Normal order is restored in the NRL world, with Friday no longer the opening set of fixtures as it was for Magic Round. Regardless, two NRL games are something to be excited about. While the quality of teams is perhaps down with just 1 team inside the Top 8, all 4 teams have plenty to play for if they are to keep their 2021 season hopes alive.
NRL Round 11 Friday Betting Tips
New Zealand Warriors v Wests Tigers
Central Coast Stadium, Friday 6.00pm (AEST)
As hard as the Warriors tried last week, they were no match for the Eels over 80 minutes, eventually defeated 34-18. They quickly found themselves behind 24-nil inside 20 minutes, with lack of possession hampering their chances in the first half. A slight fightback came, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit. With just 42% possession, it was an uncharacteristic 61% completion rate with 15 errors plaguing their momentum. Their 33 missed tackles were also of concern, to go with their fewer metres made when dominance through the middle was vital. They now have a short turnaround to contend with, as well as a team that is coming off a spirited victory. The Tigers did a number on the Knights last week to open Magic Round, jumping to a 22-nil lead after just 16 minutes and never looking back. It was one-way traffic for a previously struggling team and outsider for that contest. With 53% possession and an 80% completion rate, they controlled the tempo of the match. Despite making fewer metres and line breaks, they were able to capitalise, finishing attacking movements in style. The challenge ahead now is for the Tigers to maintain this standard, while also improving in defence which missed 27 tackles.
Head-to-Head = Warriors 15 Tigers 16
At Central Coast Stadium = Warriors 57% Tigers 67%
Last 10 Matches = Warriors 6 Tigers 4 – The average winning margin is 14 points for the Warriors and 20.5 points for the Tigers. Despite only winning 4 times, the Tigers winning streak is 4 out of the past 6 matches. In the past 10 matches, the home team has won 7 times.
Despite a spirited performance last week, the Tigers find themselves as outsiders for this match. One performance cannot quickly change opinions. More is needed from this side before you can invest on them with confidence. There is also the thought that, notwithstanding winning, you need to consider how strong the Knights were in that contest. While the two teams are close in points scored (Warriors 20.7ppg v Tigers 19.4ppg), the major difference is in defence. The Warriors concede 25ppg while missing an average of 25.6 tackles (12th); in contrast, the Tigers allow 28ppg and miss 28.6 tackles (7th). Minimal changes for both sides, especially the Tigers, increases the confusion in this match. This game has all the markings of a match that you should stay away from. For what it is worth, you must take the Warriors on the value of their efforts; once they found their feet last week, they were strong and did manage to score 18 points against one of the leading teams. You could also save your money and have a better opinion of both sides at the end of 80 minutes.
Stay away! But if you can’t…either Team by 8 points or less @ $2.20
Either Team by 8 or Less
Keep the momentum rolling = Ken Maumalo to score a try @ $1.70 – There is no more information you need than Maumalo scoring 6 tries in his past 6 games at this ground. Well worth some thought to cross the try line at any time.
Cronulla Sharks v St George-Illawarra Dragons
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Friday 7.55pm (AEST)
Many expected an improved effort from the Sharks following two poor outings against the Storm and Panthers, that has seen their losing streak extend to 6-matches. It wasn’t meant to be though, as they trailed 20-nil after 30 minutes. A fightback saw them get within 4-points of the Rabbitohs, but that was as close as they got, with their opponents eventually prevailing 32-22. Despite making more line breaks, they made fewer metres and post contact metres with an 84% completion rate. Improved on previous weeks, their defence was again poor; they missed 39 total tackles, and this will need to be addressed if they are to be competitive here. The Dragons had their own issues in their 44-18 loss to the Storm. Having a player sent off after 12-miuntes, the Dragons were always going to struggle with 12 players on the field. A 14-10 deficit suggested that it could be a competitive second half. However, the Storm kicked into another gear and the Dragons were unable to match this intensity. They made 417m less than their opponents, conceded 10 line breaks while only make 3, missed 35 tackles and had more errors. Still, there are plenty of positives for this team to take away and they will sense an opportunity to return to form against a struggling rival.
Head-to-Head = Sharks 23 Dragons 23
At Netstrata Jubilee Stadium = Sharks 43% Dragons 59%
Last 10 Matches = Sharks 5 Dragons 5 – The average winning margin is 8.2 points for the Sharks and 11.6 points for the Dragons. In this time, the home team has a 50% strike rate and half of the matches have been by a 13+ margin. Despite also calling this ground home, the Dragons have won just 2 out of the past 7 here.
It is hard to believe that a team which is just 1 win off the bottom of the ladder is a $1.42 favourite against a team which is sitting 6th on the ladder. Fact is, many are counting out the Dragons based on the strength of their squad. They are missing a total of 5 players from last week’s match with 4 out due to suspension (McGuire, Fuimaono, Ravalawa and Sims) and 1 to injury (Dufty). In comparison, the Sharks are unchanged from Round 10, with Shaun Johnson an outside chance of playing as he has been named in the reserves. The winner of this game is going to come down to defence and who manages to improve in this area. The Dragons miss the most tackles in the competition (34.4 per game) with the Sharks behind them in second place (34.2 per game). This translates to the Dragons conceding an average of 21.3ppg and the Sharks 25.8ppg. On the other side of the ball, the Dragons score an average of 21.1ppg compared with the Sharks 18.2ppg. While the Sharks will sense an opportunity to grab their third win of the season, they need to demonstrate greater consistency before you can invest on them with confidence. Much of their grit and determination appeared to have left when John Morris exited the club. For this reason alone, take the Dragons to either win or get within 10 points of their opponents.