NRL ROUND 11
Cowboys v Broncos
The Cowboys just weren’t quite the clinical machine we’re used to seeing last week in their loss to the Storm but with a return to Townsville, and up against their fierce interstate foes, I expect a big turnaround here.
Matches between these two sides are traditionally very close with the past two being decided by a field goal and given the sides named are pretty much the same that contested those games this promises to be another nail biter.
Despite the Broncos missing some decent experience up front in Blair, McCullough and Glenn last week they still made it look easy against the Sea Eagles, all three of those players are back for this which makes for a mouth-watering clash of the forwards.
If this were to be played on neutral ground then it really would be too close to call but the Cowboys lift to another level at home and with a capacity crowd behind them I’m happy to back them to win a good old fashioned arm-wrestle. We’ll take the value in the margins to the Cowboys. Pick – 2.5 units on Cowboys to win by 12 points and under
Warriors v Raiders
The effort levels from the Warriors couldn’t be faulted against the Panthers, their execution however could be as they were dreadful anywhere near the Panthers line and were guilty (particularly Johnson) of some schoolboy mistakes which lead to points being conceded. Despite being the main perpetrator for some of those dreadful errors there were some positives to take out of Johnsons game, notably the confidence he showed on occasion in taking on the defensive line and pulling out that devastating step of his.
The Raiders meanwhile go into this off the back of another close loss – this time in golden point against the Dragons – but they continue to show the type of fighting qualities and general character their coach and fans have been screaming out for.
I can see the Raiders forwards getting the upper hand over the Warriors pack which has been guilty of falling in and out of games; they’ve got Nuuausala and Lima returning this week which adds more size and power off the bench so there’s no let-up for the Warriors. The classy halves combination of Austin and Sezer are proving to be the perfect complement to the forwards efforts as have been their outsides with Croker, Rapana, Wighton and co all very consistent operators who can be relied on – the same can’t be said for a number of the Warriors backs.
The forecast for Saturday night in New Plymouth is not great with rain and a late Southerly change due to roll in so it’ll be all about ball control and a smart kicking game – two things the Warriors have been dreadful at for the majority of the season. We’ll take the Raiders to win this at decent value in the margins. Pick – 1.5 units on Raiders to win by 12 points and under
Panthers v Titans
The Panthers have been the surprise team of the competition to date as they’ve competed consistently and if not for a few very close losses would be in the top four. Last week’s win over the Warriors was not pretty but was full of character and again the quality of Soward was on full display along with the silky skills of Peachey who looks very comfortable in the centres.
The Titans shocked everyone with their comfortable win over the Roosters on Monday night but consistency has always been a big problem for them and backing up a home win with a big effort on the road has not been their forte.
The Panthers are choc-full of game-breakers and experience so it’s no coincidence they’re flourishing this season and they really are hard to go past at home against the inconsistent Titans. Soward is proving to be as determined as ever with his leadership being a big factor in the Panthers success and there’s no way he’ll let those around him give anything short of 100% as this is a game they simply cannot let slip if they’re to be serious contenders this season. We’ll take the Panthers to cover the start. Pick – 3 units on Panthers to win by 13 points and over
Bulldogs v Roosters
With a lot of their key personnel now on board it was a shock to see the Roosters go down so comprehensively to the Titans on Monday night, especially given they’re well and truly in catch-up mode if they’re to be any chance of playing finals footy. If that result wasn’t enough to get them fired up for this week then a match-up against one of their fiercest rivals should do the trick and I’m expecting a huge lift in intensity. The Bulldogs meanwhile have struggled all season to string together consecutive wins with a good performance typically followed up with an average one so just where their head-space is at for this clash will remain to be seen.
It’s pretty straightforward for the Roosters, if they’re to give themselves any chance this year then they need to make a statement here against a decent, but not spectacular Bulldogs side. Up front I can see the Roosters having a slight edge, particularly if JWH can come off the bench and be at his devastating best, which should give Pearce the platform he needs to orchestrate the attack out wide – what better game for him to stamp his mark back on the game! Pick – 2 units on Roosters to win; 1 unit on Bulldogs HT / Roosters FT
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI BEST BET Grand Final
Week Three Finals
Week Two Finals
Week One Finals