NRL Round 11 Previews and Betting Tips
Rabbitohs v Dragons
Thu 19 May, 7:50PM, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons this Thursday night after Souths pipped the Eels last week in a win that vindicated coach Michael Maguires’ selection shake-up. The Dragons will be looking to cut Souths’ comeback short after producing an impressive upset over the Raiders last week as they prepare for the important representative period.
Greg Inglis has again been named in the halves for Souths, although Cody Walker’s inclusion on the wing could mean the Rabbitohs Captain takes his usual custodian role with Alex Johnston shifting to the flanks and Walker taking his preferred position in the halves.
The Dragons will be missing both Benji Marshall and Joel Thompson for the clash due to suspension and injury respectively as Josh McCrone and Jacob Host come in as cover in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Despite their win over the Raiders last week, the absence of Joel Thompson and particularly Benji Marshall will be felt in the St George Illawarra camp with the play-making duties resting almost entirely on Gareth Widdop’s shoulders. Michael Maguire’s selection process seems to have rejuvenated the struggling South Sydney club after they contained a spirited Eels side last week, so expect the Rabbitohs to make it two on the trot.
Betting Tip: Souths -6.5 @ $1.94 (Pinnacle)
Cowboys v Broncos
Fri 20 May, 7:50PM, 1300Smiles Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will travel to Townsville to take on the North Queensland Cowboys this Friday night in a massive blockbuster clash. The last time these two sides met in the rematch of last year’s grand final, the Broncos got away with the win on the back of an Anthony Milford field goal so both sides will come into the match with a point to prove.
Reinforcements are set to return for the Broncos as Adam Blair, Andrew McCullough and Alex Glenn return to the Brisbane forward pack at the expense of Herman Ese’se, Jai Arrow and Travis Waddell. It’s a massive boost for the Broncos up against an unchanged Cowboys side.
Recent form is rarely relevant in matches between Brisbane and North Queensland with the legendary rivalry between the clubs, but the Cowboys were certainly not at their best in their one-point loss against the Storm last week. The return of three key members of the Broncos side in Blair, Glenn and McCullough will make a big difference for Brisbane, but this game will very likely go down to the wire. Expect the Broncos to get the win, but only just.
Betting Tip: Broncos Head to Head @ $2.15 (Crownbet)
Tigers v Knights
Sat 21 May, 3:00PM, Campbelltown Stadium
The Wests Tigers will play the Newcastle Knights this Saturday afternoon after the Hunter Valley club was humbled by the Sharks last week in a massive 62-nil loss. The capitulation against 2nd placed Cronulla outfit sums up the Newcastle season so far as coach Nathan Brown has been forced to deal with a number of injuries on top of his already inexperienced roster.
The Knights will face a Tigers side also coming off a heavy loss and missing Curtis Sironen and Robbie Farah with JJ Felise and Matt Ballin coming into the side as Michael Chee-Kam takes the role of 18th man.
The Knights will welcome back Sam Mataora, Trent Hodkinson and Nathan Ross with Pauli Pauli and Jack Cogger on an extended bench.
Newcastle have only managed one win from ten games so far this season, and while their opposition have posted only two more wins in the same number of games, Wests are the more likely of the two teams. While both clubs clearly have major issues within their recent performances, the more experienced Tigers outfit should get the points over the Knights at home.
Betting Tip: Tigers -8.5 @ $1.95 (Luxbet)
Warriors v Raiders
Sat 21 May, 5:30PM, Yarrow Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will play the Canberra Raiders this Saturday evening after both clubs came off disappointing losses last round. Having started the year with a lot of potential, both teams have been disturbed by injury and poor form, but will be looking to consolidate for the ever important representative period.
For the Warriors, Sam Lisone and Simon Mannering return at the expense of Charlie Gubb and Solomone Kata as Toafofoa Sipley moves to an extended bench. The Raiders will replace the injured Shaun Fensom with Jeff Lima as Sam Williams and Frank-Paul Nuuausala come onto an extended bench as well.
