It’s here! The last week of the regular 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership takes place over the next four nights before we move into the supercharged footy finals.
Upset Round 26 Tip: Brisbane ($3.20) to beat Melbourne ($1.36) on Friday night @ Ladbrokes.com.au
Things kick off tonight with a Thursday night footy feast, a mouth-watering showdown for the meat lovers – Chooks v Bunnies.
It’s third plays second on the ladder with the Sydney Roosters looking at another win to add to their growing string of successes after a Round 25 win over Melbourne posting double the points of the Storm (24 – 12).
This evening they play the South Sydney Rabbitohs who played in last Thursday night’s clash, beating the Bulldogs 21 – 14.
Souths have won three of the past four played between these two including the most recent back in Round 1 this year with a 28 – 8 victory to kick off the 2014 season.
They however have a notable loss in halfback Adam Reynolds for a dangers throw, but keep Isaac Luke and skipper John Sutton returns form a knee injury.
The Chooks also have a big loss with hooker Jake Friend missing with a chest injury.
Still plenty of firepire in both line-ups but think the Roosters will be a shade better on the night in a close affair.
On Friday night AAMI Park is host to an all-important game for the visiting Brisbane Broncos who have a tough away game against the Melbourne Storm they need to win to play next week.
Melbourne have slipped to sixth on the ladder after their loss to Sydney last week while Brisbane hung onto their finals’ dreams with a gutsy and entertaining 30 – 22 victory over the Dragons at Suncorp.
The Broncos have lost three straight down in Melbourne but come off back-to-back wins.
They need to do it without Sam Thaiday too on a dangerous contact suspension.
They might have a horror record against the Storm but they’ll want to farewell their coach on a high so don’t discount the visitors too soon.
Saturday football stars off with a battle of the losers, literally.
Neither the Wests Tigers nor the Cronulla Sharks will want to remember anything about this season and when that 80 minute whistle blows we’re guessing it will be sighs of relieve all round.
Tigers are 13th on the ladder while the Sharks will take out the Wooden Spoon after a horror year both on and off the field.
Following that the second worst ranked team, the Canberra Raiders play the Parramatta Eels who sit 10th on the ladder after a 42 – 12 thrashing by the Knights a week ago.
It should be a pretty close affair however with Anthony Milford, playing his last for the Green Machine, and the Eels’ Jarryd Hayne both capable of plenty of points in this must-win for Parra.
Then it’s up to 1300 Smiles Stadium for the North Queensland Cowboys’ clash against the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Cowboys are ranked fifth and are desperate for a Top 4 finish to honor the now officially retired Brent Tate.
On Monday night they had a shocker when starting at an unbackable price to beat the Sharks but going down by just one point in a 20 – 19 nail-biter.
Manly meanwhile are topping the table having won three of their past five played, including a similarly close 26 – 25 victory over Penrith at Brookvale last Sunday arvo.
The Sea Eagles boast an imposing record against the NQ crew including winning the past six played, including two very controversial results – just ask Johnathan Thurston to get him fired up leading up to this.
They’ll get a bumper crowd up there for the game and if they can keep the big boys charging they can salute for the fans in a genuine thriller.
This week the Sunday games are Newcastle Knights hosting the St George Illawarra Dragons, and an easy game for the Canterbury Bulldogs to win at Cbus Super Stadium over the down and out Gold Coast Titans.
To finish things off the Penrith Panthers will host the New Zealand Warriors in a close match on Sunday night with the fourth ranked big cats needing to hold off a Kiwi outfit desperate to make the top eight.
See below for the full 2014 NRL Round 26 draw, tips and latest odds from Ladbrokes.com.au.
Don’t forget Ladbrokes are your go-to bookie this footy finals time with $2 lines on the NRL and AFL, Footy Freaks markets on all the League showdowns this weekend plus a $250 bonus sign-up bet for first time depositing players to kick things off!
2014 NRL Round 26 Draw
Thursday September 4, 2014
Sydney Roosters ($1.60) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.40)
Allianz Stadium (7:45pm)
- Tip: Roosters
Friday September 5, 2014
Melbourne Storm ($1.36) v Brisbane Broncos ($3.20)
AAMI Park (7:45pm)
- Tip: Brisbane
Saturday September 6, 2014
Wests Tigers ($1.42) v Cronulla Sharks ($2.95)
Leichardt Oval (3:00pm)
- Tip: Tigers
Canberra Raiders ($2.95) v Parramatta Eels ($1.42)
GIO Stadium (5:30pm)
- Tip: Eels
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.65) v Manly Sea Eagles ($2.30)
1300 Smiles Stadium (7:30pm)
- Tip: Cowboys
Sunday September 7, 2014
Newcastle Knights ($1.65) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.30)
Hunter Stadium (2:00pm)
- Tip: Knights
Gold Coast Titans ($3.60) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.30)
Cbus Super Stadium (3:00pm)
- Tip: Bulldogs
Penrith Panthers ($1.80) v New Zealand Warriors ($2.05)
Sportingbet Stadium (6:30pm)
- Tip: Warriors
*All odds quoted are provided by Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change