Super Saturday is always a good day of viewing and this week should be no different. An intriguing battle starts the action as two sides with plenty of potential, aiming to stop a dreadful losing streak and get their seasons back on track. The next match heads out to the rugby league heartland of Campbelltown to see two inconsistent teams do battle. Finally, the ‘traditional’ Queensland Derby finishes things off with the Cowboys hosting the Broncos. While only 1 Top 8 team will feature, the unpredictable nature of all 6 teams should make for compelling viewing.
McDonalds Park, Saturday 3.00pm (AEST)
The Raiders season is slowly unravelling, and many are concerned about the direction the club is heading in 2021. Their 34-20 defeat to the Rabbitohs last week was their 4th consecutive loss and yet another game where they were unable to produce consistent execution for 80minutes. After leading 16-14 at HT, they scored just one second half try once the result was all but decided. The proof is in their execution; with 45% possession, they completed at 79%, made fewer metres and post contact metres than their opponents and missed more tackles. Something must change and quickly if this team is to change their fortunes. The Knights are in a similar position in that they are not playing to their potential and their season isn’t going to plan. The most recent effort was a 38-4 loss to the Roosters, a team struggling with injuries and were vulnerable. Unfortunately, the Knights were never in the match. They too made fewer metres (1,906m v 1,570m) and post contact metres (609pcm v 549pcm), half the amount of line breaks (6 v 3) and missed more tackles (30 v 21). This is a crucial game for both teams and tensions will be high as each attempt to halt their respective losing streaks.
Head-to-Head = Raiders 19 Draw 2 Knights 18
At McDonalds Park = Raiders 100% Knights 0% (never played here)
Last 10 matches = Raiders 5 Draw 1 Knights 4 – The average winning margin is 13 points for the Raiders and 11.5 points for the Knights. The home team has won 5 out of 10 games, while the Raiders have won 4 out of 7 matches when they’ve been the home team.
The Raiders have chosen to take this game to Wagga Wagga, with previous success here and they head into this game as strong favourites. The Knights were poor last week when their opponents were vulnerable and despite a week of negative headlines, the Raiders should be too strong. They have some much-needed experience and talent return to their team with the inclusion of Williams and Papalii to their line-up. The Knights team is still struggling to find its identity and the makeup of their pack leaves plenty of questions. It would take a Ponga-dominated effort to even give them a chance at upsetting their opponents but perhaps there has never been a better time for that to happen. They are not a team which likes to travel though; they have lost six of their past 7 away games and face a long journey for this game. It is unlikely to be a dominant win for the ‘home’ team so invest around this match being close and the Raiders winning by less than 2 converted tries.
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Saturday 5.30pm (AEST)
The Tigers finally produced their second win of the season, looking vastly different to the team that has performed so far this season. They were strong in grinding out a 16-8 victory over the Dragons on the road and that performance should lift their confidence. Overcoming an 8-6 HT deficit, they used the weight of possession (57%) to their advantage. They built pressure with an 84% completion rate, carried the ball for 393m more than their opponents, made 7 line breaks (1 for the Dragons) and 45 tackle breaks. Their defence was also strong; they missed just 16 tackles and overcame waves of pressure from the Dragons. The Titans would like to bring the kick-off of this game forward to erase their 36-28 loss to the Broncos last Friday. Amazingly, they were ahead 22-nil after just 15 minutes of play; many believed that the Titans could win by a record margin. Unfortunately, the players must have switched off at this point as their opponents came roaring back into the contest to level the scores at 22-all at HT. To add salt to their wounds, they were ineffective with 53% possession and a 94% completion rate. For all their positives in the first 15 minutes, their loss can be focussed on the 24 missed tackles and a need to change their defensive structure. If not, they risk slipping out of the Top 8.
Head-to-Head = Tigers 9 Titans 13
At Campbelltown Sports Ground = Tigers 44% Titans 60%
Last 10 matches = Tigers 4 Titans 6 – The average winning margin is 11 points for both the Tigers and Titans. The home team has struggled in the past 10 matches, winning just 3 games. Of the two which have been played at this ground during this time, the Titans have been successful on both attempts.
