This weekend we have the opening week of 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership finals football with four teams facing off in two qualifiers looking for the next round off to rest while there are also two elimination finals that will mark the end of the line for two clubs.
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Last week the Sydney Roosters secured their third minor premiership on the trot with a 30 – nil win over the Bunnies who now play in a do-or-die decider against the Sharks on Sunday afternoon.
The Chooks play tonight in the opening final against the Melbourne Storm who sewed up fourth spot after travelling to Brisbane and beating the Broncos 15 – 8 last Thursday night.
Brisbane get the chance to atone and skip week two of the finals with just the one game to go till Grand Final Day when they host fellow Queenslanders the Cowboys who the Broncos have never defeated in a finals clash.
Also on Saturday night is the first knock-out clash between the Bulldogs and the Dragons at ANZ Stadium.
Check out our full NRL Week 1 Finals Preview below, heading to Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering an exclusive CASH BACK offer if your team in any four games lose by six points or less!
NRL Week 1 Finals Draw
Friday September 11, 2015
Sydney Roosters ($1.38) vs Melbourne Storm ($3.10)
Allianz Stadium (7:55pm)
The Roosters are on a high after snaring another Minor Premiership with their 12th win on the trot heading into the final with all the momentum. They’ve done it without Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Mitchell Pearce and that shows how much danger and depth is in the squad. They didn’t let South Sydney score a single point last week while Melbourne fought it out in a grinder with Brisbane winning by a narrower margin. The Storm are never ones to cross come the finals but it hard to go past the favourites Sydney here especially with Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith missing training all week with a virus.
Saturday September 12, 2015
Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.29) vs St George Illawarra Dragons ($3.80)
ANZ Stadium (5:50pm)
A must win for the Des Hasler-coached Doggies and the Dragons. Canterbury come off five straight wins but it wasn’t all that impressive an effort when narrowly holding off the Warriors in a final stride success. They’ll lift for the finals series for sure but they will have to keep a close eye on St George and the boot of Benji Marshall. Canterbury play without Trent Hodkinson (wrist) but the Dragons aren’t at full strength either with Gareth Widdop out. Won’t be much in it but think the Dogs will scrape in again.
Brisbane Broncos ($1.65) vs North Queensland Cowboys ($2.30)
Suncorp Stadium (7:55pm)
A blockbuster Queensland Derby here with Brisbane looking to secure their first win over the Cowboys in the finals. That said, all of those games were played at Townsville and this time the Broncos get the home ground advantage. They lost to Melbourne at the venue last weekend but so will need to be at their best here and a big plus is Corey Parker is expected to play even after the hamstring issues he’s had through the week. North Queensland’s skipper Johnathan Thurston has also had problems with his groin over the past week but it will take more than that to stop him strapping on the boots here.
Sunday September 13, 2015
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks ($1.65) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.30)
Allianz Stadium (4:10pm)
The second elimination final throws the Bunnies in the deep end with the Sharks. If you’d asked at the start of the year who would win this, it would be South Sydney no doubt. They’ve been struggling playing with a depleted squad of late however and it really showed in their 30 – nil loss to Sydney last week. They still finished seventh and get a chance against Cronulla who are yet to win a Premiership and who also need to improve after a two point loss to Manly in Round 26. The Sharks are injury free though while the Rabbitohs play without George Burgess, John Sutton and Issac Luke.