2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 99/136 (73%) (Last week: 7/8)
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
- After an unusually competitive round of footy last weekend, Round 19 looks likely to revert to Season 2021 form, with the round comprised entirely of Top 8 vs Bottom 8 matchups. So, in a seemingly open-and-shut tipping week, which underdogs stand a realistic shot at pulling of an upset? The Raiders could be forgiven for fancying their chances against a Mitch Moses-less Eels outfit, following back-to-back upsets over Manly and Cronulla. We suppose it’s possible – and we don’t particularly rate Parramatta in the first place – but the Raiders would need to go up another level (or two) if they’re to pull it off. The Raiders came out with a new-look, offload-happy offense last weekend against the Sharks, in a strategy likely geared toward taking advantage of the Sharks’ slow, aging and/or lazy middle forwards. This may have been a coaching masterstroke by Ricky Stuart, but it didn’t really make their offense substantially better (their LBVOA vs Cronulla of -13.36% was actually marginally worse than their season average of -6.48%), and if continued the rest of the way would undermine the real secret to their renewed competitiveness – setting season-low error counts in their past two matches. Their immaculate handling has allowed the Raiders to earn massive possession shares for the past fortnight (60% and 55%), which has helped negate the side’s general lack of effectiveness on both sides of the ball. However, that doesn’t mean these shortcomings have disappeared. Against Parramatta – who have lost the possession battle just 4 times all season, in large part due to their uncanny knack of drawing penalties – even maintaining an unusually low error-rate may not be enough to dominate possession; and without all the footy, they’re likely to be exposed. They’ve lost Xavier Savage and Jack Wighton to injury, further limiting their offensive spark, and are forced to turn to Jordan Rapana to fill in at fullback (Rapana struggled mightily when forced into that role against Penrith in Round 5, and has won just 1 match from 5 career appearances at fullback). Parra mightn’t be at their best, but the Raiders are so short-handed and lacking in potency that it’s really not likely to matter.
- We tipped last week that a breakout performance could be on the cards for the Roosters, and though their 34-18 scoreline mightn’t jump out as particularly impressive, there were plenty of positive signs for the run home. For example, the Roosters’ 12 line breaks and 56 tackle breaks were both season-highs – and were achieved with James Tedesco watching on in his civvies. Also, after making a quiet return a week earlier, Victor Radley unleashed for 119m at over 10m-per-tote, helping his side to their 2nd-highest yardage total of the season (1749m). After struggling for both line breaks and yardage in back-to-back starts against heavyweights Melbourne and Penrith, it bodes extremely well for Sydney to see them racking up huge numbers again, albeit against a pretty ordinary defensive unit. Unfortunately for the Knights, Newcastle’s D isn’t significantly better than North Queensland’s, so it’s conceivable that we may see a repeat performance from the Roosters here. The Cows’ LBCVOA is 2nd-worst in the league, but Newcastle’s is still the 3rd-worst; and in RMCVOA, the Knights are actually worse (5.38% vs 2.03%). This shoddy defense has seen Newcastle concede 20+ points in 11 of their 17 starts so far, including a 38-4 whooping by the Roosters back in Round 8. If there’s a hope for the Knights, it’s that the Roosters’ D is traveling significantly worse now than it was back then. The Roosters were conceding 2.1 tries per game up until that Knights clash, a rate that has since more than doubled to 4.8. However, this period coincided with them losing a handful of players to Origin duties, and a further handful to injury. Assuming Siosiua Taukeiaho passes his fitness test, they’re now essentially back to full-strength, and we’d expect their defense to perform more in line with their early season numbers. That would spell bad news for Newie, and should vault the Roosters straight back into title contention (if you’d mistakenly written them off in the first place).
- The Storm have chosen to rest a host of Origin stars this weekend, but have the luxury of bringing guys like Josh Addo-Carr, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Nelson Asofa-Solomona straight into a side that just slaughtered Newcastle 48-4. Here, they’re meeting a Cowboys side whose defense is so non-existent that they’ve conceded 24+ points in all but 3 matches this season. The Cowboys have only been able to remain competitive on the back of their OK-ish offense (they rank 11th in the NRL) and an enormous dollop of extremely good fortune (of their 6 wins, 4 were by a 4 points or less). With Valentine Holmes and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow both out they’ll be down to their 3rd-string fullback, and frankly, their offense was badly outclassed in the first place (it’s not a secret that the Storm are the best attacking side in the league by a long, long way). In short, they don’t just need a fullback; they need a priest.
- Don’t worry, we’re not about to suggest you should back the Warriors this weekend – the Rabbitohs have been quietly building for weeks, and we’re puttingSouths’ clunker against Canterbury down to a combination of mid-game injuries and the absence of their talismanic fullback, Latrell Mitchell. BUT… can we take a moment to appreciate how good the Warriors were last weekend? The story of their season has been one of producing great numbers for very little reward, but their effort against Penrith was easily the high watermark of their year. Having seen their entire interchange bench decimated before halftime, the Warriors gritted their teeth and competed to the finish, refusing to get blown out in the manner that they really should have been. Perhaps even more eye-opening than their defensive resilience though, was the fact that they managed to create 7 line breaks against a Panthers unit that had conceded more than 3 in just 3 other games this season. The Warriors production would be considered impressive under any circumstances; to manage it while being denied the use of an interchange bench was nothing short of incredible. As usual, Reece Walsh was outrageous, producing 2 line breaks, 2 line break assists and 1 try assist, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak turned in his best game of the season so far. Many have already written New Zealand off for the year due to the aforementioned injuries they collected last week, but with guys like Bunty Afoa, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Adam Pompey all available to come back into the side, we’re still giving them hope as long as Walsh remains healthy and available. Compared to the other teams priced similarly this week (Wests and Brisbane) the Warriors are light-years better, and if they could just get that first win, we still believe they have the potential to run the table the rest of the way. We fancy that win likely comes next weekend (against the Tigers), but they’re one of the few roughies this weekend who wouldn’t completely shock us if they jagged it.
