Magic Round tossed up plenty of high-quality contests, sin binnings, demolition jobs and most importantly, some very lucrative winners.
Onward and upwards into Round 11!
It’s fair to say that we’re off to a fairly slow start when the lowly Cowboys and Knights clash on Thursday, but the action continues to build in quality and excitement as we wind our way towards two outstanding Sunday games – Souths vs Penrith and Parramatta vs Manly.
I’ve previewed the lot, and you can find my NRL Round 11 Tips below.
It’s a bizarre way to begin the round in my opinion – a game like this one is best saved for the early Sunday afternoon slot but regardless, the Cowboys will do battle with the Knights on Thursday night.
They didn’t win, but to their credit the Cowboys returned a competitive performance against the Roosters in Magic Round, and they were in the game for a long way.
That franked a few nice wins in recent weeks, and I can completely understand why they have been installed as favourites in betting this week.
The Knights have continued to prove that they cannot be trusted from a betting perspective, and they were handed a comfortably defeat by West Tigers last Friday, despite starting clear favourites.
With Kalyn Ponga a likely omission this week, it’s tough imagining the situation improving.
An intriguing match will see the Warriors take on the Tigers first-up on Friday evening, and there is a genuine case to be built for both sides.
Its well and truly been a case of old habits dying hard for the Warriors in 2021, and they have been let down by the inconsistency.
They have run into a couple of form sides in Manly and Parramatta over their last two, but they boast depth and a plethora of talent, and just go to water when any pressure goes on.
The Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds) have also been let down by their inconsistency, but they enter this match off the back of one of, if not their best performance of the season.
I’d have the two sides closer to $1.90 each in match betting and for that reason, I’m going to take the value around the Tigers at the line.
A local derby will see the Sharks take on the Dragons in the Shire in Friday night’s primetime slot.
The Sharks have completely fallen out form since the club’s appalling treatment of John Morris resulted in his departure of the club, and their Round 9 thrashing at the hands of Penrith was franked with another loss to the Bunnies last week.
They are now winless since Round 4, and I simply cannot have them until they show something.
The Dragons’ fast start to the season is also now a distant memory, and after a competitive (albeit questionable) start against the Storm last week, they were thrashed.
Regardless, I think they have more potential and ability than the Sharks, and I’m going to give them a chance here.
The Titans became the latest side to feel the wrath of the competition leaders in Round 10, but they’re offered the perfect opportunity to atone at the expense of the last-placed Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
We obviously love them, but the Titans are yet another side whose inconsistency has been their biggest downfall in 2021, and it’s telling in their ninth positioning on the NRL ladder.
The Bulldogs have been nothing short of putrid in 2021, and while it’s probably not all their fault, it doesn’t change the fact.
Their close loss to the Raiders (who are out of form) was probably their second-best performance of the campaign, but I couldn’t possibly tip them against anyone at the moment.
Another one-sided affair looks likely to materialise between the Roosters and the Broncos on Saturday evening.
The Roosters, while understrength, have continued to make it work more often than not, and the emergence of Sam Walker has been a positive that may not have happened if they remained at their strongest this year.
The Broncos have forgotten how to win a game, and they received yet another horrifying defeat in front of a big Brisbane crowd last week, this time to the tune of 50-6 at the hands of the Sea Eagles.
This is a similarly difficult task for them, and I really don’t think they can turn it around enough to compete for the full eighty.
Betting suggests that the most one-sided game of the round will come up in the nation’s capital on Saturday night, and given the form of some of these other NRL clubs in 2021, it tends to say a lot about the Raiders’ current situation.
In previous weeks, I’ve shared my opinion on the Raiders’ Premiership window closing, but I’m actually now confident it has shut.
Currently in an awful form slump, I don’t think their 2021 season can be salvaged, and with a decent exodus expected in 2022, it’s tough imagining them getting their hands on that elusive piece of silverware.
They won during Magic Round, but only just, and against what is quite clearly the NRL’s worst current team.
Up next they have been charged with facing the Storm in Round 11, who should take care of business.
The first of two exciting Sunday fixtures will see the Bunnies host the red-hot Panthers, who are still yet to taste defeat in 2021.
The Bunnies were too bad to be true against the Storm in Round 9, and they fittingly bounced back at the expense of the Sharks in Brisbane last week.
This is obviously the biggest rise in class that any club will face this season, but South Sydney’s best is certainly good enough to at least compete with the Panthers.
Another week, another thrashing victory for Ivan Cleary’s men in Round 10, and it is now at the point where I’m not sure anyone will beat them this year.
They deserve their favouritism, and they’ll most likely win again.
Just cannot wait for this one – the match of the round will see old rivals the Eels and Sea Eagles do battle in a traditional Sunday afternoon fixture.
The Eels have started the season with a very impressive 9-1 record, their only blemish somehow coming at the hands of the Dragons, and they enter this match off the back of a win of the Warriors, which turned out to be comfortable.
Speaking of comfortable wins, did you see what the Sea Eagles did to the Broncos?
It was their biggest win over the Brisbane club ever, and it was inspired by some outstanding play, led of course by the almost untouchable Tom Trbojevic.
With memories of Sterlo’s Eels and Fatty’s Sea Eagles going toe-to-toe in some of the greatest clashes that Rugby League has ever seen at the forefront of my mind, I’m taking the value around the latter.