There is no clear winner on recent form, particularly given the inconsistency of both sides throughout 2016. Expect both sides to play expansive attacking football but the more defensively sound to get the points. The Warriors should get the points on the back of Issac Luke’s promotion to the starting side.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 39.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sharks v Sea Eagles
Sat 21 May, 7:30PM, Shark Park
The Cronulla Sharks will play the Manly Sea Eagles this Saturday night after a massive win over the Knights last week propelled the Shire club to equal first on the NRL competition ladder. Their opposition were stung by 2015 grand finalists the Broncos last round as Manly look to turn their form around and make a push for finals contention.
The Sharks will replace the injured Matt Prior with Jayson Bukuya on the bench as David Fifita moves to 18th man, while Manly will welcome back Jamie Buhrer, Josh Starling and Steve Matai at the expense Addin Fonua-Blake, Tom Symonds and the suspended Martin Taupau.
The Sharks will rightly go into this match as heavy favourites as the Cronulla squad’s form looks to be rewarded with heavy NSW representative selection. The Sea Eagles will benefit more than they lose with the return of Matai and Buhrer, but they will feel the absence of Martin Taupau. Expect the Sharks to get the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 39.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Panthers v Titans
Sun 22 May, 2:00PM, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will play the Gold Coast Titans this Sunday afternoon after the Queensland club posted an impressive win over the Roosters last week as spirits look to be high for Neil Henry’s men. They face a staunch opposition in the Panthers however who were dangerous in their win over the Warriors in round 10.
The Panthers will go into the match with an unchanged squad, while the Titans have named Nathan Peats to make his club debut as Eddy Pettybourne and Kierran Moseley are on an extended bench, with Nene Macdonald starting on the wing.
The inclusion of Peats will be a massive boost for the Titans but depending on his game time, Peats’ effectiveness may be limited as he becomes accustomed to new club structures. While the Titans look to be warming into good form, the Panthers recent form will give them an edge as the Penrith club looks for its third consecutive win. Expect the Panthers to get the points.
Betting Tip: Titans +12.0 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Bulldogs v Roosters
Sun 22 May, 4:00PM, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will play the Sydney Roosters this Sunday afternoon as the 2013 premiers continue to struggle for form, despite the return of representative trio Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Pearce and Jared-Waerea Hargreaves. Coach Trent Robinson and his squad face a tough assignment against the Bulldogs after the Canterbury club beat the Tigers last week in a dominating performance.
Reports have surfaced that Roosters coach Trent Robinson may drop rookie five-eighth Jackson Hastings in favour of Connor Watson, with the latter named at 18th man. The Bulldogs will be unchanged for the clash with Lloyd Perrett and Adam Elliot coming onto an extended bench.
Despite their recent form, the Roosters’ pack will be confident they can match the Bulldogs’ giant forward rotation. It is in their back-line the Roosters are having trouble with as continued disturbances and lack of experience hamper stability. Expect the Bulldogs to come away with the win.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 40.5 @ $1.88 (Ladbrokes)
Eels v Storm
Mon 23 May, 7:00PM, Pirtek Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will host the Melbourne Storm at their home-ground this Monday night after the Storm flexed their muscle once again with a field-goal win against the Cowboys last week. Melbourne continue to build good form, but they face a Parramatta outfit desperate for wins as the club now looks increasingly unlikely to make the finals.
The Eels will go into the match unchanged from their narrow loss against the Rabbitohs last week, while the Storm will swap the injured Ben Hampton with Tohu Harris on the bench.
Expect the Eels to produce another passionate performance at home-ground as the Parramatta club looks set to stay in the spotlight for some time yet. The Storm will go into the match as favourites after their performance against the Cowboys last week, but expect the Eels to make it difficult for the Victorians. Melbourne to get the points.
Betting Tip: Storm Head to Head @ $2.00 (Crownbet)
Warriors v Raiders: Total Match Points Over 39.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Storm Head to Head @ $2.00 (Crownbet)