So on we roll to the Multicultural Round that is Round 3, celebrating the melting pot of diversity that is the National Rugbaleeg, as we recognise and CELEBRATE all the cultures bound together by their love of the game.
The Lebanese communities, southern Europeans, Pacific Islanders & Papua New Guineans, Indigenous Australians, Kiwis, Maoris, Australians, the occasional Frenchman, and Englishmen who were considered too good for the low standards of the Super League.
And there’s at least 400 other that I left off that list.
So anyway, 12 teams have won a game through the opening 2 rounds, and two of those four winless teams played in a Prelim Final last season, which naturally means this is going to be yet another tough week on the tips, so if we’re good enough, we’ll probably get 5/8…
As is tradition.
Random Picks Progress Score: 11/16 (68.75%)
Picks are Underlined
St George-Illawarra Dragons (6th) vs Cronulla Sharks (10th) at WIN Stadium, Thursday 8:05pm AEDT
The latest edition of the Southern suburbs derby between St Merge and the Sharks, and both teams had different runs of fortune last week, as St George had a tough run of luck with the whistle in the 1st Half against Penrith, before coming back to lose 16-20, the Sharks scored that last minute win against the Eels at Shark Park, as Teig Wilton scored the tying try off the back of Ray Stone cannonballing Nico Hynes’ legs, and Hynes made the Eels pay with the conversion after the siren.
Of course, while the Sharks have to deal with the mental baggage of being associated with a doomed Prime Minister, Saints copped another black eye this week as George Burgess was hauled in to the cop shop on a sexual touching charge.
Yet another episode of Men Behaving Badly.
From a matchup standpoint, the Sharks have had the wood on the Dragons in recent years, so much so that last year they took the lead in the head-to-head against the joint venture for the first time since the late 2000s, and it now sits at 24-1-23 in favour of the Sharks.
So long story short, it’s a lineball game to pick down in The Gong, with the Dragons hitting the line hard last Friday, the Sharks defence has been fit and firing under former Trent Robinson disciple Craig Fitzgibbon, so in a tight game, I’ll pick yet another case of a….
Wests Tigers (15th) vs New Zealand Warriors (14th) at Campbelltown, Friday 6pm AEDT
The knives are flying for Madge Maguire after Wests’ pitiful display in the Hunter, featuring grown men playing the pokies before the game, left them 15th with no hopes for the future, and on Wednesday the Warriors’ belated homecoming to New Zealand was formally set for July 3, assuming no government on either side of the Tasman decides to re-fortify the borders and shoot down incoming planes full of diseased passengers.
Hilariously, you know who the Warriors’ opponents are going to be in that game?
Talk about timing.
Anyway, I think anyone involved with the Warriors be pining for a homecoming after this game, because there’s every chance it could end 4-4 after Golden Point passes by, although it may even be a stretch thinking that either team could score 4 points.
That said, in a contest between two utterly crap teams, I’ve got to take Wests in Campbelltown, with no confidence whatsoever, so to help you forget the game, here’s a forgotten song by ABBA called Tiger:
South Sydney Rabbitohs (13th) vs Sydney Roosters (8th) at Accor Stadium, Friday 8:05pm AEDT
Another chapter to the Book of Feuds won’t be written if the Bunnies get crunched on Friday night, although Russell Crowe will retrospectively add a chapter complaining about things the Roosters did 22 years ago…
Oh wait, he probably already did that.
I do find the odds to be a bit insane (Souths $2.35 vs Easts $1.60), given it is a Foundation rivalry game, at least one Souths player is going to attempt to assassinate an Easts player (Jai Arrow or Latrell from the Grassy Knoll) and for the simple fact that Souths have had the edge on the Chooks since the end of 2020, and some of those brutally good performances from the Bunnies resembled war crimes instead of professional football matches.
So as per usual with Rabbitohs-Roosters game, the result comes second to the crap that goes in during the game, so with no real confidence I’ll back the Roosters, on account of them looking only marginally better through 2 games, and I think the game will closely resemble something like this:
Hang on, the Giant Chicken lost that fight…
Penrith Panthers (2nd) vs Newcastle Knights (1st) at Carrington Park, Bathurst, Saturday 3pm AEDT
After a hot start to 2022, the people of Bathurst suddenly find themselves playing host to the clash of the round, and the first 1st vs 2nd clash of 2022.
When you think about it, the last time the people of Bathurst got the chance to witness a clash this big was when Peter Brock was going up against Allan Moffat at Mount Panorama.