The Tigers have an opportunity to honour Western Suburbs legend, Tommy Raudonikis, at the Magpies home while wearing the old black and white jerseys. Considering the performance which they delivered against the Cowboys, you would think the Tigers would be desperate to perform well. Playing at this ground will not worry the Titans, as they have a strong record here, winning 3 out of the 5 matches they have played. The return of Fa’asuamaleaui boosts their pack, but they will be without Taylor at 6, replaced by Boyd, and Thompson on the wing, replaced by Fermor. The unpredictability of both sides so far in 2021 makes landing on a winner very difficult. The Titans head into this game as favourites probably based on potential rather than recent form. They have conceded 112-58 points in the past 3 weeks and missed 77 tackles; the Tigers haven’t been much better, but they have executed better than the Titans have recently. Confusing matters further is the fact that the Tigers have scored less points than the Titans (14.3ppg v 22.8ppg) and conceded more in defence (27.3ppg v 23.9ppg). It should also be noted that the Titans have faced just 1 Top 8 team thus far compared with 4 for the Tigers. Confused yet? Me too! Overall, the advice is to stay away from this game. It is ugly and you never know which team is going to ‘show up’. If you need to have a flutter, I am leaning towards the Tigers based only on the occasion surrounding this fixture and their opportunity to turn around the dismal effort which occurred last time they were faced with a similar occasion. I'm staying away from this game, but if you must bet it....
Using Stats to your advantage = Either team by 12-points or less @ $1.58 – If you want to throw a leg into your multi, then this option should be considered. The past 10 matches suggest this could be a good investment if the average margin of victory is anything to go by.
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 7.35pm (AEST)
The ‘old’ Queensland Derby has experienced a fall from grace, with the rivalry confined to Saturday night. After going on a 3-game winning streak, the Cowboys were unable to keep their momentum as they travelled down to the Central Coast to face the Warriors. A horrible first half effort had them behind 24-4 at HT and in danger of returning to old habits. A second half fightback and late charge made the 24-20 result respectable. With 54% possession, they completed at 83%, carried the ball for 9.5m per carry but had fewer line breaks and tackle breaks, while missing 30 tackles didn’t help their cause. They are a team improving but they still need to continue their development if they are to be competitive with the ‘leading’ teams in the competition. The Broncos briefly silenced their critics with a 36-28 win over the Titans at home. After finding themselves behind 22-nil after just 15 minutes, they rallied and headed into the break 22-all on the back of some impressive football from fullback Jamayne Isaako. As a team, they completed well with 84%, averaged a season high 10.5m per carry, had more post contact metres and line breaks than their opponents. The challenge is now for them to maintain this form to give their young team confidence ahead of this fixture.
Head-to-Head = Cowboys 17 Draw 1 Broncos 32
At Queensland Country Bank Stadium = Cowboys 36% Broncos 100%
Last 10 matches = Cowboys 5 Broncos 5 – The average winning margin is 5.6 points to the Cowboys and 8.8 points to the Broncos. Home ground advantage counts for something, delivering a 50% success rate.
If you thought the 5:30pm game was confusing, finding a winner doesn’t get any easier here. The Cowboys are favourites for this game, but this contest is far closer than the odds are suggesting ($1.58 v $2.35). The Cowboys have recorded one win more than the Broncos, have a horror record at this ground, face a short turnaround from a bruising encounter with the Warriors and are still finding their feet. The return of Taumalolo last week is a step in the right direction and the performance of Drinkwater in the halves is promising. They average slightly more points in attack (15.8ppg v 15.3ppg) than the Broncos was conceding slightly fewer in defence (26.6ppg v 27.6ppg). These numbers point towards a close game and, after struggling to confidently select a winner, this appears to be the ideal option for an investment. For what it is worth, the jury is still out with the Broncos. They could easily build on last week’s effort or fall in a heap like the previous week; this is the only reason why I would be leaning towards the Cowboys in a H2H option.
Safer option = Either team by 8 points or less @ $2.15 – If you are nervous about the suggested bet, then this is the option for you. Both teams’ average in the past 10 matches fits nicely into this option.
Home ground man = Kyle Fedlt to score a try @ $1.75 – Feldt loves playing at this ground, scoring 10 tries in 13 matches here. You can be sure that he will be looking to force his way over again if he gets the chance.
Same game it up! = Same Game Multi 1. Either team by 8 points or less 2. Fedlt to score 3. Total points over 44.5 @ $6.50 – If you are keen to put this on and like the above selections, there is no reason why you shouldn’t put them all together to increase your value.
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