2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 11/16 (69%) (Last week: 6/8)
2018 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: (58%) Line Betting: (46%)
2017 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 66% Line Betting: 55% (NOTE: If this is your first visit to the site, be sure to click here for an explanation of what we’re all about.)
- While the majority of criticism of the Dragons has so far centered on their new spine, we remain optimistic about their offense. Having brought in a new five-eighth (Corey Norman) and moved Gareth Widdop to fullback, there were always going to be teething problems. However, from Week One to Week Two, St George-Illawarra registered improved numbers across almost all offensive categories (such as line breaks, tackle breaks, offloads and forced dropouts). Critically, new addition Norman has so far been their most effective attacking weapon, leading the team with 3 line break assists so far, and adding 2 try assists against Souths. When the new combination finally gels and the team starts getting some output from Widdop and Ben Hunt, the Dragons’ spine should be just fine.
- That being said, we don’t have much positive to say about the Dragons’ defense. Through two weeks, they lead the league in line breaks conceded, and the 5 tries they conceded to the Cowboys in Week One looks particularly concerning after seeing how impotent North Queensland looked against Brisbane (and yes, that’s the same Brisbane the Dragons will be facing here).
- The Raiders/Knights clash this week is perhaps the hardest game to tip, give the unusual stat lines of both teams. Both sides were entertaining, high-performance attacking units last season, but so far they’ve both looked barely a shadow of themselves. Between them, the Knights and Raiders have so far made just 7 line breaks combined (for context, the Broncos had 9 last week alone). We fully expect both sides to get better, however it’s difficult to project who’s going to get better this week. For what it’s worth, the Raiders’ unimpressive first-up win against the Titans came in monsoonal conditions; while they were held in check last weekend by the best defense in the competition (that of the Melbourne Storm). The Raiders’ offense may be struggling, but it’s unlikely that they’ll play in two less favourable circumstances for quite some time.
- Despite being the toast of the town at the moment, we don’t have much positive to say about the Eels‘ offense. After struggling to turn a feast of possession into much of anything at Penrith, they were able to mask another inept attacking outing with a brace of intercept tries and a couple of lazy defensive lapses by the Bulldogs. Their fans should enjoy the fun while it lasts, because in reality, they remain one of the competition’s least dynamic attacking outfits, and we wouldn’t be shocked if they don’t score 36 points in a game again all year.
- Having said all that, they may not have to. Their defense, on the other hand, has so far been excellent (albeit against a couple of sputtering offenses). Through two weeks, they’re tied with the Storm for least line breaks conceded (always good company to be in), and they’ve conceded the 6th least amount of points. They’ll get a much tougher test this week against the Roosters, but so far, the Eels’ defense does not look like that of a wooden spoon contender.
- The Warriors were predictably awful last weekend (as they so often are when we foolishly get suckered into backing them), and it looks like it’s still going to be a crapshoot week-to-week as to which Warriors side turns up. Fortunately for them here, even if they play poorly they should remain too good for the Sea Eagles. While Manly’s defense is already better than the 2018 version (and we expect it to keep improving as the year wears on), their offense was embarrassing without Tom Trbojevic (who’s been named to return here), and they may have the worst forward pack in the league. Please don’t be fooled by their three garbage-time tries against the Roosters; instead, focus on the 0 tries and 0 line breaks they produced in the first half, while the match was still competitive.
- We’ve long believed that Te Maire Martin would make a decent ball-playing fullback (despite being a woefully below-standard half), and we’ll finally get the chance to find out this weekend, after Paul Green named a re-shuffled backline for the Cowboys‘ clash with the Sharks. Both centres have been dropped, with Jordan Kahu and Ben Hampton coming into the three-quarters, while Jake Clifford (in our opinion the best half in North Queensland, Michael Morgan included) coming into the halves. In principle, we like all of these moves, though they add to our concern for their defense. As bad as the Cowboys’ D was last week, it’s difficult to argue that the centres were to blame (their total inability to slow down the Broncos’ middles was where their problems started), and introducing new edge combinations also introduces uncertainty. To make matters worse, the Titans may have begun playing Cronulla into a little bit of form; and if there’s any weaknesses on the Cowboys’ edges, you can bet Matt Moylan and Shaun Johnson will find them.
- Finally, we just want to give the Bulldogs a slight wrap (since nobody else will). Honestly, they are a terrible squad, with barely a handful of players who’d crack any other NRL team. However, they’re probably playing as well as could be hoped for from such a bog average roster. Their offense can’t generate anything at all, and their defense is little more than ornamental; but to their credit, they play a reasonably tight style of footy, making the least number of errors, and conceding the 2nd least amount of penalties in the competition. If they can use their discipline to earn the lion’s share of possession, this is a game plan that will beat someone (unfortunately, the Eels were probably a prime candidate, and that evidently didn’t work out). That someone probably won’t be the Tigers though, who are playing a similar style of footy (they rank 3rd in both errors made and penalties conceded), but who also have an additional half dozen or so blokes who can actually play a bit.