The Roar's NRL Expert Tips & Predictions: Preliminary Finals

The Roar’s NRL Expert Tips & Predictions: Preliminary Finals

Hey Roars!

Well, while last weekend’s semi-finals weren’t exactly matches on the edge of your seat, they were still exciting and brought us closer to the grand final.

Let’s summarize –

Mary’s Eels showed AJ’s Raiders the door on Friday night, with 40-4 nets in front of a packed CommBank Stadium. The Good Snakes got off the bus before the match and gave a dominant performance that proves they’re serious.

As expected, Parramatta’s senior men were brutal, causing a massacre in the middle. Mitchell Moses was allowed to play after suffering a head injury the previous week, and he was close to perfect as his team advanced to the playoffs.

Canberra saved his worst until last, causing his biggest loss of the season while he was out of action for 2022. They weren’t up to the challenge against a desperate eel team to add some titles to their cup treasury.

And while we all feel sorry for AJ, it was great to see how much of a win Marie has achieved.

On Saturday night, while there was plenty of drama and sin this time around at Allianz Stadium, the Bunny again came out on top with a 38-12 victory over the Sharks. In the end, one of the best defensive teams in the competition failed, with Cronulla exiting in straight sets after leaking 70 points in both finals.

Latrell Mitchell was perfect in the boot, but seemed to control the cruise control during the match as his teammates got the job done convincingly. I suppose saving everything for this weekend.

Mike, Mary and your legends in The Crowd lean perfectly 2/2. AJ and Paul both nominated 1/2 – and I’d rather not talk about my tipping, thank you very much.

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AJ is still ahead by 2 to 146, with Paul close behind at 144. The crowd is third at 142 with hot Mary on their tail at 141. Mike is fifth with 130, and I’m helping Cam Smith calculate his LIV gains on 113.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Then there were four. Let’s check out what Week Three of Finals has in store.

Our first game of the weekend will be the beauty game. Tonight, we pack our shorts and sandals and head to Townsville for the “heavily” anticipated primer between the Cowboys and the Eels. The hosts will be looking to reach their first major final since their 2017 loss to Storm, while Eels have not played in the last game of the season since being defeated by the same team in 2009.

While Parramatta scores a big win over the Invaders, last week the Cowboys enjoyed their first-week win over the Sharks and will come to this bout rested and ready to go.

Todd Payten named the same side that got the job done against the sharks, while Tom Opacic was eliminated from the Eels game with an evasive hammer and Bailey Simonsson and Bryce Cartwright replaced Makahesi Makatoa.

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Cowboys' Quinn Hess appears to be heading for a pass during the eighth round encounter of an NFL game between the Parramatta Isles and the North Queensland Cowboys at Teo Stadium, on April 30, 2022, in Darwin, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Colby/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Colby/Getty Images)

Now, we all remember what happened the last time these teams met; The Cowboys defeated Eel 35-4 in sweltering conditions in Darwin. The temperature in Townsville is expected to be worse, and Parramatta is training with the heaters this week to prepare. Will that be enough to give them the edge, or will an already groomed cowboy get the job done in front of a crowd of fully sold-out homes?

Then Saturday night, it’s the big final we’ve all been waiting for. The Panthers face the Rabbitohs at Accor in a decidedly epic battle.

Like the Cowboys, the Panthers come to this match as fresh as daisies a week after their vacation thanks to their win over the Eel two weeks ago. The Rabbitohs’ win against the Sharks last week wasn’t as brutal as their match against the Roosters the previous weekend, but nonetheless it would have taken some gasoline out of the tank.

Penrith coach Evan Cleary picked the same team that faced the Cowboys in the last game of the regular season. Just kidding – but how funny was that?! The only change from the Panthers that beat the Eels was Taylan May who was stopped for a high shot on Will Penisini, and not for all other things.

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Southerners without injured Silva Haveli and still missing arrested Tom Burgess. Alex Johnston has been named but he is still under the injury cloud.

There is no love lost between these two, with the Panthers beating the Rabbits in last year’s Grand Final. And while we can’t see them go again in GF, seeing them try to kick the other one out for a chance this year looks just as good.

Will the Panthers make three Grand Finals in a row, or will the Rabbits be too determined to make up for last year’s heartbreak?

I’ll let Mary lead us this week.

If you’d like to see how you’ll face the experts on this roundup, just remember to get your tips below by 5:00 PM to be counted into The Crowd’s tips.

