NRL Round 25: Final Round Betting Preview & What’s Up For Grabs?

With one round to go, there are still a large number of potential orderings of the top eight heading into the finals. And, adding to the intrigue, no less than five games this week will be played by teams sitting alongside one another on the ladder, and another between the third-placed Cowboys and the top-of-the-table Panthers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s up for grabs this weekend, each of the games set to be played, and offer up a couple of the best tips for Round 25.


What’s still to be decided?

Plenty. Just a game separates fourth from seventh, and eighth spot is still up in the air, so there’s a lot on the line for numerous teams. The Panthers are clear on top of the ladder while the Sharks have second spot in their grasp as long as they can win, but if they lose it opens the door for the Cowboys to jump up a spot. If the Cowboys lose, however, they could fall to fourth. 

Pivotally, the final spot in the top four is still not decided, with the winner of the Storm vs the Eels poised to grab it. Neither the Roosters or the Rabbitohs – currently sitting in sixth and seventh respectively – can move into the top four, but they can either earn (or lose) a home Elimination Final based on results this weekend.

Finally, eighth spot is also yet to be determined, with either the Raiders or the Broncos set to earn the coveted last position in the finals. The outcome is in the hands of the Raiders; if they win they’ll get the spot, barring an extraordinarily large win by the Broncos, but if they lose they will fall out of the top eight if Brisbane wins. 

Adding further to the drama is that a number of the teams embroiled in these battles are playing one another this weekend, so there’s no shortage of big games across the course of the weekend. Take a look at how each of them is shaping up below.


Parramatta Eels ($2.35) vs Melbourne Storm ($1.60)

September 1st, 7:50pm @ CommBank Stadium


Round 25’s first game is, quite literally, a qualifying final for the qualifying final. Whichever team wins this one will finish inside the top four, while the loser will be resigned to fifth or sixth place and an Elimination Final. The Eels enter the game off a couple of strong wins, the most recent of them being a 53-6 demolition of the Broncos, while the Storm are coming off a tight loss to the Roosters which followed four straight victories. The Eels, however, have been erratic all year. At their best they are more than capable of winning this, but if they are a little off, as they have been on many occasions throughout the course of the year, the Storm will make them pay.



Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.48) vs Manly Sea Eagles ($2.65)

September 2nd, 6.00pm @ Accor Stadium


There’s not quite as much on the line in the second game of the round, with neither the Bulldogs nor the Sea Eagles set to feature in the finals. Both of these sides are limping towards the end of the season, Canterbury having lost four on the trot and Manly five, with many of those defeats having been heavy ones for both sides. With little on the line, this game will provide a bit of respite from the significance of both the game which precedes it on Thursday, and that which follows it on Friday night.



Sydney Roosters ($1.80) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs ($2.00)

September 2nd, 7.55pm @ Allianz Stadium


The Roosters vs Rabbitohs rivalry doesn’t typically need a whole lot of spice added to it, but this one has got extra significance attached to it in spades. These two sides currently sit in sixth and seventh with a 14-9 record, and while the winner will guarantee themselves a home final, the loser will be facing an Elimination Final on the road. Adding even further to the intrigue is the fact that the form of both these sides far exceeds their ladder position; the Roosters are perhaps the most in-form side in the league having won seven on the trot, the latest of which came against the Storm. The Bunnies, meanwhile, have lost only to the current top two sides in the past nine weeks, each of those defeats by slender margins, and last week beat the Cowboys. This will be a fiery encounter, and one which will hopefully go right down to the wire.



New Zealand Warriors ($1.52) vs Gold Coast Titans ($2.55)

September 3rd, 3.00pm @ Mt. Smart Stadium


Incredibly, this will be the fourth successive game to start Round 25 in which the two sides pitted against one another are sitting side by side on the ladder. This one, however, doesn’t quite have the appeal of a couple of those that precede it, with the Warriors currently in 14th and the Titans one spot behind in 15th. Wins for both of these sides have been scarce this year, though the Titans have at least won a couple in the last three weeks. This game will pale in comparison to some others this round in quality, but at least it might be close.



