NRL round 11, nrl semi finals

As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Each week on the blog we’ll feature three of his match previews from the eight games. Check out his NRL Round 10 Triple Preview…

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NRL Round 11: Sharks vs Dragons (Friday)

The key factor here is the fact that the Dragons squad has been decimated by injury. They head into this one without Dufty, Fuimaono, Lomax, Ravalawa, Sims and McGuire.

While those forwards are all replaceable, their backline injuries take away some of their most potent weapons.

With 16 tries between them, Ravalawa and Dufty have scored a massive chuck of the Dragons’ 37 tries this season. In fact, with Lomax and Sims both out (3 tries each), the 4 of the Dragons 5 leading try scorers are not playing in this game (Ramsey, with 5 tries, is the only remaining noted try scorer).

Even before losing these guys, the Dragons attack had struggled over the past month, making the third least metres and the second least line breaks over the last 4 games.

Against a fired up and desperate Sharks team at home, I just cannot see where the Dragons will get their points from in this one.

Although the Sharks started poorly, they were in the middle of an impressive comeback when the bunker intervened and penalised Townsend. Although it was disappointing to see them drop their bundle and concede two soft tries, I saw enough in that second half to reaffirm my belief that this Sharks team can play footy when they want to.

In their local derby, at home, and with a chance Johnson plays, I like the Sharks chances of winning this one and covering the -5.5 we took on Tuesday afternoon.

Predicted score Sharks 22 – Dragons 12
TopSport current market Sharks -8.0 @ $1.95

NRL Round 11: Titans vs Bulldogs (Saturday)

This is a hard one to price up, with the Titans’ defence against the Panthers nothing short of woeful. While the Panthers have a habit of humiliating their opponents, the Titans were particularly bad on the weekend.

With the Titans already missing Corey Thompson and David Fifita, their attacking strike power worsens further with the loss of the in-form Peachey.

For a team that struggles to defend their line, losing three of their key attacking weapons makes them look very vulnerable here. Tannah Boyd, Esan Marsters, Phillip Sami…even the Doggies lacklustre attack stands a chance against those guys.

And while I was very critical of the Doggies squad strength last weekend, I cannot faut their discipline and desire to win.

They played error free footy (completing 35/40 sets, 88%) and frustrated the Raiders with some staunch goal line defence.

Although their inability to beat a Raiders team that were down to 11 men at one stage must be infuriating for their fans, the Titans team is so weakened and their defence is so wobbly, that I like the Doggies at the line here.

Predicted score Titans 26 – Bulldogs 18
TopSport current market Bulldogs +12.5 @ $1.90

NRL Round 11: Eels vs Manly (Sunday)

In a season punctuated by blowouts and poor performances, this is another game that promises to be a cracker.

While I knew the Eels were going well, their attacking flair against the Warriors was amazing. Moses is in top form, while young Arthur showed he is more than capable of stepping in for Dylan Brown.

But it is the Eels’ defence that really has me thinking they are the real deal in 2021. Over the past month they are second lowest in line breaks conceded, second least metres conceded and third lowest in missed tackles.

For Turbo Tom, the Eels, like the Panthers in Round 8, will prove much tougher to break down with the ball in hand. It is worth noting that Tom T’s five games since returning from injury have been against the Titans, Wests, Warriors and Broncos (all sitting outside the 8 at present).

Coach Hassler has made the interesting decision to name Cust at 6 and keep Schuster in the back row. While this might be because Curtis Sironen has not returned from injury, I do think the Eels will fancy their chances of targeting Cust.

With Croker at 9 and Cust at 6, I think Manly have a few too many weaknesses to beat the Eels at Bankwest.

I know I have lost a fair bit betting against Manly since the return of Turbo Tom, but I really do think the Eels deserve to be slightly bigger favourites here.

Predicted score Eels 28 – Manly 16
TopSport current market Eels -7.5 @ $1.95

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