The following are previews with betting tips for Round 11 of the 2017 NRL season.
Sharks v Cowboys
Thu May 18, 7:50 pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks will take on the North Queensland Cowboys in a massive heavyweight clash leading into the State of Origin period. The Cowboys returned to form last week against the Bulldogs, while the Sharks edged the Dragons in an impressive win for both clubs. With each squad likely to endure a heavy representative toll, both coaches will be keenly aware of the need to bank premiership points before losing their star players.
For the Sharks, Jason Bukuya comes onto the bench with Chris Heighington shifting to the starting side to cover for the suspended Matt Prior. The Cowboys have named an unchanged squad from last week.
Given the Cowboys recent form, the Sharks will go into the match as heavy favourites. Despite the fact that the Queenslanders are still without star halfback Jonathan Thurston, the return of Jake Granville and Lachlan Coote was a huge boost for the Cowboys last week so expect a closer match than the bookies have tipped. Expect the Cowboys to struggle to contain the Sharks’ physical style of play and the Shire club to get the points.
Betting Tip: Sharks -6.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Warriors v Dragons
Fri May 19, 6:00 pm, FMG Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons this Friday night with both clubs backing up from disappointing losses last week. The Warriors will be disappointed after conceding victory to the Panthers after taking a big lead into half time, while the Dragons were poor in their narrow loss to the Sharks last week.
Ken Maumalo will join the Warriors backline for the injured Solomone Kata in the Warriors only change, while the Dragons will replace the injured Euan Aitken with Taane Milne with Kalifa Faifai Loa coming onto the wing.
Both teams will be disappointed by their poor execution last week, particularly the Warriors after they let go a 22-point halftime lead, while the Dragons still look sloppy without star players Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan. Expect the Kiwis to bounce back after their embarrassment last week, but the Dragons should have the edge as the more defensively sound outfit. Dragons to take the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons Head to Head @ $2.70 (Unibet)
Broncos v Tigers
Fri May 19, 7:50 pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the Wests Tigers this Friday night after the Queensland club were impressive against the Tigers last week, despite conceding 14 points in the first 10 minutes. Their opposition in the Tigers were poor against the Rabbitohs in their last game, but with Mitchell Moses finally departing the club after an extended off-field controversy, expect the Tigers to bounce back with a clear head.
James Roberts will return at centre for the Broncos in the only change for the Brisbane club. The departure of Mitchell Moses will bring Jack Littlejohn into the Tigers side as Aaron Woods return to the front row and Kyle Lovett joins the bench.
The Broncos will go into the match as favourites, with coach Wayne Bennett sure to have impressed the importance of the premiership points in Brisbane’s last game before the representative period. The class within the Broncos will give them the edge, but if the Tigers can match the intent of Manly in the first 10 minutes last week, they are certainly a chance. Brisbane to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers +15.5 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Titans v Sea Eagles
Sat May 20, 5:30 pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will host the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles this Saturday evening after the Queensland club posted a miraculous 38-36 victory against the Storm last week in a testament to the spirit within Neil Henry’s squad. Their opposition in the Sea Eagles will be disappointed in their performance last week, failing to win despite notching a 14-point lead in the first 10 minutes.
Karl Lawton and Nathaniel Peteru will join the Titans bench to cover the injured Dan Sarginson and Ryan Simpkins, while Manly will replace injured fullback Tom Trbojevic with Matthew Wright in their only change.
Tom Trbojevic will be a huge loss for the Sea Eagles and the Titans will go into the contest as favourites on the back of their performance last week. Confidence within the Titans squad will be high, while the Sea Eagles will be lacking in that department after they failed to post a point in the last 70 minutes of their game against the Broncos. While the game will definitely be closer that the odds indicate, expect the Titans to get the points with Manly set to struggle in the absence of Tom Trbojevic.
Betting Tip: Titans -4.0 @ $2.05 (Pinnacle)
Eels v Raiders
Sat May 20, 7:30 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday night after both teams were embarrassed in disappointing losses last week. The Eels were dismantled by the Roosters in a 38-point loss, while the Raiders lost against the Knights in a very poor performance. Despite their loss, the Eels will be buoyed by the addition of Mitchell Moses after the talented half was released from the Tigers with immediate effect.
An injury to star halfback Corey Norman spells trouble for the Eels, but reinforcements come as Bevan French returns at fullback. New signing Mitchell Moses could also come into the side after he was named in the reserves. For the Raiders, Josh Papalii will return in the second row in Canberra’s only change from last week.
The Raiders will go into the contest as clear favourites, but they will face an Eels outfit with a wounded pride. Expect both teams to be out for blood after their games last week, but the class in the Raiders outfit should get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Raiders -4.0 @ $1.90 (Madbookie)
Knights v Panthers
Sun May 21, 2:00 pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Newcastle Knights will take on the Penrith Panthers this Sunday afternoon with both struggling clubs producing encouraging performances last week. The Knights posted a convincing win against premiership heavyweights the Raiders, while the Panthers overcame a 22-point half time deficit to beat the Warriors. Both teams have struggled in recent times but with enormous potential, their wins last week will build confidence and belief in their respective systems.
Sam Stone will return in the backrow for the Knights as Mitchell Barnett joins the bench. The Panthers will cover the injured James Fisher-Harris with Viliame Kikau on the interchange in their only change.
The Panthers will go into the match as heavy favourites, and if they can produce a performance the emulates their second half against the Warriors then it will be for good reason. Both teams have been inconsistent but expect a closer contest than the odds indicate. The Knights won’t make it easy but the class of Penrith should secure them the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)
Bulldogs v Roosters
Sun May 21, 4:00 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Sunday afternoon with the third placed ‘Chooks’ making a huge statement after posting a massive 38-point win over the Eels last week. It is an indication of the constant danger within the Roosters outfit, but they will face a disappointed Bulldogs team who were poor against the Cowboys last week.
Unsurprisingly, the Roosters have named an unchanged outfit for the clash, while the Bulldogs will replace Marcela Montoya on the bench with Craig Garvey in their only change.
The Roosters will go into the match as heavy favourites after the performance last week. While they have been one of the better sides this year, the ‘Chooks’ have clearly been off their game but from last week they look to be returning to their devastating best. Expect a massive battle in the forwards, but the in-form Roosters backline will make the difference against the Bulldogs’ makeshift halves. Roosters to get the points.
Betting Tip: Roosters -6.5 @ $1.92 (Topbetta)
Rabbitohs v Storm
Sun May 21, 6:30 pm, NIB Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will take on the Melbourne Storm this Sunday night after the competition-leading Victorian club were extremely poor in their loss to the Titans last week. With coach Craig Bellamy labeling his squads’ defensive performance among the worst he’s ever seen, expect the Storm to bounce back against the Rabbitohs after Souths produced a good win against the Tigers last week.
The Rabbitohs only change comes as Zane Musgrove replaces the injured Jason Clark. The Storm have elected to name an unchanged squad from last week.
The Storm will go into the contest as heavy favourites despite their loss last week. Expect a big response from Craig Bellamy’s squad with the notoriously disciplined coach sure to have made his dissatisfaction known throughout the week. The Rabbitohs are certainly a chance on the back of their powerful forward rotation, but expect the class of Melbourne’s spine to be the difference with the Storm to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -8.0 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Dragons Head to Head @ $2.70 (Unibet)
Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $2.00 (Bet365)