The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Semi-finals

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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15 Have your say

    And then there were six. Six complaints and then some about the referees that is. Instead of talking about footy, we have spent most of the week talking about the men in the middle, so The Roar‘s NRL expert tipping panel are here to steer things back on track.

    Let’s not beat around the bush – there were controversial decisions last weekend – but we aren’t here to discuss them. We are going to talk about the footy.

    While the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters enjoy a week off, hopefully avoiding nightclubs and team bonding sessions, the Brisbane Broncos, Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels and North Queensland Cowboys will be slugging it out for the right to face them next weekend.

    In the second semi-final, which is conveniently being played first, because the Broncos are playing and it needs to be on Friday night because of cause that’s the way it has to be, Brisbane will host Penrith.

    Brisbane, of course, were involved in that horrendous opener to the finals which ended in a tense standoff. The game won’t be remembered for its quality, but it will be remembered for Latrell Mitchell putting a fend on James Roberts which allowed him to run away for the match winner.

    On Saturday, the Panthers got over Manly thanks to the hand knee of god Tyrone Peachey. To say it got Manly fans and coach Trent Barrett hot under the colour was an understatement as Peachey was ruled to have not knocked on.

    Of course, Barrett’s outburst at the press conference was nothing compared to Shane Flanagan’s pre-prepared speech after his Sharks lost to the Cowboys on Sunday. He read off the piece of paper like a nervous year five student presenting their public speaking speech and copped a $30,000 fine for his trouble.

    Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan. (AAP Image/Jane Dempster)

    (AAP Image/Jane Dempster)

    The Cowboys had no right to beat the Sharks, but they did, and that books them a match with the Eels, who fans thought were similarly robbed against the Storm last week after a strong effort.

    Notice the trend here? Our tipsters will agree. We have been robbed all season, which is why The Crowd is so far ahead. I mean, come on, there has to be an investigation into this. Right.

    Don’t forget that on the form below, you can put your own tips in on behalf of The Crowd. We will have the results at 4pm (AEST) tomorrow, so be sure to have them in before then. Who knows, The Crowd might prove themselves to be better than the experts.

    Mary, who tipped Tyrone Peachey’s try will lead us off this week.

    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Tips: Broncos, Eels

    2nd semi-final: Brisbane Broncos vs Penrith Panthers
    Broncos. There’s a rivalry brewing between these two teams, particularly since Anthony Griffinn has coached both of them.

    The Panthers were good last week without being brilliant, while the Broncos were unlucky not to get away with a win after Lattrell Mitchell scored late in the game to put the Roosters ahead. I see Brisbane winning this game.

    Since round 23, the Broncos have been scoring big at Suncorp Stadium and I expect them to do the same in this game. The big question is, will Darius return? If he plays at fullback I don’t see the Broncos losing.

    1st semi-final: Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Eels. The Eels should win this game but it doesn’t mean they will. It’s quite incredible that the Cowboys have been able to scrap their way to the second week of the finals despite all the injury concerns they still have.

    I’m tipping Parramatta to win this game, but not by much. Just quietly, how good has it been to see players rising to the occasion during finals football – Will Smith was close to the Eels best on ground last week – I hope it wasn’t a once-off.

    Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Tim Gore

    Tips: Broncos, Eels

    2nd semi-final: Brisbane Broncos vs Penrith Panthers
    Broncos. Only because they are at home. I expect this to be a high scoring game of no holds barred attack. Will Matt Moylan play? Does it matter? Will David Mead go okay at fullback? Will Ben Hunt make any tackles? It is all before us people. The loser goes home.

    1st semi-final: Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Eels. They played real good last week. Really good. However, they didn’t quite have the luck to roll the Purple Horde. The Cowboys know they got lucky last week and while they could drag out another win, I reckon their journey ends here.

    Greg Prichard

    Tips: Broncos, Eels
    2nd semi-final: Brisbane Broncos vs Penrith Panthers
    Broncos. They should never have gotten as close to winning as they did against the Roosters last week, but that was the fault of the Roosters not ramming home their advantage.

    At least the Broncos keep going even when they’re being out-gunned, in case something major happens that might turn the game around.

    The Panthers have got a shot at winning this on the road if they maintain a high level of intensity and commitment throughout, but that’s a big challenge for them. They’re not reliable when it comes to playing for 80 minutes and the Broncos will get opportunities to rack up points during the opposition’s down periods. It’ll get too hard for the Panthers in the end.

    Josh McGuire Brisbane Broncos NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    1st semi-final: Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Eels. You’ve got to admire the Cowboys for the adjustments they’ve made in the absence of Johnathan Thurston and the fact they keep turning up every week, but they meet their match here.

    The Sharks had multiple chances to put the Cowboys away last week, but didn’t capitalise on opportunities and their discipline was bad. The Eels will surely have learned their lesson from going in with the wrong attitude against the Knights in round 23 and losing that game.

    They’re tough, they mix things up in attack to keep the opposition guessing and they’ve got more game-breakers than the Cowboys, who are on a six-day turnaround with travel from Sydney to Townsville and now back.

