You cannot get much better than 4 Top 8 teams playing on Super Saturday out of the 6 teams featured. The first game has the high-flying Rabbitohs up against confident Titans. The Titans are clinging to a spot in the Top 8 and will want to continue to test themselves against the best in the competition.
The second match isn’t anything to be excited about, but it will mean a lot to the fans of the Cowboys and Tigers, with each aiming to finish the season on a positive. Finally, the feature match has the Sea Eagles up against the Eels. The traditional rivals from the 70’s & 80’s now face off with each desperate to make a statement return to winning form.
NRL Round 22 Saturday Betting Tips
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Gold Coast Titans
Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 3.00pm (AEST)
It was yet another dominating display for the Rabbitohs last week. This time, the Eels had front row seats to the show with the Rabbitohs winning 40-12. It was a tight first half, with the Eels making the Rabbitohs work for points and at the break, they led by only 14-nil, with the assistance of a penalty goal to extend the margin. The break worked well for them, and they came out as a much-improved team in the second half to run away with the match. For all the unanswered questions, the style in which they are winning is impressive to see for a team heading towards the Finals. They were clinical in all areas; with 54% possession, they completed at 88%, averaged 8.8m per carry, had 9 line breaks (while allowing just 2), had just 5 errors and missed only 16 tackles. There is still yet to be an accurate read on the form of this team, but you cannot underestimate winning performances.
The Titans were also victorious last week, winning 36-14 over the Cowboys at home. Other results over the weekend meant they were temporarily knocked out of the Top 8, so a winning effort was vital moving forward. 3 first half tries followed by 4 in the second half was enough, with only consolation tries coming from their opponents. It was an overdue display from a talented team, and it means they have won 4 out of their past 5 matches. They were statistically strong too; with 57% possession, they completed at 83%, averaged 9.4m per carry, had 664pcm’s and 31 tackle breaks. More importantly, their defence was strong as they allowed only 3 line breaks and missed just 16 tackles. Perhaps they are saving their best performances for the business end of the season. They will get a strong test of their quality up against the third placed Rabbitohs.
Head-to-Head = Rabbitohs 13 Titans 6
At Cbus Super Stadium = Rabbitohs 89% Titans 45%
Last 10 matches = Rabbitohs 8 Titans 1 – The average winning margin is 14.8 points for the Rabbitohs and 2.5 points for the Titans. The Rabbitohs have won the past 5 games against the Titans and their winning streak stretches to 11 out of the past 13 matches.
There was no greater summary of the 2021 Titans than the last time they played the Rabbitohs in Round 7. They jumped to an early lead (24-12 at HT) yet allowed 28 points in the second half to lose 40-30. The main question is whether or not the Titans have improved since that game. The decision of Holbrook to stick with Sexton and Taylor in the halves (while Fogarty is in the reserves) suggests that he believes this is the right combination. While it has proven correct in the past 2 weeks, they have hardly faced a team with the quality of the Rabbitohs. In fact, their form reads poorly after they suffered a 26-8 loss to the Eels in Round 18. Their confidence will improve their chances but only so much.
The Rabbitohs have averaged 45.5 points in attack during the same period and will worry little about what the Titans send their way; they will always back themselves in a shootout. On that point, the ‘total points margin’ is set at 55.5 points; considering the Titans average 27.8ppg this season at Cbus Super Stadium, this should be easily accounted for. If you need to make a selection elsewhere, the Rabbitohs should easily account for the Titans and continue to create the divide between the top teams on the ladder and the rest of the competition.
Take it easy = Rabbitohs 13+ @ $1.58 – there isn’t a lot of value here, but it may be worth combining this selection with others this weekend. Some punters fear the line (17.5) given the Titans scoring capabilities but that aside, the Rabbitohs should win by more than 2 converted tries.
Combination Sensation = Rabbitohs 13+/Total points over 55.5 @ 3 – To increase your value, it is worth thinking of combining the two selections to your advantage.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Wests Tigers
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 5.30pm (AEST)
The Cowboys losing streak extended to 8 matches last week with their 36-14 loss to the Titans. While never lacking effort, the Cowboys were completely outplayed by their opponents; this suggests that their current roster is not up to the standard required. They were rarely in the contest over 80 minutes and this was reflected on the stats sheet; they had just 43% possession, completed at 66%, averaged 8.5m per carry, had just 390pcm’s and 3 line breaks. It will be interesting to see how this team finishes off this year during a rebuild. It was a different story for the Tigers, who were able to secure a 28-16 victory over the Bulldogs in a mixed performance.