On the team front, the Panthers are unbeaten, but they keep racking up the injuries, with Nathan Cleary missing for 1 more week, James Fisher-Harris is now sidelined with a shoulder injury, Liam Martin hurt his leg, and Brian To’o suffered an MCL tear to put him on ice for 2 months.
You’d think with a name like To’o, he’d suffered some kind of injury to his foot.
Meantime, the Knights have started another season like a cat on a hot tin roof, smacking the Chooks at the SCG and getting a points boost against Wests in their first home game since last winter, which means they’re now on top of the ladder, and even better news is that Kalyn Ponga is back, plus Daniel Saifiti, which means they unlock some kind of twin psychic power that Jacob and Daniel have with each other.
Anyway, I’ve got to stick with the defending premiers to win a defensive chess match that will be analysed to within a inch of its life, and to serenade this week’s Random Pick, it’s Harry Chapin with Cats in the Cradle:
Melbourne Storm (4th) vs Parramatta Eels (7th) at AAMI Park, Saturday 5:30pm AEDT
Across the Murray River we go to AAMI Park, where the Melbourne Storm play their long time whipping boys Parramatta, who ironically enough were the one team the Storm didn’t manage to defeat in 2021, and in the process the Eels denied the Storm their one and only shot at becoming the first team in history to win 20 consecutive games.
Not that anyone really gives a crap about that fact anymore, because the Storm lost in the Prelim Final to the Panthers and didn’t even get to lose the Grand Final, and if you don’t win a premiership, you’re just one of 15 losers…
A fact Eels fans have known for 36 consecutive years.
Anyway, injuries, disease, it doesn’t matter to me – If the Storm are at home I’ve got to take them at home, even if the Eels have a near full-strength team, because you never know what’s going on in the brain of this genius of a grandfather:
So the Storm to win, and we might be experiencing some Lightning Crashes, courtesy of Live:
Canberra Raiders (12th) vs Gold Coast Titans (9th) at GIO Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEDT
I picked the Raiders last week and they dished up a complete bucket of crap in Townsville, capped off by Josh Hodgson’s season-ending injury, which means he’s played his last game in green before he goes to Parramatta in 2023.
Now I’m going to pick against them, and they’ll suddenly pull their fingers out and play well.
Such is the maddening inconsistency of the Raiders.
On that note, I’ll take the blokes from the Gold Coast, who have probably played slightly better through the opening fortnight of 2022, and here’s Sting to serenade them with Fields of Gold:
Brisbane Broncos (3rd) vs North Queensland Cowboys (5th) at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 3:05pm AEST
The first of the Queensland Derbys for 2022, and unlike the distance between Townsville and Brisbane, these games are traditionally close.
The Broncos’ success in Rounds 1 and 2, combined with the Cowboys rocketing into 5th on points differential, means this is the biggest edition of the game since 2017, and the Broncos are using Sunday to kick off the 30th anniversary celebrations for the 1992 Premiership, when the Red Hill team took the Winfield Cup past Tweed Heads for the first time, as Steve Renouf drove St George into the ground like a tent peg, and Alfie Langer immortalised the phrase….
ST GEORGE CAN’T PLAY.
But that’s ancient history compared to now, as evidenced by the fact that St George mysteriously disappeared from First Grade after 1998.
The Broncos have started the season with 2 hard fought wins, capped off by some solid fundamental defence, keeping the Rabbitohs to 4 points and the Bulldogs to 10, and Adam Reynolds is now cemented into the Broncos line-up.
Meantime, the Cowboys will venture outside of North Queensland for the first time this year, and after a PPP (Piss Poor Performance) in the wet against the Bulldogs, they hit back hard against the Raiders, who proved once again that people from England don’t belong in tropical weather.
So in what will be another great edition of the Queensland Derby, I think the Lang Park factor, plus the leadership of Capewell and Reynolds, might just be enough to save the Broncos, and on that note, here’s Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson with a lesson we should all take up:
Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.
Manly Sea Eagles (16th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (11th) at 4 Pines Park/Brookvale Oval, Sunday 6:15pm AEDT
Ugh, yet another game between a Top 8 candidate and a Bottom 4 candidate…
I know it’s going to be tough for Canterbury, but they should be knocking off bad teams like Manly if they’re going to be making the next great step towards mediocrity.
Nah, in all seriousness, the Sea Eagles are back at Brookvale, they’ve got rid of the asbestos riddled hill to the eastern end and replaced it with something resembling a 21st Century suburban grandstand, and if Des Hasler’s team are fair dinkum once again, then they’ll be winning their first game of 2022, or else it’s gonna be….
A HEARTACHE TONIGHT FOR THE BERRIES: