THERE’S plenty to play for in the last round of the NRL home and away season.
The Storm and the Sharks play on Saturday night to determine who will end the season as the minor premiers, while at the tail end of the ladder, the aspirations of the Titans and the Tigers hinge on tough matches against top four opposition.
The Titans are $1.40 to retain their position inside the eight, despite a road trip to Townsville, while the Tigers – who face a home game against the Raiders – are at the $2.90 mark to pinch their spot at Sportsbet.com.au
It is going to go right down to the wire.
All odds for the final round of the season are provided by Sportsbet.com.au, which is offering prospective punters a fantastic deal to get them to sign up for an account.
New customers can get their first bet at Sportsbet matched up to the value of $501.
Selections for the Round 26 NRL multi of the week:
St George Illawarra to defeat Newcastle ($1.35)
North Queensland to beat Gold Coast ($1.33)
Melbourne to defeat Cronulla ($1.45)
New Zealand to beat Parramatta ($1.50)
St George Illawarra vs. Newcastle
Saturday, September 3 from 3pm at UOW Jubilee Oval, Sydney
Two of the league’s biggest disappointments kick of our round 26 multi.
The Dragons’ ladder position may ostensibly look respectable, but it belies just how ordinary they have been at times during this campaign.
Multiple times this season they have been held scoreless, and despite potentially ending the season one win shy of eighth place, the big red V have never been worthy of finals footy.
The Knights have had the season from hell.
Newcastle has just one win to its name for the entire season, and if they are unable to overcome St George it will equal the worst ever season record in NRL history – an indignity that they will share alongside the 1993 Gold Coast Seagulls.
The Knights’ current loss streak is at 17.
Retiring co-captain Ben Creagh comes in for the Dragons for his first game in over five months, and what better send off could his side give him than a win?
St George should win this in a canter.
Multi tip: St George Illawarra Dragons to win – $1.45
North Queensland vs. Gold Coast
Saturday, September 3 from 5.30pm at 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
A battle between two of the sunshine state’s sides sees the Gold Coast Titans travel to Townsville in dire need of a win to battle reigning champions and top-four bound North Queensland.
The Titans had the opportunity to sew up their finals spot last week against the Panthers, and despite storming back to level the scores late in the match they failed to capitalise on their momentum, losing by a solitary point.
The Gold Coast Titans remains one point clear of the ninth placed Wests Tigers and are $1.40 to retain their position inside the eight at Sportsbet.com.au.
The Cowboys have battled admirably over the last two months despite a string of player absences due to injury, Origin and questionable form, but now look to have a clean bill of health.
Their dismantling of the Bulldogs last week away from home proved their premiership credentials and Sportsbet.com.au acted accordingly; moving North Queensland to the second line of betting at the $4.50 quote.
The Titans will be desperate but a road trip to Townsville is still one of the hardest fixtures to navigate in Rugby League.
We are favouring the North Queensland Cowboys in this one, they should have too much class out on the park for the Gold Coast Titans.
Multi tip: North Queensland Cowboys to win – $1.33
Melbourne vs. Cronulla
Saturday, September 3 from 7.30pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne
The battle for the minor premiership is the third match in our multi as the Storm from Melbourne host the Sharks of Cronulla at AAMI Park.
The Storm could have had the minor premiership in their keeping last week, but an atypical performance against the Broncos at home saw them blow their opportunity.
They still sit a point clear of the Sharks, meaning a draw will be enough to take home the JJ Giltinan Shield.
The Sharks have been ordinary over the past month, but a stirring win against the Roosters last week has the men from Cronulla optimistic that they may be able to capture their best form now the finals are within reach.
Everything is on the line for both sides but we are backing the Storm. Seldom do Craig Bellamy coached sides lose back-to-back games at home and we think their focus will be at an all-time high to defend their home patch.
Multi tip: Melbourne Storm to win – $1.45
New Zealand vs. Parramatta
Sunday, September 4 from 4pm at Mt Smart Stadium, New Zealand
Two teams that promised so much this season finish off our multi in a dead rubber match across the Tasman.
Everyone knows the Eels problems this year were due to off-field indiscretions, but the Warriors were major on-field disappointments.
A home game last week against a Teddy-less Tigers should have been a live-kill for the Warriors, but they failed to register the win, condemning themselves to a year without finals football.
The Eels will be looking to end the season in winning style after a comfortable win over the Dragons.
Despite all their off-field issues, a win on Sunday would hand the Eels a winning season, given their win/loss record for 2016 would end 13-11.
The Warriors have won three in a row against the Eels and we are backing them to make it four to end an inadequate season for the Kiwis.
Multi tip: New Zealand Warriors to win – $1.50No tags for this post.