The Roosters are back to full strength for the finals with Aiden Guerra, Daniel Tupou and Dylan Napa all expected to re-join the team. The Broncos are without Captain Darius Boyd who has been struggling with hamstring issues for weeks. Kodi Nikorima has been named to play at fullback, with Benji Marshall at halfback and Ben Hunt remaining at hooker.
The Roosters do of course enjoy the home advantage, though have struggled to put in 80-minute performances for much of the season. We are big fans of the Broncos forward pack are like them with a 4.5 start against any position. We expect this will be a close game, maybe only decided by a point or two
The Storm’s forward pack is strengthened by the returns of Dale Finucane and Tim Galsby. The Eels remain as they have been for the past few weeks.
The Strom are clearly the better team here and likely one of the most dominant teams going into a finals series of the past twenty years. The Eels, however are a team who can play with a lot of intensity against quality opposition, evident by their twice thrashing of the broncos at the back end of the season. We feel a 12.5 start is too many points for any team to have in a finals game. Though instead of backing it outright, are going to back the Eels intensity early in the game. This is why we are backing them with the 6.5-point start in the first half.
This game presents the unique situation of the exact same two opponents playing each other two weeks in a row. Last week, Manly put a very convincing and humiliating score on the Panthers. Manly again this week hold the home advantage, though are forced to play the game at Allianz Stadium instead of their local ground, Lottoland.
The Panthers welcome back fullback Dylan Edwards, while Manly are unchanged. While Manly’s win was convincing last week, we feel the Panthers players didn’t turn up switched on and will be all the more fired-up this time around. footy often throws up some interesting situations and I think you’ll find the result is often reversed when two teams play each other in such a small time-frame. The losing team will always go away knowing what they need to work on and how they can win, while the winning team will be thinking, ‘we just need to do that again’. For this reason, we like the Panthers chances of turning the table.
The Sharks welcome back State of Origin players, Jack bird and Wade Graham, while the Cowboys remain unchanged.
The Sharks have been inconsistent for much of this season, yet have still shown plenty of ability against top teams. The Cowboys are an honest team and have fought valiantly without Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott. While they have been consistent against bottom 8 teams, they are still unproven against quality opposition without JT. We think they will fight, though the Sharks should be too good now that its finals time.