- If you watched the Tigers game last weekend against Brisbane you may have noticed something a bit peculiar – both sides seemed to be heavily favouring attacking to their right edges. With your average player being right-handed (and hence more comfortable passing right-to-left), it naturally follows that most sides would be more comfortable attacking that way, and indeed the evidence supports this (of the Top 10 players in the league for line breaks, only Charlie Staines plays on the right). So, what gives? In the case of Brisbane, it’s likely they fancied the matchup of Kotoni Staggs vs Tigers’ debutante Junior Pauga – and if so, they were emphatically proven right. Pauga was relentlessly abused, conceding 2 line breaks and producing a tackle efficiency of just 57%. Expect the Sea Eagles and Daly Cherry-Evans to exploit this weakness, and for Pauga to be fed a steady diet of DCE, Tom Trbojevic, Haumole Olakau’atu and Jason Saab. Pencil the Tigers in for a shellacking.
- Attacking to the right may have worked pretty well for the Broncos last week (though not well enough to actually win), but it would be a shockingly bad option against the Panthers. For the first time since Round 12, the Panthers will have their complete left edge reunited – an edge on which none of their starters have conceded more than 4 line breaks this season… total. No, if there’s a weakness in the Panthers’ line it’ll be on their right edge, where Tyrone May and Kurt Capewell (3rd and 2nd worst in their team for line breaks conceded) will be defending together. Unfortunately for Brisbane, attacking that pairing requires a genuine threat from their left second-rower, and Alex Glenn and his 11 tackle busts for the season ain’t it. So, expect Brisbane to barely trouble the Panthers’ line, with their points most likely to come from kicking to whoever lines up against Brian To’o (at time of writing, Xavier Coates remains included on the extended bench). We doubt that’ll equate to a big score, and certainly not one big enough to keep pace with a Panthers unit looking to make a statement ahead of their Round 20 blockbuster against Melbourne.
- Of all this week’s underdogs, the Dragons are surely the most likely to pull off an upset, given the fact they’re facing a Titans side with the worst defense in the NRL, and whose offense may lose a bit without halfback Jamal Fogarty. It’s probably worth pointing out though, that while the Titans’ offense has been generally elite, Fogarty personally actually isn’t having much of a season. In fact, Ash Taylor and AJ Brimson both have produced more line break assists, despite having started significantly fewer matches. Fogarty’s value has largely come as the team’s primary attacking kicking option, but that’s a role that Taylor should be capable of filling more than adequately, so we doubt how much the Titans actually lose here; and regardless, the Dragons will be short one of their starting halves (Corey Norman), too. If you feel like picking St George-Illawarra, you’re essentially gambling that their offense has an “on” day – throughout the season, their attacking performances have yo-yoed up and down, with very little explanation. They looked explosive in running up the score against Brisbane, for example; or in chasing down the Raiders. But sandwiched between those two matches was a 1-try clunker against Canterbury (and before you ask – yes, Matt Dufty played that game). Similarly, after a shock early-season 26-12 rout of Parramatta, they backed it up by being held to just 14 points and 3 line breaks by the Warriors. Last weekend, with their Top 8 spot tentatively balanced and facing a Manly side whose own offense was limited without Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, the Dragons mustered just 3 tries and a paltry 15 tackle busts (their least of the season). Though it’s certainly conceivable that the Dragons could turn up on Sunday and blow the Titans away, it’s equally as likely that they show up and do very little of anything, whereas you can be certain the Titans will be difficult to contain. Even in being held to just 8 points by the Eels last weekend, the Titans still managed to rip through for 7 line breaks – the 4th-most anyone has put on Parra this year. Put simply, we have more confidence in the Gold Coast turning up in front of their home crowd with the Top 8 just a single win away than we do in St George putting it together (though we understand those who want to roll the dice).
- Credit where it’s due – the Bulldogs’ 32-24 loss to Souths last weekend was probably their best performance of the year so far, though it probably should come with an asterisk (it also speaks volumes that their best performance was nonetheless a loss). The Rabbitohs without Latrell are much like Manly without Tom Trbojevic – not a complete gimme, but a looooong way short of elite. And regardless – one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and it would be a mistake to assume that because they turned up for one game that they’ve suddenly figured it out. Indeed, the last time they made 4 line breaks in a game (against the Saints in Round 14) the Dogs went on to average 1 per game for the next 3 weeks. You can point to the Dogs’ upset win over Cronulla in Round 7 as evidence that they’ve got the Sharks’ measure if you wish, but be aware that the Dogs were outdone in that game 5-2 in line breaks, 37-14 in tackle busts, and they got outgained by 426 metres. If you’re of the view that that game provides evidence that the Dogs are somehow better than Cronulla, you’re entitled to that viewpoint; however, we’d suggest you find a different boutique rugby league website as you clearly haven’t absorbed anything.