NRL Preliminary Finals Preview: Melbourne v Brisbane & Sydney Roosters v North Queensland

Melbourne v Brisbane | Friday, September 22, 8pm (AEST), AAMI Park, Melbourne

The first prelim final sees two of the biggest teams going head-to-head in this game.

This isn’t just team versus team, it’s Wayne Bennett going against Craig Bellamy as well. Which coach will win? 

Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater having the week off would have given their bodies a rest and given them time to fix any small injuries.

They’ve all had a week off with the win in the first round of the finals, so it'll be interesting to know how hard they’ve trained in the last two weeks.

Both of these teams build their game around defence and Bennett will be sure they have closed up any small problems from last week. 

Having Darius Boyd (pictured above) back will be a boost for the Broncos and having him running at the line in those final plays gives their halves more options.

Watch Boyd run from side to side when they’re attacking and looking for gaps to run into. 

The battle of the forwards will be an intriguing one but in terms of experience, the Broncos win that one.

But the young Storm forwards have an incredible work ethic and don’t let their team down.

This will be a fast game but I don’t think it’ll be a very high scoring as both teams will work hard on their defence. 

The Verdict 

I think that Melbourne will win as they have been the inform team all year, if they don’t it will come off the back of Anthony Milford attacking the Melbourne line.

Unibet Odds: Melbourne 1.26 Brisbane 4.00

Tip: Melbourne 

Line tip: Brisbane +9.5

Sydney Roosters v North Queensland | Saturday, September 23, 7.45pm (AEST), Allianz Stadium, Sydney

The Cowboys are now just one win away from another Grand Final without Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott

Another fairytale could happen as the team is playing a very aggressive style of football and Michael Morgan (pictured below) is playing at a different level and has the momentum to carry it through.

He’ll be more effective in attack than Mitchell Pearce and will run at the line more. 

Watching the Cowboys players in the sheds after the game last week, you can tell they’re all relaxed and are taking each game as it comes.

Thurston and Scott are at every game and helping out in the coaches box and sitting in the sheds after the game.

They’ve built up an incredible culture at the Cowboys.

The Roosters have had the week off and for the forwards it will mean the world of difference.

The Cowboys have had to get there the hard way and you would think that it would eventually take its toll.

What a battle it will be in the forwards.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (pictured above) has called out Jason Taumalolo and said run at me.

This game will be won or lost in the forwards but with the Roosters having that week off, I think they’ll win the battle. 

The Verdict 

Roosters should win.

They’ve had the rest and have a full team line-up.

Unibet Odds: Sydney Roosters 1.36 North Queensland 3.25

Tip: Sydney Roosters 

Line tip: North Queensland +9.5

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