The Cowboys’ fairytale run continues!
North Queensland may have scraped into the eight but since they’ve been involved in the finals series they have been arguably the toughest team left in the competition.
They now have a date with the Sydney Roosters in their bid to book a spot in the Grand Final after knocking off Parramatta last Saturday night.
Brisbane did what most expected and progressed to the Prelim Final to face Melbourne but it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the 13-6 win over Penrith on Friday night.
Without Matt Scott for the entire season and Johnathan Thurston for the majority of it, Paul Green’s men have been led ably by Michael Morgan and were as much as $101 to win the premiership at the start of the finals.
Centrebet are still offering $34 for the Cowboys to do what many thought was impossible and win the premiership.
Do they have what it takes to win a third straight away game when they face the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night? It will be their second visit to the venue in three weeks having beaten the Sharks there in the Elimination Final.
They are definitely resilient and won’t lay down without a fight and if you think they can cause another upset here you can take the $3.40 @ bet365.
The most impressive thing about their performances so far in the finals has been their defence which has tightened up considerably.
North Queensland has only conceded 14 and 16 points respectively to the Sharks and Eels and conceded a try right on fulltime against Parramatta the other night, so really, their defence has been pretty spot on throughout the finals.
Brad Arthur’s men did remarkably well to finish fourth this season but lost back-to-back games against Melbourne and North Queensland. If you backed the Blue and Golds you would definitely be feeling a little short-changed that they didn’t at least get through to the prelims.
One of the things that was obvious from these two matches is the lack of finals footy experience the side had. It was the first time that Parramatta had made the finals series since 2009 and that ultimately may have cost them as at this stage of the season, experience can count for a lot.
Arthur said it perfectly in his post-match press conference the other night: “We got taught how to play finals footy.”
Still, the team will be better for the experience and are rated an $11 chance with several bookies to win the 2018 decider.
Wayne Bennett’s side began well enough but their lack of attacking spark was plainly obvious as they struggled to break down the resolute Penrith defence.
On the flip side, Brisbane’s defence on their line in the second half is what won them the match because the Mountain Men had plenty of chances to tie the game up when it was 12-6, however, couldn’t find a way past.
Their defence is going to have to be spot on again as they travel to AAMI Park on Friday night to play the Storm in the Preliminary Final. Rank outsiders, they are $3.80 @ Unibet to cause the upset.