Newcastle Knights – $2.90 at Sportsbet
Sydney Roosters – $1.40
If a week is a long time in football, then a month is an eternity.
After enduring five consecutive defeats, the Newcastle Knights now sit in the top six on the back of four easy wins on the bounce.
They demolished St George Illawarra in Mudgee last week, reeling off six unanswered tries in the first hour.
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Nathan Brown’s men face a much tougher task in round 11, not least because the reigning premiers are looking to bounce back from a rare loss.
The Sydney Roosters put in their least-convincing display of the year so far as they went down 15-10 in Brisbane last time out.
Coach Trent Robinson will not tolerate another performance like that, while the announcement of Cooper Cronk’s retirement is sure to light a fire under his teammates.
The Chooks also have some very handy inclusions for Friday’s trip up the coast.
Newcastle Knights team news
The Knights have made no changes to the 17 that slayed the Dragons. The only question is whether Connor Watson will start at five-eighth as named or switch places with Kurt Mann on gameday.
Sydney Roosters team news
Boyd Cordner and Daniel Tupou both return the first 13, which sees Lindsay Collins and Ryan Hall demoted to the reserves. Mitchell Aubusson is back on the bench after starting in the second row against the Broncos.
Out: Lindsay Collins, Ryan Hall (both reserves)
In: Boyd Cordner, Daniel Tupou
Knights vs Roosters tryscorer tips
First tryscorer – $12
Anytime tryscorer – $2.50
Two or more tries – $10
It should surprise nobody that Newcastle’s good form coincides with a purple patch for Ponga. The WA-born fullback has scored six tries in five weeks and broke nine tackles en route to a brace against the Dragons.
First tryscorer – $9
Anytime tryscorer – $1.91
Two or more tries – $6
Sydney’s loss to Brisbane marked the first time in six weeks that Mitchell failed to register a try. The star centre has found the line eight times this year and looks a constant threat when the Chooks have the ball.
Newcastle vs Sydney stats and trends
- A key feature of Newcastle’s unbeaten run is an average winning margin of 19.3 points
- The Knights have not won a match in round 11 since 2006 when they beat Canberra 22-12
- Sydney have failed to cover the line in 14 of their last 15 games in May
- The reigning premiers lead the league in total errors (127) and handling gaffes (104)
Knights vs Roosters betting predictions
Newcastle are having a moment, but have they beaten anyone decent?
Parramatta are notoriously inconsistent, while New Zealand, Canterbury and St George Illawarra are all expected to finish in the bottom half.
The Knights’ chances this Friday will depend on whether their forward pack can give their playmakers the time and space they need to work their magic.
There are tantalising macthups all over the ground, not least the battle of the fullbacks between Ponga and James Tedesco.
Then there is Mitchell Pearce (and his State of Origin hopes) against Cronk, the man who replaced him at Sydney.
Newcastle will have a chance if everybody plays their role, but it is hard to see them keeping all the Chooks stars quiet at once.
Expect a big response from Sydney after last week’s loss.
Sydney Roosters by 13+ points – $2.50 at Sportsbet
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