The Big Marn's NRL Finals Week 1 Preview


Manly Sea Eagles vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

Friday 12th September, 7:55pm AEST

Allianz Stadium

The Bunnies will feel like they have unfinished business on Friday night after losing to the Sea Eagles in last year’s preliminary final.

The Sea Eagles are suffering injuries at the wrong end of the season and have been on the drift in premiership betting. Ballin and Buhrer make plenty of tackles and will be hard to replace for last year’s grand finalists. If Brett Stewart doesn’t take his spot, load up on the Rabbitohs!

Souths won’t get a better chance to win a long awaited premiership and go into this clash with no major injury concerns and an extended bench. They’ll go one step closer with a win on Friday.

Major Outs from Rd 26: No Changes

Big Marn Says: Can’t tip against the Bunnies here. The Sea Eagles have been torn apart by injuries and infighting. The Bunnies should win comfortably.

Recommended Bet: South Sydney -6.5 ($1.92)


Sydney Roosters vs Penrith Panthers

Saturday 13th September, 5:50pm AEST

Allianz Stadium

The Roosters of old are back and their defence is leading the way. Jake Friend is a huge loss for the Tricolours but the defending premiers are looking in top form at the business end of the season.

The Panthers have been the surprise packets of the competition and have proved many experts wrong by cementing a Top 4 spot despite their list of injuries.

Think Penrith will need to find another gear to test the Roosters and not sure if they have it.

Look for Roosters centre Michael Jennings to have a big game against his former club.

Major Outs from Rd 26: No Changes

Big Marn Says: Even though the Panthers have been brave, they won’t be beating the Roosters.

Recommended Bet: Sydney 13+ ($2.10)


North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos

Saturday 13th September, 7:55pm AEST

1300Smiles Stadium

A ticket to the Broncos and Cowboys will be the hottest ticket in Townsville on Saturday night.

The Cowboys are in red hot form and their big brothers from down south can expect a hostile reception at 1300Smiles Stadium.

The Broncos will welcome back Sam Thaiday and despite limping into 8th spot, they cannot be underestimated in this one.

There will be nothing in it but the experience and class of Johnathan Thurston should see the Cowboys book their spot in Week 2 of the finals.

Major Outs from Rd 26: Brisbane – Jack Reed

Big Marn Says:  What a game!  Dont underestimate the Broncos here. I am quite sure they will test the Cowboys but the Cowboys will probably sneak home in a tight one.

Recommended Bet: North Queensland 1-12 ($3.10)


Melbourne Storm vs Canterbury Bulldogs

Sunday 14th September, 4:10pm AEST


The Bulldogs come into the finals off the back of a shock loss to the Titans, hardly the best form when facing Melbourne on their home turf.

The Storm went out in straight sets in the 2013 finals series, so expect a fired up Storm outfit when they welcome the Bulldogs to town.

This one will be a battle of the forwards with the class of Slater, Cronk & Smith reaping the rewards after the Storm’s big boys flex their muscles.

Major Outs from Rd 26: No Changes

Big Marn Says:  Can’t have the Dogs. They are playing poorly and have steadily slipped down the ladder. 

Recommended Bet: Melbourne 13+ ($2.25)


BEST BET: Melbourne Storm 13+