2022 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 130/196 (66%) (Last Week: 0/2)
2021 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: (74%)
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.)
- Cowboys by 12 – We’ve got to hand it to the Eels – after getting creamed through the middle third a week earlier by the Panthers, we expected more of the same against another monstrous pack, in the form of the Raiders. We were wrong. Parramatta clearly learnt their lessons from the Week One loss, in which they dialed back their offload-heavy style and tried to win through the middle (a bad idea at the best of times, given the limitations of Parra’s structured offense; completely suicidal against the best engine room in the league). In taking their mulligan, the Eels switched the offloads back on, making 19 (their 4th-most all year), and working their attack down the numbers channels, rather than straight into the teeth of Canberra’s middles (while the Eels’ props led the team in carries against Penrith, here it was their edge forwards Shaun Lane and Isaiah Papali’i leading the work, with an incredible 39 carries between them). This was brilliant coaching from Brad Arthur (we wouldn’t be surprised if Jason Demetriou tries singing from the same hymn sheet against Penrith on Saturday night), but a similar gameplan wouldn’t likely be successful against the Cowboys. While the Raiders’ run defense has an intimidating RMCVOA of -4.32%, the Cows’ is a more manageable -1.35% (suggesting that running through them can be a bit more productive, relatively-speaking). Further, the Cows have a noticeably more mobile pack, with middles like Reuben Cotter and Jordan Maclean not likely to be easily gassed and found out struggling to push across from the inside. This makes a second-phase heavy, side-to-side game plan probably less than ideal against the Cowboys. If Parra are to win here, they’re going to have to be in for the long haul, and be willing to grind away at North Queensland and play field position. Unfortunately, we’re not convinced they have the patience for it, and even then, they probably lack the defensive aptitude to play that type of game. The loss of Tom Opacic in particular cruels their chances in the grind, as the return to first grade of Bailey Simonsson will likely result in a Waqa Blake/Maika Sivo combo on the left, and Will Penisini/Simonsson on the right. If these combos sound familiar, you’re probably remembering them from opposition highlights packages, such as Canterbury’s 34-4 demolition of Parra in Round 14, or Brisbane pumping them 36-14 in Round 19. Though Opacic is hardly a world-beater, he’s easily the Eels’ best defensive outside back, and without him, there’s a very real risk that many of Parra’s recent defensive improvements are lost, and the game devolves into a bit of a shootout. That style of a game surely better suits the fitter, faster Cowboys, who’ll also be able to call on the home crowd to lift them home in the final quarter. We like North Queensland, and think they should do it reasonably comfortably.
- Panthers by 8 – You can consider us surprised that following the loss of Taylan May to a hamstring injury, the Panthers have (apparently) opted to recall winger Charlie Staines, swap Brian To’o over to the left wing, and play Staines on the right. For those of you with short memories, it was the Rabbitohs‘ success against Staines in their Finals Week One win over Penrith last season that resulted in Staines getting immediately dropped for the rest of the finals series, with Ivan Cleary preferring to play his best centre (Stephen Crichton) on the wing, rather than risk exposing Staines to anyone else. And yet, here we are, with Staines returning from the Netherrealm to face his conqueror. The good news for Staines (and everyone west of the M4) is that the player most likely to rip him apart down that edge – Alex Johnston – will be missing, after falling victim to a hip flexor injury. This likely leaves Richie Kennar to take his spot, playing just his second match of the season. Kennar had a good day out in his first match, scoring 3 tries in an underwhelming 40-28 win over the lowly Knights (though on the flip-side, he also missed 2 of his 5 attempted tackles and conceded a line break). He isn’t Johnston though, and in a match where the Rabbits are likely to struggle for points, the loss of the game’s best finisher could be extremely costly. The Rabbits have lost 8 of their last 9 against Penrith, scoring more than 20 points in a game just once in that period (a match in which Penrith were missing both Origin halves and James Fisher-Harris, and that the Panthers still somehow won, anyway). Our expectation is that the Panthers will starve the Rabbitohs of field position (we have them outgaining Souths by about 200m), particularly given the oddly small bench named for South Sydney. It’s probably partly out of necessity (Souths have lost key middles Tom Burgess, Liam Knight and Siliva Havili), but you’d expect a bench featuring a utility half, two edge players and a single middle would struggle to make any inroads against Penrith’s vaunted run defense (2nd in the league). They may yet sub Davvy Moale onto the bench to add some size, but given he ranks 236th in the league for metres-per-carry, we’re not sure he’d make a big improvement. We fully expect the Rabbitohs to be up for this game – how could they not be after losing to the same team in last year’s GF, and being routinely beaten by them year-in, year-out of late – but they’ve got it stacked against them, with some pretty major losses to overcome. They’ll have to really put Staines through the wringer if they’re to come away with the win on Saturday night.