Six games play out for Round 18 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership this weekend with four teams on a bye in the last of the abbreviated rounds surrounding State of Origin.
Everyone in the Sunshine State will still be on a high after the mighty Queensland Maroons proved they most certainly were not too old or too slow to secure their ninth series win in 10 years, absolutely smashing the Blues 52 – 6 at “The Cauldron” in Brisbane for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
NRL $2 Favourites: Get a juicy $2 for the Sydney Roosters to beat the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night at Ladbrokes.com.au! Max bet $20.
While the action won’t quite be as exciting as that this weekend, there’s still plenty to tune in for across the four nights as the race to the semis really heats up as the 26-round regular season fast comes to a close.
See below for the full NRL Round 18 draw and preview then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for the weekend’s best NRL odds including the red hot Saturday evening promo – $2 Favourites for Sydney to beat Penrith!
Friday July 10, 2015
Canberra Raiders ($1.45) vs Newcastle Knights ($2.85)
GIO Stadium (7:45pm)
The Green Machine are the ones to beat in the chilly Canberra where temperatures have been dropping into negatives all week. They are 11th on the ladder while the former table-topping Knights have dropped right down to 15th. It’s been a while between drinks for both teams but the Raiders should break the drought especially as Josh Papalii is set to return after scoring a try for Queensland in Origin Game 3. Dane Gagai, who made his Origin debut for the Maroons and scored their first four-pointer meanwhile looks set to play for the Knights, but he’s unlikely to be celebrating another win here.
Saturday July 11, 2015
Penrith Panthers ($2.75) vs Sydney Roosters ($1.48)
Pepper Stadium (5:30pm)
The NRL $2 Favourites match of the round, Ladbrokes.com.au are offering a juicy $2 for the Roosters to beat the Big Cats in Penrith here and remain in the Top 4. The home side Panthers has the momentum after beating the Rabbitohs last week but the star-studded Sydney outfit is fresh off a bye. There were four Chooks in Origin III and all came through the clash unscathed so they welcome back Mitchell Pearce, Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner and Michael Jennings – NSW sole try scorer – making them a pretty safe bet.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs ($1.55) vs Brisbane Broncos ($2.50)
ANZ Stadium (7:30pm)
The bookies have the Doggies as the shorties in the markets here to hang onto their eighth spot on the ladder as the finals approach. Brisbane are at big odds though and sitting number one on the ladder should definitely be respected. Both teams are fresh off a bye and enjoyed big wins back in Round 16, so even in that regard. As for the returning Origin players, there were five for the Bulldogs playing on Wednesday night and Des Hasler has named them all, but who actually backs up is yet to be confirmed. The Broncos also had a massive representation in the Queensland squad with Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker and Darius Boyd set to play this weekend, while Justin Hodges will be rested with Jack Reed coming into the centres to replace him.
Sunday July 12, 2015
New Zealand Warriors ($1.52) vs Melbourne Storm ($2.60)
Mt Smart Stadium (2:00pm)
The Warriors get the home ground advantage in an important seventh vs fifth showdown were Melbourne are looking to break a frustrating streak of losses against lower class teams. They’ve really felt the impact of losing Billy Slater to the season-ending shoulder injury and Origin has also made its mark on the club as it always does this time of year. Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers and Cameron Smith – who was one of the standouts under pressure on Wednesday night – are all named to play. Ryan Hoffman though is unlikely to run on for New Zealand after missing most of Origin Game 3 with a calf injury. Tipping a Storm resurgence.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks ($1.73) vs St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.15)
Remondis Stadium (4:00pm)
The Sharkies are now clear favourites after sitting even money with St George earlier in the week. They are 10th on the ladder compared to the Dragons up in fourth spot, but the visitors have a few issues with their squad this round following a loss to the Cowboys last week. Trent Merrin is suspended after a brain snap in the Origin decider and star fullback Josh Dugan injured his arm in the clash so might also be missing. For Cronulla, Blues skipper Paul Gallen is on the role call but might still miss Sunday’s game. Michael Ennis though is more likely to run on, while Chris Heighington was cleared at the NRL judiciary and is right to play.
Monday July 13, 2015
Gold Coast Titans ($2.95) vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles ($1.42)
Cbus Super Stadium (7:00pm)
Manly may have been red hot favourites to take out the Wooden Spoon up until a couple of weeks ago but it seems the Sea Eagles, now Daly Cherry-Evans is staying put, are starting to improve and make a very late run for a finals bid. Speaking of DCE, you’ll hear the booing all the way to Sydney from the Gold Cost on Monday night as he faces the club he turned his back on and ripped up a contract for the first time here. Skipper Nate Myles is uninjured after Origin and returns for the Titans but think they are going to be focused on the wrong things.