Eight rounds into the Australian National Rugby League and it is clear that two teams are head and shoulders above the rest of the sides provided that their key players stay fit.
Betting on the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final winner five months out from the ANZ Stadium title decider is not something that whets one’s appetite in most seasons but such is the gulf in class between two teams and the rest of the field that one is tempted to snap up a couple of prices.
Brisbane and North Queensland occupy the top two rungs of the Australian National Rugby League after eight rounds and the Broncos and the Cowboys deserve their high rankings. Brisbane is available at odds of +275 with many bookmakers, including BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Unibet, to take out the Australian National Rugby League premiership, while North Queensland is trading at odds of +350 with several firms, including Bet365 and William Hill, to go back to back. Dutch Brisbane and North Queensland and you come up with an Australian National Rugby League wager at odds of +105 .
There is a lot of rugby league to be played between now and the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final on Sunday 2 October but, if Brisbane and North Queensland are able to field their strongest sides at the business end of the campaign, one of them is more likely than not to lift aloft the trophy named after Norm Provan and Arthur Simmons.
Brisbane has rebounded from losing last term’s Australian National Rugby League Grand Final to North Queensland in heart-breaking fashion, winning seven of its first eight matches this season. Brisbane’s only loss was at Penrith when it went down 22-23 after leading by 16 points on the stroke of half time. Brisbane really ought to be 8-0 going into its Australian National Rugby League Round Nine game versus Cronulla Sutherland and, in the diminutive shape of five-eighth Anthony Milford, the Broncos boast the form player of the competition. Milford would be in line to represent Queensland in this year’s State of Origin series had the Maroons not banned him from the interstate arena following his curfew break during a recent training camp.
North Queensland is making a fine fist of its attempt to become the first Australian National Rugby League team to retain the premiership since the tournament began in 1998. North Queensland has won six of its first eight Australian National Rugby League games and there was no shame in its losses – 16-20 at much improved Parramatta and 20-21 at Brisbane in a match that went to golden-point extra time. There are growing signs that North Queensland is not as Johnathan Thurston dependent has it was last term, with Lachlan Coote and Michael Morgan receiving rave reviews for their performances at fullback and five-eighth respectively.
Never has Cronulla Sutherland won an Australian National Rugby League title and, while the Sharks have the pack to challenge for the premiership, one questions whether James Maloney and Chad Townsend are the right halves combination. One picked Melbourne to qualify for the Australian National Rugby League Final Series with ease and, while the Storm are a lock to finish in the top eight, their grinding style may not be sufficient to collect the ultimate prize. Canterbury Bankstown and Parramatta are the next Australian National Rugby League cabs off the rank according to bookmakers but neither the Bulldogs nor the Eels are operating anywhere near the level of Brisbane and North Queensland.
Brisbane and North Queensland locked horns in last season’s Australian National Rugby League and, provided that the Final Series draw keeps apart the Broncos and the Cowboys, one would not be surprised to see them meet again this term. Getting better than even money about either Brisbane or North Queensland triumph is an excellent futures bet.
Dutch Brisbane and North Queensland to win the NRL