JT’s Random NRL Picks: Round 22, 2021

Well it’s down to the final month before the finals series begins, which means this weekend is the time for the cultural celebration of Women in League Round, where we honour the better half of humanity that has been the direct source of every single rugbaleeg player in history, a fact that can be confirmed by biologists, while simultaneously ignoring all the atrocities that the Neanderthals of the game have committed against them, like every Bulldogs pre-season camp, or only making the NRLW season run for 4 weeks and starting with 4 teams.

Speaking of which, did you know the NRLW expanded from 4 to 6 teams this season and was supposed to get it’s own standalone competition starting in October?

Well, with the way Gladys and her merry band are tracking, they’ll comfortably get that underway….

In October of 2022.

Total Score = 118/160

Picks are Underlined

Melbourne Storm (1st) vs Canberra Raiders (9th) at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Thursday 7:50pm AEST

So as this Melbourne Storm juggernaut rolls on, not only have they now surpassed the 1935 Roosters to already have the best points differential of any team in history, they’re now on to 17 consecutive wins with the win against Manly, putting them just one win away from becoming only the second team in history to win 18 games in a row, which would move them to within one win of the record held by the 1975 Roosters.

Moving on from ‘Record Win Streak Watch’ to ‘Record Points Watch’ with 4 games to go until the finals, the Storm have to score 123 points over the next month to overtake the 2001 Eels to become the greatest attacking team in the history of Rugbaleeg, although it should be noted the Storm’s drop down to 35.85 points per game means they’ve now only got the second-best average home & away score in history, having fallen back behind the 1935 Easts premiership team that averaged 37.44 points per game in the glory days of 3 point tries.

If you’d like to know how outrageous that record is, if you apply the current 4-point try scoring system to the ’35 Easts team, which scored 131 tries and 103 goals over a 16 game season, it works out to 730 points at an average of 45.62 per game.

It quite literally took creating the most attack-friendly rules in the history of the game for any team to even come close to that record.

So on that note, the Raiders, who just also happen to also be appearing in this game, have sprung up from their graves in the last few weeks, but I have a feeling that if the Storm rock up with the same attitude they’ve displayed over the last 4 months, then this’ll only be the second-worst thing to happen to people living in Canberra on Thursday.

St George-Illawarra Dragons (10th) vs Penrith Panthers (2nd) at Suncorp Stadium, 6pm AEST

This is the first time Anthony Griffin has coached against Penrith since Gus Gould dropped the trap door on him just over 3 years ago, right when the Panthers were in contention for a Top 4 finish in 2018, because he’d apparently lost the players due to having a game style with as much life as a dry biscuit.

So as for the guy the Panthers got to replace Hook, with the way Matt Burton is plugging away, Ivan Cleary suddenly finds himself in a situation where he doesn’t exactly have to force Nathan Cleary back into action, even though the Panthers are only holding 2nd on Points Difference ahead of Souths.

Of course, the other sad facet to the current Panthers squad is that it turned out Tevita Pangai Jnr’s ‘Deeply sensitive and personal matter’ that forced him to miss his Panthers debut last week was that himself and his wife had lost their daughter at 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

It’s troubling and tragic just to even think about it.

So trying to move on, with Ben Hunt on the sidelines for the Dragons, I think Hook will have to wait a while yet to get revenge on his old employers, who will probably celebrate by blaring out Dragon in the changerooms.


I have no idea.

Brisbane Broncos (15th) vs Sydney Roosters (5th) at Suncorp Stadium, Friday 8:05pm AEST

It’s nice to see that Peter V’Landys has announced a new race for the Spring Carnival without even having to create it himself….

The Joey Manu Stakes.

We’ve already got a couple of horses from either side of the Tasman already lined up – New Zealand Rugby want to get him to play the 15-man variant alongside Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Uncle Nick Politis and the Roosters are about to whip out the fabled Sombrero to keep him, and the Broncos and the Titans are also in pursuit of the Kiwi from Dave Dobbinville, who apparently wants to switch from the Centres to Fullback, Latrell Mitchell style.

