A shortened round of just four games plays out for Round 17 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership this weekend with State of Origin Game 3 looming next Wednesday night up in Brisbane.
We’ve got eight teams, many with depleted squads, facing off across the four nights starting with a Friday night feature between the Panthers and Bunnies.
Arguably the game of the round is Saturday night’s feature at WIN Stadium where the fourth-ranked Dragons host the second-ranked Cowboys whose 11 straight winning streak came to an end last weekend with the JT-less crew unable to get the job done.
After St George went down in the upset 16 – 12 to the Eels a week ago, Ladbrokes.com.au are again offering them as the NRL $2 Favourites of the week.
NRL $2 Favourites: Enjoy a price boost on the Dragons to beat the Cowboys Saturday night! Max bet $20.
Check out our full Round 17 preview below then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to get your NRL bets down for the weekend!
2015 Round 17 Draw
Friday July 3, 2015
Penrith Panthers ($2.30) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.65)
Pepper Stadium (7:45pm)
Penrith are 10th on the ladder but looking to build on the momentum of last weekend’s massive 35 – 12 victory over the Tigers in the battle of the big cats to break a three-match losing streak. They take on the Bunnies who are five above them on the table and also coming off a win having beaten the Sea Eagles 20 – 8 last Friday night. Greg Inglis is on Origin duty for the Maroons but he’s the only notable omission from an otherwise strong South Sydney side. The Rabbitohs will feel the loss of Inglis, but Alex Johnson is a good fullback coming in as the replacement and the Bunnies have the statistical advantage, Penrith unable to lower their flag since 2011.
Saturday July 4, 2015
St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.48) vs North Queensland Cowboys ($2.70)
WIN Stadium (7:30pm)
The big one of the round, you can lock in the clear favourites St George at $2 to win this through Ladbrokes.com.au to beat an Origin-depleted North Queensland squad. Last week the Dragons went down in a shock four-point loss to one of the season’s worst, Parramatta, so they will be keen to atone. Similarly the Cowboys’ incredible 11-straight winning streak came to its inevitable end as they failed to go the distance against the Sharks without their skipper. The Dragons are slipping and just holding onto their spot in the Top 4 having failed to win this mount, and their run home is tough so they need to post some competition points here. NQ meanwhile put up crappy defense last week to give away an 18 – nil halftime lead and need to learn the lesson quickly to get back in the winner’s stall, which they could do with Robert Lui given one last chance to keep the jersey.
Sunday July 5, 2015
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles ($1.45) vs Cronulla Sutherland Sharks ($2.80)
Brookvale Oval (4:00pm)
Despite going down 20 – 8 to South Sydney last Friday night, Manly are favourites here at home in front of a keen crowd at Brookvale. They play the Sharks who continued to live up to their giant killer status when beating the Cowboys up in North Queensland in Round 16. The Sea Eagles are still last on the ladder despite showing some improvement over the past month, while Cronulla have been pretty inconsistent. Origin doesn’t take away anyone of note from Manly with Daly Cherry-Evans overlooked and dropped from the Game 3 Queensland squad leaving him free to play for the Sea Eagles here. The Sharks though are still without skipper Paul Gallen who, even with the rib issue, lines up for the Blues squad. Cronulla are near the top eight but don’t think they will hold off Manly here.
Monday July 6, 2015
Wests Tigers ($2.40) vs Parramatta Eels ($1.60)
ANZ Stadium (7:00pm)
The Tigers are right down to 14th on the ladder after playing very ordinary football last week to go down in a thrashing to Penrith. They are underdogs then for Monday night’s clash to beat the 12th-ranked Eels who will be on a high after their surprise win over the Dragons. If either of these are to stay in touch with a possible finals bid they need to start winning, and quickly. Wests lose both Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah to the New South Wales Origin side and that doesn’t help their chances here at all. Tim Simona is also out with an ankle injury. Will Hopoate comes out for the Eels but otherwise their squad is strong for this likely close match. Flip a coin and go for a 1 – 4 margin for exotics instead.