2023 NRL Preliminary Finals
In the NRL, the penultimate stage of the competition before the Grand Final is known as the Preliminary Finals round. This round comprises two games, which are critical in determining the teams competing in the season’s Grand Final.
Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm
Date: Friday, September 22, 2023
Venue: Stadium Australia
The Penrith Panthers have the edge this week leading into what has undoubtedly been the year of the Panthers. They’ve been on a winning streak, securing victories in their last seven matches. Moreover, they’ve dominated their last four Finals matches with a margin of 13+ points.
While the Panthers faced a scare with Nathan Cleary’s finger injury, the good news is that he’s been cleared to play. This and Jarome Luai’s potential return strengthen the Panthers’ line-up. On the other hand, Melbourne Storm has had a shaky record in covering the line in their recent Finals matches. Although they might see the return of Jahrome Hughes, the uncertainty surrounding Xavier Coates and the potential changes in their line-up could disrupt their rhythm.
Considering the form and recent performances, the Penrith Panthers should clinch the victory this week, and it is unlikely we will see the reigning championship edged out of the finals. While the bookies are pointing us towards a Panthers win of over 13 points, it’s finals season, and the Panthers are up against the Storm, so this contest is likely to be much closer.
A realistic final score prediction would favour the Panthers 24 – Storm 14 with a margin of around 12 points, keeping the total points under 39.5.
The Melbourne Storm will undoubtedly put up a fight, but the Panthers’ momentum will be too much to handle.
Betting Tip: Panthers @1.18
Suggested Bet: Panthers 1-12 with Ladbrokes
Brisbane Broncos vs New Zealand Warriors
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
This week’s second finals match will be much closer than the first. Historically, the underdog has covered the line in their last eight encounters, sighting that the Warriors could surprise viewers with a strong performance. Additionally, four of the last six matches between the Broncos and Warriors have been decided by 6 points or less, indicating that a close game should be on the cards.
However, the Brisbane Broncos are in formidable form. They’ve won their last nine matches when they’ve had a rest advantage and are the favourites for the week’s game. The Broncos are in a strong position with almost an entire squad at their disposal, and only Xavier Willison sidelined. Kevin Walters has a wealth of experience to draw upon, and the potential inclusion of some veterans could provide the edge they need.
On the Warriors’ side, key players like Shaun Johnson are expected to play despite some injury concerns. The resilience shown by players like Marata Niukore, who returned to the field after a knee injury, demonstrates the Warriors’ determination and shows they are willing to break bodies to make it to the final.
While the Warriors are expected to put up a hell of a fight, the Brisbane Broncos’ form and home advantage should tip the scales in their favour. A realistic final score prediction would be a narrow win for the Broncos, with a margin of around 5-6 points, keeping the total points under 42.5.
I’m thinking 22 – 18 in favour of the Broncos.
Betting Tip: Broncos @1.26
Suggested Bet: Broncos 1-12 with Ladbrokes
This Weeks NRL Preliminary Finals Multi
- Panthers 1-12
- Broncos 1-12
Take Bet $8.55 with Ladbrokes
Check out all this weeks NRL Multi Tips on our Multi Bets Page.
The structure of the Preliminary Finals round is designed to reward the teams that performed exceptionally well in the first week of the Finals. The two teams that emerged victorious in the Week 1 Qualifying Finals are granted a significant advantage – the privilege of playing on their home ground. This home-ground advantage is often crucial, as teams are typically more comfortable and perform better in familiar surroundings in front of their home crowd.
The opponents of these Week 1 Qualifying winners in the Preliminary Finals are the two teams that triumphed in the Semi-Finals during the second week of the Finals. These teams, having proven their mettle in the Semi-Finals, face the challenge of overcoming their opponents’ home-ground advantage in the Preliminary Finals.
The outcomes of the two games in the Preliminary Finals round are paramount, as they directly determine the two teams that will vie for the championship in the NRL Grand Final. The winners of the Preliminary Finals earn the right to compete in the season’s ultimate showdown, the Grand Final, where they have the opportunity to etch their names in NRL history.
Thus, the Preliminary Finals round serves as the pivotal precursor to the Grand Final, setting the stage for the thrilling conclusion of the NRL season.
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.