Very little split Parramatta and North Queensland all year, but only one of them can book a Grand Final berth.
BetDeluxe analyses both teams and gives you the best tips ahead of this Friday night’s big clash.
North Queensland vs. Parramatta
September 23rd 7:50pm
For a relatively new NRL team, North Queensland have well and truly cemented themselves as one of the league’s best clubs of the modern era.
Three Grand Finals, including a premiership, have ensured the country’s top end is showcasing the game at its best.
And for all their winning seasons, there has rarely been a buzz around the Cowboys like there has been this season.
North Queensland’s dare, dash and will to win saw them finish in third position and storm into the finals with an eye-catching win over Cronulla.
After a week off to refresh, they are primed to have another genuine crack at premiership glory.
An unbeaten run in home finals will be at front of mind for Cowboys fans and while this is their first final at Country Bank Stadium, the tropical weather and intense fan support will no doubt be a plus for them.
The calculated Valentine Holmes and scoring threat Kyle Feldt are two of their best assets and could well be the difference between a stumble at the last step and a Grand Final berth.
They are coming up against a Parramatta team that has had an interesting mix of fortunes over the past few weeks and the heavy load of history that is lost on no one.
Eels fans are desperate to snap their 36-year premiership hoodoo, and while that comes with plenty of angst, it also presents a genuine opportunity that Parramatta will not take for granted.
Captain Clint Gutherson has led strongly when his team has needed him this season, and they have never needed him more than they do this week, while Mitchell Moses is their genuine danger man.
Reed Mahoney notches up his 100th game for the Eels this week, and as if the occasion wasn’t big enough, he will want to take the opportunity that he has craved for so long before his move next season to the Bulldogs.
There have been a few off-field issues recently for the Eels, but coach Brad Arthur has been around long enough to ensure his players are focused on what they need to do on the pitch.
Any ghosts from their week one loss to Penrith were put to bed with last week’s crushing win over Canberra, which serves as momentum going in against a strong Cowboys outfit.
But the Eels need everything to go right if they are to cause an upset win over the Cowboys, who are the safer bet in this one.
Suggested Bet: North Queensland to win by 1-10 points at $3.05