Well it’s a shortened Origin weekend, which means that by default I can’t score another 5/8 for the first time all season….
Because there’s only 4 games.
Total Score After Round 11 = 70/96
Picks are underlined
St George-Illawarra Dragons (8th) vs Brisbane Broncos (15th) at Kogarah, Thursday 7:50pm AEST
Well one-time New South Wales Origin starter Jack De Belin is back in First Grade after 2 years of successfully avoiding becoming Jack De Jailbird, and what a fantastic contest he’s got in his first game since 2018 – The Dragons versus a team nicknamed after wild horses who play like Donkeys.
If only it was the Dragons vs the Donkeys – It could be a rematch of the first Shrek film:
I think that’s how they got Gorden Tallis to the Broncos during the Super League War.
Wests Tigers (13th) vs Penrith Panthers (1st) at Leichhardt Oval, Friday 7:55pm AEST
The Battle of the Big Cats doubling as the Ivan Cleary & James Tamou Cup at the old home of Balmain, and we’ll see just how good the Panthers’ depth is with Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Api Koroisau, Isaiah Yeo, Kurt Capewell, Brian To’o and Liam Martin all on Origin duty, so deadset, if the Tigers don’t win or at least go close to winning, then fair dinkum, the only time the Panthers might lose is in Melbourne at the end of July.
So that said, I can’t back against the Panthers until they actually lose a game this year, or if they’re playing in a Grand Final against Melbourne, so long story short, the game is going to look a bit like your classic YouTube cat video compilation
Ah, cat videos.
Melbourne Sunshine Coast Storm (2nd) vs Gold Coast Titans (10th) at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
Unsurprisingly, given their start to the season, the Storm have been hit by a massive loss of Origin players, which has been par for the course for Craig Bellamy’s team ever since the days of Robbie Kearns falling off a horse in New South Wales Origin camp in 1999.
Eddie Munster’s brother Cameron, Harry Grant, Josh Addo-Carr, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi all featuring in Townsville this Wednesday, and that doesn’t even include the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen who is still out with injury.
While the Storm have lost those stars to Origin, the Titans have pretty much lost their brain, their legs and their ear lobes to Origin duty, because AJ Brimson, David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamealeaui and Moeaki Fotuaika are all in the Queensland camp.
Anyway, it’s the Storm back in their winter stronghold of Queensland, so I’ll happily pick them again and watch them perform something so frightening to the Gold Coast that Renee Doyle will probably take a photo of it.
Newcastle Knights (11th) vs Parramatta Eels (3rd) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
The Knights go in off a random win against Manly, and the Eels have been smacked twice in a row, so they responded by dropping Blake Ferguson.
Now, do you who the Eels picked in the No.5 to replace Blake?
If only he played for the Storm, they could call him Purple Haze.
Anyway, forget about a trip up the M1, the Eels are travelling to Newcastle via….
Apparently FootyTips are also including Origin I as part of this round, so for the record, I’ll just stick with the Maroons in Townsville.