2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 127/200 (64%) (Last week: 1/2)
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.)
- Well… this is it. After seven months and 200 games of football, only two teams remain: the Raiders – the sentimental favourites; and the Roosters – the actual, deserving favourites. If we’re being completely objective, it’s impossible to argue that Canberra are the better team here. The Roosters are better on both sides of the ball, ranking 2nd in the league for defense compared to the Raiders’ 3rd, while possessing a whopping 1st vs 10th advantage on offense. Further, the Roosters are 2/2 against the Raiders head-to-head this year (though both games were very competitive). The Raiders put the competition on notice in Week One of the finals when they knocked over Melbourne, but the Roosters did the same last weekend – and they didn’t require Josh Addo-Carr tossing the ball away to do it. Put simply, the Roosters are just better at footy than Canberra this year.
- But does that mean the Raiders can’t win? Of course not. It simply means that on the balance of probability, it’s not the most likely outcome. For Canberra to win, they’ll need a lot of things to go their way. For a start, they’ll need to find a way to shut down the Roosters’ offense. Unlike Canberra sides of the past, the 2019 model simply don’t have the points in them to run down even a modest score, especially against an elite D such as Sydney’s. On just 8 occasions this year the Raiders have conceded 4 or more tries, but in those matches, they’ve won only twice – and neither were against Top-5 defenses. So, if the Roosters manage to get to that magical 4-try mark (that they’ve hit in 15 of their 26 matches this year, including both outings against Canberra), it may very well be game over.
- Next, they need to find a way to dominate possession. The Raiders’ offense is not only incapable of big scores, but when they get starved of possession they become incapable of putting up pretty much any score. In 6 matches against Top-5 defenses this year with 52% or less of the football, the Raiders average just 2.3 tries per game. However, when they earn 54% or more, that number jumps to 3.5. Against a high-flying Roosters outfit that’s been held to 2 or less tries in just 27% of their matches, it’s fair to assume they’ll need 3 here just to compete. The good news though, is that the Roosters are prone to the odd clunker (they made 14 errors even in their demolition of the Rabbitohs three weeks ago), and the Raiders are so apt at stripping the ball that they can starve their opposition for extended stretches.
- Finally, and perhaps most impossibly, the Raiders need to find a way to shut down Luke Keary. In Keary, the Roosters have a half so dominant that he ranks 1st in the league for line break assists, 1st for try involvements and 2nd for try assists – despite having only played 21 games. Keary plays predominantly on the Roosters’ left edge, which means he’ll be defended by the Raiders’ right – the same right edge that was repeatedly terrorised by the Rabbitohs last week (they conceded 3 line breaks down that edge alone). We fully expect the Roosters to target that side of the field and specifically Joey Leilua, who’s prone to coming out of the line.
- If the Raiders can tick all these boxes – shut down Keary, dominate possession and concede less than 4 tries – they just might be able to pull off a Grand Final win to rival 1989. If you’re wondering how many times teams have successfully met those conditions the answer is 7 – and those matches account for 5 of the Roosters’ 7 losses this year (in the other 2, Keary wasn’t playing). It’s not impossible, but Canberra are going to have to play out of their skin.
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