Just as the 2020 NRL premiership was starting to shape as a four-horse race, injury-hit Canberra Raiders and Manly Sea Eagles pulled off stirring upsets over the high-flying Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels, respectively, in round 10.
Penrith Panthers capitalised on the Eels’ slip-up to snatch the competition lead, while Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks enhanced their top-eight claims. South Sydney Rabbitohs’ title credentials took a knock and the poor got poorer as the bottom four teams all suffered losses featuring varying levels of anguish.
Meanwhile, with the regular season only halfway through, North Queensland’s Paul Green became the third coach to be sacked in 2020; Green joins Stephen Kearney and Dean Pay in the job queue.
Sportsbet charges off the back fence with tips for each encounter, including fearless NRL round 11 predictions and NRL round 11 teams news.
PARRAMATTA EELS V WESTS TIGERS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
THURSDAY 23 JULY – 7:50PM
Parramatta Eels surrendered the NRL premiership lead last weekend, going down 22–18 to Manly after conceding three tries in the opening 16 minutes. It was a rare misstep for the blue-and-golds, who have been performing at a high level all season, and the loss was far from disastrous.
The Eels hit the jackpot in NRL round 11 teams news, with Mitchell Moses, Ryan Matterson and Blake Ferguson checking out of the casualty ward. Maika Sivo was also cleared to play after leaving the field early at Brookvale.
Wests Tigers arrested a two-game slide and jumped back up to seventh on the ladder via a blistering 48–0 shut-out of Brisbane last Friday. Talisman Benji Marshall made a man-of-the-match return from selection purgatory, while Billy Walters’ fine hand at five-eighth ensures Luke Brooks will remain on the bench. Fellow rookie Harry Grant surged to the Dally M Medal lead after another brilliant outing.
The Tigers are sweating on Grant being cleared after undergoing a COVID-19 test, while hard-running back-rower Luke Garner is a big out.
Parramatta have won seven of their past nine clashes with Wests Tigers, including the last three in a row. Last season, the Eels carved out a memorable 51–6 win on BankWest Stadium’s opening day and prevailed 30–18 in round 17; Moses scooped the three Dally M points in both matches.
The Eels are 14–3 at BankWest Stadium; the Tigers are just 3–6 at the shared home ground. Parramatta were heavy midweek favourites but this game has the feel of a close one.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Parramatta Eels
Best bet: Line – Wests Tigers +8
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V MANLY SEA EAGLES: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 24 JULY – 6:00PM
North Queensland enters the post–Paul Green era after the club’s 2015 premiership–winning mentor was handed his walking papers on Monday. It’s been a dismal 3–7 campaign to date, accentuated by terrible defence and a lack of playmaking direction, but the Cowboys were gallant in a 22–10 loss to high-flying Penrith on Sunday.
Daejarn Asi made an eye-catching debut at five-eighth, while teenage flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored one of the best individual tries of 2020 in a match that hung in the balance until the dying moments.
Manly’s season looked to be slipping away after without Tom Trbojevic – they’d lost three straight after their influential fullback’s injury. But a well-deserved 22–18 home win over the ladder-leading Eels has put the Sea Eagles back on track. Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans – who had a shocker in the previous week’s 34–4 defeat to the Dragons – were the stand-outs.
Manly received a huge boost with front-row cornerstone Addin Fonua-Blake cleared to travel to Queensland despite refusing a flu shot.
North Queensland have won six of their last eight against Manly. But the Sea Eagles have won their last two in Townsville, including a 22–20 result midway through 2019 despite a monster display from Jason Taumalolo.
Beware the ‘sacked coach factor’, which almost produced a win for Canterbury last week. But the influence of Cherry-Evans and a restored defensive resolve should be enough to account for the Cowboys in a clash that has split NRL round 11 predictions.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Manly Sea Eagles
Best bet: Head-to-head – Manly Sea Eagles
BRISBANE BRONCOS V MELBOURNE STORM: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
FRIDAY 24 JULY – 7:55PM
Not for the first time in 2020, Brisbane Broncos’ performance last week was accompanied by the phrase ‘new low’. But it’s difficult to imagine the fallen superpowers sinking any deeper than their horrific 48–0 loss to Wests Tigers.
