming off a bye.
Cooper Cronk hasn’t been named for Melbourne, while the Doggies welcome back Origin Blues’ centres Reynolds and Hodkinson.
Should be close, if Cronk is a late call-up think he’ll help get the favourites over the line.
- Tip: Melbourne to beat the Bulldogs by 2 points.
Sunday July 13, 2014
Gold Coast Titans ($1.62) v Canberra Raiders ($2.35)
Cbus Super Stadium (2:00pm)
On Sunday the opener has the Gold Coast Titans favourites over the Canberra Raiders, the home side 12th with the Raiders second last on the ladder.
Bit of a non-event this game but GC aren’t down and out just yet so if they can start to fire now the season is not dead.
Bird, Myles and Taylor could back-up from Origin and how they handle that will also be key to this game where the Titans are looking for their first win at home since Round 6. Should get it too on a warm sunny Sunday.
- Tip: Titans to beat the Raiders by 12 points.
Sunday July 13, 2014
Cronulla Sharks ($2.10) v Newcastle Knights ($1.75)
Remondis Stadium (3:00pm)
The other Sunday showdown is another dud season-wise, but could prove a beauty on the field.
The wooden spoon favourites the Sharks play the Newcastle Knights who just heard Bennett won’t be staying on in 2015 and stars are likely to follow.
For now though the Knights are in real trouble 14th on the ladder, so probably won’t see them in a few weeks either.
Cronulla have surprisingly strung together back-to-back upsets despite their off field dramas and the loss of Todd Carney beating the Broncos two back and then a narrow 30 – 28 win over the Roosters last Saturday so they have the momentum.
Newcastle had a bye last round but before that won two straight so, like the Sharks, are looking for a hat-trick here.
Both don’t have much to prove now however and if they play flat tune out.
- Tip: Sharks narrowly by 2 points.
Monday July 14, 2014
Penrith Panthers ($1.65) v Brisbane Broncos ($2.25)
Sportingbet Stadium (7:00pm)
Round 18 then comes to a close on Monday night with the Penrith Panthers playing the Brisbane Broncos.
The big cats are on a roll with three from three leading up to this to secure the No. 1 spot. Last week they beat the Tigers easy 26 – 10 and they are in Sydney this week.
Brisbane meanwhile is needing to bounce back after successive losses to slip to sixth on the ladder.
Last week they had a bye so are fresh and welcome back their Origin stars including Game III Man of the Match Corey Parker.
They play a team though who are eight from nine, an imposing record, so need to be at full strength with no rest for their rep stars.
Likely to come down to the wire, Penrith lose former Bronco Peter Wallace which they will feel, but Brisbane aren’t playing well away from home.
- Tip: Penrith by 4 points.
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