As much as they just ain’t my cup of meat, it was nice to see the Silvertails get on the board for 2021 with that last gasp field goal by DCE, although I’m not sure hogpiling the captain and killing him in the midst of the celebrations bodes well for the rest of the year, especially now that Tom Trbojevic is back.
Anyway, I can reveal my next move – I’m going to lodge my coaching application to Cronulla.
Yes, I know Josh Hannay is now the interim for the season, and Craig Fitzgibbon is coaching the Sharks in 2022, but I’m actually putting in my application for 2023, after the board inevitably turn on Fitz in 12 months time when he has a bad couple of games.
That said, I imagine they’ll pick Scott Morrison, considering he’s going to be looking for a new gig soon.
Score Through Round 5 = 27/40
Picks are UNDERLINED
Brisbane Broncos (12th) vs Penrith Panthers (1st) at Suncorp Stadium, Thursday 7:50pm AEST
I noticed that the bookies handicap on Penrith for this game is -27.5 points (In short, they’re a 28 point favourite), on the back of winning 5 in a row to start 2021 and the Broncos seeing the light and dumping Anthony Milford, which has left Brisbane at the relative unders of $13 in a two-horse race.
Based on the way the season has gone thus far, I’ve got two words to say about that handicap.
Newcastle Knights (11th) vs Cronulla Sharks (9th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST
SHAME ON YOU CRONULLA.
YOU QUITE LITERALLY LEFT JOHN MORRIS’ MOTHER SHARYN HEARTBROKEN ON FACEBOOK.
I hope the Knights defeat the newly formed Cronulla Deceitful Liars, who are now coached by Josh Hannay, who is making a career out of being an interim coach, given he took over the Cowboys after Paul Green left last year.
Hang on, I’ve discovered another NRL coincidence.
Josh Hannay played for two NRL clubs – North Queensland and Cronulla.
He’s now served as the interim coach FOR BOTH OF THEM!
Melbourne Storm (6th) vs Sydney Roosters (2nd) at AAMI Park, Friday 7:55pm AEST
Funny to think that the only one of the four halves that played in last year’s Round 8 epic that’ll line up on Friday night is the Storm’s halfback Jahrome Hughes.
Cameron Smith played five-eighth in place of an injured Cam Munster, and obviously Smithy has retired, and for the Roosters, Kyle Flanagan was banished to the Bulldogs, and Luke Keary is out for the year.
Still, moving on to this latest snout in the trough edition of the Storm and the Roosters, if we claim to know anything about Craig Bellamy, then we can bet our arses that he’ll be making sure that his players ensure that a certain rookie half from Easts has no say on the game….
And if Sam Walker does float under the crushing weight of Storm pressure, we could be seeing a bit of this from Bellyache:
THAT CHAIR HAD A FAMILY CRAIG
Manly Sea Eagles (15th) vs Gold Coast Titans (7th) at Glen Willow Oval in Mudgee, Saturday 3pm
Both teams are hitting the road Russell Coight style to give a bit of First Grade action back to the hard working country folks, and in my mind, it’s a smart move by the NRL to schedule this game in Mudgee, because the Titans have won their last 3 visits to Brookvale Oval, and all things considered, they’d have made it 4.
And now for the feature presentation for my pick:
South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) vs Wests Tigers (13th) at Stadium Australia, Saturday 5:30pm AEST
We’ve got a fascinating coaching duel on Saturday evening – Wayne Bennett against the only living South Sydney premiership coach, as the Tigers face their biggest uphill challenge against a Rabbitohs team since the Balmain Tigers pulled off the Grand Final miracle of 1969.
Although this Tigers team couldn’t hold a candle to the ’69 Tigers, because instead of getting up for Tommy Raudonikis, Wests reminded us that they are the biggest disgrace of a team nicknamed ‘Tigers’ since the 2003 Detroit Tigers lost 119 games (Out of 162) and set the record for the most defeats in a season in American League baseball history.
I’ll curiously overlook the fact that the Detroit Tigers went to the World Series only 3 years later, but with the total mismatch on paper betwen the Rabbits and Tigers, the margin that Souths win by might feel like 119 defeats in one.
Canberra Raiders (8th) vs Parramatta Eels (5th) at GIO Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
It’s going to be another tough one between the Milk and the old Fruitpickers, and the big stat for me, which won’t please anyone in Blue and Gold, is that the Eels have one win in Our Nation’s Capital in the last 20 years 92006), a stat that I believe can be attributed to the cold weather freezing whatever brain cells remained in Parra’s forward pack.
So I think the Raiders will win a game that looks harder to back than a broken nose, given the home team have lost Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and the Eels have lost Dylan Brown, and I’ll give you another tip for Saturday – Brad Arthur won’t go through an entire carton of bottled water like he did in Darwin 2 years ago:
Fair dinkum, imagine the workout the toilet got that night.
St George-Illawarra Dragons (4th) vs New Zealand Warriors (10th) at Kogarah, Sunday 2pm AEST
It’s incredible to think the Dragons, despite having no positive prospects for 2021 as recently as late February, can win their fifth game in a row, and like most people, I think they can, although they’ll have to deal with the frightening prospect of being favoured against a Warriors team most likely dealing with the emotional distress of becoming the first team to lose to Manly in 2021.
It’s a blow not many have come back from, so Nathan Brown will have to dig deep into his reserves against his former club.
Speaking of that, remember when Nathan Brown coached the Dragons in the 2000s?
With the squad they had, they could very easily have played in 2 Grand Finals, but every bloody year, without fail, they’d start a season like Chautauqua out of the barriers and have to play catch-up all year.
North Queensland Cowboys (14th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
It’s great to see Channel 9 broadcast the WHO CARES CUP to a national audience – There could be ratings records broken, and by that, I mean it could be so catastrophically low that Sky News out-rates Channel 9 from 4-6 on Sunday.
As for the game, I imagine the Cowboys are going to be full of confidence after claiming the 2 points with a huge 1st Half at Leichhardt, and I imagine the Bulldogs will be full of confidence after not only scoring a try, but scoring a massive 18 points against the might of the Melbourne Storm, more than they’d scored in their first 4 games COMBINED.
Still, the pre-game sledging must be like that South Park episode where the boys kept trying to lose baseball games:
“You know what these guys look like to me? A bunch of winners!”
“Yeah! We’re about to get our asses kicked!”
“I don’t think so! You guys are way too good! You’re the best at this game! “
“You’re the best!”
“You guys are so good, you’ll probably go all the way to win the national title!”
“Not a chance, ’cause we’re gonna lose to you right now!”