The following are previews with betting tips for Round 11 of the 2020 NRL season.
Eels v Tigers
Thursday, Jul 23, 7:50 PM AEST
The Tigers will be looking to back up their devastating last-start mauling of Brisbane against the Eels, who lost only their second game of the season in a surprise ambush by Manly last week. Parramatta will be eager to return to the winner’s circle quickly and with a number of returning players, coach Brad Arthur will be expecting a big performance from his squad.
Unsurprisingly, Wests’ only change comes as Michael Chee Kam replaces the injured Luke Garner in the second-row. For the Eels, Mitch Moses, Ryan Matterson, Blake Ferguson, Maika Sivo and Nathan Brown have all been named to make their return in an enormous boost for the Parramatta club, allowing them to name their preferred starting team.
Michael Maguire’s hard-line stance on dropping playing appears to be paying dividends after returning veteran Benji Marshall produced a vintage performance against Brisbane last week. Expect an intense physical contest between two dominant forward rotations but the star power and offloading ability of the Eels’ pack should prove the difference. Parramatta to get the win.
Betting Tip: Tigers +8.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Cowboys v Sea Eagles
Friday, Jul 24, 6:00 PM AEST
In the aftermath of the Cowboys’ shock decision to sack premiership winning coach Paul Green, the North Queensland club will now face a depleted Manly outfit who produced a stunning upset over the high-flying Eels last week in a coaching masterstroke from mentor Des Hasler. The Cowboys were brave against Penrith in a narrow defeat in their last game, but the encouraging performance was not enough to save their coach.
Addin Fonua-Blake will return for Manly in a much-needed boost to their middle rotation in an otherwise unchanged outfit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have named the same squad who took on Penrith last week.
Despite a bulging injury ward, Manly will enter this match as firm favourites. Their performance last week proved that while the club may struggle to adjust to the absence of injured stars, they should never be written off as a premiership contender. North Queensland’s response to the sacking of Paul Green remains to be seen but expect Manly mentor Des Hasler to capitalise on their vulnerability with the Sea Eagles to win the game.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -2.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Broncos v Storm
Friday, Jul 24, 7:55 PM AEST
The Broncos produced arguably their worst performance of an already woeful season against the Wests Tigers last week but now face the daunting prospect of facing the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium. Melbourne will be looking for their fifth consecutive victory after a dominant performance against the Titans last week has Craig Bellamy’s troops sitting comfortably in the top-four.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has instituted mass changes to his squad with Anthony Milford reverting to fullback and Tom Dearden joining the squad at halfback. Kotoni Staggs and Herbie Farnworth will make their return from injury at centre and wing respectively as Corey Paix shifts to the starting hooker role to cover the suspended Isaac Luke. Tyson Gamble will also make his club debut off the bench. Meanwhile, Melbourne have named an unchanged squad.
Given Melbourne’s record against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium it will be difficult to tip against the in-form Victorian club. The outcome of Brisbane’s squad re-shuffle remains to be seen but expect the Storm’s ruck play to prove too much for the opposition.
Betting Tip: Storm -18.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Warriors v Roosters
Saturday, Jul 25, 3:00 PM AEST
The Roosters conceded a stunning upset to Canberra in their last match and coach Trent Robinson will expect a big response from his playing group against the struggling Warriors. The New Zealand club were poor against Cronulla in a 46-10 last-start defeat with the struggles of the playing-group clearly impacting their form.
Nat Butcher will join the Roosters’ interchange as Mitch Aubusson shifts to the second-row to cover the injured Angus Crichton. For the Warriors, Adam Pompey will line-up in the centres with Chanel Harris-Tavita and Lachlan Burr joining the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Given their recent form, the Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites but coach Trent Robinson will be eager for his squad to produce a positive performance as the reigning premiers lack some of their typical potency with a number of injury concerns. The Warriors are struggling with their depth through the middle of the field and expect their opposition to capitalise on their weakness to take the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 44.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sharks v Dragons
Saturday, Jul 25, 5:30 PM AEST
After a difficult start to the season, Cronulla have mounted an impressive form turnaround with their most recent victory coming in a 46-10 demolition of the Warriors. They will face a Dragons outfit who have produced a similar turnaround from the start of the year with the joint-venture club desperate to bank premiership points in order to claw back into finals contention.
