2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 122/192 (64%) (Last week: 4/8)
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.)
- When you consider that the Rabbitohs literally just beat the Roosters last weekend, it looks a bit odd to see them listed as $3.35 outsiders. That being said, we agree with the bookies. For a start, the final outcome was in many ways a poor reflection of the game itself. The Roosters were completely unchallenged in the first half, taking a dominant 10-2 lead into halftime – a lead that really should have been closer to 20 points, considering that both Latrell Mitchell and Victor Radley bombed certain tries in the first stanza. Had those opportunities been taken, there’s every possibility that this game would have devolved into a blow-out. Instead, Souths were able to hit the lead with a productive 10 minutes post-half-time, before continuing to be starved of field position for the remainder of the game. This isn’t to say that they didn’t do well – considering how dominant the Roosters’ pack was (they outgained the Bunnies by over 200m), the fact that Souths were able to defend their way to victory was still impressive. However, this week’s Roosters side will be far more dangerous, for one pretty big reason – the inclusion of Luke Keary. Keary has missed 5 matches this season; of those, the Roosters have managed to win just twice. The reason for their struggles is obvious – their offense drops significantly when Keary isn’t playing. Despite having played just 19 matches, Keary is a distant first in the NRL for try involvements (with 46 – 5 clear of Chad Townsend, who’s played 5 more games). And for those of you arguing that he’s simply profiting from playing in a great team, we’ll tell you this: when Keary is absent, the Roosters’ LBVOA plummets from a season average of 29.11% to just 3.95%. Yes, the Roosters are good, but Keary makes them a whole lot better (and frankly, they were arguably better than the Rabbitohs even without him).
- Those of you who want to write off the Raiders because they lost to New Zealand last week, we’ll remind you that the team Canberra are rolling out here bears very little resemblance to the side that got beaten last weekend. They have a host of stars returning for this qualifying final, including Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Joey Leilua, Jordan Rapana, John Bateman and Joe Tapine. If you want to steer clear because they’re playing Melbourne, fair play to you (we’ll be doing the same); but make no mistake – they’ll be a much better side than what they showed a week ago.
- Of course, better or not, they still face the tricky prospect of having to beat the Storm. To that end, we will point out one aspect that they have going in their favour. Melbourne have the best defense in the league, there’s no question (they’ve conceded more than 3 tries in a game just once all season). However, if they do have a weakness, it’s defending second-phase play. In 2019, the Storm have allowed single-digit offloads in 14 matches – and in those games, they’ve allowed more than 2 tries just 3 times (21% of matches). Compare that to the 10 matches in which they’ve allowed 10 or more offloads – in these games, they’ve conceded more than 2 tries 6 times (60%). Why is this relevant? Because until last week’s match with the Warriors (in which 3 of Canberra’s top 5 offloaders weren’t playing), Canberra had made double-digit offloads in their previous 5 straight matches (at an average of 15 per game). Now, we’re not about to proclaim that the Raiders will actually win here, but we are making the point that the Raiders play a style of offense that Melbourne typically have difficulty defending (relatively speaking); so if the Storm are to win here, they’ll likely need to score a few themselves against a typically elite Raiders’ defense. We expect they will – they have the 2nd best offense in the league, after all – but acknowledge that Canberra play a style that can trouble Melbourne more than most.
- Much has been spoken this week about the Sea Eagles‘ impressive record against the Sharks, and with good reason – because without it, there’s absolutely nothing else positive you can say about Manly. Their rubbish spoiling strategy has failed them the past two weeks, and it’s not because Tom Trbojevic has been injured (though that certainly hasn’t helped). Let’s be honest – Trbojevic is a fullback. His absence is in no way responsible for his team getting lapped for 68 points in the past fortnight, and it plays no part in the team conceding 13 line breaks over that period (he doesn’t even defend in the line, for crying out loud). No, the issue here is a fundamental issue with the strategy, and one that we warned of weeks ago. Specifically, it’s impossible to employ a spoiling strategy when you’re losing – because any attempt to prevent your opponent from getting into a rhythm necessarily will have the same impact on you – and when you’re losing, you need points. So, if you fall behind early – as Manly did, conceding 2 tries in the opening 20 minutes of both outings – then they’ll be forced into allowing a game of football to break out. Which is a problem – because Manly’s defense stinks. It was bad already, and without both starting second-rowers (arguably the most important defenders in the Sea Eagles’ umbrella defense system), they’re woeful. And to compound matters, they’ve now also lost Marty Taupau from a forward pack that’s been outgained by over 1400m over the past 3 weeks. That leaves them with just one decent metre-eater – Addin Fonua-Blake, their only remaining forward who averages over 9 metres per carry (by comparison, the Sharks have 5). But, yeah – they hold an impressive home ground hoodoo over Cronulla. Good for them.
- Finally, we get to the Eels game. We do fancy Parramatta here, largely on account of their offensive success when playing at home. They’ve now scored 20+ points in 8 of 10 matches played at BankWest Stadium, including racking up scores against elite defenses such as Canberra, South Sydney and… Brisbane. Now, they get to face a Broncos side struggling so badly on that side of the ball that they just conceded 30 points to Canterbury (the most points the Dogs have scored in a game in over a year). So why aren’t we proclaiming Parramatta certain victors? Because, like the Raiders above, the Broncos have the potential to play a style that the Eels’ struggle with. Parramatta’s defense has been exceptional for the past 6 weeks, conceding 2 tries or fewer in all of those games. However, they all had something in common – the Eels conceded less than 1400 run metres, allowing them to protect their defense with a wealth of field position. But what happens when they concede more than 1400m in games? We’ll tell you: they average 5 tries conceded per game. This is interesting, because the Broncos have hit that magic mark in 16 of their 24 games this year (66% of matches). Admittedly, the Eels held Brisbane to just 2 tries in their last meeting, but they did it by containing them to just 1249m (and went on to lose that game, anyway). The point here is this: though we do believe that Parramatta have the points in them to run up a score here at home, they will need to shut down the big Broncos middles if they’re going to put themselves in a position to win (something that may be easier said than done for Parramatta, who rank just 8th in the league for RMCVOA). If they don’t, there’s potential here for the game to turn into a real attacking showcase, with both sides scoring in the neighbourhood of 20 points. If you’re a Parra fan, you’d rather it didn’t come to that.