Score so far after Round 2: 10/16
Picks are UNDERLINED
Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm at Panthers Stadium, Thursday 8:05pm AEDT
Just when the Grand Final Rematch was hard enough to pick, Penrith changed the name of Panthers Stadium to BlueBet Stadium, Api Korisau isn’t there, Nathan Clearly got round-armed in the head and placed in the concussion protocol, and the Storm have to rule out Clive Churchill Medalist Ryan Papenhuyzen, plus Felise Kaufusi was lucky to only get rubbed out for 2 weeks for driving his elbow through Ryan Matterson’s skull.
This game is going to be akin to attending a Rolling Stones concert where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards don’t turn up.
The Panthers haven’t conceded a point through 2 games, they are at home, while The Storm haven’t lost consecutive games since Rounds 21-22 in 2018, and they do have 2 extra days rest compared to the Riff.
Home team with no confidence at all.
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Manly Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, 6pm AEDT
Until I see Tommy Turbo’s name written on that Manly teamsheet, I AM NOT TOUCHING THEM.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia, Friday 8:05pm AEDT
The first game at the Olympic Stadium for 2021, and as an outsider to the game of rugbaleeg, I am somewhat confused.
They say this is a rivalry of the 1908 foundation clubs, but looking recent NRL history, Souths clearly entered the competition in 2002 with backing from Academy Award-winning actor from New Zealand, Russell Crowe.
Anyway, it’ll be another chapter in the coveted Book Of Feuds between the neighbours, and you’d imagine the Rabbits will be hard pressed to repeat that utterly spellbinding performance that was Round 20 of last season, as they scored relay tries for fun in the 2nd Half, running up a record 60-8 hammering of their eternal rivals, as Alex Johnston scored 5 tries to win the Ken Irvine Medal at the death, and Adam Reynolds slotted 10 goals to claim the leading pointscorer title.
We should remember the Chooks were looking half a chance at the Threepeat prior to that Friday night, which should tell you just how utterly devastatingly amazing the Rabbits were.
While the Chooks have been lighting up the scoreboard through Rounds 1-2, nobody in their right mind would consider the Sea Eagles or Tigers to possess anywhere near the level of talent the Rabbits possess, so we can consider this the first proper game for the Roosters this season (Whereas Souths did play the Storm in Melbourne), which will help gives us a better read on Trent Robinson’s team.
With Victor Radley and Angus Crichton back, I’ll stick with the Roosters, and inevitably kick myself after the Rabbits run wild.
Canberra Raiders vs New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium, Saturday 3pm AEDT
Up the Milk.
Brisbane Broncos vs Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium, Saturday 4:30pm AEST
To put this in simple, but rather blunt, terminology, this is a ‘Choose your STD’ kind of game – It’s not pleasant to think about.
There’s the Broncos, who have won just once in their last 20 games and racked up 13 consecutive defeats, still 3 short of cracking the Top 10 longest losing streaks in First Grade history
And the Bulldogs, who are the Bulldogs.
I’ll pick the Broncos to get Kevin Walters his maiden win as an NRL coach, and I’ll also get a bottle of shampoo to pour into my eyes so I don’t have to witness it.
Actually, I’ve got a shift at the bar on Saturday afternoon, so forget the shampoo.
Parramatta Eels vs Cronulla Sharks at Bankwest Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEDT
The battle of the amphibian mascots, which would’ve been very appropriate last week, and know what, I’m going to base my tip on this National Geographic video about a Moray Eel against a Whitetip Reef Shark:
It’s conclusive – The Eels to devour the Sharks by 4 points.
Newcastle Knights vs Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEDT
The Tigers have finally dropped BJ Leilua after he gave as much of a crap in defence as a cat watching its owner convulse, but it won’t matter in the Hunter against the 2-0 Knights.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Gold Coast Titans at Queensland Country Bank Stadium
In Round 13 last season, the Titans knocked off their drunk cane toad cousins to the north 30-10 at Robina, the first time they’d defeated the Cowboys since 2014.
This time around, it’s in Townsville, where the Titans haven’t won since they blanketed the Cows 18-0 at the old Willows Stadium in Round 1 of 2012.
The Titans have the chance to make it back to back wins against their local rivals, and you have to wonder, if the Dragons can handle the Cowboys at home, then the Titans should go alright.