2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: (64%)
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.)
- Season 2020 kicks off with the Eels hosting the Bulldogs at Bankwest. Much like everyone else with as much as a passing interest in rugby league, we’re giving Canterbury very little hope tonight (nor the Titans against Canberra tomorrow). Parramatta look to be one of the more well-rounded squads in the competition on paper, and have an unchanged spine from their preferred 2019 model (meaning they should have their combinations ready immediately). Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have once again changed up their halves, handing a 4th career start to Brandon Wakeham – further change to an already uninspiring spine. Add in the injury-enforced absences of forwards Sauaso Sue and Raymond Faitala-Mariner, as well as the forced stand-downs of Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor, and it’s very doubtful they’ll have the firepower to keep up.
- The Cowboys get to debut their new stadium on Friday night in a home tilt against Brisbane, and though we’re backing them in here, we don’t love it. North Queensland certainly look to have more strike on paper with the additions of Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters, but we’re skeptical as to whether or not they’ve sufficiently addressed their major problem – a shortage of genuine playmakers in the spine. Holmes is a spectacular ball-runner, however he bears very little resemblance to a play-making fullback. He’s joined in the spine by the extremely slow service of forward-pass-throwing Jake Granville at hooker, leaving just Michael Morgan (who’s yet to have any success in the halves without Johnathan Thurston alongside him) and the prodigiously talented Scott Drinkwater (who is himself shifting from fullback) to carry the load. We’re not knocking Holmes, but rather observing that this has been a systemic problem for the Cowboys for years (they were pretty well irrelevant as a club until 2011 despite having Johnathan Thurston, and only won a competition after replacing the ball-running Matt Bowen with the ball-playing Lachlan Coote). We think they win here despite the likely persistence of this issue, not because we think they’ve fixed it. The Broncos look light on for depth, and in a likely wet weather match-up, we expect them to be over-powered in the middle. However, we think Brisbane have the better season, and expect this to be another enthralling, low-scoring encounter.
- We’re backing the Knights with the home ground advantage, but think the Warriors are curiously well priced ($2.76 at time of writing). Stephen Kearney deserves credit for acknowledging the talent of Chanel Harris-Tavita (who The Obstruction Rule considers the best half at the club), and having the stones to bench Kodi Nikorima, who stole Harris-Tavita’s job on his arrival in Auckland in Round 9 last year. The Warriors have a nicely balanced squad on paper, and our only real knock on them is that they’re the Warriors. At that price, they’re certainly worth a look.
- You can count The Obstruction Rule among those of the view that Latrell Mitchell is not a fullback. The Rabbitohs backline is so stacked though, that we’re just excited to see their 1-7 on the field together. A depleted Sharks side should be a winnable match-up, regardless.
- Like the Warriors above, we don’t mind the price of Penrith at home against the Roosters. The Panthers have boosted their spine with the off-season addition of Api Korisau, and get to take on a Roosters side so stretched for outside backs that they’ve named Angus Crichton at centre. The Roosters tried trotting out an edge utility at centre against the Panthers last year (playing Mitch Aubusson there), and were soundly beaten by the Penrith Kikaus, 19-10. We’re not brave enough to back the Pennies head-to-head, but given that we’re of the view that this Penrith team will be significantly better than that 2019 model, their $2.73 price looks juicy.
- We’d back the Storm against Manly anyway, but we’ll also point out that at time of writing, we’re not convinced that both (or possibly either of) Jake Trbojevic and Addin Fonua-Blake will actually play on Sunday. We suspect Toafofoa Sipley is named in the 18 as cover for at least one of those doubtful middle forwards, and the Sea Eagles can hardly afford to be missing either. Also, The Obstruction Rule is not of the view that the Storm are about to fall off a cliff. Their squad looks as good as ever, and we still rate them a Top 4 (even Top 2) talent.
- Finally, the Dragons/Tigers game looks intriguing. We’ve backed Wests, despite acknowledging that the Dragons are typically fast starters (before their annual post-ANZAC Day meltdown). The Dragons’ pack looks miles better than that of Wests, which gives us pause for concern. However, that pack is almost identical to the one they trotted out against Wests in Round 24 last year (save for the addition of Tariq Sims, who replaces Luciano Leilua) – a game in which they were pumped 42-14, and outgained by almost 400m. And if their forwards don’t dominate, it’s hard to see how the Saints win. The Tigers torched them then, and have now boosted their backline with the off-season additions of Joey Leilua and Adam Doueihi (speaking of Leilua, his battle against new Dragons centre Brayden Wiliame looks like a mismatch). We’re not confident (we’re not exactly known for tipping the Tigers around here), but in theory at least, this looks plenty winnable for Wests.