By Stephen Gallagher
FRIDAY: • Sydney Roosters V Melbourne Storm – Allianz Stadium 22.05NZT
This is a fantastic match to start the finals series. The Roosters winning 12 in a row and looking a head above the rest will be really hard to real in. Melbourne are going to have to be at their very best if they want to get up over the Roosters.
This game really goes down to the battle up front – despite not having regulars, this Roosters pack is a gift that keeps on giving. They are just rampant and will get the edge over Melbourne, thus giving them the upper hand for the match and pulling away in a great result which will give them the week off.
SATURDAY: • Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – ANZ Stadium 20.00NZT
The first elimination final has two sides in very different form. The Bulldogs under Des Hasler have thrived over the last six weeks. They always go hard at the right time of the season, and look like they could make another grand final appearance.
The Dragons have somewhat limped in to the finals – but regardless they are deserved of their spot and no one can take it away from them. They will have to be able to perform for 80 minutes which they haven’t done over the last couple of weeks.
Any chance the Bulldogs get, they will have to take or the Dragons will keep grinding away and could cause an upset.
Brisbane Broncos V North Queensland Cowboys – Suncorp Stadium 22.00NZT
Big brother versus little brother. The Queenslanders go head to head in the 2nd v 3rd battle on the table. Winner gets a week off, loser remains with another life.
Brisbane haven’t been fantastic of late – but their results throughout the season show just how good they can be. The Cowboys are going to get the win in this one. Their form is devastating – sure, they’ve had some bad losses of late to weaker opponents but when they get ball in hand, they look like world beaters. I think they will back themselves as favourites at Suncorp.
SUNDAY: • Cronulla Sharks V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Allianz Stadium 18.15NZT
The Sharks were unlucky to miss out on the top four, but I do think they are good enough to beat the reigning premiers. The Rabbitohs season by my account is done and dusted. Their abysmal performances over the last month have sold them short. They look exhausted and look ready for a holiday.
In saying that, the finals are whole new beast – and they are last year’s champs. The Sharks are a physical side – and they will outplay Souths and win.
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