Can you hear that?
It’s Origin season coming like a freight train into the forefront of your consciousness and it’s ready to disrupt the 2019 NRL season with selections and injuries toying with form lines.
There was plenty to take away from Round 11 however with a full slate of games before next weekend’s short round as the New South Wales and Queensland sides prepare for Game One next week.
Check out what we learned from the past few days in the NRL world.
1 – More Underdog Action
If you backed the underdogs in every game this weekend you would have enjoyed a nice return as they won six of the eight clashes.
The first five all went the way of the unfavoured sides before the Rabbitohs finally got one for the favourites.
Dating back to Round 10, there were seven straight wins for the underdogs which at this time of year might not be too surprising as injuries and rep duties begin to really be felt.
In fact, the only two favourites to win were the two games with the biggest lines with the Storm and Rabbitohs.
2 – Panthers Losing Run Ends
There were more impressive teams than the Penrith Panthers on the weekend but managing to end their losing streak will be a massive boost for the club.
Problem is they now have to do it without Nathan Cleary as they chase back to back wins for the first time since Rounds 1 and 2 against the Sea Eagles.
It’s important to not overreact too much to one game so don’t go all in on the Panthers yet but they will bare watching this weekend to see if it was a one off or there might be something worth backing in as the season goes on.
3 – Take the Knights Seriously!
The Knights have to be taken seriously now.
That’s five wins in a row and you can get rid of the “they haven’t beaten anyone major” asterisk now.
By not only defeating the Roosters but crushing them on Friday night showed they might just be the side you want to get on… as long as their bye this weekend doesn’t screw up their momentum.
4 – Broncos Rear-guard Effort
It wasn’t the prettiest game between the Broncos and the Warriors but that was a lot of fun to watch. We’re starting to see a real pattern emerge with the Broncos where they might not be lighting up the scoreboard but are finding ways to get the wins, which at this time of year is much more effective than style points. Because of that, unders in Broncos games continues to be a good play hitting eight of their 11 outings.
5 – Origin Impact
This is technically a post-Round 11 lesson and one we should be well aware of by now but it still is worth mentioning. Keep an eye on the squads depleted by Origin call ups. While we probably won’t have a repeat of the “Baby Broncos” from 2002 where nine players plus missing, but when the best of the best are away, the traditional heavy hitters may not be the easy pick they normally are. With only four games over the weekend as well, it does mean you’ll have to search even harder for a value play.