JT’s Random NRL Picks: Round 20, 2021


Apologies for being late everyone, like most of you, I was too busy absolutely crapping myself watching Jess Fox in the C1 final.

Fair to say that Josh Addo-Carr is now the second-best Fox in Australian sport.

So last week I got 7/8, which occurred in spite of me saying publicly that I would tip the Bulldogs last Sunday against Cronulla, which I apparently didn’t follow through with, because when I went to go and check my tips after Round 19 ended that night, the FootyTips account had me down as having picked Cronulla.

It wasn’t even the most questionable decision from the world of rugbaleeg this week, given James Roberts, who has already had a lifetime of mental heath issues, was given a breach notice and suspended for committing the heinous crime of breaking the virus-proof seal of Gaffa tape and going on to the balcony of his hotel room to get some fresh air and hang a towel after a gym session, which the Queensland Government wanted him sent home for as they draw closer and closer to the edge of sending the entire league to a deserted island to continue the season.

On that note, that entire hotel situation is just one piss-up after the next, because there’s also the ‘apparent’ problem of the media flying drones outside of hotel rooms trying to catch out the players and their families.

Amazing – The people who cover the game are trying to get the season blown up.

It’s akin to the classic removing of the nose to spite the face.

Anyway, write this weekend down in your diaries, because while our swimmers take the limelight with their scintillating efforts in Tokyo, all of the Top 8 teams will play each other, while the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers finally meet in the second of the 2020 Grand Final rematches, with the Storm having forgotten the sting of defeat since they lost to the Panthers in Round 3 back in March, a mere 15 games ago, while Dally M Medalist Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will play what will be his final game for the Warriors, and what will probably be his last ever game in the NRL, as he prepares to fly home and begin life in Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues in pursuit of an All Blacks career.

Surely if RTS wanted to go to a sport where New Zealand can readily defeat Australia, he should’ve just stuck to league.

Total Score = 106/144

Picks are Underlined

Sydney Roosters (5th) vs Parramatta Eels (4th) at BB Print Stadium Mackay, Thursday 7:50pm AEST

The good folk of Mackay, the hometown of Cathy Freeman, have finally been recognised and will host an NRL game after 8 years of waiting, and all it took was the entire league packing up and leaving Sydney in a style reminiscent to the opening of Convoy to make it happen.

Ten-Four Pig Pen, for sure for sure.

Anyway, the Eels and Roosters are making the trek up to Central Queensland, and the Roosters have picked up a few more injuries to reduce the current playing squad down to a mere 10 players, which will inevitably become 9 after Victor Radley has a rush of blood to the head and gets sin binned + suspended.

On that note, the Eels are just about to hit the time period in the season where they traditionally begin to crash and burn, but with the players both teams still have left, surely they’d have enough to repeat the Foghorn Leghorn joke they pulled on the Chooks earlier this season:

Wests Tigers (12th) vs New Zealand Warriors (14th) at Suncorp Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST

So it’s the rugby league swansong for RTS before he begins his arduous journey back to home, where he will inevitably play in 10 consecutive winning Bledisloe Cup teams with the All Blacks, and just looking at the team sheets, it’s going to take a damn good effort by the Warriors to get over the line with all their injuries, and after all the adversity they’ve had to go through, the wheels are starting to fall off .

So the Tigers will probably do enough in a game between two massively underwhelming teams, and I can imagine they’ll be thinking of Rocky III as Survivor belt out Eye of the Tiger in the background:

Brisbane Broncos (15th) vs North Queensland Cowboys (13th) at Suncorp Stadium, 8:05pm AEST

The Queensland Derby was once right up there for the best sporting rivalry in Australia, but ever since 2018 it’s more closely resembled a Cripple Fight, and this is probably how they’ll get people in Brisbane to watch the game:

That said, the Cowboys were pretty good in matching the Storm last Friday night, but they’re about as trustworthy as Charles Manson with a pair of scissors outside of Townsville, so for no reason at all, and with no confidence at all, the Broncos have got a perfect chance to bag a victory.

St George-Illawarra Dragons (8th) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) at Browne Park Rockhampton, Saturday 3pm AEST

The Dragons are $9 to win the game.

Enough said.

Newcastle Knights (11th) vs Canberra Raiders (9th) at Suncorp Stadium, Saturday 3:30pm AEST

The greatest match between a bunch of Norsemen and armored Knights since the Vikings took on the Anglo Saxons in Season 2 of Vikings:

Melbourne Storm (1st) vs Penrith Panthers (2nd) at Suncorp Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST

Well we’ve had this marked down since no later than March as the apparent clash of the season between the two tearaway leaders of the competition in the second of the 2020 Grand Final rematches, but it just doesn’t look as promising as it did with Nathan Cleary not featuring for Penrith, although that said, Cleary didn’t play when the Panthers won that thriller against the Storm in Round 3, with his absence being offset by the absence of Ryan Papenhuyzen, who is finally back and playing, with the Storm also getting even stronger with the likes of Cam Munster, Dale Finucane and Felise Kaufusi back in the team, a slightly frightening prospect for everyone not wearing purple, because the 2021 Storm were already well on track to become the greatest attacking team in history while they were on the sidelines.

Anyway, mark this down as being probably the only time this year that a team will be a dominant favourite against Penrith, and for very good reason, because the Storm have won 15 straight since Viliame Kikau held up Justin Olam in goal on the siren back in Round 3, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Storm set a new club record and claimed their 16th straight victory, in scenes resembling the Hill Valley storm that occurred on November 12, 1955.

Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) vs Gold Coast Titans (10th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 2pm AEST

As inconsistent and disappointing as they’ve been this season, the Titans should have enough tools in the shed, and in their starting 13 and on their bench, to get the points against the improving Bulldogs, and with a topical choice given how well so many of our fine Australians are performing in Tokyo, here’s Spandau Ballet to inspire the boys from the Goldie….

With GOLD!

Cronulla Sharks (7th) vs Manly Sea Eagles (6th) at Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, Sunday 4pm AEST

Ah, the NRL debut of Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe, the ground so decisively average it didn’t even get on the shortlist for Brisbane 2032 venues, and it’ll host the traditional Battle of the Beaches between Cronulla and Manly, which has traditionally been very lopsided the way of the folks from the Northern Beaches, particularly in those Grand Finals in the 1970s.

The Sharks do find themselves in the Top 8, but they’ve got a very big problem in this Manly team, who have form rivalling that of the Melbourne Storm, as they run up scores on everyone who doesn’t happen to be a fraction decent, as the Tigers found out last week when the Silvertails put 44 points on them.

With the way the Sharks miss tackles this year, I’m just left thinking to myself that Tom Trbojevic could be in for another promising day out, as he SOARS like another great Eagle did at the Calgary Winter Olympic Games so many years ago….

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards!

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