We are just weeks out from the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership finals and the race is on to secure a Top 8 and Top 4 spot as we head into Round 23.
From now until the finals the NRL draw includes a Thursday night showdown starting tonight with the Cowboys hosting the Rabbitohs up in North Queensland.
Friday night footy is down to the one game and this week it’s a cracker between the ladder-leaders Brisbane keen to atone for back-to-back losses when they play the seventh-placed Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
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The other feature game of Round 23 doesn’t take place until Monday night when Cronulla, now fifth in the ladder with a top four finish more than achievable, playing the Melbourne Storm (sixth) at Shark Park.
See below for our full NRL Round 23 preview before placing your bets online at Ladbrokes.com.au!
2015 Round 23 NRL Draw
Thursday August 13, 2015
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.48) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.75)
1300 Smiles Stadium (7:45pm)
The Cowboys are chasing the Minor Premiership and sit a close second on the ladder behind fellow Queenslanders Brisbane. They lost to the Sharks last week and are on the short turnaround here (Saturday – Thursday), but are still shorties to beat South Sydney who Manly beat by 20 last weekend. The home side also welcome back Matt Scott so should be firing up at NQ headquarters.
Friday August 14, 2015
Brisbane Broncos ($1.25) vs St George Illawarra Dragons ($4)
Suncorp Stadium (7:45pm)
Brisbane need to get back to the business of winning to stay top of the table after losing to Manly and the Bulldogs the last two weeks. They play St George who kept NZ scoreless (36 – 0) last weekend and so must really dig deep. It is a Friday night feature at Lang Park though and even with Justin Hodges on the sidelines copping a one-week suspension after some silly slip-ups last week, the Broncos should finish on top.
Saturday August 15, 2015
Wests Tigers ($1.42) vs Newcastle Knights ($2.95)
Campbelltown Stadium (3:00pm)
The Tigers have built a bit of momentum with two wins in two weeks including their surprise victory over the Raiders down in Canberra last Monday night. This weekend they get it all their way with a Campbelltown home game on a Saturday afternoon against Wooden Spoon favourites Newcastle. Hard to see Newcastle winning even after a brave final quarter in their loss to the Roosters last weekend, but no one wants to finish last on the ladder so that could inspire them to do … something!
Penrith Panthers ($1.35) vs New Zealand Warriors ($3.35)
Pepper Stadium (5:30pm)
Penrith play at home on Saturday evening taking on the Warriors who were embarrassed when kept scoreless by the Dragons last weekend across the Tasman. No surprise the home side are the favourites here then even though the Panthers are 14th on the ladder and the Warriors are 10th with the finals still a mathematical possibility.
Sydney Roosters ($1.06) vs Parramatta Eels ($10)
Allianz Stadium (7:30pm)
The Roosters ($3) are current favourites to win the NRL Grand Final this season and are third on the ladder heading into Round 23 on the back of a win against the Knights. The last quarter of play from the Chooks was definitely below par, and while they’ll need to lift their game heading into the finals, against the Eels this weekend at Allianz they are the shortest-priced favourites of the week. Parramatta meanwhile are out to double figures for the win, which in head-to-head Rugby League betting is kind of crazy, but still not tempting!
Sunday August 16, 2015
Canberra Raiders ($2.65) vs Manly Sea Eagles ($1.50)
GIO Stadium (2:00pm)
The Green Machine lost at home last Monday night to the Tigers and are back at GIO stadium on Sunday arvo trying to stop the resurgent Sea Eagles from scoring their third win on the trot. While Canberra have the home advantage, they are the underdogs here with Manly ninth on the ladder and super keen to sneak into that Top 8 in time for the semis where they play some of their best footy.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs ($1.14) vs Gold Coast Titans ($6)
Central Coast Stadium (4:00pm)
Lots to like about the Bulldogs heading into this clash on the Central Coast with Canterbury having beaten Brisbane last weekend in an upset over the ladder leaders. They get an easier Queensland side to finish on top of here in the Titans, the second longest-priced team of this week, and should do an easy job of it.
Monday August 17, 2015
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks ($1.77) vs Melbourne Storm ($2.10)
Remondis Stadium (7:00pm)
One of the round’s best showdowns, this is fifth plays sixth at Shark Park with the on-point Cronulla side taking on the Storm. Last weekend the Sharks beat the number two team on the table, the Cowboys, and with the momentum and odds in their favour can keep the good times going here for their fans at home with the Top 8 calling.