Feature Rugby League

2015 NRL Week 1 Finals Preview


The 26-round regular season of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership is done and dusted and this weekend the eight remaining teams face off across four stellar matches, two of which will mark the end for another two clubs.

There are two qualifying finals, the winners of which get a week’s rest for the second round of NRL finals while the others play the winners of the two elimination finals.

Safe for this week and next are Minor Premiers the Sydney Roosters who host the Melbourne Storm at Allianz Stadium in Friday night footy, and the two ace Queensland clubs with the Brisbane Broncos playing against North Queensland at Suncorp on Saturday evening in a sell-out Derby.

It is do-or-die though for the Bulldogs and Dragons who face off at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, and the Sharks and Rabbitohs who play in Sunday night’s second elimination final.

See below for our four NRL Week 1 Finals’ matches on which we are offering CASH BACK if your team lose by six points or less in any of the four head-to-head markets.

NRL Finals Week 1: CASH BACK if your team lose by 6 points or less in any of the 4 games!

NRL Qualifying Final 1: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm

Friday, September 11 – 7:55pm (AEST) – Allianz Stadium

The Chooks secured their third straight Minor Premiership with a massive 30 – nil win over a depleted Bunnies outfit last Friday night and are back a week later fired up and ready to win again and earn the rest. Despite the likes of Pearce and Waerea-Hargreaves sitting out last week, the Roosters were in flying form and look the ones to beat again here. Melbourne, who could be without their skipper Cameron Smith (virus), meanwhile beat Brisbane in Brisbane which is never an easy feat so also get the momentum heading into this away game final. Incredibly this is the first time Roosters and Melbourne have faced off in a finals match, the latter not having won in the finals arena since the 2012 Grand Final. Sydney though are on fire with 12 straight wins and look every chance of making it a baker’s dozen.

NRL Elimination Final 1: Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Saturday, September 12 – 5:50pm (AEST) – ANZ Stadium

At the end of this 80 minutes one of these teams says goodbye. Currently favourites to survive are the Des Hasler-coached Bulldogs who have picked up form at the right time winning their past five straight, including a last gasp victory over the Warriors (26 – 22) last Sunday. St George meanwhile also got over a mid-season slump to post enough competition wins to make it to week one of the finals including their equally as close two point win over the Tigers. The strength of the Bulldogs will be down the middle while Benji Marshall’s boot is the big danger to Canterbury. Both teams have a notable omission with the Dogs playing without Trent Hodkinson (wrist) and the Dragons losing Gareth Widdop. Tipping a close margin so take your favourites at 1 – 12.

NRL Qualifying Final 2: Brisbane Broncos vs North Queensland Cowboys

Saturday, September 12 – 7:55pm (AEST) – Suncorp Stadium

A massive Queensland Derby between second and third here, the home squad Brisbane favourites to win their way to a rest even though veteran Corey Parker (hamstring) is under an injury cloud. The Broncos will draw a sell-out but will need to be improving on last week’s effort at Lang Park where they lost to the Storm in a grinding game. The Cowboys though were big winners over the Titans giving them a confidence boosting lead-up into this clash with their big brothers. The key for the visitors will be not giving away the first try as they have done in 15 of their 25 games played so far this season. Helping Brisbane make that happen is the return of Ben Hunt and Alex Glenn. Hunt is the big plus who will bring direction, line breaks and kicking game at its best. The Broncos have won five of the past seven played at Suncorp between these two and it should be a tight finish with six of those seven games won by six points or less. The Cowboys have the advantage with three from three in the finals played between these two, but they were all in Townsville – Suncorp is the decider.

NRL Elimination Final 2: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Sunday, September 13 – 4:10pm (AEST) – Allianz Stadium

Cronulla and South Sydney are facing off in the last decider and both are out to atone for very different Round 26 losses. The Sharks went down by two points at home to Manly (12 – 14) while the Rabbitohs failed to post a point when looking to give up in their 30 – nil loss to the other foundation team the Roosters. It could be another long day in the office for the Bunnies who have lost their past three games and must face their rivals here without George Burgess, John Sutton and Issac Luke. The Sharks have never won a Premiership while the Rabbitohs are the most successful squad in history in that department, but that means nothing in week 1 of the finals in 2015 especially with Cronulla welcoming back Andrew Fifita from suspension.

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