Finals time is fast approaching as the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership moves into Round 22 this weekend with plenty of match-ups to rival those of any official rivalry round.
Upset Round 22 Tip: Panthers ($2.35) to defeat the Dragons ($1.62) on Sunday arvo through Ladbrokes.com.au
Things kick off tonight with a top-of-the-table clash between the top two ranked teams in the competition, the Manly Sea Eagles (1st) taking on the South Sydney Rabbitohs (2nd) at the SCG.
Manly have won four on the trot after their 16 – 4 victory over the Broncos in Brisbane seven nights ago, and are dominating the Ladbrokes.com.au Minor Premiership markets sitting four points clear of the rest of the teams.
The Bunnies meanwhile are also coming off a nice run of three straight secured with their Round 21 victory over the Knights where they flew to a 50 – 10 thrashing, but sit on 28 points equal with the Panthers (3rd) going into this weekend.
Souths get back Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o in the Round 22 blockbuster but Manly are also at full strength so should be a beauty.
- Tip: Manly to secure another 2 points and win by a converted try
The other Friday night showdown happens at Suncorp Stadium again with the Brisbane Broncos looking to atone for their loss here last week to the Sea Eagles, their fifth from their past six played, hosting the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Not much in these markets with the home side the narrow favourites, the 10th ranked Broncos looking to claw their way back into the Top 8 after back-to-back defeats.
Canterbury meanwhile are in fifth but need to snap a three straight losing streak that included going down 22 – 16 to Penrith a week ago.
- Tip: Brisbane to bounce back and hand the Bulldogs with their fourth straight loss winning by 12
Saturday night kicks off at Hunter Stadium with the problematic Newcastle Knights fighting to stay relevant playing the Melbourne Storm.
Newcastle are in real trouble here and the odds reflect their position with the Storm shorties in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets making a late charge for the finals after three consecutive wins they should have no problems adding to here.
Expect them to be a little better though with playmaker Jarrod Mullen coming back in.
- Tip: Melbourne by a big margin at least 16 over Newcastle
It’s back up to Queensland then for the next game of Round 22 with the North Queensland Cowboys playing at home against the Wests Tigers who will start at the longest odds of the round.
NQ are deserving favourites, the seventh-ranked club winning three on the trot leading up to this including their easy 28 – 8 win over the Titans last week.
Will love two on the trot at home as well while the Tigers are fighting off field dramas surrounding the sacking of their coach and the Robbie Farah show.
Melbourne beat them 28 – 6 on Monday night and on a short turnaround travelling with so much going on hard to see them getting close.
- Tip: North Queensland to win at home again this time by a big 22 points
The last Saturday clash pits the Parramatta Eels up against the Canberra Raiders in another match that looks easy to predict.
Eels ended a nasty run two weeks ago and are after their third straight as they sit just one outside the eight after beating the Sharks 32 – 12 last week.
They get another easy kill here with the Raiders sitting second last on the ladder following three consecutive defeats most recently going down in an embarrassing 54 – 18 loss to the Warriors.
- Tip: Eels to continue the Raiders’ woes with a 16 point win
The New Zealand Warriors then get the home ground advantage on Sunday afternoon over the Cronulla Sharks.
It would seem the footy gods are smiling on the Warriors as they played the second worst team in the comp last week for a huge confidence boosting win and can do the same again here over the Sharks.
However, Cronulla are their bogy team having beaten NZ the past five times these two have played by an average 20 points.
- Tip: New Zealand to net the Sharks but by less than predicted – 8 points
The other Sunday arvo showdown should be a closer affair with the St George Illawarra Dragons hosting the Penrith Panthers.
Dragons are 11th on the ladder so are still fighting and are looking to atone for a 30 – 22 loss to the Roosters last week.
Penrith meanwhile are sitting pretty up in third spot after bouncing back from two losses with a win over Canterbury last Friday night.
- Tip: Panthers for the upset by 6 points
To finish off Round 22on Monday night the Sydney Roosters start favourites over the Gold Coast Titans, and deservedly so based on how they both played last week.
The Chooks beat home the Dragons in a nice all-Sydney affair while the Titans had their own derby against fellow Queenslanders the Cowboys but were left 20 points down.
Gold Coast though has something to play for, to win their last for quitting coach John Cartwright.
- Tip: Roosters to win by 14 points
Ready to get in on the NRL betting action this weekend?
Visit Ladbrokes.com.au and get $2 lines on all the matches plus access to their exclusive Footy Freaks promotional market including tonight where Jack Reed is the Broncos’ ‘Freak’ to score and Brisbane to win paying $4.40!
2014 NRL Round 22 Draw
Friday August 8, 2014
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.08) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.77)
Brisbane Broncos ($1.85) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($2.02)
Suncorp Stadium (7:45pm)
Saturday August 9, 2014
Newcastle Knights ($4.10) v Melbourne Storm ($1.25)
Hunter Stadium (5:30pm)
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.13) v Wests Tigers ($6.25)
1300 Smiles Stadium (7:30pm)
Parramatta Eels ($1.22) v Canberra Raiders ($4.50)
TIO Stadium (8:30pm)
Sunday August 10, 2014
New Zealand Warriors ($1.20) v Cronulla Sharks ($4.70)
Mt Smart Stadium (2:00pm)
St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.62) v Penrith Panthers ($2.35)
WIN Stadium (3:00pm)
Monday August 11, 2014
Sydney Roosters ($1.25) v Gold Coast Titans ($4.10)
Allianz Stadium (7:00pm)
*All odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change