It was a shameful performance completely lacking in defensive commitment and attacking gumption, heaping yet more pressure on embattled coach Anthony Seibold. And it accounted for the Broncos’ seventh loss in eight games since the NRL’s resumption.
Ominously, the besieged Broncos now host the ruthless, red-hot Melbourne Storm.
Most teams have a poor record against Melbourne, but the Broncos are the Storm’s bunnies. The Storm have won 17 of the arch rivals’ last 19 matches – including the last seven straight, with five by 14 points or more. Last season, the Broncos put up a fight in a 22–12 opening-round loss at AAMI Park but were blown away 40–4 at home.
The 8–2 Storm have won four straight, underlining their championship qualities with tough victories over both of the 2019 grand finalists before opening their shoulders with a 42–6 dismantling of Gold Coast in round 10. Cameron Munster picked up where he left off in his return from injury, Cameron Smith’s sky-high standards refuse to slip and two-try prop powerhouse Nelson Asofa-Solomona was man of the match.
In a long-overdue change-up, Tom Dearden comes into the halves with the badly out-of-sorts Anthony Milford moving to fullback for the injured Tesi Niu – if nothing else, providing NRL round 11 teams relief for the Broncos’ crestfallen fans. Kotoni Staggs returns in a significant boost but Corey Oates is out for a few weeks with a leg injury. As if the Storm needed more firepower, Suliasi Vunivalu could be a late inclusion.
The Broncos have not beaten the Storm at Suncorp Stadium since 2009. Nothing short of a rugby league miracle will end that drought on Friday night.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Melbourne Storm
Best bet: Line – Melbourne Storm -19.5
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 25 JULY – 3:00PM
The 2020 season has been a unique test of character for a New Zealand Warriors side that was unlikely to play finals footy under normal circumstances. It’s no surprise their performances are falling away after more than two months marooned in Australia.
But interim coach Todd Payten was on the mark when he said Sunday’s 46–10 loss to Cronulla was their worst effort of the season. The Warriors showed little defensive resolve and their attack was a shambles. Penrith loan player Jack Hetherington and interchange forward Jazz Tevaga, playing just his second game in 11 months, were their best by some margin.
This week, the hapless Warriors ‘host’ a Sydney Roosters outfit chastened by a 24–20 loss to undermanned Canberra last week. The result left the two-time premiers in fifth but, on the evidence since the NRL’s resumption, they are still quite comfortably the benchmark. The Roosters’ forwards were embarrassed through the middle by the Raiders… and the Warriors are set to bear the brunt of the Tricolours engine-room’s response.
The Warriors have replaced Patrick Herbert, Agnatius Paasi and Wayde Egan with Adam Pompey, Lachlan Burr and Chanel Harris-Tavita. Nat Butcher comes back for the injured Angus Crichton in the Roosters’ only change.
After piecing together a four-match winning streak in the rivalry, the Warriors have lost their last two against the Roosters heavily – a 32–0 result at home in 2018 and a 4–6 rout at the SCG last season.
The Roosters have lost 10 of their last 12 in Gosford – including a golden-point defeat to the Warriors in 2016 – but anything but a massive victory here would defy all NRL round 11 predictions.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Sydney Roosters
Best bet: Total match points – over 46.5
CRONULLA SHARKS V ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 25 JULY – 5:30PM
Early-season stragglers Cronulla and St George Illawarra have gradually emerged as genuine top-eight hopes over the past month. Victory in this derby would provide a massive boost to either side.
The Sharks have won four of their last five, bouncing back from an ugly 56–24 loss to Penrith with an equally emphatic 46–10 demolition of the Warriors in round 10. Injuries continue to bite – Matt Moylan and Andrew Fifita missed last week’s assignment – but Shaun Johnson’s dazzling form has restored the Sharks’ status as a potent offensive unit.
The Dragons got out of jail against Canterbury on Saturday, erasing a 12-point deficit before Corey Norman pounced on a Bulldogs error to race away for a last-minute matchwinner. It was the Saints’ fourth win from their last six, with their only losses during that period to both 2019 grand finalists. Matt Dufty continues to shine at fullback, while Ben Hunt is flourishing in his new role as starting hooker.
