Today Sam Bourke takes a look at the optimism in the water out Bondi way, as the Sydney Roosters loo...
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Round 11 is another exciting round of NRL rugby league with some tough picks to make for the tipsters.
First up is an early Friday game in Wellington NZ, where the Canberra Raiders are playing their first home game in New Zealand against the NZ Warriors. The Warriors have yet to win at WestpacTrust Stadium in Wellington, and will be looking to break the deadlock. The Raiders coming off 2 losses will certainly be out to claim their spot back at the top of the ladder. With rain forecast in a cold Wellington, unfortunately the weather will dictate the play and the team who can handle the slippery ball the best on the night will be the victor.
The second game on Friday night is another thriller. Top of the ladder, the Broncos travel down to Telstra Stadium to take on the Bulldogs. The Broncos have been playing very consistent footy and have earned their spot at the top of the ladder. Two controversial decisions in the last two Bulldogs' matches, against the Roosters and the Dragons, have tainted the performances of the Bulldogs. They will be hoping it's a case of third time lucky against the Broncos, and cement a completely warranted win.
First game up on Saturday night has the Eels hosting Melbourne Storm. The Storm has looked pretty good in their last two matches. With Billy Slater running at fullback, he has more options open to him, and is utilising them well. Stephen Kearney plays his 100th game for the Club, so I'm sure that will be an added incentive for the Storm players. The Eels have been very close to winning, last weekend's loss to Manly through the golden point rule must have hurt, and I'm sure coach Brian Smith will have the team fired up and ready to win at home.
Manly will have another home game at Brookvale Oval when the Cowboys make the trek down the country. Matt Sing from the Cowboys has been in stunning form and along with the rest of the Cowboys would be wanting to cement a win away. Glenn Morrison has been named in the Cowboys side after last weekend's game it was suspected he had a broken jaw. The Sea Eagles after their dramatic golden point win over the Eels last weekend, will be looking for another 2 points at home. Certainly a tough one to pick.
The Sharks have finally won 2 games in a row but will have a very hard battle ahead of them when they travel up to Newcastle to play the Knights. The loss to the Roosters last weekend would've stung the Newcastle side, so in front of their home crowd, they'll be looking to reignite their winning form.
Campbelltown Stadium on a Sunday afternoon will see two very determined teams go head to head. The Tigers did not have a happy time up in Townsville in Round 10, and would love nothing better than to stop the winning ways of the Panthers in front of their supporters. The Penrith side have looked the complete team in the last few weeks of the NRL competition, and will be hoping to carry on their momentum.
Last game of the round is at the Sydney Cricket Ground where the Dragons travel to take on bottom of the table Souths. The Dragons, who suffered last week at the unjustified call from a touch judge, I'm sure will put on a big performance. The loss of Trent Barrett for the season is a major blow, but replacement Dean Byrne has been playing outstanding football in the NSWRL Premier League and will certainly be ready to fill in for Barrett. Souths, after all the problems suffered over the last few weeks, will be hard pressed to beat the Dragons.
ROUND 11 - May 23 - 25:
Fri 23rd May: Raiders vs Warriors at Westvaco Stadium, Wellington (Raiders), 7:30pm (NZ), 5:30pm (Aest).
Fri 23rd May: Bulldogs vs Broncos at Telstra Stadium (Bulldogs), 7:30pm.
Sat 24th May: Eels vs Storm at Parramatta Stadium (Eels), 5:30pm.
Sat 24th May: Knights vs Sharks at Energy Australia Stadium (Knights), 7:30pm.
Sat 24th May: Sea Eagles vs Cowboys at Brookvale Oval (Sea Eagles), 7:30pm.
Sun 25th May: West Tigers vs Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium (Wests Tigers), 2:30pm.
Sun 25th May: Rabbitohs vs Dragons at Sydney Cricket Ground (Rabbitohs), 3:00pm.
Sydney Roosters bye.