2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 66/88 (75%) (Last week: 6/8)
2020 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: (74%)
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
- The Broncos played really well last weekend to beat the Roosters, there’s no denying that. Their 5 errors were far and away their fewest in a game this year, and their forwards aiming up against an elite pack such as Sydney’s was impressive. That being said, if they replicate that level again this week, it won’t be enough to beat the Storm. In fact, it wasn’t really enough to beat the Roosters. You see, despite winning the game, the Broncos ultimately made fewer line breaks (4 vs 6) and tackle breaks (35 vs 38), despite making an extra 24 runs over the course of the game. Relatively speaking, they played well (their respective VOAs were their 3rd-best of the year in both categories), but ordinarily, these numbers wouldn’t be enough to win. And against Melbourne, they won’t be enough to win. They can pat themselves on the back for finding 4 line breaks, but the Storm have made more than 4 in their past 8 games straight, including a thumping 34-10 win over Canberra last weekend without their entire starting spine (this week, they welcome back Jahrome Hughes). And yes, 35 tackle breaks is good, but it’s also unlikely to be seen here – the Storm have missed more than 35 tackles in a game just once all season. Frankly, the Broncos were extremely lucky that their production last weekend netted them a victory. Their offensive production almost certainly decline here – despite an all-out attacking halves combo of Albert Kelly and Anthony Milford – and wouldn’t be enough to win, anyway. Poor old Milford is on a hiding to nothing in his return to the starting team, and will no doubt be once again scapegoated for their inevitable Thursday night pummeling.
- We warned you last week that we wouldn’t be getting swept up with Cowboys fever, and nothing in their underwhelming victory over Newcastle’s reserve grade outfit changed our position. The Cows were able to run up the score by abusing the absence of Bradman Best on one edge (they put 5 line breaks down the right edge; Best has personally conceded just 6 all season), and the worst edge pairing in the league on the other (Enari Tuala has the 7th-most line breaks conceded by any player in the NRL; Brayden Musgrove has leaked 8 in just 5 matches). They’ll have far less success this weekend facing a Warriors left edge that last week conceded 0 line breaks against the Tigers, and gave up just 1 to the Eels a week prior.We characterise the Cowboys’ recent output as that of a group of flat-track bullies, whereas the Warriors will be heading to Townsville looking increasingly like the real deal. In much the same way as Tom Trbojevic has turned around Manly’s attacking fortunes, star fullback Reece Walsh has got the Warriors absolutely humming. Since his arrival in Round 7, the Warriors have scored 18+ in every game he’s played – a period that includes facing the defenses ranked 2nd, 4th and 7th (the Cowboys, by the way, are ranked 12th). With Walsh, the Warriors are suddenly one of the NRL’s most exciting attacking units – an achievement made all the more incredible when you consider that they’ve been outgained in every game since he arrived, and won the possession battle just once. If the Warriors are posting these types of scores with poor field position and limited footy, what can they produce in more favourable conditions? We may just find out on Friday night, against a Cowboys pack that’s lost Jason Taumalolo, Francis Molo and Lachlan Burr. Though the Cows’ forwards have looked good of late, during Taumalolo’s six-week absence earlier in the season, the Cows were outgained in 4 of 6 matches, and had an average possession share of just 46.5%. With a starting pack featuring Mitch Dunn (7 metres-per-carry), Shane Wright (7 metres-per-carry) and Coen Hess (8-metres-per-carry), we doubt they’re able to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors’ bigs. And if New Zealand get the lion’s share of opportunities against this scrub defensive unit? Look out.
- We never love tipping the Tigers, and admittedly, we’re not doing it with a ton of confidence here. You just can’t feel comfortable picking a team that bleeds points the way the Tigers do (last week was the 7th time in 11 weeks they’ve given up 30+). That said, we think there’s room for optimism here. Obviously, the sheer volume of troops that the Dragons are missing should blunt St George-Illawarra’s attacking effectiveness (they get back Tariq Sims this week, but also lose Josh Kerr). Against a pretty ordinary Cronulla defense last weekend, the Dragons looked completely hopeless, managing just 2 tries and 3 line breaks (for comparison, even the Bulldogs managed to put 3 tries past Cronulla, and the Sharks had leaked 25 line breaks in their 3 games prior). And interestingly, the Dragons’ worst attacking game of the year – posting just 1 try and 2 line breaks in Round 8 – came against… the Tigers (and that was back when the Dragons were doing alright). Finally, for all their defensive faults, the Tiges have actually looked pretty decent of late with the footy, scoring 26+ in their past three games. If they manage a similar total here, it should be more than enough to get the job done.
- We’re not sure which is the more interesting team selection from Trent Barrett and the Bulldogs this week – rushing in the notoriously ineffective Josh Jackson for a date with the Panthers‘ league-leading forward pack, or rolling the dice on Jack “Mr. Sin-bin” Hetherington lasting the 80 minutes with the current high-shot crackdown? Either way, it’s unlikely to make much difference to the result, only the magnitude.