In NRL round 11 teams news, rival second-rowers Briton Nikora and Tariq Sims will both miss this clash through suspension.
The last 10 southern Sydney derbies were split five wins apiece. The Dragons powered to a pressure-relieving 30–16 win at Campbelltown in round 5 – their first win of the season – after the Sharks prevailed in both close-fought 2019 encounters.
Head-to-head odds were very tight midweek – as NRL round 11 predictions for the outcome are sure to be – but in a showdown between two erratic sides, the Sharks’ influential halves and rugged pack should prove the difference.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Cronulla Sharks
Best bet: Margin – Cronulla Sharks 1 to 12
CANBERRA RAIDERS V SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
SATURDAY 25 JULY – 7:35PM
In round 10, we had contrasting fortunes for 2019 preliminary final adversaries Canberra and South Sydney.
The Raiders – who had won just one of their previous four – slapped down the army of critics who had drawn a line through their title hopes after Josh Hodgson was adding to a lengthy long-term injured list, rolling the Roosters 24–20. Superstars Jack Wighton and Josh Papalii stepped up magnificently in a huge statement win that lifted the Raiders to sixth and kept them in touch with the front-runners.
The Rabbitohs, who have routinely accounted for weaker teams in 2020, remain in the top eight but they again failed to deliver against one of the NRL’s stronger outfits. The 20–18 scoreline against Newcastle flattered Souths, who trailed 20–0 before staging a late fightback.
Canberra rookie Semi Valemei moves onto the wing after debuting off the bench last week, while Souths have been rocked by long-term injury diagnoses for James Roberts and Ethan Lowe. Campbell Graham and Jack Johns come into the Rabbitohs’ 17.
The Raiders have won five of their last seven against the Rabbitohs. Cameron Murray and Damien Cook spearheaded a tense 16–12 win in Canberra in round 10 last season, but the Raiders earned the bigger prize courtesy of a stirring 16–10 prelim final win at home.
If the Raiders’ forwards – with Wighton and George Williams thrusting off the back of their work – turn up like they did against the Roosters, the Rabbitohs won’t be able to stick with the home side.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Canberra Raiders
Best bet: Margin – Canberra Raiders 1 to 12
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 26 JULY – 2:00PM
Newcastle remains in the top four despite being unable to win consecutive games since the NRL’s restart. But the Knights will get an opportunity to snap that trend this Sunday after accounting for South Sydney 20–18 in round 10. Fullback Kalyn Ponga engineered a 20–0 lead with a sizzling display before the Knights survived a late scare. They’ve named an unchanged team this week.
Last-placed Canterbury seemingly had a momentous win – which would have been just the Bulldogs’ second of the season – in their first outing since Dean Pay’s departure when they led the Dragons 22–10. But the blue-and-whites coughed up the lead, then inexplicably handed victory to the Saints in the last minute via a Marcelo Montoya howler.
Rookie centre Jake Averillo returns from quarantine for Christian Crichton, and Brandon Wakeham comes onto the Bulldogs’ bench for Sauaso Sue.
Canterbury has won seven of its last eight against Newcastle. The Knights grabbed a drought-breaking 22–10 Magic Round win last season, but the Bulldogs responded with a 20–14 upset two months later.
The Bulldogs’ chances of spoiling NRL round 11 predictions here are slim, however, with the Knights unlikely to get complacent with a gift two points on offer. Five of the Bulldogs’ six losses since the restart have come by margins of 16 or more.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Newcastle Knights
Best bet: Line – Newcastle Knights -16.5
GOLD COAST TITANS V PENRITH PANTHERS: NRL ROUND 11 PREDICTION
SUNDAY 26 JULY – 4:05PM
NRL round 11 closes with a meeting between the second-last Gold Coast Titans and new competition leaders Penrith Panthers.
The Titans had done well to win three of their six games since the NRL’s resumption – including a gutsy comeback win over the Warriors in round 10 – but were never in the hunt against Melbourne last week, crashing to a 42–6 loss.
In round 11 teams news, recent debutants Treymain Spry and Beau Fermor make way for the return of Titans veterans Dale Copley and Kevin Proctor.
