The NRL Finals continue this weekend with two massive semi final matchups! We have a full preview and betting tips for both games, getting underway with the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles on Friday night.
Friday night footy heads to ANZ Stadium with a huge semi-final clash between South Sydney and Manly. The winning side will meet the Raiders next week for a spot in the Grand Final so it's do-or-die for both sides here. For Souths, they'll be keen to get back on the park after the Roosters absolutely smashed them at the SCG in the qualifying final, 30-6. They struggled without Gagai in the centres and Sam Burgess. But the good news is the pair have been named in the starting 17 for this clash. So Johnston will move back to the wing and Doueihi returns to his more comfortable position at fullback. There's also good news for the Bunnies at ANZ Stadium. They've won 3 of their last 4 at the venue this season and in the finals, they hold a perfect 4-0 record since 2013. Interestingly, Manly was the last team to beat them at ANZ in the finals (30-20 in 2013). Few picked the Sea Eagles to beat the Sharks as their injury list was a major concerning factor. But a fast start and an impressive display by DCE saw Manly smash the Sharks 28-16 and keep their season alive. They'll also be boosted by the return of Mary Taupau at prop.
Thus far in 2019, both meetings between these two sides have been absolute nail-biters. The Sea Eagles got the points in the first matchup, winning in golden point 13-12. Then, Souths countered in Round 17 with another 1 point result. So in a cut-throat finals matchup, we just can't see a blowout margin in either direction. They're both fairly equally matched in the forward pack battle and the returns of Taupau and Sam Burgess only heightens that fact. While in the halves, DCE steps up in big games and he'll look to continue his kicking form of last week. While for Souths, Walker and Reynolds can be a dangerous combination on their day. Ultimately, we're going for another close result with the either team by under 10.5 points bet.
The NRL finals action returns to AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday night as the Storm face the Eels. For the home side, they'll be desperate to rebound after a hugely disappointing result against the Raiders last week. The #1 side were outclassed by the Raiders in the end, going down 12-10. Craig Bellamy has resisted making any team changes as he'll back in the same 17 from last week. Meanwhile in Sydney, Parramatta had an absolute field-day in their finals victory over the Broncos at Bankwest Stadium. The 58-0 result was the largest finals margin as the likes of Moses, Sivo and their forward pack ran riot over the Broncos deplorable defence. However, the question will be how the Eels respond against the Storm's much superior defence. The 58 point win was a soft finals result, so if the Eels don't show up early on it could be a tough day at the office. Which was the case in the only 2019 meeting between the two sides as Melbourne smashed the Eels 64-10 at Suncorp.
It's hard to see a similar result this time around as the Eels do have a decent record against the Storm in Melbourne, which includes a close 18-16 loss in the 2017 finals. But after last week's 12-10 result at AAMI Park, we're going back to the Unders this Saturday as well. It's now 11-3 in finals games in Melbourne since 2010 and the Eels are facing the number #1 defence in the NRL. So they likely won't enjoy the same space as the week before. The Storm will aim to shut down Moses and his forward pack. Which should help them stop the likes of Ferguson and Sivo on the wing. While for the Storm, Munster is probably carrying a shoulder injury at the moment and it doesn't help their attack, which hasn't been at their best for a while.
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