Parramatta Eels vs Wests Tigers – Thursday night – Bankwest Stadium
The Eels lost top spot on the ladder last week, and it's fair to say their last two performances haven't been table-topping standard. They do welcome back some key inclusions on Thursday night in Moses, Matterson and Ferguson. While the Tigers impressed against the Broncos, and Marshall sparked their attack, there are huge question marks over that form. The Broncos goal-line defence was as bad as it gets, and that has clearly been one of the strengths for the Eels this season. They'll be much harder to crack in defence, and Moses can only improve their attack. It's the game of the round.
Verdict – Eels by 7
Result – Eels 26 defeated Tigers 16
North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly Sea Eagles – Friday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium
A much improved performance from the Cowboys against the ladder leaders in round ten. Can they repeat that effort, or was it a one time only performance for their departing coach? Josh Hannay takes over for the rest of the season, and has an opportunity to prove himself for next year if things go well. The first up assignment for Hannay is a tough one, with Manly feeling buoyent after a win over the Eels. Fonua-Blake returns to bolster what is already a very strong pack of forwards, and he'll be keen to make amends.
Verdict – Sea Eagles by 8
Result – Sea Eagles 24 defeated Cowboys 12
Brisbane Broncos vs Melbourne Storm – Friday night – Suncorp Stadium
I didn't expect the Broncos to beat the Tigers but I didn't expect 48-0. The old boys are right - they are disgracing the jersey. The Storm have a better record at Suncorp than they do at AAMI Park, and haven't lost at this venue to the Broncos for more than a decade. Every Broncos team that has been beaten by the Storm since 2009 would beat the 2020 Broncos side. The loss to the Tigers was hard to watch. I'm not sure I can even turn this on.
Verdict – Storm by 60
Result – Storm 46 defeated Broncos 8
New Zealand Warriors vs Sydney Roosters – Saturday afternoon – Central Coast Stadium
This could be even harder to watch. I was hopeful that the Warriors would put in a fair effort last week before a quartet of their squad head home, but they played like they all want to go home. In games against sides in or near the top eight, the Warriors have scored 0, 6, 0, 12, 6 and 10 for a total of 34 points in 6 games. The Roosters will score more than 34 in this one game.
Verdict – Roosters by 34
Result – Roosters 18 defeated Warriors 10
Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Saturday night – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
I'm not sure if the hatred between these clubs runs as deep as it once did, but hate each other they do. This is usually enough to make this game interesting, but with both sides in some winning form this is potentially the game of the round. I'm sticking with the Dragons who are starting to impress me, what with their under-rated pack of forwards and some rising stars in their backline. And I've been given a tip that this debutant for the Sharks (Teig) is pretty good, but what a truly unusual name he has (I don't even know how to pronounce it).
Verdict – Dragons by 2
Result – Sharks 28 defeated Dragons 24
Canberra Raiders vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Saturday night – GIO Stadium
The Raiders surprised most of us with a win over the Roosters, but only because they found their usual form after a period of under-performing. The Bunnies head to the capital without James Roberts and Ethan Lowe, and both will be out for some time. Campbell Graham returns after a facial injury which helps. For the Raiders, John Bateman has been named on an extended bench, but is probably another week away. As a rule, I like to do a quick weather check before any game in Canberra, and on Saturday night we are expecting rain and temperatures near enough to zero. All the poms won't mind, but brrrrr!!!
Verdict – Raiders by 4
Result – Raiders 18 defeated Rabbitohs 12
Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Sunday afternoon – McDonald Jones Stadium
The Knights have a woeful (recent) record against the Bulldogs, but surely...surely, history counts for little on Sunday afternoon in Newcastle. The home side found their spark in round ten and I don't expect them to lose it overnight. The Bulldogs tried hard against the Dragons for their new (interim) coach, but no one has ever accused the Dogs of not trying. Unfortunately, they just aren't good enough.
Verdict – Knights by 10
Result – Bulldogs 18 defeated Knights 12
Gold Coast Titans vs Penrith Panthers – Sunday afternoon – Cbus Super Stadium
The scoreboard would indicate otherwise but the Titans were pretty good against the Storm last weekend, until half time at least. That tells me they are giving it a red hot go, but will usually fall short against the very best teams, and occasionally spring an upset over a more fancied rival who doesn't turn up to play. The Titans bring back Proctor and Copley on Sunday which helps, and the Panthers are without professional tackling machine Koroisau, Edwards and Whare. A Titans win would be a proper upset, and while I wouldn't be quite as surprised as most, I have to tip the Panthers. The steadying influence of the TikTok man should see them home.
Verdict – Panthers by 8
Result – Panthers 22 defeated Titans 14
Wally Lewis - round eleven selections (in bold)
Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or Thursday morning
- EELS vs Tigers
- Cowboys vs SEA EAGLES
- Broncos vs STORM
- Warriors vs ROOSTERS
- SHARKS vs Dragons
- RAIDERS vs Rabbitohs
- KNIGHTS vs Bulldogs
- Titans vs PANTHERS