Should be a great field, but you’d think whoever gets the services of James McDonald will probably cross the line first.

So looking at the game, the Broncos are attempting to do the double on the Chooks after that win in Round 11, and Kev Walters will go for their 400th different halves combination this year, while Angus Crichton is gone for a month, the Roosters have re-signed Dale Copley after his time at the Titans came to an end, while James Bracey and Freddy Fittler noted on Channel 9 that the Roosters have put a Butcher and a Baker on the Interchange.

Unfortunately, they just couldn’t find a Candlestick Maker.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) vs Gold Coast Titans (7th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 3pm AEST

The Titans are back in the lead of the “Falling Arse First Into The Finals” race after stringing a hat-trick of wins together for what must be the first time this season, and they’ve done it mostly on the theory that the best defence is a swift and decisive offence, having scored 32, 34 and 36 points in those wins.

The other news for the Titans is that their all-time leading tryscorer Anthony Don has announced his retirement, 8 years after he debuted in the NRL as a 25-year-old, and managed to chalk out 152 games and counting despite seemingly being one the slowest outside backs in the entire game.

The Don is also the only Titans player that’s played 150 NRL games for the club without playing for another club, and that’s a testament to him.

So the Glitter Strip crew have every incentive to make the 8, but they’re really up against it this week, because this Souths team is firing on all cylinders in pursuit of a 10th consecutive win, which would be the first time they’ve had a double digit winning streak in 32 years, and would match the club record for most wins in a season, so they are my pick this weekend, and to nail that fact…


North Queensland Cowboys (14th) vs Wests Tigers (13th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm AEST

Thanks to the broadcast of Episode 2 of Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger Town, we can officially say that Michael Maguire now holds an unofficial Guinness World Record.


Apparently someone at The Daily Telegraph took the time to count, and Madge seemingly managed 113 F-Bombs in 57 minutes, absolutely thumping Jimmy McNutly from The Wire, who had the record of 102 for well over 13 years.

So, we can say that is by a country mile the Tigers’ greatest achievement since the 2005 Premiership, and what a coincidence, they’re playing the Cowboys on Saturday, and of course, what was one of the games that was featured in Episode 2?



Manly Sea Eagles (6th) vs Parramatta Eels (4th) at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST

I wouldn’t trust Parramatta to hold a pair of scissors in a corridor covered with ice right now, so guess what we’re doing everyone?


New Zealand Warriors (12th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe, Sunday 1:50pm AEST

Even as they lose a player every week for varying reasons, the Warriors have just found ways to win time and again this season, most notably over the last 2 games as they had 10 point deficits both times, but somehow won, and now they get a chance to bring up a winning hat-trick against a Bulldogs team who are two weeks away from bringing up a well-earned Wooden Spoon.

I imagine once the season finishes and the Kiwis finally get to go home, after which the NRL will try and smuggle the Grand Final into Auckland, Andrew Abdo might finally acknowledge what the Warriors have done to keep the code going, and I think it’ll go something like this:

Cronulla Sharks (8th) vs Newcastle Knights (11th) at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe, Sunday 4pm AEST

I reckon Cronulla’s tackles should be referred to from now on as Teflon.



Yep, the Sharks are quite comfortably the worst team in the league when it comes to missed tackles (755), while the Knights are breathing life in back into their cigarette addled lungs, because last week was really the first time all season that they had a full-strength team with Mitchell Pearce back in the Halves, Kalyn Ponga at fullback and Bradman Best averaging 99.94 in the No.4 jumper.

The end result?

They had the game sewn up with 20 minutes to go, even as the Broncos gave them a late scare.

So for no reason at all, I’m thinking the Knights will get it done, and they’ll look as good as another Knight – Michael Knight from Knight Rider:

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