The Panthers have lost just once this season, in round 5 against former frontrunners Parramatta in a match they probably should have won. But they took top spot with their fifth straight win, a hard-fought 22–10 result against North Queensland inspired by the grunt of James Fisher-Harris and the class of Nathan Cleary.
Penrith’s injury toll spiked after the victory, however, with Api Koroisau, Dylan Edwards and Dean Whare all ruled out this week. Mitch Kenny, Caleb Aekins and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak are the starting line-up replacements.
The Panthers boast a 13–7 all-time record against the Titans, winning five of the teams’ last six clashes. The Titans were surprise 30–24 victors on the Gold Coast in round 5 last season, but the Panthers cruised to a 24–2 win at Penrith in round 17, with Jarome Luai starring in Cleary’s absence.
Penrith should get the two points on the road without much trouble, but their key-position changes – particularly the absence of influential hooker Koroisau – is a concern for punters eyeing a big points start.
NRL round 11 tips
Head-to-head: Penrith Panthers
Best bet: Line – Gold Coast Titans +17.5
OTHER NRL ROUNDS
2019 NRL Round 11 preview
PARRAMATTA EELS V PENRITH PANTHERS PREDICTION
THURSDAY – MAY 23 – 7:50 PM
NRL Round 11 gets underway on Thursday with an interesting clash between the erratic Eels and the dismal Panthers.
The Eels are undefeated after two games at their new home ground, but have lost all of their last four games away from the venue, including a 64-10 hammering by the Storm, followed up by last weekends loss to the Cowboys 17-10.
The Panthers were widely tipped to be a top side, but currently sit at the bottom of the table. After winning 2 of their opening 4 games, they’ve lost all 6 games since, with their last 3 games seeing them concede 30 points each time, capped by a 30-10 loss to the Warriors.
Parramatta won their last encounter with Penrith 20-12.
Milestones: Manu Ma’u will play his 100th club and NRL career game.
Tepai Moeroa will play his 100th club and NRL career game.
Nathan Cleary needs 9 points to reach 500 for his club and NRL career.
James Maloney needs 3 points to reach 1800 in his NRL career.
MANLY SEA-EAGLES v GOLD COAST TITANS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – MAY 24 – 6:00 PM
These two NRL teams in Round 11 are playing with teams with a number of top line players out with injuries.
The expectations for Manly were not set high for 2019, however they’ve been in the top 8 for the last 8 weeks, scoring 6 wins in their last 8 games. 2 of their last 3 wins have been without Test stars Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, including last weekend’s 24-14 win over the Sharks.
The Titans have struggled all year, scoring just 2 wins between 4 game losing streaks. Last weekend they lost to the Bulldogs 22-16 despite leading 16-12 at halftime. They sit above only Penrith on the ladder.
The Titans have won the last 2 games in high scoring contests. The last 5 contests has seen at least 40 games scored each time.
Milestones: The Titans need to score 7 tries to reach 1000 in their history.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS PREDICTION
FRIDAY – MAY 24 – 7:55 PM
The NRL Round 11 team lists for these two sides have had few changes, with both sides in strong form.
The Knights had a very slow start, winning their opening game against the Sharks before losing their next 5 clashes. However they’ve turned their form around and won all of their last 4 clashes against the Eels, Warriors, Bulldogs and then last weekend they hammered the Dragons 45-12.
The Roosters dropped their opening game of the season to Souths, but then won their next 8 straight games, before losing to the Broncos last weekend 15-10 in possibly one of the games of the year so far.
The Roosters have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Knights.
Milestones: Cooper Cronk needs 1 try to reach 100 for his NRL career.
Kalyn Ponga needs 12 points to reach 200 in his NRL career.
CANBERRA RAIDERS V NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – MAY 25 – 3:00 PM
This game looks set to produce one of the tightest NRL results in Round 11 given both sides are playing well and definitely capable of winning this match.
Canberra are the second best defensive side in the competition despite dropping their last two games, to the Roosters 30-24 and then last weekend they went down to Souths 16-12. Those two sides were above them on the ladder and in great form, so Canberra’s ability to keep with them is a sign as to how well they are playing.