St. George Illawarra Dragons ($2.35) vs Brisbane Broncos ($1.60)


September 3rd, 5.30pm @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium 


Yet another game between two sides sitting alongside one another on the ladder, though this one has far more significance for one side than the other. The Dragons’ season is over, but for the Broncos, a win is a requirement if they’re to have a chance of finishing in the top eight. That’s despite the fact that they sat inside it by a game and points differential heading into Round 24, but a woeful 47-point loss combined with a dominant Raiders win saw them go from comfortably in a finals position to sitting in ninth with a round to go. After back-to-back heavy defeats, they’ve got no choice but to turn things around in this game.



North Queensland Cowboys ($1.22) vs Penrith Panthers ($4.30)  

September 3rd, 7:35pm @ Queensland Country Bank Stadium


The trend of closely matched sides going head-to-head will continue on Saturday night when the third placed Cowboys welcome the top-of-the-table Panthers to Townsville. The circumstances for each side, however, are vastly different. The Cowboys could move up to second or, more likely, remain in third if they win, but a loss will potentially see them drop to fourth and subsequently face the Panthers in a Qualifying Final. The Panthers, meanwhile, don’t have much reason to invest too heavily in this game and will rest a majority of their starting lineup. As a result, this game likely won’t have the intensity that it would under normal circumstances. 



Newcastle Knights ($5.50) vs Cronulla Sharks ($1.15)

September 4th, 2.00pm @ McDonald Jones Stadium


The Sharks have all but earned themselves a home Qualifying Final, but to completely guarantee it they most likely need to see off the Knights. They shouldn’t have too many problems doing so – the Knights’ ten-point loss to the lowly Titans last week was indicative of where they are at – but the job still needs to be done. If the Cowboys lose the preceding game to the Panthers then it all counts for nought and they’ll finish second regardless, but that seems unlikely given the team the Panthers are likely to field, so expect the Sharks to come out swinging.



Wests Tigers ($3.60) vs Canberra Raiders ($1.29)

September 4th, 4.05pm @ Leichhardt Oval


If the Broncos can do what they should do and beat the Dragons, then the final spot in the top eight will be determined by the last game of the home and away season. The Raiders have toiled tirelessly over the back half of the season to work their way into the top eight, and now, it’s theirs for the taking. All that they need to do to guarantee eighth spot is beat the bottom-placed Tigers. The Tigers have been competitive in recent times and might put up a fight, but if the Raiders can’t win this they probably don’t deserve to play finals.



Best NRL Tips for Round 25


Gold Coast Titans to win @ $2.55

It’s not the most exciting game of the round, but the Warriors vs Titans matchup may present some value. With neither team having anything to play for it’s not easy to pick a winner in this game, but that’s why the Titans’ odds are so appealing. Add to that the fact that they have demonstrated more drive to finish the season on a high note in recent times, having won two of their last three games, and at $2.55 they look like they might be overpriced.


Sydney Roosters -1.5 @ $1.90

It might seem foolish to go against the Rabbitohs at the moment, but the Roosters are an unstoppable force at the moment, and it’s hard to imagine any side beating them. Not only have they won seven on the trot, but their last three wins have come against the third-placed Cowboys, the fourth-placed Storm, and the Tigers to the tune of an incredible 66 points. Add to that their dominant home record and the fact that the Bunnies have been significantly worse on the road than at home, and this small line looks juicy.

There’s usually a lot on the line in Round 25, but this year, that feels like the case more so than usual. Plenty is still yet to be decided in terms of how the top eight will look, and with many of the teams jostling for similar spots facing each other this weekend, there are pivotal games everywhere you look. This is the biggest round of NRL of the season, and will make for compelling viewing. 


Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.