NRL ROUND 11
Warriors v Dragons
Wow, not many would have seen the Warriors second half capitulation coming last week against the Panthers but I have to admit to a lack of surprise when the tide turned and the Warriors heads dropped, the result was good for us though as we cashed in on another gutless Warriors display. That said, there is some bounce-back ability in this side particularly when playing in New Zealand and I sense a big 80-minute effort from them here against a depleted Dragons side.
With Aitken now joining Dugan and Widdup on the side-lines the odds are really stacked against the Dragons here; sure they do still have a more than capable forward pack but given the big-guns missing from their backline they may well struggle to capitalise on any dominance they get up front.
The Warriors are still without Mannering which is a big loss, they also have Kata joining him on the injury list here but there’s still enough quality in the side to get the job done, especially given the motivation after having their ego’s well and truly dented last week. This game really does represent their season on the line, if they can’t beat an understrength Dragons side on home soil (albeit Hamilton) then that’s their top eight hopes done and dusted. We’ll take the Warriors to win and cover the line. Pick – 3 units on Warriors -5.5 point start
Titans v Sea Eagles
Given how good the Sea Eagles have been on the road this season (ignoring last week as it was technically a ‘home’ game for them) they’re offering good value for the win here, sure they’re without the talented Tom Trbojevic but do have the remainder of the side that’s developed a reputation for the upset.
The Titans were brilliant on attack last week in winning an offensive hit-out against the Storm but it started to take on a festival atmosphere as the ball was thrown around to great effect and I expect the Sea Eagles defence to put pay to such flamboyant play here.
The Sea Eagles forward pack has really stepped up in their winning performances this season and will again be the key here as DCE has been devastating leveraging off the good momentum they’ve given him. If they can out muscle the Titans pack, which I believe they will, then the upset is certainly on the cards and we’ll look to cash in. Pick – 2 units on Sea Eagles to win by 12 points and under
Eels v Raiders
Both these sides have some massive firepower returning here with the Eels getting French, Scott, Takairangi back and the newly acquired Moses taking the field whilst the Raiders get Papalii and Taylor back – all and all advantage Eels I’d say when you compare those ‘ins’.
The heat is on both sides with their position on the points table and coming off the back of disappointing losses, with the Eels being humiliated by the Roosters and the Raiders being upset by the Knights so there’s no shortage of motivation for either team. I’m leaning towards another upset being on the cards here as the Eels do not lack character and will be hurting badly after the Roosters effort; sure they’re missing their number one playmaker in Norman but Moses will be out to impress his new club and they have an edge out wide with French, Radradra and Jennings all capable of breaking the game open.
It’ll be a huge battle up front but ultimately I see the Eels winning it with their raw pace and talent out wide. There won’t be much in it so we’ll take the added value on the Eels in the margins. Pick – 2 units on Eels to win by 12 points and under
Knights v Panthers
As the Warriors have so often done throughout their history it looks like they’ve played a side back into form as the Panthers played arguably one of their best halves of footy this season in running them down last week and the confidence and belief the Panthers will take from that cannot be underestimated, which is not great news for the Knights here who are coming off their best performance of the season.
With the exception of the injured Fisher-Harris the Panthers are at full strength here and comparing the two sides on paper it’s little wonder they’re such firm favourites to win this. You saw last week in the second half just how devastating the Panthers are when they get momentum and they’ll look to play this game at a frenetic pace and run the Knights off the field – they certainly have the players to achieve that.
Not much more to say for this one, the line is a decent one for the Knights to cover but cover they will. Pick – 4 units on Panthers -10.5 point start (BEST BET)