CRONULLA SHARKS vs NORTH QLD COWBOYS - Friday 23rd September 7.55pm
There has been plenty of chat this week about the impact of teams having a week off, especially in light of the bruising epic encounter between the Cowboys and Brisbane last week and whether Cronulla will be big beneficiaries of that. Back in my day you were better off playing week in, week out. Not too sure if it is the same nowadays and it was evident to everyone on Friday just how out on their feet the Cowboys were. Having said that, these are professional football sides and they have amazing recovery regimes, so you can expect Nth QLD to have recovered and be raring to go against a refreshed Cronulla side. The Sharks would have appreciated the weeks ‘rest’ and can now go into the game with no excuses. <br/><br/>
This does look a 50/50 game but the bookies make it odds against the Sharks. When you weigh everything up – playing in Sydney / week off / full strength – it is hard not to like the Sharks ($2.20 Bet365) so they are my tip. <br/><br/>
This game – like the other Grand Final qualifier – will be tight. I know last year the Cowboys smacked the Sharks 39-0 but that will not happen this time round. With the Sharks the tip, you can increase your returns by taking them to win 1-12 ($3.30 William Hill). It is magnificent value and if the Sharks win, they won’t do it in a canter against last year’s premiers. <br/><br/>
Cronulla have some real dynamite out wide and at the back. There is no doubt part of their game plan will be to cut the likes of Feki, Bird, Holmes and Barba loose. I expect to see this early on, and am going to stick with Val Holmes ($11 UNIBET) to score the First Try. <br/><br/>
This will be one heck of a game and the Sharks will be looking to create some history on Friday night.