Appearing the superior team, the Tigers handed their opponents several opportunities. Had they been facing a better side, the result would’ve been vastly different. In the end, their quality (compared to their opponents) was the deciding factor. As positive as a win is for them, they still have plenty of areas to improve upon. With 54% possession, they completed at just 73%, averaged just 7.9m per carry, had fewer line breaks (3 v 2) than their opponents and committed 13 errors. While their defence allowed 16 points to their opponents, they made them work for it (Bulldogs averaged 7.8m per carry) and missing just 27 tackles. With only a slim hope of making the Finals, they too are a team which has interest surrounding their conclusion to the season.
Head-to-Head = Cowboys 17 Tigers 22
At Queensland Country Bank Stadium = Cowboys 40% Tigers – Never played here
Last 10 matches = Cowboys 4 Tigers 6 – The average winning margin is 19.5 points for the Cowboys and 10.2 points for the Tigers. The Cowboys margin is heavily skewed by a 58-points victory, with their other wins coming by 8 points (twice) and 4 points. 8 out of the 10 matches have been decided by 12 points or less. The Tigers have won their past 2 games against the Cowboys in Townsville.
There is a lot of interest around the make-up of the Cowboys team this week. They are without their best player in Taumololo and two other regular first graders, a hooker is playing in the centres and two players will make their debut from the bench. It is a remarkably different team to the one which defeated the Tigers 34-30 back in Round 5 but not surprising given their campaign is basically over. On an 8-game losing streak, they are playing without confidence. The Tigers also resemble a different team from the one which took the field in Round 5, but they still have moments in a game where they are similar. The fact that they are only one position above the Cowboys on the ladder demonstrates how similar these two sides are. The quality missing for the Tigers should sway the contest towards the Tigers, but stranger this have happened this year. The Tigers have promised so much at different stages throughout the season and have failed to deliver. This is another one of those games and you should be very careful when investing on this game. Considering their standing on the ladder, home ground advantage in favour of the Cowboys and the history of close matches in the past 10 meetings, the preferred selection is to stick with the Tigers to win by less than 2 converted tries.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels
Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 7.35pm (AEST)
The Sea Eagles faced their toughest test to date since their run of dazzling form began. It was fitting that this game came against the competition leaders, the Storm, an ‘old rival’ of Manly for many years. Unfortunately for them, they were unsuccessful in their 28-18 loss but will take plenty away from their performance. For starters, they had just 42% possession, completed at only 67%, made fewer metres and post contact metres and committed 12 errors. Encouragingly, they made more line breaks and missed only 23 tackles; there is no doubt that they can improve from that performance. The same cannot be said for the Eels though, as they 40-12 loss to the Rabbitohs extended their losing streak to 3 games.
Hopes were high that the return of Moses could boost their chances in attack, but they struggled on both sides of the ball. Even with an 89% completion rate (46% possession) they could only manage 7.4m per carry, 2 line breaks and only 12 points. Their effort in defence was just as poor as they missed 29 tackles, allowed 8.8m per carry, 9 line breaks and 6 tries. This now means that the Eels have been outscored 80-22 in the past 3 weeks. A drastic change is needed, or they could find themselves (if not already) out of touch with the contending teams in the competition.
Head-to-Head = Sea Eagles 18 Eels 20
At Sunshine Coast Stadium = Neither team has played here before
Last 10 matches = Sea Eagles 4 Eels 6 – The average winning margin is 23 points for the Sea Eagles and 12.3 points for the Eels. The Sea Eagles margin is heavily skewed by a 54-point victory, with their other victories coming by 4, 12 and 22 points.
The Sea Eagles dominated the Eels 28-6 back in Round 11 and a similar result is expected here. Much was made about the injury to Moses and the impact it would have on their attack. His return only yielded 12 points against a team which can give up far more attacking opportunities. The bigger omission from their team this week is hooker Mahoney, who is out for the remainder of the season. He is a key player in the middle and provides a link between the forwards and halves. Without him, they also miss a strong middle defender.
The Eels have been on a downward trend for a number of weeks too; in the past 3 weeks they have missed an average of 29 tackles and allowed 7 line breaks.There is little to suggest that this will stop. Perhaps a strong week at training focusing on defence will help but it may only count for so much against the attacking power of Trbjoevic and co. The Sea Eagles will also be motivated by the potential to move up the competition ladder. A win here would see them draw level with the Eels on competition points and they play weaker opposition in the remaining weeks.