The Reece Walsh-inspired improvement in the Warriors’ previously pedestrian attack has given the club’s finals hopes a massive shot in the arm. But the teenage prodigy’s heroics with the footy have diverted attention away from a worrying defensive drop-off in recent weeks.
After struggling for points in the opening six rounds – averaging just 18.8 points – the Warriors have put up 24.8 points a game since the Walsh’s glorious, franchise-altering introduction.
The wunderkind’s sizzling performance to lead the Warriors to a nervy 30-26 over Wests Tigers on Friday, which has seen their premiership odds ($23) and Top 8 Finish price ($2.30) come in significantly from last week.
The Warriors conceded at a semi-respectable 19.3 points across the opening six rounds, including three games leaking 14 points or less.
But with the Warriors’ prop rotation struggling to garner any sort of dominance and constantly-changing edge combinations getting regularly exposed, points have been flowing against them over the past five weeks.
They have given up a whopping 32 points per game (and at least 20 in each outing) since Round 7. The Warriors have conceded 20-plus points in more than five consecutive matches just five times in their history – typically during their worst seasons.
Their attacking spike coinciding with a defensive drop-off has unsurprisingly contributing to a swing in overs results in their matches. The Warriors had a 2-4 unders record at the end of Round 6, but four of their five games since have gone well over the points total line – producing 52 points or more.
The only exception was their nail-biting 24-20 win over this Friday’s opponents, North Queensland Cowboys, in Gosford in Round 8. The Warriors led 24-4 at halftime following easily their best 40 minutes defensively in recent weeks, but barely hung on as the Cowboys terrorised a rookie right edge of Rocco Berry and Edward Kosi in the second stanza.
Cowboys left winger Murray Tualagi (a handy $1.83 Anytime Tryscorer option this week) had a field day at Central Coast Stadium and is coming off a hat-trick against Newcastle last week. But the hosts’ left-side attack will find the far more experienced and resolute duo of Euan Aitken and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (who is on the top line of Anytime Tryscorer betting at $1.67) in the defensive line in Townsville.
— The Shark (@TABShark) May 26, 2021
The Cowboys have a 7-4 overs record in 2021, with their 36-20 defeat of the Knights breaking a streak of three under games. They have conceded at least 18 points in every game this season – which spells trouble against a Walsh-led attack.
Consequently, the points total line has been set at a hefty 49.5 for the crunch Cowboys-Warriors showdown. But TAB’s The Shark is confidently tipping an Over 49.5 result ($1.85) as his Best Bet – and Total Points of 61+ ($4.50) as a Value option.
The Warriors are $1.77 favourites despite losing four of their last five away from Gosford, while the Cowboys are on a four-match winning streak at home. A defensive turnaround would give the Warriors a massive leg up to achieving a 6-6 record heading into the bye…but all signs point to another rollercoaster points-fest on Friday night.
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— TAB Sport (@TAB_Sport) May 27, 2021