2014 NRL Finals Week 1 – Who Will Make It Through?

After 26 nervous weeks on the sidelines we have finally arrived at the NRL Telstra Premiership 2014 Week 1 Finals featuring two qualifying games between the Top 4 on the ladder and two do-or-die elimination matches for the other quartet who aren’t safe just yet.

Upset NRL Week 1 Finals Tip: Brisbane to beat North Queensland on Saturday night!

Below we take a quick look at all the NRL week one final games, odds and tips so you can head over to Ladbrokes.com.au and back your teams at the hottest odds.

You will also enjoy $2 lines on the NRL this weekend at Ladbrokes, have access to their always popular Footy Freak markets plus get a cash refund if your team loses by 6 points or less this week up to $50!

Friday September 12, 2014

Manly Sea Eagles ($2.85) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.45)

Allianz Stadium (7:55pm)

Manly finished up second best on the NRL Ladder at the end of the regular round thanks to points for and against after they lost their Round 26 match with a 30 – 16 hiding by the North Queensland Cowboys up at 1300 Smiles Stadium.

In the opening qualifier then they take on the third-ranked South Sydney Rabbitohs who also lost 22 – 18 to the Roosters last Thursday night.

Adam Reynolds is back in the No. 7 for the Bunnies as Souths look to strike the killer blow against Manly who have won six of the past 10 games played between these too.

Manly is a tough outfit and while this one could go either way think the Rabbitohs imposing forward back and a star performance by Greg Inglis could see Manly sweat it out next week while the Bunnies get a week off.

Saturday September 13, 2014

Sydney Roosters ($1.25) v Penrith Panthers ($4.10)

Allianz Stadium (5:50pm)

The action returns to Allianz on Saturday night for the second qualifier where the Minor Premiership winners and 2013 Premiership defenders Sydney take on the Penrith Panthers.

Chooks will be red hot favourites here after finishing top of the table and posting their sixth consecutive win last Thursday night when beating the Bunnies 22 – 18.

After training with the team this week following a life-threatening chest injury Jake Friend is unlikely to line-up but the fact he’s back in work at all shows just how much the Chooks want to defy 20 years of Rugby League history by going back-to-back in this year’s Grand Final.

Roosters have a good history against the Big Cats including wining six of the past seven games played between these two at Allianz Stadium , so while Penrith will show up, think at home the Roosters are going to be too hard to hold off with the talent and experience to boot.

Saturday September 13, 2014

North Queensland Cowboys ($1.42) v Brisbane Broncos ($2.95)

1300 Smiles Stadium (7:55pm)

Unlucky not to finish in the Top 4 the Cowboys ended up fifth on the ladder after a strong end to the season that ended with a brilliant home game win, 30 – 16 over Manly, that atoned for their troubling 20 – 19 shocker over the Sharks the week before.

They play a Brisbane outfit very lucky to have scraped into the finals.

The Broncos lost to the Storm last week and were left sweating on the results of two other games in the final round.

As it turned out the Raiders and Panthers did them a favour and here we are with a beautiful Queensland Derby to kick off the elimination games.

Cowboys play in front of another massive home crowd here for their third up in NQ on the trot and will be the clear favourites based on their more consistent form at the pointy end of the season.

The stats over Brisbane looking ahead are scary for the boys as no side has won from eighth place since the NRL brought in an eight-team finals system in 1999 but that’s not to say they won’t go down without a fight starting here!

And the odds on the Broncos could be juicy if you look at the fact they’ve won 74% of all games played up in Townsville while the Cowboys have won just 47% of their home games overall.

In 22 games played at 1300 Smiles Stadium Brisbane have lost just five times, including two in sudden-death semis that saw them knocked out of both the 2004 and 2012 competitions.

Can they atone here against an on-fire Johnathan Thurston-led forwards pack?

They face an unchanged North Queensland line-up and are missing Jack Reed who injured his shoulder last week, replaced here by Corey Oats, but still give them a chance as they will be fighting right up to the siren.

Sunday September 14, 2014

Melbourne Storm ($1.32) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($3.50)

AAMI Park (4:10pm)

To finish off the opening week of the NRL finals we head to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon where the Storm will start favourites over the Doggies.

Melbourne looked to have killed Brisbane’s finals dream last week with their 22 – 12 win.

They did it tough before that however when 24 – 12 losers to the Roosters and need to win to stay in the game for another week.

It is the same story for Canterbury who ended the round with a disappointing 19 – 18 loss to the Gold Coast Titans that went into Golden Point.

They’ll be work out from that with the Storm set to strike in a 2012 Grand Final rematch especially if Cameron Smith (ankle) plays.

Head to Ladbrokes.com.au now and get in on the NRL Footy Finals fever at the best prices enjoying money back up to $50 if your team goes down by six points or less in week one!