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NRL Round Preview – Round 11

With a high tackle crackdown, plenty of suspensions and injuries still wreaking havoc on the NRL, Round 11 could be a cracker with plenty of tight matchups on the cards.

Cowboys vs Knights

A battle of two sides at the wrong end of the table, the Cowboys have won three of their last five and showed some promising signs in last week’s difficult loss to the Roosters. The Knights, on the other hand, were an absolute mess without Kalyn Ponga last weekend in their loss to the Tigers.

Given Ponga averages 152 metres per game and has four tries to go with four try assists from five games this year, he is almost irreplaceable. The Cowboys have also won their last three at home, beginning to turn Townsville into the fortress it once was. They have only scored 30 points twice this year, so it won’t be a big win, but they should get up.

Cowboys by 8. $1.48 at PlayUp

Warriors vs Tigers

The Tigers are coming off a shock win over the Knights following a stack of team changes, but they need to prove they can do it consistently. Their defence is the fourth-worst in the competition, but the Tigers are the also competition’s leading offloaders. Against a Warriors defence who aren’t a heap better, we’re likely to see to plenty of points.

The Warriors also tend to throw the footy around, with 74 points in their last three games despite two losses, so going the overs for total points would be a good bet. The Warriors also sit second in the competition for post-contact metres, something which can be exploited against the Tigers. With possession and territory so critical under the new rules, that should be the difference.

Warriors by 4. $1.51 at PlayUp

Sharks vs Dragons

A local derby where the Dragons will take the away sheds at Kogarah will be a strange experience for the Red V. This promises to be another open game, with the Dragons missing the most tackles of any team, closely followed by the Sharks. 

The Dragons have also had a bad habit of inviting their opposition into games, making the second-most handling errors with 100 in their ten games. The Sharks may not have the attacking firepower to win big, but they should win.

Sharks by 10. $1.42 at PlayUp 

Titans vs Bulldogs

The Titans’ defence has been an absolute mess throughout the season. Letting in 267 points for the fifth-worst record in the competition, a team with high expectations are now sputtering along on the edge of the top eight.

However, they won’t need defence this week. The Bulldogs have been averaging just 11 points per game, making them comfortably the worst in the NRL.

Titans by 18. $1.18 at PlayUp

Roosters vs Broncos

In a weekend with plenty of closer games, this looks to be the biggest mismatch of the lot. The Roosters are still in all sorts on the injury front but have managed to keep themselves in the fifth spot with seven wins and three losses. The Broncos have look to have turned a corner but then conceded 50 last week against the Sea Eagles.

This one could be similar, and the only question appears to be “by how much?”

Roosters by 24. $1.07 at PlayUp

Raiders vs Storm

The Storm will still be down on key troops this week, with Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster and Harry Grant all missing, although Brandon Smith returns. It didn’t worry them last week against the Dragons, and the form of the Raiders has been miserable, despite a last-ditch win over the Bulldogs last week.

Given Canberra’s very average defence on the edges, plus the form of Josh Addo-Carr – who has 14 tries and 14 line breaks from ten games – the Storm will be looking to exploit that advantage. No Josh Papalii will only make the battle for Canberra tougher, given they currently sit 13th for total run metres, compared to the Storm in third. The Storm has won four of their last five in the nation’s capital, and there is no reason to see that trend reversing.

Storm by 10. $1.11 at PlayUp

Rabbitohs vs Panthers

The biggest question left to be answered this year is whether anyone will be able to stop the Panthers. They have let in just 7.2 points per game, have the competition’s highest points differential and are dominating most of the key statistics.

Given the Rabbitohs defence has fallen off a cliff, letting in 122 points across their last four games (despite winning three of them), they will need to rely on their attack, which is fifth-best in the competition, but even that won’t be enough to stop the Penrith juggernaut.

Panthers by 16. $1.30 at PlayUp

Eels vs Sea Eagles

The Eels have won 21 of their 28 games since Bankwest Stadium was opened and have won nine of their last 12 against the Sea Eagles. Sitting second on the ladder, Parramatta will need every bit of their highly efficient defence, having missed the fourth-fewest number of tackles.

They have often dominated possession too, with the second-most run metres. Despite that, shutting down Tom Trbojevic will be their main worry, with the Manly fullback helping his team to run up 50 on the hapless Broncos last week.

Jason Saab has been a key benefactor of their form, scoring ten tries in his last six games, and if you’re looking for a try-scorer bet, he would be the man. Despite that, Manly have made more errors than any other team, and that trend continuing against the Eels will wipe their chances out.

Eels by 8. $1.43 at PlayUp


A version of this preview was originally published over at The Roar


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