NRL Preview – Semi FinalsParramatta Eels v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday, September 16, 7:40pm (AEST) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney

The Eels are arguably the form team of the competition outside of the Storm. They won nine of their last 10 regular season matches and pushed the Storm to the wire in Melbourne last week. Fullback Bevan French is racing the clock to be fit for this clash, but could be a late inclusion. The Cowboys have shocked most experts this season by progressing to this stage without the influential Johnathan Thurston. They recorded a gritty extra-time win over the Sharks last week and will be keen to ride that momentum to set up a showdown against the Roosters. They are expected to name the same 17 which defeated the Sharks, though centre Justin O’Neill could make a late push. The Eels will be reminded not to underestimate the Cowboys like they did in the 2005 Preliminary Final. The Eels were strong favourites to book their spot in the 2005 Grand Final, but were shut out 29-0 by the Cowboys.
HistoryThe Cowboys have won eight of their last 11 against the Eels, with the spoils shared evenly during the regular season. The Eels won 26-6 in Townsville back in Round 9, with the injured Clinton Gutherson scoring a double, while the Cowboys thrashed the Eels 32-6 in Darwin in Round 14, with Kyle Feldt crossing for two tries. Three of the last four matches have tallied 38 or fewer.
FormParramatta finished the season as one of the form teams of the premiership with nine wins in their final 10 regular season games. They then pushed Melbourne to an 18-16 result in Victoria, a stellar effort. The Eels have kept opponents to 18 or fewer in nine of their last 11. The Eels are 6-4 against Top 8 opposition. North Queensland fell into the finals with just one win in their final six games and then won an extra-time classic against Cronulla 15-14 in the first week of the finals. North Queensland have been held to 16 or fewer in six of their last seven. The Cowboys have won their last two in Sydney.
Stats That Matter– Parramatta are 14-11 ATS with an 18-7 under record while North Queensland are 16-9 ATS with a 17-8 under record.
– North Queensland have won eight of their last 11 against Parramatta.
– The teams have split the season series the last two years.
– Three of the last four matches have tallied 38 or fewer.
– The teams have not met at ANZ since the Cowboys stunned Parramatta in the 2005 preliminary final 29-0.
– The Eels are 15-11 ATS with a 20-6 under record at ANZ since 2014.
– As a favourite of more than a converted try at the ground, the Eels are 2-6 ATS with a 7-1 under record.
– North Queensland are a perfect 5-0 ATS at ANZ since 2014.
– The Eels are 3-11 ATS when favoured by 6.5 or more since 2014.
– The Cowboys are 29-19 ATS interstate and 8-3 ATS as an outsider of more than a converted try.
– The Cowboys have gone under in 10 of their last 13 after conceding 14 or fewer.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf has to admit he thought that the Cowboys were done once Thurston went down. They’ve proven him wrong, along with many others. How the Cowboys respond after playing extra-time in last week’s win over the Sharks could have a huge bearing on this match. In saying all of that, The Cowboys do have a strong recent record and it’s hard to see a blowout with Cowboys defence looking up to the test. However, The Wolf’s best play is the unders. Three of the last four matches have tallied 38 or fewer, while both sides have strong under records this season.
How It’s Shaping UpParramatta by 4
Best Bet
Under 37.5 ($1.90)

Other Recommended Bets
North Queensland +8 ($1.90)

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