Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 11: Match previews

Who would want to be a coach in the NRL?


Following the sacking of Warriors coach Stephen Kearney earlier this season, we recently saw Dean Pay part ways with the Bulldogs before Paul Green parted with the Cowboys on Monday.


Who’s next, and when?


To me, the role seems to be a poisoned chalice.


A coach doesn’t necessarily receive much credit when a team goes well, but they’re nearly always the first to cop the blame when a team doesn’t perform well.


Fair dinkum, why should the coach be the first (and in many cases the only) person in the firing line after a shoddy team display?


I really don’t know why it should be a coach’s responsibility to motivate the players. If the players are good enough to play professionally, they should know how to get the best out of themselves.


Realistically, it’s time that the players took responsibility and were held accountable for a team’s poor display.


I anticipate some blockbusters and flops (and something in between) in round 11 of the NRL.


Thursday’s match should be eye-catching, with the Eels sure to be licking their wounds after a rare defeat while the Tigers are coming off a huge win over the hapless Broncos.


How the Eels follow up to their shock defeat against the inconsistent Manly will be more telling than the shock defeat itself, while it should definitely be a case of the Eels learning more from a loss than a win.


The Eels should certainly be desperate to return to their winning form after surrendering the ladder lead. Mitchell Moses, Blake Ferguson and Ryan Matterson may return after they were missed last weekend, but their absence could not be used as an excuse for Parramatta’s defeat.


The Tigers meanwhile have to put last Friday’s showing behind them and start from scratch as they face a steep rise in class, not to mention a hungry opponent.


The Tigers should take note of how the Eels smashed the Broncos 58-0 in week one of finals last year, before Parramatta came crashing back to earth with a 32-0 defeat at the hands of Melbourne the following weekend.


The Eels are deservedly favourites, but the Tigers will realise that they are beatable.


Friday night’s match between Manly and the Cowboys could be eye-catching or a flop, with the Sea Eagles coming off their surprise victory over the former ladder leaders while the Cowboys move on in the wake of coach Paul Green’s exit.


With its top-eight hopes looking shaky lately, Manly will eye this fixture as a golden chance for a win against a team that looks well out of finals contention.


North Queensland’s interim coach Josh Hannay will have little time to settle in as the Cowboys try to salvage something from this season.


The other Friday fixture looks like a complete mismatch, with the Storm contesting the insipid Broncos. I’m not sure that any Broncos fan will look forward to this.


If there’s any certainty in this round of NRL, it’s that the Storm will inflict another heavy defeat on the Anthony Seibold-coached team.


If the Broncos aren’t at rock bottom now – having lost 48-0 last Friday – I’m sure they will be after they cop another flogging this Friday.


The Broncos suffered their heaviest ever defeat earlier this season when they were belted 59-0 by the Roosters. Could the Storm come close to this margin, or even exceed it?


I don’t like the saying “men against boys”. Frankly, I think it could be a case of a professional team against what looks like a village team.


Corey Oates will be sidelined while Kotoni Staggs, Jake Turpin and Matt Lodge may return for Brisbane. Anthony Milford may move from five-eighth to fullback while Tom Dearden comes into the halves. Regardless, a landslide win to the Storm is guaranteed.


Having lost two of their past three matches and dropped to fifth spot following their shock loss to the Canberra Raiders, the Sydney Roosters should comfortably account for the lowly placed Warriors on Saturday.


Something the Roosters need to work on is their defence, as the injured Victor Radley has been sorely missed in the middle. The reigning back-to-back premiers also have to cover for Angus Crichton, who is likely to be sidelined for a few weeks.


The Sharks versus Dragons tussle could be a good one, as both teams try to keep their flickering top-eight hopes alive. The Sharks will be favoured to win, but a victory to the Dragons would come as no surprise.


The Raiders meanwhile will be favoured to win against the Rabbitohs, who are missing the suspended Latrell Mitchell for another week while James Roberts and Ethan Lowe face lengthy injury spells.


The Raiders didn’t crack under pressure last week, even when they trailed 12-6 and were on the back foot. But they will have to put that impressive win behind them and continue to sharpen their attack, after it had been lacking for a while.


On Sunday, I expect the Knights to be too strong for the last-placed Bulldogs while the first-placed Panthers shouldn’t have any difficulty in beating the struggling Titans, even though the Panthers are likely to miss Dylan Edwards and Dean Whare.



Thursday July 23

Eels v Tigers, Bankwest Stadium, 7.50pm



Friday July 24

Cowboys v Sea Eagles, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 6pm


Broncos v Storm, Suncorp Stadium, 7.55pm



Saturday July 25

Warriors v Roosters, Central Coast Stadium, 3pm


Sharks v Dragons, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 5.30pm


Raiders v Rabbitohs, GIO Stadium, 7.30pm



Sunday July 26

Knights v Bulldogs, McDonald Jones Stadium, 2pm


Titans v Panthers, Cbus Super Stadium, 4.05pm



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 40 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.


  1. Ian Hauser says

    I’m tipping the same results, Liam. Should be a pretty straightforward Round. If there’s to be an upset, it’s well hidden. Tonight’s tussle will be the most interesting to see if the Eels bounce back or if the Tigers do have a bit of roar in them.

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