2023 NRL Semi Finals
The second week of the NRL Finals series is a critical juncture in the competition, featuring two high-stakes games that significantly shape the trajectory of the tournament. This week sees four teams clashing on the field, with the home-ground advantage awarded to the two teams that were not victorious in the Week 1 Qualifying Finals.
Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters
Date: Friday, September 15, 2023
Venue: AAMI Park
The Storm, despite their rocky start to the finals, remain a formidable force, especially at AAMI Park. Their recent setback, witnessing Papenhuyzen’s distressing injury, will undoubtedly motivate them to rally and perform.
The Roosters, on the other hand, narrowly escaped defeat at Shark Park. However, their victory came at a cost, with crucial players Billy Smith and Sua’ali’i sidelined due to injuries. The uncertainty surrounding Joseph Manu’s participation further clouds their prospects. The Roosters’ hope hinges on including their seasoned winger, Daniel Tupou.
Craig Bellamy, known for playing a strategic game, will undoubtedly have the Storm ready for this challenge. Given their impressive home record and considering the Roosters’ injury woes, the scales tilt in favour of a Melbourne victory.
Diving into the match insights, several players stand out. James Tedesco’s remarkable form, with seven tries in his past nine finals matches, is noteworthy. Jaxson Paulo and Nick Meaney have also been consistent against their respective opponents. However, Cameron Munster’s stellar performance at AAMI Park, scoring in his last four appearances, further strengthens Storm’s position.
While Sydney’s past encounters at AAMI Park have been low-scoring, Melbourne’s recent home matches have seen a surge in points (and it’s hard to ignore the favourable stats of the Storm playing at home).
I’d say Melbourne Storm 20 – Sydney Roosters 10.
Betting Tip: Storm @1.28
Suggested Bet: Storm by 13+ @ $2.10
New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023
Venue: Go Media Stadium
Riding high on a 10-match winning streak, the Knights are set to head over the sea to face the Warriors on their home turf. However, the Warriors are fighting to keep their season’s hopes alive, making this encounter even more crucial.
The 2023 season has seen both teams evenly matched, with each claiming a victory against the other. The Warriors started strong with an opening-round win in Auckland, but the Knights retaliated in Round 6.
While the Knights will be without Jackson Hastings due to an ankle injury, they are not short of star power. Players like Young and Marzhew have been exceptional, outscoring their counterparts DWZ and Marcelo Montoya by 16 tries this season. Greg Marzhew’s consistent performance, scoring in nine of the last 10 matches, and Kalyn Ponga’s impressive away record, with tries in five of his last six away games, further bolster the Knights’ chances.
However, the Warriors have their own set of trump cards. They’ve been dominant at home, winning their last five matches in New Zealand and consistently emerging victorious in their last seven matches when tagged as the favourites. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s scoring prowess, with tries in four of the last five home matches, adds another layer of threat to the Warriors’ offensive line.
The Knights might have been formidable in the last half of the season, but the Warriors, especially with the potential return of Shaun Johnson, are going to give them a run for their money.
The Knights have historically struggled at Go Media Stadium, winning only eight of 22 matches. Coupled with the fact that recent matches between these two teams have been low-scoring, we’re likely to see a tight, defensive game.
Given the current form, home advantage, and historical data, the New Zealand Warriors seem to have a slight edge. Predicting the outcome, I’d say New Zealand Warriors 18 – Newcastle Knights 14.
Betting Tip: Warriors @1.55
Suggested Bet: Warriors by 1-12 @ $2.80
This Weeks NRL Semi Finals Multi
- Storm 13+
- Warriors 1-12
Take Bet $5.88 with Ladbrokes
Check out all this weeks NRL Multi Tips on our Multi Bets Page.
NRL Semi Finals
The allocation of home-ground advantage to these teams is a strategic decision aimed at levelling the playing field and providing an opportunity for them to bounce back from their Week 1 defeat. Playing on familiar turf, in front of their home crowd, these teams are given a chance to leverage the comfort and support of their home environment to their advantage.
The games played during this second week of the Finals series are characterized by their “do-or-die” nature. The stakes are incredibly high, as the outcomes of these games directly determine which teams will advance to the Week 3 Preliminary Finals. The victorious teams from these matches earn the opportunity to compete against the winning teams from the Week 1 Finals, moving one step closer to the coveted NRL Grand Final.
Conversely, the teams that do not emerge victorious from the second week’s games face a bitter end to their Grand Final aspirations for the season. The final whistle of these matches marks the end of their journey in the current NRL season, compelling them to bid farewell to their dreams of Grand Final glory.
Thus, the second week of the NRL Finals series is a pivotal and emotionally charged stage of the competition, where dreams are kept alive. Others are dashed, setting the stage for the Preliminary Finals in Week 3.
Check the NRL Draw for upcoming NRL matches this season.
NRL Injury List
Keep up-to-date with your team’s injuries this week with our NRL injury list.