The Cowboys had a good win in Round 1 over the Dragons, but then lost their next 4 straight games. They turned things around in Round 6, having won 3 of their last 5 games, including a 17-10 win over the Eels last weekend.
Canberra have won the last 3 games between these two sides.
Milestones: Justin O’Neill will play his 100th club game.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS V BRISBANE BRONCOS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – MAY 25 – 5:30 PM
NRL Round 11 Odds for this game are the tightest of any game, with the Warriors the slightest of favourites.
The Warriors form this season has been all over the place. The belted the Dogs in Round 1, before getting hammered by the Tigers and Manly in the next two rounds. They beat the Titans, narrowly went down to Souths and the Storm in impressive games, but then looked poor in losses to the Cowboys and Knights. They then beat the Dragons at Magic Weekend and followed up with a 30-10 win over the last placed Panthers last weekend.
Brisbane struggled early on, winning just 1 of their opening 6 games, but have turned things around since, winning 3 of their last 4 games, including an impressive 15-10 victory last weekend over the defending Premiers the Roosters, who had won their last 8 straight games.
The Broncos have won just 5 of their last 17 games at Mt Smart stadium.
Milestones: Jamayne Isaako needs 17 points to reach 300 for his club and NRL career.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V WESTS TIGERS PREDICTION
SATURDAY – MAY 25 – 7:35 PM
This could be one of the trickiest NRL Round 11 tips to make as the Rabbitohs are in great form, but the Tigers have been giving top sides huge scares this year.
Souths have lost just 1 game this year, back in Round 4, when they went down to Manly 13-12. They have all of their 6 games since then, with their hard fought 16-12 victory last weekend over the Raiders propelling the Rabbitohs to the top of the ladder.
The Tigers have had 5 wins and losses this season and currently sit in 7th place on the table. Their last 7 games has seen them trade losses and wins each week. Last weekend the followed up their 30-4 victory over the Panthers with an unlucky loss to the Storm 24-22, when they conceded a try just before fulltime to hand the win to the Storm.
The Tigers have won 5 of their last 7 games against the Rabbitohs, but it was Souths who won the last encounter.
Milestones: Adam Reynolds needs 2 points to reach 1300 for his club and NRL career.
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS V MELBOURNE STORM PREDICTION
SUNDAY – MAY 26 – 2:00 PM
Despite being at opposite ends of the ladder, the Bulldogs are the only team in the NRL with a better than 50% success rate over the Storm.
The Bulldogs have won 2 of their last 4 games, against the Cowboys 24-12 and last weekend when they came from behind to beat the Titans 22-16. Back in Round 4, The Bulldogs very nearly upset the Storm down at Melbourne.
The Storm won all of their opening 5 games, but were not convincing or impressive with their performers. They then had a magnificent battle with the Roosters in the Grand Final rematch, where they lost by 1 point. They were very poor in their 13-12 win over the Warriors the following week before losing to the Sharks by 2 points the week after. They then hammered the Eels 64-10 before barely defeating the Tigers last weekend 24-22.
The Storm have won their last 3 games against the Bulldogs.
Milestones: Cameron Munster will play his 100th club and NRL career game.
ST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS V CRONULLA SHARKS PREDICTION
SUNDAY – MAY 26 – 4:05 PM
The final game of Round 11 will see two injury-hit sides clash in a much anticipated local derby between the Dragons and the Sharks.
The Dragons countered their back-to-back losses to start the season with 4 straight wins, but failed to keep the momentum going. They’ve now lost their last 4 straight games, the last 3 of which were against sides they should’ve beaten. They lost to Eels, Warriors and last weekend they were hammered by the Knights.
Despite having a wretched run with injuries, The Sharks sit just barely outside the top 8, having scored a pair of wins over the Titans, a big win over the Cowboys, a stunning come-from-behind win over the Panthers and a brilliant 20-18 victory over the Storm. Last weekend they went down to a revitalised Manly side 24-14.
The Dragons have won 4 of their last 5 games against the Sharks.
Milestones: Cameron McInnes will play his 100th NRL career game.
Chad Townsend will play his 150th NRL career game.