With only a few weeks left before finals footy takes our favourite NRL teams only have a few chances left to secure their semis bid.
Round 23 of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership kicked off with Thursday night footy back.
Upset Round 23 Tip: Newcastle Knights ($2.35 through Ladbrokes.com.au) to beat the Warriors on Sunday afternoon
It was a horror result though for Broncos fans hanging on to the glimmer of hope suggesting their boys could sneak into the Top 8 with Brisbane in 10th spot and likely to drop further down after getting thrashed 42 – 16 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Bunnies are looking more and more likely like genuine premiership contenders too now sitting pretty at the top of the ladder with a host of wins behind them including their impressive 23 – 4 victory over former No. 1 Manly last Friday night.
This Friday night the Parramatta Eels play the Canterbury Bulldogs and it’s a flip-a-coin kind of market for the ANZ Stadium showdown.
The Eels are on the cusp of a finals bid sitting ninth on the ladder after beating Canberra 18 – 18 last week while the Bulldogs’ miserable form continued in Round 22 when beaten 41 – 10 by Brisbane.
They still sit inside the top eight despite their four straight losses but are unlikely to stay there with grub of the game Josh Reynolds suspended for his horror game last week that saw him sin binned for multiple infractions including tripping former team mate Ben Barba.
Canterbury also missing injured prop Sam Kasiano and lost 22 – 12 when these two met back in Round 14, and that was when the Bulldogs had won their previous six matches so could be in for some pain here.
- Tip: Eels by 8 points
Saturday there are three games to look forward to starting with the Canberra Raiders playing the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Bit of a nothing game with both having said goodbye to the finals really, but Dragons should be able to break a two game losing streak with a win over the down and out Raiders.
Should be able to. History however shows an incredible hoodoo St George needs to overcome as they haven’t won at Canberra since Round 22 of 2000 – 14 years ago!
They have also won just one of their past 17 against Canberra who are their definite bogey team, but the Dragons are at full strength and due for a win.
- Tip: Dragons by 12 points
Next we head to AAMI Park where the Melbourne Storm will begin their late season resurgence hosting the Cronulla Sharks who welcome back skipper Paul Gallen.
Only the bravest will be taking the wooden spoon favourites at their long odds with Melbourne at nearly an unbackable price to move up from seventh and get back to the business of winning after last week’s hiccup going down 30 – 32 to the Knights.
- Tip: Melbourne by 20 points
The Wests Tigers then play at home at Leichardt Oval as the outsiders hosting the Sydney Roosters who have the same 17-man squad as last week.
Tigers are 12th on the Ladder with just the one win in the past five games played, their third straight loss occurring last weekend with an embarrassing 64 – 6 hiding by the Cowboys.
With the off field and club issues having a negative impact on their game it’s hard to see the big cats claw back here even at home with the fourth-ranked Tri-Colours after their third consecutive win after last week’s 26 – 18 win over the Gold Coast in Monday night footy.
- Tip: Roosters by 18 points
On Sunday the action moves to Hunter Stadium with the Newcastle Knights looking to post another win for pride, a shot at the semis done and dusted as they sit 14th.
They play the New Zealand Warriors who will be hard to hold off with the sixth-ranked club after their third on the trot after beating the Sharks last week, albeit by only four points.
Still think this could be your upset pick of the week with Newcastle often surprising including their untipped win over Melbourne last week and New Zealand sometimes hard to feel confident about away from home.
Also aiding the Knights’ is the likely return of forward Beau Scottt and playmaker Jarrod Mullen from injury.
- Tip: Newcastle by 4 points
The Gold Coast Titans, now under official coaching of Neil Henry, then start roughies over the Manly Sea Eagles who are looking to atone for their surprise loss (23 – 4) at the hands of the Bunnies last Friday night.
This is a much easier assignment and will be keen to regain minor premiership favouritism.
Titans meanwhile lost last Monday night (26 – 18) to the Roosters and could struggle to stay in touch here.
- Tip: Manly by 16 points
The round finishes up on Monday night at Sportingbet Stadium with former the first-ranked Penrith Panthers, now third on the ladder, playing the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Cowboys are on the brink of a Top 4 place sitting fifth on the Ladder and in high spirits after killing the Tigers last Saturday night.
They are away from home this week however, and even though they broke their away hoodoo earlier in the season punters still can’t be too confident backing them against tougher opposition here.
Penrith meanwhile were 16 – 4 winners over the Dragons last Sunday and this one is shaping up as one of the round’s best with the stats stacking in the visitor’s favour with NQ having won their past four played against Penrith by an average 19 points.
- Tip: Cowboys by 8 points
Now is the time to get over to Ladbrokes.com.au and place your NRL Round 23 bets on the remaining seven games enjoying $2 lines on every match!
At Ladbrokes you will also find their exclusive Footy Freak markets including tonight with Josh Morris the Bulldogs’ ‘Freak’ at $4.65 to score a try and Canterbury to win!
2014 NRL Round 23 Draw
Friday August 15, 2014
Parramatta Eels ($1.88) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.96)
ANZ Stadium (7:45pm)
Saturday August 16, 2014
Canberra Raiders ($2.20) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.70)
GIO Stadium (3:00pm)
Melbourne Storm ($1.10) v Cronulla Sharks ($7)
AAMI Park (5:30pm)
Wests Tigers ($4) v Sydney Roosters ($1.25)
Leichardt Oval (7:30pm)
Sunday August 17, 2014
Newcastle Knights ($2.35) v New Zealand Warriors ($1.60)
Hunter Stadium (2:00pm)
Gold Coast Titans ($3.70) v Manly Sea Eagles ($1.28)
Cbus Super Stadium (3:00pm)
Monday August 18, 2014
Penrith Panthers ($2) v North Queensland Cowboys ($1.83)
Sportingbet Stadium (7:00pm)
*All odds quoted from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change