The first week of NRL finals has finished up and now our attention turns to the semi-finals. Who will win in the second week of NRL finals, and book their place in next week’s preliminary finals?
Sydney Roosters versus Canterbury Bulldogs
7:55pm, Friday, September 18
Betting: Roosters $1.38, Bulldogs $3.15
The Roosters were widely tipped to book their spot in a preliminary final last week but ultimately fell short against the Storm, losing 18-20 and now they are faced with a semi-final against the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs didn’t exactly blow the Dragons away in their elimination final, instead they claimed a golden-point win to run out as the victors 11-10.
Are the Bulldogs any chance of toppling the Roosters in this semi-final? It’s not off the cards by any stretch of the imagination, but you’d have to think it’s a pretty big ask.
The Roosters were the clearcut premiership favourites before last week and for them to go out of finals in straight sets would be a serious surprise.
Even now they’re still ranked the second favourite for the premiership, narrowly behind the Brisbane Broncos. The Roosters have beaten the Bulldogs twice already this year by comfortable margins on both occasions.
Prediction: Roosters by 10.
North Queensland Cowboys versus Cronulla Sharks
7:40pm, Saturday, September 19
Betting: Cowboys $1.38, Sharks $3.15
The Cowboys were bested by the Broncos for the first time in the finals last Saturday, going down 12-16 and now they are tasked with a semi-final against the Sharks.
The Sharks themselves had the biggest win of the week, margin wise, as no other side won by more than four points. They thumped the Rabbitohs 28-16.
While the betting odds are level for both of the semi-finals you would have to think this is the one where an upset would be more likely. After all the Sharks showed some great form in patches this year and have a proven ability to beat the best teams.
When it comes to their record against the Cowboys, they played them twice this year, winning by six points the first time and 12 the second.
The Cowboys have the home ground advantage however, and will see the chance to make a preliminary final against the Storm next week as a serious opportunity.
Prediction: Cowboys by four.