NRL Finals Preview: Sharks v Cowboys

NRL Betting
NRL Qualifying Finals Preview
Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday, September 10, 4:10pm (AEST) at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Best: Cronulla 1-12 ($2.85)
Other: Under 39.5 ($1.90)

The Sharks will have to do it the hard way if they’re to defend last year’s NRL Premiership, after finishing the regular season in fifth position. The Sharks have met the Cowboys in two finals since 2013 at Allianz Stadium, with the Sharks winning both, including a 32-20 preliminary final win last year. The Sharks will be boosted by the return of Jack Bird and Wade Graham to the side, while the Cowboys will name an unchanged 17, but they don’t really have a choice when you analyse their casualty ward which features the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott.

History
The Sharks have won four straight against the Cowboys including two wins this year. The Sharks won last year’s Preliminary Final 32-20, with both James Maloney and Kyle Feldt scoring doubles.

Form
Cronulla finished the year in fifth position ranking second in defence but a lowly ninth in attack. The Sharks were solid in a road win against the Knights in the final round of the year but it was just their second win in their last five games. The Sharks have conceded at least 16 in each of their last five. North Queensland have fallen into the finals, finishing eighth on the back of a shocking injury toll. The Cowboys won just one of their final six games, conceding 20-plus in all five of their defeats. The Cowboys finished the season as the fifth best defensive team while they ranked 10th in scoring.

Stats That Matter
– Cronulla are 9-15 ATS with a 13-11 under record while North Queensland are 15-9 ATS with a 16-8 under number.

– The Sharks have won four straight against the Cowboys including two wins this year.

– The teams met in Round 24 with Cronulla winning 26-16 in Townsville.

– The teams have met in two finals since 2013 at the SFS with the Sharks winning both, including a 32-20 preliminary final win last year.

– Cronulla have won four straight against the Cowboys in Sydney.

– Since 2014, the Sharks are a perfect 5-0 ATS at Allianz while North Queensland are 1-3 ATS.

– The Sharks are 20-32 ATS as a favourite since 2014 while they are 7-17 ATS when favoured by more than a converted try.

– The Cowboys have covered 7 of their last 10 getting a start of more than a converted try.

Final Thoughts
All signs point to a Sharks win here. They have a strong recent record over the Cowboys and don’t have the injury woes that the Cowboys do. The Cowboys will be gallant and have covered 7 of their last 10 getting a start of more than a converted try. The Wolf thinks the Sharks 1-12 looks a great bet for a side who doesn’t score too many points and is making it his best bet of Week 1 of the NRL finals.

How It’s Shaping Up
Cronulla by 6

Best Bet
Cronulla 1-12 ($2.85)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 39.5 ($1.90)

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