Our tipping guru Tipping Point is back this week, as he casts his eye over who will win in Rd 11 and why. A shortened week given it is Origin time but the clashes still hold value and meaning, particularly for those sides that need a win badly. Here are Tipping Point’s tips for Rd 11.
I got off to a flyer in round 10 jagging the first three tips, including the Warriorsâ€™ golden point win over the Eels. Iâ€™ll admit it: I held out some hope of the perfect round. Unfortunately, the perfect record was short-lived, with the Sharks, Knights and Panthers all getting up giving me an end result of 5/8. The Sharks tip in particular was a bitter pill, with Aidan Sezer having the chance to win the game in the final minute with a conversion, but the kick went wide â€“ you just knew at that moment that the Sharks would get home. With six favourites getting up it was a high-scoring round overall, with quite a few nailing the perfect round. I tip my cap to anyone brave enough to back the Panthers over Manly at Brookie.
Round 11 though is an awkward one. Origin-affected weekends are always a lottery with so much player turnover, but if you do your homework you can score reasonably well and make up some ground on the leaders. Iâ€™ve also included my Origin tip â€“ apologies in advance to NSW supporters.
Season: 46/80 (58%) â€“ Last week: 5/8 â€“ Stand-outs: 5/10
At a glance: Souths, Tigers, Raiders, Knights, Queensland
Souths v Eels, ANZ Stadium
This tip worries me because although the Bunnies are well-backed with the bookies, I can see the Eels winning this game. Without Inglis and Reynolds, Souths are definitely vulnerable; they havenâ€™t won a game without Reynolds all year, and their record without Inglis isnâ€™t fantastic either (Iâ€™d wager itâ€™s the first time since Sandow left Souths that theyâ€™ll field a side without either Inglis or Reynolds). The Eels are only missing Will Hopoate to Origin, and coming off a close loss to the Warriors theyâ€™ll be primed for a massive game. That said, you just canâ€™t take the Eels on the road, especially in their current form. Their record at ANZ is also atrocious, and before their drought-breaking win over Souths in round four theyâ€™d lost seven straight to the Bunnies. Itâ€™ll be a willing contest, but Keary, Walker and Luke should get Souths home.
Tigers v Cowboys, Campbelltown Stadium
Both sides have lost key players to Origin, with the Tigers losing Farah and Woods and the Cowboys going without Thurston, Morgan, Scott and Tamou. Given the Cowboysâ€™ generally poor record without Thurston, their more significant player drain and the fact that itâ€™s an away game, I think the Tigers deserve to be strong favourites. The Tigers will be keen to get their season back on track, and celebrate ten years since their 2005 grand final win over the Cowboys. Extra motivation should come from the fact that if they lose this match they can almost kiss the season goodbye.
Raiders v Bulldogs, GIO Stadium
As a Raiders fan I couldnâ€™t have been happier with the Origin teams: no Raiders were picked, whereas the Dogs will be missing Hodkinson, Morris, Jackson and Klemmer. Already struggling with form and injuries (no guarantee that James Graham plays this week), the Dogs are ripe for the picking and the Raiders will fancy their chances: they didnâ€™t go that badly against the Dragons last week and but for some mistakes at key times they couldâ€™ve almost won the game. I reckon theyâ€™ll be too slick for the Dogs in the Nationâ€™s Capital.
Knights v Broncos, Hunter Stadium
If this match was being played outside of Origin youâ€™d take the Broncos in an instant. But missing six players (Thaiday, Hodges, Parker, McGuire, Boyd, Gillet) to Origin as opposed to Newcastle with just one absentee (Scott), the Broncos could be in for a tough Monday night. While they still have Milford and Hunt in the halves and some other class players, the drain on their forward stocks is just too much. For Newcastle there simply wonâ€™t be a better time to play the Broncos, particularly at home where the Knights are about a 10-point better side than on the road. In saying that I donâ€™t expect the Knights to have it all their own way, but they should win.
New South Wales v Queensland, ANZ Stadium
No Paul Gallen. No Greg Bird. No Jarryd Hayne. No Luke Lewis. No chance. Letâ€™s be real: these guys have been the Bluesâ€™ best performers over the past few years and without them, I just canâ€™t see them winning this game, barring some sort of early injury (a la Cronkâ€™s broken arm in game one last year) or torrential rain (which would slow the game down and suit NSWâ€™s massive pack to a tee). Queensland will be absolutely ropable after losing the series last year, and with Thurston, Morgan and Slater in hot form they ought to get the job done. Thereâ€™s just too much experience and too much class for the Blues to handle â€“ even at ANZ.