2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 76/104 (73%) (Last week: 6/8)
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.)
- We’ve got to say: we strongly disagree with the bookies that the latest edition of the Roosters-Storm rivalry looks like an open-and-shut win for Sydney. To be frank, the Storm have been playing visibly better football than the Roosters for at least the last month (and there’s an argument that the Roosters have hardly played good footy lately at all). While Sydney were limping to unconvincing wins over competition weaklings like the Titans and Warriors (and losing to a Josh Hodgson-less Raiders team), the Storm have been thumping all comers. Their 41-10 win over Canterbury on the weekend was their 7th in a row; a period in which they’ve scored 20+ in every game, with an average winning margin of 23.9. There should be very little debate that along with Penrith, Melbourne have simply been on a different level to every other team in the competition. So how can they be written off so quickly? The answer lies in the two big Camerons missing from their team list: Munster and Smith. With Melbourne’s two best players out, the price has lurched towards Sydney – and the bookies may yet prove to be right. But we’re not sold. First, it seems odd to assume that Melbourne can’t beat the Roosters without Munster at 6 and Smith at 9 – particularly when they did exactly that barely over a month ago. Yes (for those of you with short memories), Munster missed the Storm’s 27-25 win over Sydney at the start of July, while Smith was giving a pretty average turn at halfback. Sure, they were massively helped by an error-riddled Roosters display (their 17 errors was their worst outing of the season), but the point stands – they did win. Secondly, though Smith will now be missing altogether, we shouldn’t ignore the outs on the other side of the ledger. Try this on for size: Daniel Tupou, Brett Morris, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton are all missing from that team – a team that wasn’t good enough to win then. We’re not saying the Storm will definitely win – there are far too many question marks over both squads to say that with conviction. But, we are saying that the arguments for backing the Roosters look suspect at best. Their offense has looked bog average in any game that their pack hasn’t dominated, and given they’re deploying a reserve unit here against one of (if not the) best packs in the competition, we see no reason for that to change. That being the case, we’ll take the team with the better D, and who’s likely to enjoy the better field position. And that team is Melbourne.
- We wouldn’t have picked the Warriors anyway here, but we should point out what a big loss Jack Hetherington will be for New Zealand going forward. Since his arrival, he’s lifted his side’s RMVOA from -0.32% (9th) pre-Jack to 3.15% (5th) post-Jack, thanks almost entirely to his team-leading 9.22 metres-per-carry. On the back of that go-forward, New Zealand have won 3 of 6 matches since he arrived, after opening the season 2 from 7. The difference has been night-and-day, and there couldn’t be a worse time for them to lose him, with a match-up against one of the league’s best engine rooms coming up here. Given their offensive struggles, they would have been very little chance against an elite D such as the Panthers‘ (indeed, Penrith held them to 0 back in Round 4), but without their best forward, there’s now an additional risk that they get dominated for field position, exposing their D to an offense that’s scored 19+ for the past 8 weeks in a row.
- Apparently dropping Corey Norman didn’t work out, and so the Dragons will spin the team selection wheel once again this weekend (and, as it turns out, the coaching wheel). Having failed to capitalise on a strong showing by their forwards – St George got 92 or more metres out of every member of their starting pack, plus a further 60+ from each of their bench forwards – they’ve decided to roll out the Norman/Adam Clune combo this week. For those of you trying to keep track without pen-and-paper, this particular variation (with Ben Hunt at hooker) was previously used between Rounds 9-11, and resulted in 2 wins (a pretty good stretch for this side). We don’t hate this arrangement, and in general, actually think the Dragons are in with a shot here. However, we’re reluctant to pull the trigger due to a potential mismatch on the Dragons left edge, where Tyrell Fuimaono has been brought in to replace Tariq Sims. In case you aren’t familiar with Fuimaono’s career work so far, allow us to fill you in: through 4 seasons and 38 appearances, Fuimaono’s teams have a combined win rate of 34.21%, thanks largely to his bewilderingly bad defense (the 2018 Rabbitohs, for example, won 70% of games without him, but just 25% with him; the 2019 Panthers won 50% without him, but 29% with him). So far this year, his defensive stylings have seen him concede 6 line breaks (4th most on his team) and 4 tries, and he’s also added 7 errors for good measure (the most of any Dragons forward). Here, he’ll be up against the returning Ryan Matterson, who has so far provided 3 line break assists and 5 try involvements, helped largely by his 24 offloads (4th in the league). If we were the Eels, we’d be hitting this edge early and often, and it should be enough to get it done.
- The Titans are playing significantly better football of late, and deserve to be applauded for their improvement. However, in a battle between two dreadful defenses, they’re a long way out of their depth here. Consider this: last week against North Queensland was the first time they’ve scored more than 3 tries in a game since Round 7, and just the 3rd such occasion this year. In contrast, last week was the first time the Sharks haven’t scored more than 3 tries since Round 6, and it took playing a game of football in a kiddie pool in order to slow them down. We’re superbly confident that Cronulla have 4+ tries in them, at home against the league’s 3rd worst defense – and that ought to be enough.
- We stated in last week’s preview that we expected Michael Morgan to be the difference between the Cowboys and the Titans, and he was – by being the worst player on the field. Though it generally isn’t terribly difficult for teams to beat the Gold Coast, it gets a lot harder when you’re carrying a guy who makes 7 missed tackles and 3 errors in a single game of footy. He’ll be better for the run, but his defensive lapses don’t fill us with confidence, particularly ahead of a date with the league’s 5th ranked offense. Their attack should be better with the return of Scott Drinkwater, though he’s been something of an error-machine this season, too. Best to steer clear of tipping these guys, we think.
- The Sea Eagles‘ clash with the Knights is crucially important for keeping touch with the Top 8, but we can’t see a path to victory for them. Though they’re getting their back-rowers back, they are more than cancelled out by the loss of key big man, Addin Fonua-Blake. In case you’ve forgotten how their pack stood up without him last time, let us remind you: in those two weeks, they were outgained by over 1200m combined. This is bad at the best of times, but is a particularly big issue when facing the surprisingly dominant Newcastle pack, who rank 1st in the league for RMVOA, and who are getting their forward leader Daniel Saifiti back from injury. Newcastle are better than Manly anyway – they beat them last start despite finishing the game with a one-man bench and playing what felt like the entire second half down their own end. With what we’re expecting to be a dominant territorial advantage, they should be able to take advantage of a suddenly shaky Manly defense that’s leaked 68 points in the past 2 weeks.