2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 16/24 (67%) (Last week: 5/8)
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.)
- As we predicted two weeks ago, Anthony Seibold has this week abandoned the Matt Gillett Experiment at lock, returning him to the Broncos‘ edge. He’ll shore up the defense on the right-hand side, replacing David Fifita, who’s conceded a team-high 3 line breaks this season (including a poor adjustment that led to the Dragons’ second try). This move couldn’t have come at a better time, with Luke Keary and Latrell Mitchell expected to slot back over to the Roosters‘ left edge to accommodate the return of Cooper Cronk.
- As ordinary as the Warriors were a week ago, we couldn’t help but feel for rookie five-eighth Adam Keighran, who is the single player dropped after their thrashing from the Sea Eagles. Admittedly he missed a few tackles, but he was arguably one of the few who was actually attempting tackles, and it’s worth noting that the Warriors’ offense – surely the chief responsibility of a five-eighth – has been humming along okay. They actually lead the league through three weeks for line breaks (17), and rank 3rd in TBVOA (16%). If they continue to produce similar numbers (and earn a decent share of possession), points should eventually follow. If you’re wondering how they manage to keep losing despite impressive offensive numbers, the answer is their astonishingly bad defense. From such a small sample size, it’s difficult to identify whether their issue is ineptitude or apathy (perhaps it’s a little bit of both), but one thing is clear – they’ve conceded the most points in the league so far (86), and are showing no signs of improvement.
- The good news for New Zealand then, is that this week they get a visit from the Titans – the only team yet to score 30 points on the season (for context, the Warriors have conceded more than that in both of their past two games). We actually do believe there’s a bit of hope for the Titans – they finally get Tyrone Roberts and Ash Taylor back, and they showed some improved competitiveness against the Rabbitohs. Unfortunately though, given their historical ineffectiveness with the ball, we just can’t back them until we’ve actually seen them demonstrate a bit of attacking aptitude. (That being said, they may never get a better opportunity, though.)
- After watching the Panthers and Tigers play last weekend, you could be forgiven for finding something else to do on Friday night. Both sides were absolutely woeful with the footy – so much so, that it’s hard to decipher who was worse: the Panthers, who faced the league’s best defense and were held tryless for an entire game; or the Tigers, who could muster just 8 points against a Canterbury team who’d conceded 76 over the two weeks prior? The Panthers will be boosted here by the return of human wrecking-ball Viliame Kikau, and their defense has so far been sound, ranking 3rd in the league for both LBCVOA and RMCVOA. Their major problem has been a chronic case of the dropsies, with the team having made the 3rd most errors in the league (two of which gifted Melbourne tries on a sliver platter). With the Tigers’ relatively error-free style of footy, it’s conceivable that Wests could starve Penrith of possession for long enough to make this a real contest; but if the Panthers are able to keep hold of the footy, they’re a real chance to play themselves into a bit of form.
- Unsurprisingly, the loss of Jason Taumalolo for the Cowboys led to an almost complete collapse in North Queensland’s go-forward, with the team earning just 1148m in Week 3, a drop of over 150m from Week 2, and over 400m from Week 1. Josh McGuire tried hard to step up in Taumalolo’s absence, lifting his workload to make 23 runs; but it came at a cost – the added volume led to a drop in efficiency of 1.2 metres per carry (from 8.8 to 7.6 – and almost half Taumalolo’s ridiculous 14.3 in Round 1). The only other forward to crack 100m was Jordan Mclean, while Matt Scott looks increasingly like a liability in 2019.
- As a result, this may be a bad time to be facing the Raiders, whose forwards finally got going against Newcastle. The Raiders’ offense hadn’t fired much of a shot before last Friday night, but a spike in their yardage (they cracked 1500m for the first time this season) coincided with a spike in offensive production, with the team earning 6 line breaks (after failing to exceed 1 per game through the opening fortnight). Four Canberra forwards ran for over 100m, with Josh Bateman in particular gaining 190m on just 16 touches. Should they find the yards just as easy to come by this week, the Cowboys could find themselves in real trouble.
- We weren’t swept up in Parra-mania before last weekend, and we’re most definitely not now. However, we do have some mild concern for the Sharks this week. Losing a key player is a worry for any team (and in fairness, the Eels will be without five-eighth Dylan Brown themselves), but in the case of the Sharks, the impact of the loss of Matt Moylan has the potential to be catastrophic. Hot-and-cold as he may be, he’s virtually been Cronulla’s entire offense, contributing a league-leading 6 line break assists through the opening three rounds (the rest of the team has 6 assists combined). Without him, the attacking responsibility will fall almost entirely onto the shoulders of Shaun Johnson. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you may recall James Maloney putting the Panthers on his back through the opening part of 2018 in the absence of Nathan Cleary, and Johnson is certainly capable of doing similar things – however, it at least makes us pause for thought before automatically assuming that the Sharks will cruise to victory. We like them here, but if their offense sputters, the Eels have proven capable of putting up a bit of fight.