NRL Semi-finals

Momentum going into big games is a major plus and North Queensland  certainly has that in their favour when they travel to Allianz Stadium to meet Manly on Friday night. The Sea Eagles  put the Cowboys out of the finals last season but it is a different proposition this year. Another suspension to tough centre Steve Matai and a grave fitness doubt over co-captain Jamie Lyon has Manly in trouble, while the northerners are in sparkling form and playing with great confidence. Manly did beat North Queensland in Townsville by 8-6 when the sides last met in Round 22 but the pendulum has swung the Cowboys way. North Queensland Cowboys 1-12

The injury to Raiders’  goal kicking centre Jarrod Croker could prove the difference in Saturday night’s final against South Sydney  at ANZ Stadium. When Croker was forced out of last week’s win over Cronulla, the deficiency in Canberra’s goal kicking ranks was horribly exposed. Although Josh Dugan is taking some lessons this week from the ace, Darryl Halligan, it would be hard to see a few days making a difference for the pressure of a knock-out final. Canberra showed some brilliance last week while South Sydney was disappointing against Melbourne. Perhaps the expectations of the Rabbitohs supporters weighed too heavily on the South Sydney players’ minds but that should be different at home this week. South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12

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