Just two NRL matches on Saturday, beginning at 5:30pm, with the third moved to Easter Monday. While Friday’s matches appeared as though the results were decided before kick-off, there is plenty left to the imagination today. It should make for an exciting night of viewing for fans, with both games moved to Sydney ensuring a double-header not only on TV but also at the ground.
Saturday 5.30pm (AEDT)
The Sharks were gallant in defeat last week, finishing the game with injured troops that left their bench empty. The eventual 28-4 score line doesn’t reflect the fight they displayed. They opened the scoring after just 6-minutes of play but unfortunately for them, that is where their score stayed courtesy of some impressive defence from their opponents. With just 39% possession, the Sharks completed at 82%, amassed 582 post-contact metres and had 5 line breaks. The fact the Eels scored 5 tries can be attributed to fatigue, time in possession and the 32 missed tackles of their opponents. The Cowboys endured yet another low point in their short season, suffering a 44-8 loss to the Titans at home. In an embarrassing display, the Cowboys had little hope after being dominated in the first half to head into the break down 26-nil. There was little joy in the second half with many left wondering how far the Cowboys had fallen. At the end of 80 minutes, they had completed at just 72% with just 3 line breaks, committed 12 total errors and missed a massive 42 tackles. Worse still, they allowed the Titans to average 9.8m per carry. If they are not able to bounce back here, the 2021 could become a very painful one for the this team and their new coach.
Head-to-Head = Sharks 29 Cowboys 17
At Netstrata Jubilee Stadium = Sharks 47% Cowboys 42 %
Past 10 matches = Sharks 8 Cowboys 2 – average winning margin is 11.5 points for the Sharks and 3 points for the Cowboys. 6 out of the 8 Sharks victories have been by 12 points or less.
This game has all the makings of a traditional rugby league ambush. The Cowboys are a busted team languishing at the bottom of the ladder, while the Sharks are injury plagued, yet strong favourites for this match. This game is a lot closer than markets are suggesting and a lot depends on the final make up of each team. Stay tuned to the @NRL_TheProfits and @Before_You_Bet Twitter accounts for final team listings. Hence, there are two options here:
Option 1 – Sharks ‘doubtful’ players play = Take the Sharks to win 1-12 @ $2.90. Sure, the Sharks have the talent, but they are a battered team. The lack of preparation will mean that they will not have the complete advantage that they would like in order to dominate the Cowboys.
Option 2 – Sharks ‘doubtful’ players are ruled out = take the Cowboys to cause an upset @ $3.25 (this may shorten once team news is listed). The Cowboys will sense a real opportunity to cause an upset and after a few dour weeks, it will be time for the playing squad to take a stand. Starting the season 0-4 is very ugly.
Bet Coming Soon via ScoobysTips Twitter
Saturday 7.35pm (AEDT)
The Titans made it 2 out of 3 wins to start the season with a 44-8 demolishing of the Cowboys on the road. A comprehensive first half display set the Titans up for victory, as they headed into the break ahead 26-nil. The scoring didn’t stop there though, with some impressive attacking movements filling their highlight reel. Despite only completing at 66%, the Titans averaged 9.8m per carry, had 583 post contact metres, 11 line breaks, 42 tackle breaks and 13 offloads. They were strong in defence too, missing just 23 tackles. They will want to shake the habit of ‘beating up’ on lower ranked teams and step up against the Raiders this week after failing to defeat the Warriors in Round 1. The Raiders were beaten by that same team last week 34-31 in testing circumstances. Injuries in the first half left them with just 1 player on the bench and despite being hampered by a questionable refereeing decision, they will not be happy with the fact that they gave up a 25-6 HT lead or 31-10 lead with 30 minutes remaining. They played with poise in attack, completing at 85%, having 657 post contact metres and 24 tackle breaks. Their 32 missed tackles didn’t help their cause though and they will want to bounce back quickly to maintain their spot in the Top 8.
Head-to-Head = Titans 12 Raiders 13
At Netstrata Jubilee Stadium = Titans 45% Raiders 50%
Past 10 matches = Titans 3 Raiders 7 – average winning margin is 7.3 points for the Titans and 21 points for the Raiders. The Titans have lost 4 out the past 5 home matches against the Raiders at an average margin of 18.8 points (thankfully for the Titans, this game has been moved south).
The Raiders head into this game as favourites but they are a team that is yet to turn out a complete 80-minute performance. While injuries hampered their performance last week, they still squandered chances with defensive lapses contributing strongly to their loss. The two weeks prior were also unconvincing. The Titans emphatic victory can ‘paint over the cracks’ of a team which still needs to improve remarkably in certain areas. They are ranked equal first in the league for errors (14.3 per game) and 13th for set completion (74%). In the same areas, the Raiders are ranked 8th (11.7) and 12th (76%). Given the uncertainty of both sides, confidence is fairly low in this match. It would be better to sit back and get a better read on both teams. The fact that the game has been moved to Sydney may help the Raiders, as the charter-flight will also be carrying the Cowboys, which may disrupt the Titans preparations. If you must have a bet, recent history suggests the Raiders win large. You cannot be so sure and for that reason, the 2-try margin appeals.
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