JT’s Random NRL Picks: Round 18, 2021

In light of the Channel 7 headline after the European Championship final…

There must’ve been someone in that news room at half mast when Latrell Mitchell fell a metre short of landing his penalty from halfway at the end of the Origin game on Wednesday night.

I also liked how Tommy Turbo gave credit to Ampol when he was giving his Player of the Series speech and said the Blues couldn’t have done it without them.

As everyone knows, Tommy Turbo only runs on Premium 98.

So as the Maroons take the momentum into a fourth Origin game that will only exist in fiction, the National Rugbaleeg season has been cancelled on short notice and moved to Queensland, where it will become the National Queensland Rugaleeg season, taking the place of the current Queensland Rugby League season, who have been turned into second class citizens for what must feel like the 800th time in the last 34 years.

The other issue is that the Queenland Government declared the Sydney-based players can’t have their families with them (Pending more information from the league), so this next month could turn into one of the biggest boys trips humanity has ever seen, and quite frankly, what Jai Arrow did to get kicked out of Maroons Origin camp could look like child’s play by the middle of August.

Total Score = 93/128

Picks will be underlined

Gold Coast Titans (10th) vs Surfers ‘Parradise’ Eels (4th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST

I like how even when 99% of the league gets relocated to South East Queensland and have to share their home ground, the Titans still can’t get a game in a decent timeslot, despite playing at home, against a Top 4 team.

So with Parramatta getting relocated for the next month, they’ve formally taken over the Goldie and renamed it Surfers Parradise, which it definitely wasn’t last night, based on the way Mitch Moses attacked the Queensland line.

However, they may have more success renaming Main Beach Parade to….


Manly Sea Eagles (6th) vs St George Illawarra Dragons (7th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Friday 8:05pm AEST

So the entire Manly team is likely to have a rest after Origin II, although Daly Cherry-Evans will play and be booed by the imaginary Titans fans still angry that he reneged on that deal in 2016, and the Dragons have been given a month by the league office to collectively suspend half the squad for one game for enjoying a succulent barbeque meal at Paul Vaughan’s farewell party.

Imagine that – A sporting league that lets clubs schedule their suspensions for ill discipline.

It’s like jockeys deferring suspensions so they don’t miss big rides.

That said, the Silvertails without the Wally Lewis Medalist in Tom Trbojevic are too big of a favourite for my liking, but I’m an idiot, so I’ll pick them anyway, and as many of you know, I do enjoy playing the Eagles whenever I pick Manly, so instead, here’s The Dutch Eagles performing Lyin’ Eyes, and I think the Dutch Don Henley does a very good job:

Lyin’ Eyes, a very appropriate song for Jack de Belin, walking his dog at midnight like your average Joe.

North Queensland Cowboys (12th) vs Sydney Roosters (5th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 3pm AEST

So it’s now been a full year since the Roosters last played the Cowboys in Townsville, and in that time, Easts have had 2 captains retire, a winger retire, sent their first choice halfback to the Bulldogs, signed Sonny Bill Williams for a few games, and had Victor Radley come back from injury and get suspended at least 3 times.

What a journey.

That night was also wild in that Kyle Feldt hit the post from dead in front as the Cowboys had all the momentum leading 6-0, which sparked another insane chain of events that ended with Matt Ikuvalu scoring 5 tries for the Roosters.

Moving back to the present, and a bad blow for the Cowboys came on Wednesday night when Valentine Holmes dinged his shoulder in the 1st Half for Queensland, putting him on the sidelines for a month, while the Roosters injury crisis is now so extreme that Joseph Suaalii, who got an age exemption just to debut this year, has had his rookie year ended early as he heads in for surgery like a mature aged player, setting him well on the path to being another injury prone unfulfilled talent.

They also have to play to Townsville on the day of the game for a 3pm kickoff, which might serve as a rock up their exhaust pipe.

Still, the Roosters do get Tedesco and Crichton back, which should mean that Sam Walker doesn’t have to run 90 metres backwards to kill off the final 20 seconds of the game while he looks like Mr Bean sticking the turkey on his head.

I think that bird used to be Jack Bird.

Canberra Raiders (11th) vs Cronulla Sharks (8th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm AEST

Another Cronulla game that could be harder to pick than a broken nose, although they did turn up for the full 80 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday and maintained their place in the Top 8, and while the Raiders did knock off an Origin-affected Manly team at Brookvale last Thursday, I have no idea if that game was a sign that Ricky Stuart’s team have remembered how to play footy, or if the Raiders just got lucky with selections, and really are the crap team who had 3 tries scored on by the Titans while David Fifita was sin binned just two weeks ago in Canberra.

With both teams turned into grey nomads, I will pick the Sharks to perform the first recorded shark attack on the Gold Coast since September of last year, and Saturday will mark the 23rd anniversary of National Geographic’s SHARK WEEK:

That said, the Raiders have somehow won the last 5 games against the Sharks, even though 3 of those games were decided by under a try.

Melbourne Storm (1st) vs Newcastle Knights (9th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST

With this most recent outbreak in Melbourne forcing the reigning premiers north of the Murray to join everyone else in Banana Bender Land, it means the Storm still haven’t played a home game at AAMI Park since April 30 against the Sharks.

If you’re keeping track, that’s now two Melbourne lockdowns ago, and in the future, lockdowns will be used as a unit of time by our surviving descendants once the virus has evolved into something resembling natural selection and turned 75% of the planet into lungless mutants.

I can already picture the conversation in my head:

“How long have you been working here Mr JT?”

“Well I started here 6 lockdowns ago, just before that removalist had sexual relations with one of his clients while he was positive, forcing Mark McGowan to react.”

So on that note, the Storm to strike on the Coast:

New Zealand Warriors (13th) vs Penrith Panthers (2nd) at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 1:50pm AEST

Not much to look forward to in this edition of the Ivan Cleary Cup, as this year marks 10 years since Ivan took the Warriors from to the 2011 Grand Final from 6th and a Week 1 slapping, an achievement that became impossible barely a few weeks after it occurred when the NRL changed the finals system.

Even with The Riff having a few players on ice for another week, this is another pick I’d call a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ selection, Because it’s a No Brainer, and on the subject of Panthers and Cats, here’s a guy who used to be a Cat of the Stevens breed, Yusuf!

Brisbane Broncos (15th) vs Wests Tigers (14th) at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST

The Broncos will undoubtedly be pissed off at what’s happened in the last week, because they’ve gone from being the 3rd-best club in Queensland to the 15th-worst.

That said, I’m going to do something I haven’t done since March, and that’s pick the Broncos to win a game of football, because the Tigers are about as trustworthy as Charles Manson with a pair of scissors, so that means I now to figure out something horse related, and having not picked the Broncos for 4 months, I’ve got so many horse-related gags you’d think I had a stable on my computer.

So to cheer on the Broncos, here’s America, with their greatest hit out of all their many great hits, which I know because I have their greatest hits album…


That Tigers documentary will be a great watch if they do get rolled, because Madge will be growing eyes out the back of his head.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 6:15pm AEST

A near full-strength Souths against the worst team in the league?

Stuff it, here’s the Killer Rabbit again!

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