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NRL Finals: Everything You Need To Know About The Four Teams Going Toe-To-Toe This Weekend

Sponsored by TAB
Sponsored by TAB
NRL Finals: Everything You Need To Know About The Four Teams Going Toe-To-Toe This Weekend

Win this weekend and you've successfully secured your place in the biggest game of the year.

If you lose though, well, you'll be sent packing at the final hurdle.

It's that simple.

On Friday night, the well-rested Rabbitohs take on the Sea Eagles who are fresh off the back of a demolition job on the injury-ravaged Roosters.

Looking over to Saturday evening and we've got a mouth-watering contest on our hands as a replenished Storm side lock horns with the Premiership-hungry Panthers.

And if we're being honest, both games could go either way.

The four remaining teams have come this far, to go home now would be devastating.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Week 3 in the NRL Finals...

Jarome Luai. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
Jarome Luai. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

PRELIMINARY FINAL: SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS vs MANLY SEA EAGLES (odds correct as of 23/09/21)

H2H: Rabbitohs ($1.70) vs Sea Eagles ($2.15)

Line: Rabbitohs (-1.5 @ $1.85) vs Sea Eagles (+1.5 @ $1.95)

Date: Friday, 24 September

Time: 7.50pm

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

For all your latest TAB odds on the Rabbitohs vs Sea Eagles, CLICK HERE.

Last five meetings:

Round 2, 2021 - SOU 26 - 12 MAN

Round 15, 2020 - SOU 56 - 16 MAN

Elimination Final, 2019 - SOU 34 - 26 MAN

Round 17, 2019 - SOU 21 - 20 MAN

Round 4, 2019 - MAN 13 - 12 SOU

Best bets (odds correct as of 23/08/21):

First try scorer:

Alex Johnston (SOU) - $8

Jaxon Paulo (SOU) - $9

Dane Gagai (SOU) - $14

Tom Trbojevic (MAN) - $9

Jason Saab (MAN) - $9

Reuben Garrick (MAN) - $10

Anytime try scorer:

Alex Johnston (SOU) - $1.85

Jaxon Paulo (SOU) - $1.90

Dane Gagai (SOU) - $2.75

Tom Trbojevic (MAN) - $2

Jason Saab (MAN) - $2

Reuben Garrick (MAN) - $2.15

Match preview:

In last weekend's semi-final against the Sydney Roosters, the Manly Sea Eagles looked good. Like, really good. The halves pairing of Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans showed their experience and linked up very well, while the forward pack - lead by the talismanic Jake Trbojevic - bullied the Chooks in all areas of the park. Even Dylan Walker coming off the bench put in an incredible shift with some impressive numbers. But, rather unsurprisingly, it was a familiar face within the star-studded Sea Eagles side who really tore the Tri-Colours to shreds and ended up having a field day. Tom Trbojevic finished the game with two tries, a try-assist, three line breaks and over 200 run metres. But perhaps the scariest thing about his performance was that he looked like he was barely out of first gear, so much so that head coach Des Hassler decided to give him an early mark to rest up. There is, however, a formula to stopping Turbo.

In Week 1 of the NRL Finals, the Melbourne Storm successfully nullified the explosive fullback through a genius tactic. Incredibly, the Storm made the bold call to let Turbo have the ball. Yes, they wanted Trbojevic to have as much of the ball as possible earlier in the sets. Targeting him with their high bombs so that he was getting the ball early on meant the Storm's big boys could hit him - and hit him hard. The plan, in turn, meant Turbo was less likely to pop up in the middle carries where he does some of his most dangerous work. Turbo was silenced for that game, but the Rabbitohs will need to adopt a similar framework to ensure they do the same this Friday.

