2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 11/16 (69%)
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.)
- Sea Eagles
- It seems inexplicable to us here at The Obstruction Rule that the opening game of the resumed competition should see the Broncos starting as underdogs at home to Parramatta. Granted, we’ve all had a bit going on lately, but that shouldn’t be enough for us to have forgotten how darn impressive the Broncos were in the opening two weeks. Allow us to remind you: Brisbane’s offense was ridiculous, generating the league’s highest LBVOA and TBVOA over the opening fortnight, as well as the 6th highest RMVOA (for comparison, Parramatta were 14th, 6th and 13th). Along the way, we saw the transformation of Thomas Flegler from bench forward into out-and-out stud, as they matched it with two of the game’s best packs (the Cowboys and Rabbitohs) without a host of regular forwards. Sure, they’ve now lost David Fifita as well, but his absence is surely offset by the returns of Matt Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue and Alex Glenn this week.
- As a result, one can only conclude that the bookies see the Eels as being considerably better than the teams Brisbane have beaten. Now, granted Parramatta are well placed to finish highly on the ladder this year, but that’s primarily due to a soft draw – something that won’t help them at all with this trip to Brisbane. Secondly, we might point out that in Week 1, they barely snuck home against competition lightweights, Canterbury – making their lofty ladder position solely the result of a thumping 46-0 win over the hilariously hopeless Titans. The fact they’ve been dining out on that victory for the past two months is embarrassing. If we had a dollar for every team who put 30+ on the Titans last year, we’d have enough to purchase a copy of the soundtrack to the Whitney Houston movie, The Bodyguard (which, incidentally, has finished as the overall #1 for the year more recently than the Eels have). Parramatta may yet win this game – the Broncos are still some way below full-strength. But to favour them over Brisbane at this point is to completely ignore how surprisingly dominant the Broncos have been so far.
- As previously mentioned, the Titans are so shockingly bad defensively that we’d struggle to ever tip them, and this week is no exception. That being said, their reshuffled spine of Tyrone Roberts, Ash Taylor, Jamal Fogarty and Nathan Peats looks like an upgrade (and is arguably better than what the Cows are trotting out this week), and the Cowboys have lost Michael Morgan and Gavin Cooper. We still aren’t tipping them, but at $3.36 there’s probably some value there.
- After a disappointing outing against Penrith, the Roosters were significantly better in Round 2 against Manly, in a match they really should have won (they produced a whopping 6 line breaks to 3, yet managed just a single try). The Roosters’ forwards have been laying an excellent platform, leading the team to distant 1st in RMVOA, with Siosiua Taukeiaho and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tied for 11th among NRL forwards for runs of over 8m. The issue has simply been converting their opportunities – and if they continue to stick to their processes, those results should come. Field position should heavily favour Sydney, with the Rabbitohs yet to pass 1250m in a game this year (a mark the Roosters passed in both outings, including putting over 1700m on Manly). The Roosters’ new Flanagan/Keary halves combo should continue to improve, and let’s face it – they need a win here. They’re already 2 wins off the pace – going 0-3 would be disastrous.
- You can’t possibly tip the Warriors this week. In addition to being the worst attacking team of the opening fortnight (they scored just 1 try and made 1 line break in those two weeks combined, while finishing last, 2nd last and last in LBVOA, RMVOA and TBVOA), they’re now without one of their few attacking weapons, David Fusitua, and key middle, Leeson Ah Mau. Oh, and they’ve also been holed up in a hotel for the past three weeks. The Dragons aren’t great, but they’ve surely got enough to see off a team averaging 3 points per game.
- On paper, the Sharks look way too good for the Tigers. Their backline looks better; their halves look better; their forwards look better. However, it’s debatable whether or not they’ve actually played better so far. They’ve lost two close games to the Rabbitohs and Storm (no shame in that), and looked concerningly flat in doing it. They hardly broke a tackle against Souths, totaling just 14 tackle busts for the game, and made 23 against Melbourne. The Tigers, meanwhile, have made at least 30 in each of their games so far. Similarly, the Sharks discipline was non-existent, with the side averaging a combined 21.5 errors and penalties per game in their first two outings (vs the Tigers’ 14.5). If they remain just as clunky, there is a very real possibility here for Wests to pull Cronulla’s pants down. We’re mainly backing the Sharks this week on the back of a strong head-to-head record – they’ve won their past 6 straight against the Tigers, so we fancy they should feel positive enough to turn in a better performance here. We’re not full of confidence, though.
- Don’t be surprised if Saturday night’s clash between the Storm and Raiders ends up being low scoring. These sides were far and away the two best defensive sides of the opening fortnight, allowing just 5 line breaks conceded between them, over the two weeks combined (an average of 1.25 per game). With that level of D, points will surely be hard to come by. Melbourne’s offense has thus far not been that good (but has been good enough), while the Raiders’ has been difficult to gauge, due to the patheticness of their opposition (the Titans and Warriors). We’re leaning toward the home team in a tight one, but it’s close.
- No doubt the Knights will be pleased to see Nathan Cleary missing from Penrith’s line-up here, after the Panthers’ half personally put 34 points on them in a 54-10 drubbing at Penrith last year. Unfortunately, Newcastle have problems of their own here. Newcastle have lost fullback Kalyn Ponga for this week, in addition to the long-term loss of hooker Jayden Brailey. As a result, the Knights’ remodeled spine is even less recognisable than that of the Panthers‘, who’ll be turning to teenage sensation Matt Burton in the halves (no pressure, but The Obstruction Rule considers him the most talented half in the entire Penrith club – Cleary included). The most impressive part of Penrith’s surprising early season form was their ability to shut down Luke Keary and the entire Roosters’ offense in Week 1, limiting the Roosters to just a single line break. A similar game plan, built around stopping Mitch Pearce should be equally as effective here, given the lack of proven alternative playmaking options. If they do that, the Panthers’ dominant edge attackers should then be able to provide enough points for a win.
- It’s very difficult to imagine a halves combination of Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger troubling a Des Hasler defense even a little bit. Avoid the Bulldogs like you’ve been avoiding your loved ones for the past two months.