JT’s Random NRL Picks: Round 15, 2021

A moment in time we’ll never forget….. Craig Bellamy taking part in the Big Freeze on the Queen’s Birthday:

Staying on the subject of charity beanies, while it was the Big Freeze for FightMND on Monday for the other major football code, Round 15 of the riveting rugbaleeg season will mark the annual Beanie for Brain Cancer Round, where fans, players, coaches, broadcasters and inanimate objects wear beanies and raise money on behalf of the Mark Hughes Foundation for brain cancer research.

The MHF are hoping to raise $3,000,000 this weekend, and bloody oath, with the random charitable spirit in this country, they’ll smash it without even raising a finger.

Total Score after Round 14, excluding Origin = 78/108

Picks are underlined

Brisbane Broncos (15th) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (4th) at Suncorp Stadium, Thursday 7:50pm AEST

Well it’s time for what feels like the 400th edition of the Battle of Bennett, and for the history buffs, the last time Wayne Bennett coached at Lang Park in March of 2020 gave us this vintage moment:

Of course, they won’t be able to replicate that moment ever again…

Because Sam Burgess isn’t on the Rabbitohs coaching staff.

So as the Broncos try and get through a game without having a player sent off for not figuring out how to make themselves invisible and avoid a falling player charging at them, the Rabbitohs with all their Origin players back and firing are probably going to treat them more viscously than the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog:

That’s unless Kevin Walters can bring out the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch:

North Queensland Cowboys (7th) vs Cronulla Sharks (9th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST

The Sharks have beaten the crap out of the Cowboys the last half dozen times they’ve played, including 48-10 back on Easter Saturday at Jubilee, although those wins all occurred prior to John Morris getting the chop from the Sharks and former Cowboys interim coach Josh Hannay getting the gig, but based on last week where the Cowboys gave up a 50 burger to the Sea Eagles despite leading 12-0 early on, and the Sharks blew an 18-0 lead before falling over the line against Penrith, that Sharks run could very well continue.

The other big positive for the Sharks is that Shaun Johnson has pretty much assured himself of earning another contract, for the simple fact that he’s one of the few halves in the NRL who can kick a field goal.

So in a game that looks harder to pick than a broken nose, I’ll pick the Sharks, and on the subject of Sharks, here’s The Shark himself, Greg Norman, demonstrating how to hit a lob shot over a tree, which will serve absolutely no purpose on Friday, because this is rugbaleeg:

You should never underestimate a Shark when he in trouble.

Especially when he is underwater.

Penrith Panthers (2nd) vs Sydney Roosters (5th) at Panthers Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST

While the Panthers load up on Origin talent, it’s fair to say the Roosters have copped the crap end of the stick this year.

One co-captain in Jake Friend doesn’t even make it through half a game before he suffers a career-ending concussion, Luke Keary goes down barely 3 weeks into the season, Brett Morris tears his ACL and never gets a proper farewell, Victor Radley should change his initials to ‘VB’ after he got thrown off a plane for drunkenness, and now the incumbent Australian and New South Wales captain Boyd Cordner has had to face reality and call time on his playing career due to repeated concussions.

If that doesn’t make a few players scared shitless about concussion, then something is definitely wrong.

In the meantime, the Chooks should be scared shitless about the Panthers, because they’re probably going to turn them into fried chicken.

Newcastle Knights (14th) vs New Zealand Warriors (11th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Saturday 3pm AEST

It’s another big day in the Hunter with the key involvement of Knights premiership player Mark Hughes in the Beanie for Brain Cancer movement, and if they can’t get themselves up for this, then there’s something seriously rotten with the red & blue.

On the other hand, who on earth knows which Warriors team will turn up, aside from the one that used to play in Auckland, but more importantly, Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce are back for the Knights who say Ni, who may have just found the shrubbery they so desperately needed to turn their ailing season around:

If they get that shrubbery, watch out.

St George-Illawarra Dragons (8th) vs Canberra Raiders of the Lost Ark (10th) at WIN Stadium, Saturday 5:35pm AEST

What may surprise you is that the Dragons, after losing to the Downward Dogs in what might just be the worst performance of any team this season, have won a scintillating 2 out of their last 9 games, and yet they still sit in the Top 8.

Sums up quite a few teams, to be honest.

Anyway, if the Dogs can knock off the Red V, who now have players who have just stopped caring, you’d expect the Raiders will go just as well, and on the subject of Raiders, this past week was the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark being released, so I imagine the Dragons are going to get this game horribly wrong and bring a sword to a gunfight, just as they did on Monday:

To quote Harrison Ford, “Why don’t we just shoot the son of a bitch?”

Melbourne Storm (1st) vs Wests Tigers (13th) at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Friday 7:35pm AEST

Here’s yet another joke about Cameron Munster kicking like a mule….

Cameron Munster approaching a player hunched on the turf:

Parramatta Eels (3rd) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Bankwest Stadium, Sunday 2pm AEST

The Bulldogs have got their second win for the year, and good on them, but the Eels are probably going to bank the 2 points by hook or by crook, and on the subject of Eels, here’s a story which has nothing to do with this sport

It’s by Business Insider about why Japanese Eels cost $35,000 USD per kilogram…. And you thought the Christmas prawns were expensive:

Ironically, I don’t think Parramatta Eels are that expensive…. some of them are only $4,500 a kilo!

Gold Coast Titans (12th) vs Manly Sea Eagles (6th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST

If I’d been a tad more attentive last week, I somehow didn’t pick Manly because Tommy Turbo was being rested 2 days after scoring another Origin hat-trick, and I also would’ve noted that I picked the Roosters against the Titans because even though the Titans might have the firepower to score 30 points per game, they’re just as likely to concede 31 and lose….

Which is close to what happened on Saturday at Robina.

Still, they didn’t even score a single try when they played Manly in Mudgee back in Round 6, and with their once promising season hitting the brick wall, the Titans are going to be Desperado to knock off the Eagles, but I like the Silvertails with their Turbo-charged attack, which ironically didn’t even need Tom Trbojevic to put up 50 points last week, to fire on all cylinders, and punch a few holes in the Titans’ crap defence:

In case you haven’t noticed, I do like the Eagles…

And the band is damn good as well.

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