The Cowboys made a statement in Round 11 of the 2022 NRL season. However, it’s time to start worrying about the Rabbitohs who continue to struggle on both sides of the ball.
Bulldogs Back To Spoon Fav’s
It’s a familiar sight for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs faithful, but as it stands, their side are $1.70 favourites to win the wooden spoon.
The ‘new coach bounce’ or apparent lift a team receives after their coach has been sacked is a myth that was again debunked in Round 11. Different coach, same performance and the same result for the Bulldogs. The Wests Tigers did it relatively easy to win 36-22 on Friday night. Importantly for Micahel Maguire’s side, they started to remove themselves from wooden spoon contention to now be out at $5.50.
While the Bulldogs scored 20+ points for the first time this season, they weren’t particularly good points. They’ll need to do a lot more than hope for opposition errors leading to points when taking on the Dragons as $2.45 and +4.5 underdogs next week. There is still too much being put on Matt Burton’s shoulders from an attacking perspective and Matt Dufty, in particular, isn’t helping the Dogs five-eighth. Simply terrible in Round 11, that might be the last we see of Dufty in the NRL.
Some definite positives for @NRL_Bulldogs last night. Ray Fatailer-Mariner comeback✅ Getting Jacob Kiraz back in NRL team✅ JMK outstanding✅ Matt Burton really starting to blossom✅ Team scoring 4 tries in a half of football✅The negative is still our defence. It’s a long race.
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) May 21, 2022
Mick Potter only had three days to make his mark on the side before taking the field. He has another week now to make a few changes. Those should start to come on Tuesday afternoon when the team list is announced. From there, we can start to look for genuine improvements throughout the side while Gus Gould and the Bulldogs decision-makers look for their next head coach.
Trbojevic Gone Again
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles fell 22-20 to the Parramatta Eels in Round 11 but received worse news the following morning. Tom Trbojevic’s 2022 NRL season is now in doubt following a shoulder injury.
Tom Trbojevic will seek surgical opinions after dislocating his shoulder. If surgery required there are different types of reconstruction, with best case being a 12 week return to play. Current reports (via @FOXNRL/@dailytelegraph) suggest Manly expect him out for the season
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) May 21, 2022
There is still a glimmer of hope for Trbojevic. However, the Sea Eagles premiership hopes will go under the knife with him if that’s the path he takes. Improved without him, the Sea Eagles will more than likely float around the Top 8 ($2.45) all season if he isn’t available to take them to the next level and into Top 4 contention ($14).
Statement Game of Round 11:
Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 10 it was the Broncos. This week it’s the North Queensland Cowboys who thumped the Storm in Townsville.
We’ve been here a couple of times already with the North Queensland Cowboys. But when you start the NRL season among the wooden spoon contenders but sit 3rd on the ladder after 11 rounds, you’re going to make a few statements along the way.
Handing the Melbourne Storm their biggest loss since 2013 is quite the statement.
Confirmed: The Cowboys are good.
— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) May 21, 2022
Todd Payten’s side was superb throughout their 36-6 win. From start to finish, they dominated the centre-third, kicked well, played patient football, and waited for their hard work to pay dividends on the scoreboard. Not for the first time this season, the pressure they build early in a match translated into a flurry of points later as they flew out of the sheds to score four tries in 15 minutes after halftime.
Sure, the Storm are depleted. Jason Taumalolo managed only 26 minutes in this one, though. While the 30-point margin isn’t an accurate reflection of the gap between these two teams overall, it does confirm that the Cowboys are a top tier team and deserve to inch closer to the premiership conversation at $13.
Rabbitohs Struggle Again
It’s time to officially start worrying about the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The 2021 NRL Grand Finalists look nothing like that side through the first 11 rounds of 2022.
Losing Adam Reynolds is obviously a huge factor. How well he is playing for the Brisbane Broncos surprised many, and while the impact of his departure was always going to be felt in Redfern, few saw it being quite this bad.
The Rabbitohs attack is poor. They lead the NRL in errors per game, but that is only part of the problem. Holding the ball doesn’t consistently produce the Rabbitohs points either. They remain left-heavy and have even moved Campbell Graham to that side of the field in an effort to get their greatest strength back in working order. However, opposition teams know what is coming. Cody Walker will be able to make the right pass at times and Alex Johnston is an excellent finisher who will convert on chances if you give him enough. There’s little doubt that defending teams are finding things easier on that side, though.
Souths need to make changes. Latrell Mitchell returning would add another level to this team but it may be too little too late by then. Now 5-6 and barely hanging onto their spot in the Top 8 ($1.62), the Rabbitohs are no certainty of returning to the finals in 2022.