The 2015 NRL season has reached Finals Week 3, as the last four teams that remain will be playing for a Grand Final appearance on the first weekend of October. Continue reading for our NRL Preliminary Final Preview and Betting Tips.
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Brisbane Broncos vs Sydney Roosters (Friday 7.45pm AEST)
The Broncos have enjoyed a week of resting after having an impressive victory against their Queensland rivals the Cowboys. Their defence was outstanding as they continuously held off the attacks from a backline that has Johnathan Thurston pulling the strings. They had limited opportunities in attack and they scored two of their tries thanks to individual brilliance. It is likely they won’t have many opportunities against the Roosters who had the best defence in the competition so they will again need to make the most of their chances.
The tri-colours bounced back last week against the Bulldogs but the score line didn’t give an appropriate representation of the match. The Roosters were out enthused early in the contest but they were able to fight their way back. Captain Mitchell Pearce returns to the side after being sidelined since these two sides last met in round 24. In that match Pearce went down in the opening 10 minutes and Jackson Hastings was forced to steer the team around and led them to a narrow 12-10 victory. The Roosters had a lot of tries disallowed after going upstairs and also made mistakes in key areas when they were looking threatening.
It is likely for the Roosters forward pack to gain an upper hand, as the Broncos defence will allow them to make a lot of metres before committing to a tackle. They will also rely heavily on their backline to get some go forward as the centres, wingers and fullback were able to make inroads into the Bulldogs defence last weekend and it helped them get the upper hand of the territory battle.
Easts suffered their first loss in 12 matches in the opening match to the Storm and a lot of it came down to the ability of the Melbourne side to slow down the ruck and wrestle the ball carrier to the ground where he would get a slow play the ball which stopped the momentum of the Roosters. The Broncos have lacked in this area all season and it could be their biggest downfall this weekend if the boys from Bondi are marching their way up the field far too easily.
On the back of the Roosters forward pack, strong bench, star studded back line and the Broncos inability to wrestle the Roosters will come away with the narrowest of victories at Suncorp and Justin Hodges will miss out on the fairy tale finish which will make New South Wales fans smile.
Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys (Saturday 7.35pm AEST)
The Cowboys head to Melbourne after dismantling the Sharks last weekend. They were too big and too strong up front as Matt Scott and James Tamou laid the platform for their backs to take advantage of and the boys from the Shire were never able to contain it. The biggest improvement for the Cowboys was the return to form of five eighth Michael Morgan. After missing two matches the Queenslander returned to the side against the Broncos and he admitted after the match he didn’t play up to the standards he sets for himself. Morgan was able to turn it around though as he was back to his running best as he crossed for two tries whilst always looking a threat with the ball in hand.
Their forward pack will need to be at its best again if they look to have the same impact against the Melbourne side that is the best in the competition at slowing down the ruck. These two sides met in round 25 and the Storm came out on top after holding the North Queensland side scoreless until the final minutes. The conditions didn’t suit the attacking style of Thurston and his team mates as it was an error riddled match that didn’t allow them to use their outside backs. If the field is dry we can expect the Cowboys to threaten the defensive line of the Storm on more occasions.
The spines of both teams offer scintillating match ups with the Cowboys getting the upper hand in flair but with finals matches coming down to which side can control the tempo and the match the best the Storm get the upper hand. There are no cooler heads in NRL than Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and if the Storm are able to get out to a lead then these two players will shine and it will be a hard road for the Cowboys to climb.
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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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