    Scott Pryde

    Tips: Broncos, Cowboys

    2nd semi-final: Brisbane Broncos vs Penrith Panthers
    Broncos. Surely, the Broncos end the Panthers’ season here. Penrith have been less than impressive for a majority of the season, despite all their wins.

    The cracks finally showed up during the last two rounds of the season when they lost back-to-back against the Dragons and Sea Eagles, costing themselves a potential spot in the top four and almost, so nearly one in the top eight.

    Even taking into account exactly how ordinary the Broncos were last week, they aren’t going to play that badly at home. I expect them to win and win well here.

    1st semi-final: Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys
    Cowboys. Logic says the Eels, but where the hell has logic gotten me this season? Nowhere, that’s where.

    The Cowboys are such a team of fighters. They had no reason to win against the Sharks, but making the most of the opposition errors and defending like their lives depended on it, they managed to scramble to victory in extra time.

    That level of composure under pressure and fatigue leaves them in a good spot for this match against the Eels. If they can get away to a good start, the Eels, without a great deal of finals experience may struggle to remain at the top of their game. We know their defence has cracks from time to time, and the Cowboys will not have as many problems scoring points.

    I’m going the Cowboys. Deal with it.

    Finals Wk 2 Tim Greg Mary Scott The Crowd
    Last week 3 3 4 3 3
    Total 109 127 119 120 132

    Now it’s your turn to try and beat the experts. Using the form below, select your tips for the weekend ahead and we will have the results at 4pm (AEST) on Friday.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • September 14th 2017 @ 8:51am
      KingCowboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Nice work Scott picking the Cows. I think the key for a Cows victory will be us limiting Norman and attacking Moses when they are defending. I like this match up against the Eels more then I did against the Sharks. Should be a cracker of a game either way and I am so proud of the boys no matter what!

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Scott Pryde said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Agree with what you say to an extent. Moses and Norman are so obviously the keys for the Eels, but you blokes need to find a way across the line more often – in saying that, it’ll be easier to do so against the Eels than it is Cronulla.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 8:59am
      Jack said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      Last week when everyone was on for sharks , I believed in JT to give the cowboys another week of final and indeed he did, by dragging four sharks to score. Eels game against storms was pure class, mainly because win or loss didn’t matter most as they had two (2) chances to play finals footy. This week’s game is their GF therefore they need to defend well to shut out cowboys. Limiting Norman and Moses options key to Cowboys victory by +8.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 9:30am
        Paddy said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        It’s a shame he didn’t score. Ball never touched the turf. Good effort but try shouldn’t have been awarded.

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 10:53am
          Scott Pryde said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

          Are we still going on about this Paddy? Grow up mate, seriously.

          The only people who actually know if that ball got to the ground is the defender with his hand near the ball, JT himself and the referee who was standing above with an eagle-eye view and awarded the on-field decision of try.

          You, me, the 31 other players, the two touch judges and everyone else have absolutely no idea.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 11:36am
            Paddy said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            I can cop being told to grow up, but I was at that game on Sunday and was just appalled by the officiating (as well as my team bumbling their way to an early exit!). The refs just truly soured the experience. Combine that with the horrible venue and poor crowd it was just a really bad day all round. And when the aftermath results in fans being told to ‘grow up’ and just accept poor refereeing I can honestly say I’m done with this game for the year (as most people are when their team is gone).

            Just to re-iterate – Cronulla played woefully which is why they lost the game, but I’m sick of these glaring problems in the NRL that we all seem to be able to see, but nothing seems to get done to make the game any better.

            • Roar Guru

              September 14th 2017 @ 12:12pm
              Adam said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              Don’t take a loss very well do we? As a complete neutral watching that game I can happily say that I was happy with the officiating.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 11:34am
      Nat said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

      Might just be a weekend for the Qlders. Might be the last one but should be a good one. Fingers crossed for the very slight chance of an all Qld GF, which would be great because the Broncs owe them one! (yes I’ll take it without JT et al, I’m that fickle 🙂 If not, we jump on the PNG team to win both the ISC GF and the National ISC game.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 12:15pm
      Adam said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

      Pretty brave call there Scott. That said I wonder how much momentum was lost by the Eels loss last weekend. Also, can’t wait for the inevitable Kenny Edwards brain fade…

    • September 14th 2017 @ 12:40pm
      R N said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

      Pretty confident in the cowboys this weekend, especially if they can snag early points!

      As Adam said, cant wait for the inevitable Edwards whatever he has in store, could win them the game could cost them the game… parra fans, you know which is most likely!

      If O’Neill is to come back in for the Cows hope it’s for Winterstein and not Bowen. Thought Bowen has been pretty solid and looked dangerous on occasion, as much as I like Winterstein he has been a bit of a liability carry that leg injury!

    • Roar Rookie

      September 14th 2017 @ 12:51pm
      Joe said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      Earlier in the week I thought this was pretty straightforward – Broncos, Eels. Now not so sure with Boyd missing and just can’t get that Cowboys performance against the Sharks out of my thinking. I’ll pick one upset so going with Broncos and Cowboys.

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