Following the suspension of Tariq Sims, St George have named Jacob Host to join the bench as Tyrell Fuimaono shifts to the second-row in an otherwise unchanged team. For the Sharks, Teig Wilton has been named to make his NRL debut off the bench alongside Jack Williams in John Morris’ only changes.
With Ben Hunt’s shift to hooker kick-starting the Dragons’ attack once again, expect a tough battle for dominance through the ruck against a Sharks’ outfit whose game-plan centres on several potent middle-forwards. St George mentor Paul McGregor will be looking for a better start from his troops after they scored three tries in the final quarter to secure victory against Canterbury with a repeat effort unlikely against an experienced Cronulla squad. Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Sharks -1.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Raiders v Rabbitohs
Saturday, Jul 25, 7:35 PM AEST
In their first game without superstar hooker Josh Hodgson, Canberra produced a stunning upset against the reigning premiers in an encouraging performance for Raiders faithful that doubled as revenge for their defeat in the 2019 grand-final. They will face a Rabbitohs outfit who were poor against the Knights in their last performance as Wayne Bennett’s troops face pressure to stay within the top-eight.
An injury to Michael Oldfield will mean Jordan Rapana will shift to centre with Semi Valemei joining the wing for Canberra. Meanwhile, South Sydney have been dealt a devastating blow with James Roberts and Ethan Lowe both ruled out for the remainder of the year. Campbell Graham will make a timely injury return at centre as Jack Johns joins the interchange as cover.
Despite narrowing the margin to two points in the last quarter, Wayne Bennett will be looking for a consistent 80-minute performance from his troops. Canberra proved they are no spent force in the absence of Josh Hodgson last week and expect them to back-up that performance with another victory over Souths.
Betting Tip: Raiders -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet)
Knights v Bulldogs
Sunday, Jul 26, 2:00 PM AEST
While it has often lacked style at times, Newcastle have made a habit of winning football games this year after they staved off a comeback to edge South Sydney last week. They will face a Bulldogs team whose late comeback was stifled against the Dragons last week in a disappointing result but morale at the club is sure to be high off the back of the announcement that Trent Barrett and Nick Cotric will be joining Canterbury from 2021.
Newcastle have named an unchanged squad for this match. For the Bulldogs, Jake Averillo will return at centre with Brandon Wakeham joining the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
While the Knights will enter this contest as firm favourites, coach Adam O’Brien will be looking for his troops to arrest a concerning trend of late-game fadeouts. Expect an intense response from the Knights but their opposition will certainly make them work for a result. Newcastle to get the win.
Betting Tip: Bulldogs +15.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Titans v Panthers
Sunday, Jul 26, 4:05 PM AEST
The Panthers’ outstanding last-start victory over North Queensland catapulted the Penrith club into outright first position on the competition ladder. They will face a depleted Titans squad who were poor in a 42-6 loss to the Storm last week with new coach Justin Holbrook struggling to extract form from his roster.
Dale Copley and captain Kevin Proctor will return at centre and second-row respectively in a welcome boost to an otherwise unchanged Titans squad. For the Panthers, Caleb Aekins will return at fullback to cover the injured Dylan Edwards as Brent Naden and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak both return at centre and wing respectively. Api Koroisau will be a big out for Penrith as Mitch Kenny joins the starting side as cover.
While they will enter this match as firm favourites, Penrith will need to work hard to cover the absence of Api Koroisau, who has been a key factor in the Panthers’ form resurgence. The Titans will try to capitalise on their opposition’s vulnerability but expect the class in Ivan Cleary’s squad – particularly that of Nathan Cleary – to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Titans +16.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)