The 2015 NRL finals are fast approaching and this weekend Round 22 plays out around the country as the teams in the top four fight for the Minor Premiership and those outside the eight make their last minute bid for the semis.
The weekend of footy kicks off with two important Friday night features including the ladder-leading Brisbane Broncos hosting the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.
Also on tonight is the resurgent Sea Eagles, fresh off a crushing victory over Brisbane, playing at Brookvale Oval against the fourth-ranked Rabbitohs.
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See below for the full NRL Round 22 draw and odds courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au!
Round 22 NRL Draw 2015
Friday August 7, 2015
Brisbane Broncos ($1.48) vs Canterbury Bulldogs ($2.75)
Suncorp Stadium (7:45pm)
Brisbane were embarrassed 44 – 14 by the Sea Eagles last Saturday when suffering their first loss in their past nine games played. This weekend they are back home at Lang Park and ready to atone looking to hang onto the No. 1 spot on the ladder that fellow Queenslanders the Cowboys are threatening to steal this week. Last round the Bulldogs went down by 10 to the Roosters and they’ll be without Greg Eastwood this week as they look to beat Brisbane in Brisbane – always a tough assignment.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles ($2.10) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.77)
Brookvale Oval (7:45pm)
Round 21 was full of upsets and Manly scored one of the biggest thrashing the comp’s current best team, Brisbane, by a massive margin. They return to Brookvale Oval then on a high with all the momentum shooting for their third win on the trot and chasing that spot in the finals they are desperate to clinch currently sitting 11th on the ladder. They were the underdogs last week but easily accounted for the Broncos. The Sea Eagles are again starting longer in the markets taking on the Bunnies who are eager to hang onto that fourth spot and the advantage when the finals roll around. Manly have the same side here that scored the big win last week with the additional advantage of Steve Matai’s return while South Sydney could see Paul Carter debut.
Saturday August 8, 2015
New Zealand Warriors ($2) vs St George Illawarra Dragons ($1.85)
Westpac Stadium (3:00pm)
New Zealand have lost form since the loss of Shaun Johnson but need to learn how to win without him if they are to get back into the Top eight after dropping to ninth. Last week the Sharks beat them by four at Mt Smart so how the Warriors go across the Tasman against St George who smashed the Knights (46 – 24) last week is anyone’s guess. The markets favour the Red V who welcome back Trent Merrin to the line-up in an added boost.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks ($2.50) vs North Queensland Cowboys ($1.55)
Remondis Stadium (5:30pm)
Cronulla are proving a real surprise package and are now in fifth on the ladder after a win over the Warriors in New Zealand last week. They get the home ground advantage now host in the Cowboys at Shark Park and are going to need it with North Queensland on fire having lost just once in their past 15 games played. This is shaping up as one of the best games of the round but the visitors are the clear favourites in betting for obvious reasons. The Sharks are without the Fifita brothers who are serving a six week suspension while Johnathan Thurston will be there leading NQ who have a couple of injury issues.
Parramatta Eels ($2.45) vs Penrith Panthers ($1.57)
TIO Stadium (7:30pm)
The Eels are 13th on the ladder and the Panthers 12th so both teams have said goodbye to a finals bid so only pride is left to play for here. Parramatta are the underdogs in this game played up in the Top End for the footy fans in Darwin and they are on the short back-up after a Monday night loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast. Penrith meanwhile actually weren’t horrible last round when only losing to the Bunnies by four points so think they’ll be the ones to beat here even with the Eels welcoming back to the squad Corey Norman, Will Hopoate and Brad Takairangi.
Sunday August 9, 2015
Melbourne Storm ($1.15) vs Gold Coast Titans ($5.75)
AAMI Park (2:00pm)
Some of the longest odds of the round on offer for the Gold Coast here who beat the Eels last Monday night. This weekend they travel to Melbourne to play the Storm who are sixth on the ladder despite some poor recent performances including their disappointing and shock 34 – 16 loss to the Tigers last Friday night. Surely they won’t put in that bad an effort against the Titans at AAMI Park especially with Nate Myles (shoulder) still under a cloud of doubt for the visitors?
Newcastle Knights ($6.25) vs Sydney Roosters ($1.13)
Hunter Stadium (4:00pm)
Don’t expect the fans to roll out at Hunter Stadium to watch their competition’s disaster story of 2015 suffer another loss. After kicking things off on a high to start number one on the ladder, Newcastle are now licking the wooden spoon in 16th spot and are the roughies of the round paying over $6 to beat the third-ranked Roosters. Last weekend was another dismal effort for the Knights who were comprehensively beaten, to put it nicely, 46 – 24 by the Dragons. The Tri-Colours meanwhile are shorties here after their Friday night win over the Doggies last round.
Monday August 10, 2015
Canberra Raiders ($1.48) vs Wests Tigers ($2.70)
GIO Stadium (7:00pm)
Round 22 concludes with a chilly clash at Canberra with the Green Machine favourites to better handle the icy conditions in the country’s capital on Monday night to beat the Tigers despite Wests big effort to upset Melbourne (34 – 16) last Friday night. The visitors won’t like travelling here and the Raiders will thrive at home on the back of their brave 32 – 24 loss to the Cowboys after fighting their way back into the game following an 18 – nil deficit early in the match last Saturday in North Queensland.
*All odds quoted are provided by Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change