NRL Play-Off Finals Week 3 Predictions & Tips

Dave Kuzio:

We are down to four teams battling it out for a place in the NRL Grand Final. Get's best bets from both Preliminary Finals this weekend.

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NRL Finals Week 3 Predictions & Tips: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles (Friday 10:50 BST)

The first Preliminary Final sees South Sydney Rabbitohs go up against Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium on Friday. The Bunnies are the surprise package in the final four. They earned a week off last weekend thanks to a 16-10 win over Penrith Panthers in week 1. Manly, on the other hand, were hammered by Melbourne Storm in their first play-off game, but they hit back in sensational style as they ran in seven tries in a 42-6 rout of Sydney Roosters. Bunnies coach Wayne Bennett has opted to stick with the same 17 that beat the Panthers with Josh Mansour (knee) and Latrell Mitchell (suspended) still out. Manly coach Des Hasler has also named the same team that got them this far. Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans will both feature – they will need to be at their best if Manly are to reach the Grand Final. This one is very difficult to call. If the Bunnies lose then it will be a miserable farewell for Bennett and Adam Reynolds who are leaving at the end of the season. Also, it is hard to back against Manly when Trbojevic is in this form. I am going to back the Sea Eagles to win this in a nail-biter. I will tip them to win by 1-5 points, and being honest I wouldn’t be surprised if this went to Golden Point extra-time.

NRL Finals Week 3 Predictions & Tips: Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers (Saturday 08:00 BST)

Defending NRL champions Melbourne Storm face off against last season’s beaten finalists Penrith Panthers on Saturday. The winner of this preliminary final will qualify for the 2021 NRL Grand Final – the loser goes home. These two are probably the best teams in the competition and many of us thought they would face each other in the final. That isn’t the case as the Panthers lost their opening play-off game against South Sydney Rabbitohs. That meant they had to play in week 2. They beat Parramatta Eels 8-6 to get a crack at the Storm. Melbourne had a week off after they hammered Manly Sea Eagles 40-12 in week 1. The Storm welcome back winger Josh Addo-Carr after recovering from a hamstring problem. Brandon Smith has been cleared of any facial fractures and will start at hooker. Penrith winger Brian To’o has not been officially ruled out, but he is struggling with an ankle injury. Tyrone May and Viliame Kikau are both hoping to feature at some point. I cannot see past a Melbourne Storm win in this one. Both teams are excellent, but the Storm are as close to perfection as you will find. They find ways to get better and better each season. I expect them to reach the Grand Final with a winning margin of 6-10 points.

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