The first of the short rounds as we get ready for Origin I at Lang Park next weekend, and if my tips weren’t getting pigrooted in the recent rounds, then trying to tip half the league minus their Origin stars should be as painful a .410 to the pants.
Oh yes, and I’m under a gag order from Kevvy Walters to only refer to New South- I mean, ‘That State to the South’, as ‘That State to the South’.
He is a weird unit.
BYES: Brisbane, Cronulla, Melbourne, Newcastle, St George-Illawarra, Sydney, New Zealand, Wests Tigers.
Penrith vs Manly @ Panthers Stadium, 7:50pm
James Maloney got himself suspended against the Warriors, and look what happened after that, the Panthers came out and pulled off a comeback upset win against the Eels, to become the first team to beat their eternal rivals at their fancy new playground.
It was a different take on a ‘captain’s knock’ from Jimmy.
With his suspension up, Maloney returns to play half-back in a straight swap for the Origin-bound Nathan Cleary, alongside Jarome Luai and whichever Panthers aren’t horribly injured at this point in the season.
Meanwhile, Des and the Sea Eagles (Or as they prefer to be known, the Sea Elgeys) copped a 2nd Half slapping from the Titans for the second year running, although they’re in the weird situation on being only Points Difference off 4th Spot, but only one loss away from potentially dropping out of the 8.
Des has brought in two lucky fans in Abbas Miski and Corey Waddell, who won a club raffle to play for the team, and they replace the injured Brad Parker, and Jake Trbojevic has been selected to play for ‘That State to the South’, while the Sea Eagles didn’t have DCE anyway, but he’s off to captain Queensland.
Who the heck knows how this one could end up.
Parramatta vs Souths @ Bankwest Stadium
In a major shock this afternoon, James Roberts was granted an immediate release from the Broncos, and not 10 minutes later, Souths had announced he’d been signed, effective immediately– However, he won’t be allowed to play until next weekend.
Normally getting dropped to reserve grade for having a bad attitude is a punishment- For Jimmy the Jet, it means a contract extension and an upgrade to the penthouse.
If this were any other round, I’d have moved on to the next game, because Souths would win by default.
The Eels were downright embarrassing against Penrith, and if there’s one thing as embarrassing as losing to the team sitting in stone motherless last, it’s blowing a lead to the team sitting in stone motherless last.
As for Souths, it was yet another methodical win against the Tigers, and it’s funny looking back now, but they’re a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal away from sitting unbeaten right now.
Actually… that’s rather frightening.
Unsurprisingly, of the teams playing this weekend, Souths have been hit the hardest by Origin selections- Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Dane Gagai and Cameron Murray are all gone, although Adam Reynolds has been named, despite that massive scare with his leg injury against Wests, which apparently wasn’t as painful as being overlooked for Origin selection in favour of Nathan Cleary.
It’s a good thing the Rabbits have ‘Wayne’, who’s been dealing with Origin period team selection since the First Crusade.
Parra will have a full team to pick from, and as a result, have assumed favouritism with the bagmen, oddly enough as the shortest priced favourite this weekend, at some $1.66 odds.
The Eels really can’t win this- If they do win on the scoreboard, it’s “Meh, you beat a weakened Souths,”, and if they lose, it’s “Lol, you couldn’t beat a weakened Souths”.
Canterbury vs Canberra @ ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm AEST
A week after a nice comeback on the Gold Coast, the dear old Doggies faced the Storm at Belmore, and it was a bit of trip back to reality, losing 28-6, while the alarm bells are ringing in Ricky Stuart’s head, after the Raiders dropped a very winnable game to the Cowboys in Canberra, 22-16.
In the old days, Ricky would’ve gone off on some tangent about how the referees made a few bad decisions against the Raiders, but instead, he simply sat there, frustrated, waiting to wipe out the first journo who asked a question.
Dean Pay hasn’t made sweeping changes (Yet again), and the Dogs have only lost the one player to Origin Duties, but he just happens to be their forward pack leader- Dylan Napa.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have lost Nick Cotric, Jack Wighton and Josh Papalii to Origin duties, and as if their injury toll didn’t resemble that shot of the injured soldiers from Gone with the Wind, another resident Pom in Josh Hodgson broke his thumb, which has left the Green Machine closer to falling arse-first out of the Top 8 instead of fighting for a Top 4 spot.
This game could end one of two ways- The Dogs make the most of the weakened Raiders, or they once again prove incapable of scoring, and somehow lose.
Gold Coast vs North Queensland @ Cbus Super Stadium, 4:05pm AEST
Just a day after finding out that Mal Meninga is going to be leading a review into how much of a comedy club the the Gold Coast is, the Titans went down to Brookvale, let the Sea Eagles race out to a 12-nil lead, and then stunned everyone by coming back and sucking the air out of the joint with a ripping 36-18 win, with Dale Copley scoring a hat-trick.
I’d imagine Mal’s review will now go something like this.
The Titans go in unchanged from the Manly win, even with Jai Arrow being named for the Maroons (DNP last Friday).
In a similar manner, the Cowboys were INSPIRED by Jason Taumalolo smashing the Green Machine with his bare hands in Canberra, leading for just about the entire game and scoring an upset win, 22-16.
What would’ve pleased Paul Green is the fact the Boys trailed for all of five minutes in the 1st Half.
Historically, the Origin rounds are always tough for the Cowboys, obviously with JT and the likes of Matty Sing & Matty Bowen always being picked, and this year it’s no different, with Michael Morgan and Josh McGuire selected for the Maroons, and on top of that, Matt Scott and Justin O’Neill are both out with injuries, with O’Neill undergoing emergency surgery on a ruptured spleen.
The Titans haven’t beaten the Cowboys since 2014, and the ‘Boys did get them 28-14 at the start of the month, so to state the bleeding obvious, this represents the ‘Tits’ best chance to break that run in a while.
100 consecutive days with a post on this website… I really am bored.