JT’s Random NRL Picks: Round 11, 2021

Pictured: Referee instructs player to get rid of top knot

Well the news of the week since yesterday, aside from blowing up about mass sin-binnings and send offs, is that Fox League have promoted more young rising talent by hiring Ray Hadley, the Queensland Firehawks have fired in their expansion bid, because there’s nothing like expanding into a city where the league has had a successful First Grade team for 33 years, and the Courier Mail ran the numbers and worked out that the average winning margin is just under 3 converted tries through the first 10 Rounds, the most lopsided start to a season since 1935:

If you’d like context, that was still the good old days when tries were worth 3 points, and it was also the year Canterbury-Bankstown entered the competition and lost 91-6 to St George one week, which will forever remain the highest score and the biggest win in First Grade history, and the Berries backed that up by losing 87-7 the next week to the all-conquering Easts team that had the skullcap-clad Dave Brown scoring 38 tries on their way to the premiership.

Although, that Canterbury side wasn’t the worst team in the comp, because Sydney University lost every single game, a luxury this Doggies side doesn’t have.

North Queensland Cowboys (12th) vs Newcastle Knights (11th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Thursday 7:50pm AEST

Here’s an artist’s impression of Valentine Holmes talking to Adam O’Brien pre-game:

New Zealand Warriors (10th) vs Wests Tigers (13th) at Central Coast Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST

Here’s a rough idea of how Michael Maguire and Nathan Brown’s post-game meeting will pan out, set to the ending to the 1979 cult classic, The Warriors.

You Warriors are good.

Real good.

Although you’ve never quite been the best.

Cronulla Sharks (14th) vs St George-Illawarra Dragons (6th) at Kogarah Oval, Friday 7:55pm AEST

With their forward pack decimated by suspensions, I think the Red V are going to come under attack from…


If you want an odd fact, the head to head between the Sharks and Dragons is now dead even since the Dragons formed the joint venture in 1999.

Thanks to Cronulla’s win in Round 1, it’s now 23 wins apiece with 1 drawn game, which might just add a bit of life to a Southern Derby that does have the already odd facet of the Sharkies playing a home game on the Dragons’ home turf.

Gold Coast Titans (9th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 3pm AEST

The only people who tip the Bulldogs right now are those truly faithful supporters that’ll back their team through thin times, and/or some genuine sickos who just try and lose their tipping comps by doing the bare minimum, so we’ve just got to stick with the Titans.

Sydney Roosters (5th) vs Brisbane Broncos (15th) at the SCG, Saturday 5:30pm AEST

Ladies and gentlemen, to warm up your Sensational Saturday Night, direct from the United States AND America, on the stage of MTV Unplugged…


The Roosters – You know they ain’t gonna die.

Canberra Raiders (8th) vs Melbourne Storm (3rd) at GIO Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST

Given the Raiders have lost Josh Paplii, Josh Hodgson and Jack Wighton to suspension, I think we could be seeing another Green Mile-esque performance from the Storm where Craig Bellamy doesn’t wet the sponge:

You can just picture Craig yelling “HE’S FRYIN’ NOW!” through the phone:

South Sydney Rabbitohs (4th) vs Penrith Panthers (1st) at Apex Oval, Dubbo, Sunday 2pm AEST

Make no mistake about it, this game is the biggest thing to happen to the people of Dubbo since native hero Kirsty Lee Allan appeared in Season 1 of Swift and Shift Couriers.

Forget about Luke Priddis winning a Clive Churchill Medal for the Panthers in 2003, or Matt Burton making his return to his old stomping ground, Kirsty Lee landing a second major role after Sea Patrol turned Monday nights into Funday nights.

Actually, that phrase would work better if SBS had broadcast it on Sunday.

Anyway, make no mistake about it, with Latrell Mitchell back in the No.1 from suspension, and Josh ‘The Sauce’ Mansour back to face his old team, the Bunnies are a serious chance of winning, but until someone actually knocks off the Mountain Men, you’re hard pressed to pick against them.

So on that note, with yours truly picking the Panthers, here’s the topical song – Squeeze with COOL FOR CATS!

Parramatta Eels (2nd) vs Manly Sea Eagles (7th) at Bankwest Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST

Another fantastic contest on Super Sunday to finish Round 11, between the two teams who headlined multiple Grand Finals in the 1970s and ’80s, plus a few commercials for Tooheys in 1984, just to make everyone feel like a Tooheys or two.

Anyway, with Turbo in the backfield, the Sea Eagles have magically turned from a wooden spoon candidate into a Top 5 prospect, and when I went to put my tips in this evening, I had a choice between backing the Eels sending the Silvertails on a drive up Eel-ectric Avenue by Eddy Grant, but I figured bugger it, let’s pick the upset and back Des Hasler and his troops to….


One final note, a happy birthday to my old FootyTips colleague Reg, aka Sunny – He had his birthday on Monday, and I imagine he spent it surfing on the Sunny Coast!

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