Last Friday will be difficult to beat in terms of the quality of game which was delivered. This week, we see two ‘state of origin’ battles with two NSW teams facing Queensland opponents. The NSW teams are ranked higher on the ladder but as the Maroons proved at the end of 2020, hype means nothing without execution. For the second consecutive week, no games are in Sydney, with the Eels making their annual pilgrimage to Darwin.
NRL Round 7 Betting Tips
Gold Coast Titans v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 6.00pm (AEST)
For a team which had promised so much at the beginning of the year, the Titans reached a low point last week with a 36-nil demolishing at the hands of the Sea Eagles. Strong favourites ahead of this fixture, the Titans barely resembled a Top 8 team as their lowly placed (and previously struggling) opponents outclassed them over 80 minutes. The return of Tom Trbojevic stimulated the home team’s performance, but the Titans need to take accountability for their performance. With 47% possession, they completed at only 68% with 14 errors hampering their momentum. With the ball, they made just 2 line breaks and barely troubled their opponents. The Rabbitohs also had a tough time in their match against the Tigers; although, they were able to grab victory 18-14 in the season’s first Golden Point game. With more possession (54%) and a strong completion rate (84%), the Rabbitohs were unable to put the finishing touches on the end of their attacking sets. Instead, they had to rely on strong defence (just 26 missed tackles) and 40 tackle breaks, coupled with some fantastic individual displays with the ball to provide them with victory. While they were expected to dominate, credit had to be given to their opponents for their improved effort from the previous week. A week later and the Rabbitohs are facing ‘deja-vu’ with the Titans desperate to turn around their fortunes from Round 6.
Head-to-Head = Titans 6 Rabbitohs 12
At Cbus Super Stadium = Titans 45% Rabbitohs 83%
Last 10 matches = Titans 2 Rabbitohs 8 – the average winning margin is 2.5 points for the Titans and 12.8 points to the Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs have won the past 5 game at this stadium.
This one is a tricky encounter for both sides; the Titans are desperate to bounce back from an embarrassing loss, while the Rabbitohs have a weaker backline and were pushed last week. With a short turn around, the Rabbitohs squad may be on a downward trend for a few weeks before they reach their peak again. To add weight to this, the Rabbitohs are set to face the Raiders, Storm, Sharks and Panthers in coming weeks. Mitchell’s loss (suspension) is offset by the omission of Fa’asuamaleaui (suspension) for the Titans. Both will pose their own challenges. If you are looking for a point of different between the two sides, look no further than what they do with the ball. The Titans average 5.5 line breaks per game (3rd) and 1735.7m total (4th) compared with the Rabbitohs 4.7 line breaks (7th) and 1710.3m (7th). In defence, the Rabbitohs are the best for missed tackles with 20.3 per game (16th) while the Titans average 25.3 (12th). When you look at these areas, the choice becomes more difficult as there is little between them. This game is far closer than the odds are suggesting and for that reason, stick with the home side at the line and see whether or not the respective judgement on both sides is accurate. If you are a real thrill seeker, take the Titans H2H ($2.75) and strap yourself in for a hell of a ride.
Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos
Friday 7.55pm (AEST)
Suffering a defeat in Round 5, the Eels faced a tough test in Round 6 with a trip down to Canberra to face the Raiders. Overcoming a horror record at the ground (lost the past 13/14 matches there), the Eels bounced back with a strong display to prevail 35-10. The match was evenly poised at HT with the Eels ahead 12-10; the visitors clicked into another gear that their opponents were unable to reach as they scored 4 second half tries (and 25 unanswered points). With superior possession (54%), the Eels completed at 81% to make the most of their possession. Here, they made 573 post contact metres, had 7 line breaks and averaged 9.5m per carry. They were clearly better than their opponents. The Broncos were also improved on previous weeks and pushed the Panthers to score 8 points in the final 7 minutes to steal a 20-12 victory. The Broncos can be happy with their 80% completion rate, 642 post contact metres and 10 errors; but there are still areas that this team needs to drastically improve upon. The most notable would-be defence, where they missed a massive 41 tackles over 80 minutes. Furthermore, they struggled to trouble the Panthers defensive line with just 2 line breaks. Kevin Walters is slowly improving the attitude of this team and hopefully, the level of skill will also increase. Otherwise, they will be unable to continually compete with the leading teams in the competition and this week’s task isn’t any easier than last week. To increase the difficulty on both sides, this match will be played in Darwin whereby the temperature is expected to be high 20’s with 60%+ humidity.
Head-to-Head = Eels 24 Broncos 21
At TIO Stadium = Eels 83% Broncos (never played here)
Last 10 matches = Eels 7 Broncos 3 – the average winning margin is 24 points to the Eels and 10.3 to the Broncos. In this time, the Eels have only won 1 game by less than 12 points; all other victories have been dominant. The Broncos have lost their past 12 games away from home.
While improved last week, the Broncos still have a long way to go. There was a sense that the Panthers just did enough to grab the win and in doing so they didn’t get out of second gear. Compared to the dominant Eels team, they will struggle to compete with their opponents over 80 minutes. The return of Dylan Brown (injury) in the halves only strengthens the chances of the ‘home’ side. Sure, the reduced preparation time following last match and the trip to Darwin will have its challenges for the Eels, but this is one fixture they lift for; they take this game to the top end for a reason and will want to again produce a show for their adopted fans. Expect the Broncos to again be better than their opening games of the season; this game will be tight for some time, but the Eels should pull away towards the end.