So many storylines circling around Rugby League at the moment, the on-field action has been just as compelling. A couple of teams heating up, and a couple that are making room in the cupboard for one giant wooden spoon. Let's dive into Round 11, shall we?
Eels Vs Tigers
Thursday night kicks off with a belter at Bankwest Stadium. The Eels coming off a reality check at the hands of the Sea Eagles, whilst the Tigers beat the hapless Broncos in what can only be described as a cricket score. Parra welcome back halfback Mitch Moses and winger Blake Ferguson, I think that'll be enough to get them over the line in this one. The Tigers are heating up, a win here and they could be as high as 6th come Monday, a loss and they're likely just holding on to 8th position. Eels to get back into the groove of things and reclaim the top spot on the ladder, albeit only momentarily. Eels by 14.
Cowboys Vs Manly
A good game to kick off the Friday night action, an intriguing one at least. North Queensland, for new caretaker coach Josh Hannay weren't horrible last week, whilst the Sea Eagles upset the Eels and now welcome back Addin Fonua-Blake, let's hope he's learnt his lesson.
New coach often brings a win and I think this one will be super competitive but ultimately think the Sea Eagles will prevail. If I was setting up a new franchise, Jake Trbojevic would be among the first men signed, I love the passion with which he plays and he appears to be a good bloke as well! Sea Eagles by 8.
Broncos Vs Storm
This Broncos side has seen more changes than a David Jones dressing room. Finally, and I mean finally, Anthony Seibold has put Anthony Milford at fullback. Hooray! I think he's got that one right, however Boyd remains in the centres, that one I can't work out. The Broncos also welcome back Kotoni Staggs, Herbie Farnworth and Tom Dearden who will partner Brodie Croft in the halves. This is a better looking Brisbane side, you've heard it here first. The only problem? They've made the changes the week they play the Storm, the Melbourne Storm. I wouldn't be surprised if Craig Bellamy rested a few players to be honest, albeit they have named their star-studded side. The Broncos would ultimately like 3-4 weeks to take to gel this new unit, in particular their spine, they don't get the chance to do that. Storm here by a margin, but expect an improved performance by the Broncos, I am still getting over Brodie Croft's lack of attempt at tackle last week, makes me really angry. Storm by 16.
Warriors Vs Roosters
Ugly. $10 the starting price for the Warriors seems unders. Roosters to absolutely destroy them despite losing another, Angus Crichton on this occasion, to injury. Roosters by 34.
Sharks Vs Dragons
Couple of good games on Saturday night, both these teams need this win! 4-5 weeks ago, Paul McGregor's head was on the chopping block, now his team sits just win outside the Top 8. Almost a must-win for the red V if they have a serious shot at playing finals footy. For the Sharks, win here and so long as a number of results don't go their way, they will force their way inside the Top 8. This is a big game, plenty riding on this. Whilst the Dragons only just put away a gallant Bulldogs team last week, I am tipping them to knock off the Sharkies here, who were impressive, albeit against the Warriors last Sunday. Dragons in a tight one, tipping Ben Hunt for man of the match. Dragons by 4.
Raiders Vs Rabbitohs
Another one on Saturday night with serious Top 4 & Top 8 consequences. The Bunnies missed the bus last week and didn't get started until the 65th minute, whilst the Raiders got some revenge against the defending Premiers. I think this is a statement game and without Latrell Mitchell anchoring the Rabbitohs backline, I am going to tip the Raiders, who welcome back John Bateman, to put on a show. If they lose here, they likely lose touch with the Top 4 with the Roosters and Knights likely winning on the weekend.
This makes it D-Day for Top 4 hopes but I think they'll get the job done, meaning South Sydney, missing Ethan Lowe and James Roberts in addition to Latrell, will be out of the Top 8 come Monday morning. Raiders by 22.
Knights Vs Bulldogs
I don't know why but for some reason I get the feeling this is a danger game for the Knights, expected to win. They really switched off last week against the Bunnies and just scraped through. If they are serious contenders, they should be winning this by a margin. Kalyn Ponga seems to have found his mojo, that should be enough. Tipping the Dogs to put up a fight early, as they do, but Newcastle to take control and pull away late. Knights by 18.
Titans Vs Panthers
As ugly as the Warriors Vs Roosters? Nothing much to look at here. Panthers will get back on top of the Eels by Sunday evening. Far too much fire power for the Titans, the $1.10 looks better than bank interest as they say. Panthers by 40.
Let's hope all coaches keep their jobs this week, all the best!