After four big matches in the opening weeks of the NRL finals we are down to our remaining six teams. Two more will be eliminated this weekend with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos waiting for their opponents in the preliminary finals. Find out our thoughts in our 2015 NRL Finals Week 2 Betting Tips.
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Sydney Roosters vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (Friday 7.55pm AEST)
The Tri-colours will be looking to bounce back after the Melbourne Storm outplayed them last week. The Storm were able to slow them down at the play the ball which stopped their backs from having as much impact as they normally do. They receive a massive boost with Mitchell Pearce named to return from a hamstring injury but there are still question marks surrounding his health. The hamstring is one of the worst injuries to have as a halfback as it will restrict his kicking game, as it is on his right leg. His running game will also be haltered as it has been reported throughout the week that he is having issues with changing directions. Boyd Cordner will also be playing despite having a severely bruised hip and he will need painkilling injections to get through the match.
The Dogs faithful all let out a sigh of relief on Tuesday when Frank Pritchard was cleared from the judiciary and he will be able to play on Friday night. The back rower was one of the best players for the Blue and White as his bulldozing runs caused a lot of havoc in the first half and his effort was felt throughout the entire match. The forward pack of the Doggies will have to be at its best if they are to stand a chance against the Roosters. There was a lot of flat periods for them last weekend that allowed for the Dragons to dominate them in the second half and they were lucky to come away with the victory in the end as they almost blew it on more than one occasion. The loss of Trent Hodkinson was definitely felt as they lost their way on multiple occasions and they lacked the ability to apply constant pressure and get their key players involved which is vital in finals matches.
The boys from Bondi will be a lot better this week and show a lot more killer instinct with the football in hand. However, the Bulldogs will also improve and be up for the contest. The minor premiers will come away with the victory due to their superior backline but it will be closer than expected.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla Sharks (Saturday 7.40pm AEST)
The Sharks head to Townsville to face a side that they beat on both occasions this season when the two sides met. They were able to win away from after trailing 18-0 at halftime, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to take the two points and snap the Cowboys winning streak. However, Johnathan Thurston was rested in that match but he did play in the 30-18 loss at Shark Park and instead it was forward Matt Scott who was rested. They will be at full strength this weekend though as they look to advance to the preliminary final against Melbourne.
The boys from the Shire showed on Sunday how dominant their forward pack can be and with Michael Ennis escaping with a grade one high tackle he will be free to play and will no doubt be looking to add to his try assist tally out of dummy half. He laid on two tries around the ruck against the Rabbits and is leading the way for his team in that department by a long way. The Cowboys will have to be sharp around the ruck close to the line to prevent the forwards from barging their way over.
The Cowboys do have a forward pack that can match it with the Sharks but the away side does have a slight advantage in this area. It will be up to the backs of North Queensland to stand up and especially Thurston as they lacked a bit of creativity against the Broncos and were held to just 12 points despite having a mountain of possession and territory throughout the match.
If the Sharks are able to apply points to the home side early or even stay in the match it will increase the pressure on Thurston and his team mates as the Sharks head to North Queensland with nothing to lose as they aren’t expected to win. Their grinding style and big pack is perfect for finals footy and with a rather large line we will take them in this match.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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