NRL Previews - Semi Finals (Week 2)

1st Semi Final
Wests Tigers v Warriors
Friday 16 September 2011, kickoff 7:45pm; Sydney Football Stadium
Match information, teams and officials, head to head history and LIVE score updates: click here

Before Warriors coach Ivan Cleary moves to Penrith in a few weeks time, the biggest challenge of his career stands like a mountain in front of him. How to get the New Zealand Warriors back from the 'dead'. Last week's game against the Broncos was arguably their most disappointing big match performance in the club's history. Perhaps their fans should not have expected too much from such an inexperienced spine.

There-in lies the key, again, to why the Tigers will move ahead in this year's premiership race. Robbie Farah's combination with Benji Marshall will simply be too much to handle for the visitors at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night. The Tigers forwards are fresh and will be in the right places at the right time in this match as their collective experience wins well over a much improved, but ultimately out-matched New Zealand team. Can't see the Tigers not being ready for this.

My tip: Wests 30-12
2nd Semi Final
Brisbane Broncos v St George Illawarra Dragons
Saturday 17 September 2011, kickoff 6:45pm; Suncorp Stadium
Match information, teams and officials, head to head history and LIVE score updates: click here

An epic battle awaits the 50,000 strong at Suncorp, as well as the soaring number of footy fans up and down the eastern seaboard who will be glued to their television sets. The Broncos will bring a perfectly balanced combination of youth and experience to face the reigning premiers who have, in the past, balanced a record breaking defence with a clinical and patient attack. The question is, can they still deliver on the big stage or has their time passed?

Dragons fans should be prepared for the latter. Even though the smart money says Wayne Bennett will have them perfectly prepared for Saturday's night's blockbuster, it won't be enough to match up against the home side. Alex Glenn's performance last week reminded some of the great Brad Clyde and he will again be a standout against two of the best in Beau Scott and Ben Creagh. A juicy confrontation but can't help but feel that this is not Darren Lockyer's last game.

My tip: Brisbane 19-12