2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 110/144 (76%) (Last week: 8/8)
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.)
- Sea Eagles
- As expected, the Bulldogs struggled badly without their only good player, Keiran Foran. The side produced just 2 line breaks in his absence, the lowest number conceded by Manly since Round 8, and less than a third of the Eagles’ average conceded over the previous three weeks (7 per game). Without Foran they have absolutely nothing with the ball in hand, and over the past two months their defense has deserted them as well, with Canterbury having now conceded 4+ tries and 5+ line breaks in six consecutive games. Against a Rabbitohs team that’s purring, they’ll be lucky not get massacred.
- We should probably mention that the Panthers have decided to rest key forwards James Tamou and Zane Tetevano (as well as hooker Api Koroisau) since Penrith’s success is built so firmly on the back of their forward pack’s dominance. Penrith have won the yardage battle in 17 of 18 games so far, with their 755m victory against Parramatta their most impressive yet. The losses of Tamou and Tetevano should slow Penrith down a little, but not by much – in their place, they’ll have Jack Hetherington (who came of age during his cameo as the Warriors’ forward leader), and will give longer minutes to Spencer Leniu (who ranks 12th among NRL forwards in metres-per-carry; 5th if you don’t include hookers). The Cowboys, meanwhile, are without Josh McGuire and John Asiata, have been outgained in 13 of their past 15, and are coming off an effort in which they conceded 10+ line breaks for the 4th time this year. We think Penrith will be fine.
- Over the past few weeks, the Eels have shown how badly they struggle when they’re unable to win through the middle of the field. Five times this year, Parramatta have outgained their opponent by 200m+; in those matches, they average 5.8 tries per game. But what happens when they’re not rumbling downfield? Well, when they outgain their opponent by less than 200m, their tries scored per match drops to 2.6. And when they get outgained? 1.25. In short, the Eels’ success is closely tied to their yardage, which helps explain their general failure against the top sides (who all feature strong packs). Their issue is that they lack creativity – Dylan Brown (who’s now injured anyway) and Mitch Moses have combined for just 9 line break assists all season – that’s less than or equal to both Penrith halves (18 and 17) , Roosters halves (11 and 10) and Melbourne halves (13 and 9) each, as well as maligned nobodies like Matt Dufty and Will Kennedy (14 and 12), and something called Darius Boyd (13). This leaves all their attacking hopes pinned on Clint Gutherson, who’s barely been sighted for two months. Fortunately, they get a Broncos side here without Payne Haas and Rhys Kennedy, who’ve been outgained by over 300m for three weeks on the trot, and who Parramatta smoked for 896m back in Round 3. Surely this is a matchup that can make the Eels start feeling better about themselves. But when they run into another decent pack? It’ll be curtains.
- In this week’s edition of “needlessly reckless decision-making”, the Sea Eagles have decided to name the fate of their franchise, Tom Trbojevic, on their extended bench. Given that their season is gone and Manly’s competitiveness is inextricably tied to Trbojevic’s health, playing him sits right alongside eating a pangolin as the most needless risk of 2020 (at least if you’re from the Northern Beaches). Still, this somehow won’t even be the stupidest piece of roster management for Manly this week (that honour goes to allowing the game’s premier forward, Addin Fonua-Blake, to leave on account of “issues” that could have easily been resolved by paying him the sort of money that was instead allocated to Jake “Plodzilla” Trobojevic; why can’t Manly fans have nice things?). All of this being said, we can only judge this game on the players who’ve been named, and assuming Tom plays, this is probably the end of the streak for the Titans. We really like what the Titans have been doing of late, and they looked primed for an upset here. But Tom changes everything for Manly – he still ranks 2nd on the team for try involvements (11) and line break assists (10), and he’s only played 6 games! Quite simply, Manly are a completely different beast with him in the side, and despite the Gold Coast’s recent defensive improvements, we simply don’t believe they’ll be able to contain a team with him in it (until his hamstring explodes).
- The Storm were uncharacteristically poor defensively last weekend, conceding 4 tries in a game for just the 3rd time all year. The game was never in doubt, as their offense strode through the Cowboys’ defensive line at will, but nonetheless, we’d expect Craig Bellamy to have focused on D this week, and to be viewing a game against a typically strong Tigers offense (6th in the league) as a good pre-finals tune-up.
- The Roosters have opted to rest James Tedesco and Siosiua Taukeiaho for this clash with the Sharks, but like the Penrith game above, we doubt it makes much difference. The Sharks’ defense is typically shocking, and Joey Manu is a perfectly capable replacement at the back. The Roosters should still find plenty of points.
- With the Warriors now out of the playoff hunt, the Eels have recalled Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings, leaving New Zealand even thinner for numbers to close out the season. The loss of Jennings in particular takes a lot of air out of their attacking balloon, with the Eels flyer having made 5 line breaks and 19 tackle breaks across just 7 appearances this season (6 for the Warriors). He’ll be replaced on the wing by Hayze Perham, who’s managed just 1 and 8 from 5 outings. They weren’t likely to win here anyway, but at this point they’re likely just looking forward to the season being over.
- The Knights made the curious decision to rest a few stars for their inevitable loss to the Roosters, and got exactly what they deserved – a 42-12 beat-down. Now, they find themselves in a tricky spot, likely needing to win out in order to secure a home final in two weeks time (which may well be crucial, should a playoff date with the in-form Rabbitohs be looming). They’ll have to do it with a re-tooled spine, having dropped Mason Lino and lost Kurt Mann to suspension. This feels like the worst possible time to be making adjustments to key positions, especially coming into a match against a Dragons side who’ve been playing relatively well of late. Sure, St George-Illawarra ultimately got pumped by Canberra, but they were well in the game at half-time (trailing 14-8), and do have the capacity to put points on. If Newcastle’s attack stutters, we actually give the Dragons a reasonable chance for an upset here – the Knights’ D has shown a propensity for being torched on occasion (they leaked 10 line breaks in a game to both the Roosters and Warriors within the past month), and winger Starford Toa is fast becoming a prime target for opposition offenses (he has a tackle efficiency of just 63%, and has leaked 7 line breaks in 6 games). With so much on the line for Newcastle, we’re putting our faith in Kalyn Ponga and co to outscore the Dragons, but to be quite honest, we’re actually not terribly confident.