- The Saturday arvo clash between the Rabbitohs and Eels is looming as D-Day for two of the NRL’s fallen heavyweights. As recently as a month ago, most had these two sides firmly entrenched among the league’s elite (to be fair, The Obstruction Rule has never considered the Eels elite, but we were certainly buying into the Rabbits, and had reluctantly accepted that the Eels were firmly ‘OK’). However, serious questions are now being asked following embarrassing losses for both sides on the weekend. In the case of South Sydney, it wasn’t so much the loss that hurt – the Panthers are currently last start winners over every team in the league. But to lose 56-12 after getting their stars back (only Cameron Murray remained sidelined, and he’s back this week) highlighted exactly how far away the Rabbitohs are from the competition’s best. As for Parramatta, their loss exposed them for what they are – a bog average footy team, getting protected by a ferocious pack and lop-sided possession shares. Parra’s M.O is quite straightforward – camp down the opposition’s end and eventually break through from sheer weight of quality field position. This has obviously served them well – they’ve lost just 2 games all season – but wasn’t anywhere near enough against Manly. This was the third week on the trot that Parramatta have underwhelmed with a massive possession advantage. Against the Roosters three weeks ago, they managed just an 18-12 halftime lead, despite a 65% first half possession share (they ultimately got home courtesy of the referee-sanctioned murder of Drew Hutchison, which set off the chain of events that has since made the NRL borderline-unwatchable). The following week against New Zealand, they leaked 7 second-half line breaks, despite a 53% possession advantage. And finally, last week they somehow managed to turn a 58% first half possession share into a 16-6 first half deficit. For a team such as Parra who depend heavily on dominating possession in order to protect an otherwise mediocre defense, this is the stuff of nightmares – if they start struggling even with all the footy, how bad will it get when they eventually have to play without it? It’s hard to say, but their D is likely to be tested this week against a Souths side who have themselves won the possession battle in every game this year against opponents who aren’t Penrith or Melbourne. With a decent share of the footy, we still have plenty of faith in the Rabbitohs’ offense, particularly after seeing Brad Arthur curiously name Waqa Blake for another week (Blake was roundly torched on the right edge by Manly, and has conceded 4 line breaks in 3 games, vs Marata Niukore’s 5 from 8). If Blake found Brad Parker difficult to contain, wait until he gets a load of Latrell Mitchell and Dane Gagai. (SIDENOTE: We don’t understand why Damien Cook has been hammered in the press for his zero run effort against Penrith. Not only was it predictable – we explained last week that Penrith’s ruck dominance would take Cook out of the game – it was also smart on Cook’s part. Cook running after slow play-the-balls will only lead to low metres and mediocre service on the subsequent play; if anything he should be commended for being judicious in his choices of when to run. He has the 3rd-most runs among hookers in the NRL, and averages over 10 metres-per-tote – that doesn’t look like the numbers of a guy who’s scared of running. Sometimes good opportunities for dummy-half runs don’t present themselves; deal with it.)
- In much the same way as we don’t believe the Broncos were that good in beating Sydney last week, nor do we think the Roosters were that bad. Yes, Sam Walker was quiet by his lofty standards, and yes, their double-digit errors again put them under pressure (they have the 2nd-highest error-rate in the competition, behind Manly). But let’s be real, they still made more line breaks and tackle breaks than their opponent, and they did it despite spending a quarter of the game with Victor Radley in the sin-bin. Their offense is absolutely fine, and will only be better with the return of Josh Morris (Joseph Suaalii looked extremely smooth running the ball, but was repeatedly brought down by a fingernail. In short, he looked like a teenager playing against men – albeit a very talented one). After seeing the Raiders give up 34 points to the Storm’s Queensland Cup spine, it’s hard to see them putting up much resistance against the Roosters’ attacking unit. Canberra’s D just looks completely spiritless out there, and we’re at a loss to explain it. At some point they’ll turn it around, and who knows – maybe it’ll be this week. But we just can’t tip them until they show us something on the defensive side of the ball.
- The Sharks-Titans clash on Sunday arvo is actually a lot harder to tip than we expected at first glance. On one hand, you have Cronulla – a side who are flat-out scoring against anybody. Last week, they scratched out their first win since Round 4, managing a meagre 13 points against the empty husk of the Dragons. They’ve been held to 14 points or less in more than half their games, and have just 2 scores of more than 22. But on the other hand, you have the Titans – aka ‘The Worst Defense In Football’. They’ve conceded less than 16 points in a game just once, and have leaked 20+ in their past 6 games straight (including giving the Bulldogs their highest points total of the year last week). In this context, it’s actually really hard to pick a winner. You could argue that the influx of attacking players into Cronulla’s team should boost their attacking output (they get Jesse Ramien, Shaun Johnson, Siosifa Talakai and Ronaldo Mulitalo all back this weekend), though the biggest ‘in’ of the match is on the other side of the ledger (the irrepressible David Fifita). As it is, we’re tipping the Titans with the full expectation that this turns into a point-scoring feast, with a view that eventually Cronulla won’t be able to keep up. This should be a lot of fun, and may wind up being the game of the round.
- If you read up a few paragraphs, you’ll recall us highlighting the Knights’ left edge of Brayden Musgrove and Enari Tuala as the worst defensive edge in the NRL. Now remember that the Sea Eagles rank 5th in the league for LBVOA, and are just three weeks removed from an effort in which their right edge combined for 4 tries against the Warriors. Oh, and Manly also have Tom Trbojevic. Though the Knights do have the pack to dominate field position here, the Eels dominated field position against Manly, and it certainly didn’t help them.