While some expected Penrith to clinch a win in their qualifying final a few weeks back, it was the Bunnies who came out on top with a hard-fought 16-10 victory. The win earned Wayne Bennett's side a much-needed break as well as a week off to analyse and dissect their upcoming opponents closely. Could you describe Souths as dark horses? Potentially. They'd probably see themselves as red hot favourites though given their form. Even without star fullback Latrell Mitchell in their weapons arsenal, they still pose one of the most threatening attacks when all their players are at their free-flowing best. As for their tenacity and sheer grit in defence, that's unquestionable. For Souths, though, they've fallen short of the Grand Final three years in a row - they'll he hoping they can snap that streak on Friday.

Cody Walker. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
Cody Walker. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

PRELIMINARY FINAL: MELBOURNE STORM vs PENRITH PANTHERS (odds correct as of 23/09/21)

H2H: Storm ($1.33) vs Panthers ($3.35)

Line: Storm (-9.5 @ $1.90) vs Panthers (+9.5 @ $1.90)

Date: Saturday, 25 September

Time: 4pm

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

For all your latest TAB odds on the Storm vs Panthers, CLICK HERE.

Last five meetings:

Round 20, 2021 - MEL 37- 10 PEN

Round 3, 2021 - PEN 12 - 10 MEL

Grand Final, 2020 - MEL 26 - 20 PEN

Round 6, 2020 - PEN 21 - 14 MEL

Round 3, 2020 - MEL 32 - 2 PEN

Jahrome Hughes. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
Jahrome Hughes. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Best bets (odds correct as of 23/09/21)

First try scorer:

George Jennings (MEL) - 9

Josh Addo-Carr (MEL) - $7.50

Ryan Papenhuyzen (MEL) - $10

Brent Naden (PEN) - $13

Stephen Crichton (PEN) - $13

Matt Burton (PEN) - $19

Anytime try scorer:

George Jennings (MEL) - $1.90

Josh Addo-Carr (MEL) - $1.85

Ryan Papenhuyzen (MEL) - $2.10

Brent Naden (PEN) - $2.50

Stephen Crichton (PEN) - $2.50

Matt Burton (PEN) - $3.50

Match preview:

We've got a 2020 Grand Final replay on our hands, so expect nothing but fireworks - and plenty of them. You could make the argument that these two teams, on paper, are the strongest in the competition. So when the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers finished first and second respectively during the regular campaign, many tipped these two sides to meet again in the Grand Final. Well, it hasn't exactly panned out that way and while the Storm have sailed effortlessly into the prelims, it has been a different story entirely for the Panthers. Their upset loss to Souths in Week One put Penrith on the backfoot from the get-go. A week later, they narrowly scraped past the Parramatta Eels in a rather unconvincing two-point win. Their forward pack misfired once again and the backs who are usually on hand to make some magic happen went missing. It was left to halfback Nathan Cleary to do much of the dirty work and singlehandedly claw back a victory from the boot. That said, their body-on-the-line defence to keep the Eels out has to be commended. If truth be told, Penrith have looked like a shell of the team that was once leading the competition earlier in the year. Now, they face arguably their toughest test to date in the shape of a Melbourne Storm side who are fresh, well-rested and ready to launch a back-to-back Premiership charge.

Craig Bellamy's Melbourne Storm are the bookies' favourite to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy at Suncorp Stadium next month. Looking at their team sheet, they're absolutely filled to the brim in every position. But having a line-up of megastars is one thing, it's successfully making them gel as a team which really sets Melbourne apart from the rest - particularly the Panthers. Penrith have talent to die for, but they're just not meshing at the moment for whatever reason. The Storm, on the other hand, are playing a style of footy which not only gets fans out of their seats but also guarantees them the one and only thing that matters at the moment: wins. In more bad news for the Panthers, Josh Addo-Carr makes his return for the Storm while hooker Brandon Smith was given the green light to play following a facial fracture scare. To be frank, the Storm are scarily stacked and stand in good stead to not only beat the Panthers, but beat them comfortably too.

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Topics: Odds, Injury news, Team News, nrl, Betting, Australia

Max Sherry
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