NRL previews for Round 11
EELS v PANTHERS
Bankwest Stadium, 7.50pm
History: Played 97, Eels 57, Panthers 39, drawn 1
Last met: Eels 20-12, round 1, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Eel $1.48, Panthers $2.60
The Eels haven't exactly been banging down the premiership door in recent weeks, but compared to the Panthers they are world beaters. After six successive losses and a miserly average of 12 points a game this season, Penrith's low point came when they were booed at half-time and again at full-time by their home fans last weekend. Back at their luxurious new home for the third time, the Eels should win this and stay in the top eight.
TIP - Eels
SEA EAGLES v TITANS
History: Played 18, Sea Eagles 10, Titans 8
Last met: Titans 42-34, round 23, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Sea Eagles $1.45, Titans $2.70
These sides are the form-reversal benchmarks - the Sea Eagles supposedly wooden spoon aspirants, and the Titans premiership hopefuls. But having failed to score a second-half point for the third time in four weeks, the Titans look bereft of ideas and gallantry, while the injury-riddled Sea Eagles have developed into the competition's miracle team. Garth Brennan, surprisingly, continues to show faith in his key players.
TIP - Sea Eagles
KNIGHTS v ROOSTERS
McDonald Jones Stadium, 7.55pm
History: Played 52, Roosters 31, Knights 19, drawn 2
Last met: Roosters 18-16, round 14, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Knights $2.80, Roosters $1.42
Could the seemingly invincible Roosters be beaten two weeks in succession? Following an off-season spending spree and a poor start, the Knights have strung four wins together, sit sixth and the 45-12 hammering of the Dragons last round makes them look the real deal. But the premiers have a winning record against the Knights and in Newcastle, and the home side will need to bring their very best to win what promises to be the highlight of the round, played before an expected sell-out crowd.
TIP - Roosters
RAIDERS v COWBOYS
GIO Stadium, 3pm
History: Played 42, Raiders 24, Cowboys 18
Last met: Raiders 30-12, round 4, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Raiders $1.45, Cowboys $2.70
The Cowboys found some good old-fashioned starch last weekend but need much more than that to topple the Green Machine in Canberra, where their record is a woeful six wins from 21 appearances. Still in the top four despite key injuries, the Raiders boast the best defence in the competition, so the Cowboys must improve markedly on their poor attacking average of 16 points. But with a host of Cowboys wanting to impress the Maroons coach, an upset is not impossible.
TIP - Raiders
WARRIORS V BRONCOS
Mt Smart Stadium, 5.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 41, Broncos 23, Warriors 18
Last met: Warriors 26-6, round 18, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Warriors $1.82, Broncos $1.98
With three wins from four outings, the Broncos have started to deliver on their preseason credentials. Their most recent result against the Roosters is a huge boost, but consistency is a major issue for this young group and this is a must-win match. Not only must the Broncos tame the opposing pack, they will need to limit the metres of the Warriors' powerful back three. But the Warriors, who have strung two wins together and sit beside the Broncos on the ladder, will be no pushover.
TIP - Broncos
RABBITOHS v TIGERS
ANZ Stadium, 7.35pm
History: Played 32, Rabbitohs 17, Tigers 15
Last met: Rabbitohs 51-10, round 25, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Rabbitohs $1.35, Tigers $3.15
Along with the Sea Eagles, the Tigers have been the surprise packet of 2019 and should have beaten Melbourne last week. But they are prone to a blowout, as was the case when hammered 51-6 by the Eels in round six. And while the Rabbitohs may have stumbled in against the Raiders last weekend, Bennett's men still top the ladder, with consistency their forte.
TIP - Rabbitohs
BULLDOGS v STORM
Belmore Oval, 2pm
History: Played 40, Bulldogs 21, Storm 19
Last met: Storm 18-16, round 4, 2019
Ladbrokes odds: Bulldogs $3.60, Storm $1.28
No doubt the Bulldogs' spirits were lifted by their stunning fightback to score 22 unanswered winning points last weekend, but the ultra-professional Storm will offer much more than the hapless Titans. However, despite still sitting second on the table, the Storm have not been overly consistent and if the Dogs bring their A game, a tough contest is on the cards at their Belmore home.
TIP - Storm
History: Played 42, Dragons 22, Sharks 19, drawn 1
Last met: Dragons 40-20, round 6, 2018
Ladbrokes odds: Dragons $1.85, Sharks $1.95
Four successive losses have resulted in the Dragons descending to 12th on the ladder, dropping three players and now desperately needing a win over their neighbours who sit on the same number of points, but in better form despite a spate of injuries. Yet the Dragons have one huge factor in their favour - the Sharks have won just once in Wollongong in seven visits. Ben Hunt must fire - for the homeside to win and to retain his Origin jersey.
TIP - Dragons
- Compiled by Tony Durkin