Good luck with tipping everyone!

Marie Konstantopoulos

Eels and leopards

I still take my heart back when it comes to Parramatta during the Finals series. There are two challenges facing the eel this weekend; The well-rested Cowboys are playing a final at home in a place where they have dominated this time of year…not to mention the 30-degree heat. But in their day, eels can beat any team in the competition and in half now, eels can really rock this one.

I’m safe and I’m enduring Penrith. The Souths could beat Penrith, but everything should go well for them back in the day. Penrith is relentless and exceptional. I expect them to win.

AJ Mithen

Eels and leopards

Two weeks left! Three games to go! And with the People’s Team, the Canberra Raiders cheating from a certain premiership by the NRL Head Office once again, it’s time to judge the remaining protesters harshly.

Parramatta will need to blow cowboys early in the garden if they are going to keep 80’s in a humid average 20 degrees warmth. I’m not sure they could, but the Cowboys’ defense was much more welcome against Cronulla. Eels have a defense but will they have the legs to the end? I’m on the eel to swing across the line in the heart of the game.

I really want South Sydney to beat Penrith because I don’t like the Panthers, but Penrith has been irresistible all season and will continue his ultimate trend of grinding opponents to dough and running on the ball while they do that. Did you know that in the first week, the Panthers put 4 attempts on Parra and in the entire 2021 Finals series they scored 6 points? That’s how they will do it this year. The 2022 Panthers is more surgical in attack and attrition mills, too.

Having said it all – the rabbits were right in their last big game against Penrith and they can’t be written off. They would need to attack with everything, from everywhere, all the time to keep Penrith in balance. The South make too many mistakes in themselves to make it consistent.

(Photo by Jason McCauley/Getty Images)

Mike Mihal Wood

Eels and leopards

I’m the kind of Celtic fan who bets on Rangers to win the Glasgow Derby: the logic is that if the good guys wake up, I’m happy anyway, and if dark forces prevail, I’m at least richer.

I backed Penrith v Cowboys GF when the odds were still good, and that’s what I’d like to happen. I also put my skin in the game for the Souths to make a GF when they were rubbish, so I’m glad they won too.

With that in mind, I’m going to upgrade Parramatta, the only team that can lose money to me, so I’ll have the solace of being right (at least in a complicated way) should they pass.

Since my Panthers/Cowboys bet requires both, I suppose I’ll have to use the same logic to tip Penrith, as my Panthers-Parra GF isn’t good for me either.

Paul Sutter

Cowboys and rabbits

Cowboys are relieved and ready to grieve the hearts of eel lovers once again.
The South is progressive and Penrith can pay the price for the majority of a team that has only played once in the last month if they are close to sprawl.

(Photo by Mark Colby/Getty Images)

Daniel Smith

Cowboys and rabbis

I’ve been supporting these boys all year long, and I think they can move on. Parramatta will give them a run for their money, but the heat, fans and talent throughout the park will ensure the Cowboys win – with my buddy Rhys Robson getting a Blinder.

Far away, what a tricky tipping game! Every day of the week she says Penrith, but for some reason today I can’t. It’s rabbits for me.

Week 3 Finals AJ Daniel Marie mike pee rally
NQL V PAR PAR NQL PAR PAR NQL NQL
PEN V SOU pen so pen pen so pen
round lat 1 0 2 2 1 2
the total 146 113 141 130 144 142

James Graham’s advice Courtesy of Bye Round Preview Podcast

The podcast won’t air until 12 noon, but here’s the code:

North Queensland Cowboys $1.70 vs Parramatta Elles $2.20

Friday 7.50pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium

“This is a great game. This is the game I’m most excited about, this game, cowboys against eels. We’re just waiting for the cowboys to fail. We think we’ll have the cowboys last year with the cowboys around one. That’s the level of performance we’re still We wait for him. But they keep showing up over and over again. They are clearly at home, and it will be very difficult to beat them.

However, I imagine the eels to take the win because I was very impressed with their performance against Canberra.”

Penrith Panthers $1.36 vs South Sydney Rabbits3.20

Saturday 7.50 pm, Allianz Stadium

“It’s hard to analyze Penrith and it’s hard to see a weakness. And look, I don’t know if South Sydney has that level of performance in it. I took Siliva Haveli out, Tom Burgess is still out, so with that midfield they’re going to be vulnerable. Cameron Murray was obviously big for them but I don’t know if they can withstand the onslaught that Penrith will carry.”


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