The all-conquering Penrith Panthers will attempt to win their third consecutive NRL premiership this Sunday when they meet the Brisbane Broncos in the Grand Final at Accor Stadium.
While both sides cruised through their respective preliminary finals, the punters have sided with Ivan Cleary’s men and the three-peat at $1.64 with BetDeluxe.
The likelihood of becoming the first team since Parramatta (1981-83) to win three flags in a row improved over the weekend as the Panthers demolished the Storm 38-4. Brian To’o led the charge with a treble as the Panthers put on a clinic with an 87% completion rate. It was the biggest preliminary-final winning margin in the NRL era.
Just as importantly, Jarome Luai (shoulder) and Izack Tago (pectoral) got through their return games unscathed and, as such, Cleary will stick with the same 17.
Not to be outdone, the Broncos were similarly devastating against the Warriors on Saturday as they sailed through with a 42-12 victory. Despite Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s double in the opening 11 minutes, the Broncos were rarely threatened as they punched home seven tries en route to their first grand-final appearance since their one-point loss to the Cowboys in 2015.
The Broncos are looking to end a 17-year title drought. They will like their chances on the big stage, having won six of the seven grand finals they’ve played in since 1988.
However, this Panthers unit is a different beast to most, with Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton and Dylan Edwards leading a side that has scored 70 points to 10 over their two finals. Not only have they won their past eight finals matches under Cleary, but they’ve also won nine of their past 11 games at Accor Stadium.
Reece Walsh, Selwyn Cobbo, Adam Reynolds, and Payne Haas will certainly put up a fight, but it’s hard to see the experienced Panthers losing in the big dance.
TIP: Same Game Multi
Leg 1: Panthers -3.5Leg 2: Over 39.5 pointsLeg 3: S. Turuva score anytimeLeg 4: J. Arthars score anytimeTotal: $12