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NRL 2024 Predictions

NRL Predictions & Tips - Round 11 2024

Magic Round 2024 is finally upon us! As the teams ready themselves to head north, we’ll take this opportunity to dissect the match ups, and offer our tips and predictions for Round 11 of the NRL. Over the weekend gone, we saw some incredible football, with minimal margins deciding the games. Melbourne’s fourteen game winning streak at AAMI Park has finally come to an end thanks to the Cronulla Sharks. The Gold Coast Titans got their second win of the season over the Cowboys, and the Roosters continued to pile on the points in yet another massacre. The Rugby League world eagerly awaits the festival of footy that is Magic Round, and the stage is set. So let’s dive in.  

Kicking off Magic Round 2024 will be the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. The Green Machine are coming in fresh off the bye, after an impressive comeback win against Manly two weeks ago. The Dogs went toe-to-toe with the masters of the grind in Penrith on Friday and would probably consider themselves unlucky to have not walked away with the win. Realistically I can see this game going either way. Raider’s coach Ricky Stuart backed his young guns in their last outing, and they didn’t disappoint. However, every team so far this year that is coming off the bye has conceded the first try in their following match, and given the Bulldogs currently boast the 3rd best defence in the competition (conceding just 15.5 points per game), I’d anticipate the Dogs to strike first and hold the Raiders at arm’s length in a very tight, and brutal contest. Both forward packs have a lot to prove, and both sides have young guns wanting to prove themselves! I’m going with the Bulldogs by 8 points.

Friday night’s main event will see the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles take on the home-town heroes in the Brisbane Broncos. In consecutive weeks now, Manly have gotten out to an early lead only to blow it in the second half. The Broncos are continuing to prove themselves as a powerhouse side despite injuries this season, and will without question want to impress in front of the Brisbane faithful. No Tom Trbojevic for Manly will likely hurt them, but with Daly Cherry Evans and Luke Brooks in the halves, they are still a chance. I’m expecting Manly to put in a full eighty minute performance this week, but find the Broncos just too strong in the end. Ezra Mam and Reece Walsh are vying for State of Origin selection and will be hoping to continue to build on recent form, particularly coming up against the Queensland Maroons captain (DCE). Broncos by 12 points.  

Magic Rounds edition of Super Saturday will kick off with the Gold Coast Titans and the Newcastle Knights doing battle at 3:00pm. Both are in some red hot form, despite the Titans not quite getting over the line in a few close calls. The two sides have both been plagued by some off field distractions this week, with Titans marquee player David Fifita signing with the Roosters, and the revelation that the Knights may have breached the salary cap with Kalyn Ponga and a third-party deal. Ultimately it will come down to who can put the distractions aside, and prepare better for this game. Newcastle have done well to win their last two games despite missing their star player, however the two wins against a struggling Warriors outfit, and the Wests Tigers may provide some false confidence for the men from the Steel City. The Titans are coming off beating the Cowboys, and going toe-to-toe with Melbourne. For me, their form is slightly more impressive coming into this game. I’m going to back the Titans by 10 points.

The second Super Saturday match-up is set to be the game of the round for mine. The top of the table Cronulla Sharks go up against the point-scoring-powerhouse Sydney Roosters in must-see television. The Chooks are scoring what feels like a thousand points per game right now, with the bearded Sam Walker in career best form. However, the Sharks have now won five on the trot, and are conceding just under 13 points per game on average. Something has to give, and only time can tell if it will be the attack of the Chooks or the defence of the Sharks. Without their general in Nicho Hynes to steer the side around the park, I think it’ll be the Sharks who let up in this one. However, I don’t expect it to be a blow out in the same proportion as recent Roosters matches. Chooks by 12 points.

Losing is a hard habit to break. The North Queensland Cowboys have now lost five in a row, and you have to go back to Round 4 to find the South Sydney Rabbitohs sole victory for 2024. Both sides seem to be in a rut, with no real end in sight. The return of Latrell Mitchell last week for the Bunnies failed to impress, and despite a late charge home by the Cowboys, they were outclassed for the larger part of their match with the Titans last week. With neither side really being able to ice a game this year, I’m struggling to see which team could come out on top. For that reason, and for the first time this season… I’m tipping a draw.

The first of three matches on the Sunday ticket for Magic Round will pit the New Zealand Warriors up against the Penrith Panthers. The Wahs were strong premiership contenders early doors this year, but seem to have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, having now lost four in a row and drawn their Round 6 match against the Sea Eagles. Penrith continue to go from strength to strength and are really not the team an embattled side wants to be coming up against. Losing Nathan Cleary for the next eight weeks shouldn’t bother the three-peat premiers too much, given how they have plugged along nicely without him for such a large part of this season. Realistically, I can’t see the Panthers needing to get out of second gear based on how these two sides are playing right now. I’m going with the Panthers by 18 points.

The second Sunday afternoon match will see the Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels going head to head in another match that is likely to be one sided. Parramatta have struggled this season with not only injuries to key players, but the ones that have stayed fit, have struggled to find form themselves. Melbourne boast a 76% win record at Suncorp Stadium, and despite having a couple of injury woes themselves, I can’t see that changing. Tyrone Wishart looked good last week, and will be better for the experience. I think Melbourne should win by 18+ points.

Closing out Magic Round for 2024 will be the Wests Tigers and the Dolphins. The Dolphins have been solid in recent weeks, falling off for brief periods here and there, but for the most part, looking like a terrific football side. They are expecting the return of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow which will only bolster their chances, and will also add a bit of leadership to the group. The Tigers have improved each week, and would consider themselves unlucky to only have the two wins so far this season. They seem to be evolving as a football side with each passing game, but unfortunately I think they will find the Phins to be too difficult of a match up this week. I’ve got the Dolphins by 20 points.

Magic Round is set to be a stellar weekend of football! So lay it on me, what do you think of the predictions? There are some really exciting matches on the cards for this weekend, and it will be very interesting to see how they play out! I’ll be looking to improve upon last week’s efforts (6 from 8), and am tipping the Bulldogs, Broncos, Titans, Roosters, Panthers, Storm and Dolphins to all walk away victorious, with the Rabbitohs-Cowboys game to be a draw. How many do you think I’ll get right this week? We will have to wait and see. As always, if you haven’t already got your fan gear for 2024, make sure to head into Jersey’s Megastore for All Things Footy!