So it’s Round 5 and I’m no closer to finding an 8/8, and this week we’ve got the NRLW Grand Final between the Roosters and Dragons, and it’ll be the last game these teams get to enjoy before the expansion teams come knocking with offers their players can’t refuse.
Fancy that, the Roosters getting raided by other clubs.
Newcastle Knights (8th) vs Manly Sea Eagles (10th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Thursday 7:50pm AEST
You may not realise that this year is the memorable 25th anniversary of the 1997 ARL Grand Final between Newcastle and Manly, and for whatever reason I can’t dig up Gary Harley screaming his lungs out when Darren Albert scored the winning try, but the good thing is we do have Matty Johns telling Natalie Barr that a premiership win is better than Lego:
Having never experienced a premiership win versus twenty years of Lego, I still call bullcrap on that.
25 years later, both teams had very different outcomes in Round 4, as Newcastle got shut out in a gale at Cronulla, the first time they’ve been shut out under coach Adam O’Brien, while Manly finally got DCE and Tom Trbojevic clicking under the new rules…..
Aaaaand Tommy Turbo hurt his knee and will miss 4 weeks.
So with the news that Manly will be driving without Turbo power for the next month, that’s more than enough for me to pick the Knights, who always seem to lift for games against Manly, although this time they won’t be dressed in White Satin:
New Zealand Warriors (7th) vs North Queensland Cowboys (5th) at Moreton Daily Stadium, Friday 6pm AEST
Cowboys coach Todd Payten wasn’t happy about the fact the Boys aren’t a big enough club to get 50/50 refereeing decisions their way, a comment that stemmed from having 3 players sin-binned against the Roosters on Saturday night, with 2 of them being somewhat harsh calls on the Cowboys that pretty much ensured they were no chance of coming back.
Well, the good news for Todd is that his old club the Warriors aren’t a big enough club to get 50/50 calls, as evidenced by every decision the NRL has made against them for the last 2 years, so the Cowboys might actually get a couple of calls go their way on Friday night.
That said, both of these are proving themselves to be horrifically inconsistent beasts, so I’ll go with the Warriors in the New Zealand city of Redcliffe.
Brisbane Broncos (11th) vs Sydney Roosters (6th) at Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST
Based on the Haas-Kelly Fight Club leak, I have no idea if the Broncos have now well and truly fallen off the cliff 2020 style, or if they’re about to pull the rug out on everyone and win this game, which is actually what they did last year when they played the Roosters at the SCG, and look at where both teams finished last year.
Actually, you could condense that sentence to “I have no idea” and it’d be the perfect description of me attempting the Random NRL Picks.
So based on their respective performances last week, I’ll take the Roosters at Lang Park, and to provide the Random Pick this week, here’s a KFC ad from 1993 featuring The Simpsons, right around the time the Colonel was test marketing popcorn chicken:
Canberra Raiders (12th) vs Melbourne Storm (2nd) at McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga, Saturday 3pm AEST
It’s great to see the return of rugbaleeg to Wagga Wagga, the town so nice they named it twice, but remember, don’t call Wagga Wagga ‘Wagga’, because calling Wagga Wagga ‘Wagga’ is WRONG:
Anyway, the NRL have given the people of Wagga Wagga a treat, because they’ll get to watch a team who play the game of rugbaleeg to a very high standard under threat of execution from their coach…
They’ll also get to watch the Raiders.
South Sydney Rabbitohs (13th) vs St George-Illawarra Dragons (15th) at Accor Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm AEST
Obviously the Rabbits are 1-3, while the Dragons are in the exact same state after getting electrocuted by the Eels, but looking at the next 5 games, Souths are due to play the following teams; obviously St George (15th) this week, Canterbury (14th) on Good Friday, then it’s Wests Tigers (16th), Manly (10th), and Brisbane (11th).
If the Bunnies are still a fair dinkum footy team, which they think and some of us think they are, they’ll win the lot and go to 6-3 to get their season rolling.
So yes, completely ignoring the result of the Community Shield that the Dragons won very well last month, I’ll take the Rabbits to get the 2 points, and for no reason, here’s Eddie Rabbitt with a song describing Sydney’s weather….
I Love A Rainy Night!
Gold Coast Titans (9th) vs Parramatta Eels (3rd) at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
Hang on a minute, didn’t the Titans and Eels play each other like, 5 minutes ago?
Yes they did – Round bloody 1.
Of course, that game, which ended 32-28 in favour of the Eels, was marred by somewhat lopsided whistle blowing in favour of Parramatta, which led to Titans coach Justin Holbrook starting the original discussion about the alleged unconscious bias from referees towards top teams and top players.
I imagine there were people at the Parramatta Leagues Club getting a hard-on at another coach thinking they were a top team, given they haven’t won a premiership for 36 years, although in fairness they have finished in the Top 6 for the last three seasons.
Anyway, this game will probably be no different to the Round 1 clash, with both attacks slicing and dicing the other’s defence, a statement that is supported by the Eels running in 8 tries against the hapless Dragons last week, and is refuted by the fact the Titans took until the 80th minute to score a try against the worst team in the league, which luckily won them the game, because Wests suck more than a brand new Dyson.
So on that note, I’ll stick with the Eels to complete the season double on the Titans after just 5 rounds, and as Oasis once said, She’s Eel-ectric, can I be Eel-ectric too?
Cronulla Sharks (4th) vs Wests Tigers (16th) at Shark Park, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
The perfect song choice for a game such as this…
Fancy that, Tim Finn was Peter Garrett before Peter Garrett was Peter Garrett.
Canterbury Bulldogs (14th) vs Penrith Panthers (1st) at CommBank Stadium, Sunday 6:15pm AEST
Scientists claim that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, a fact discovered by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, and we saw it recently with the unfortunate news that Taylan May, younger brother of Tyrone May, was charged with Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm for an incident that ALLEGEDLY occurred on Grand Final night last year.
Then, the SMH then wrote an article stating May was sticking up for his teammates from a patron who had been heckling the players and filming them without their consent, which is what led to the incident.
Talk about irony – A member of the May family being filmed without their consent and taking exception to it.
Anyway, outside of another visit to a local magistrate, the Panthers have got a game to focus on, and luckily for them it’s against noted heavyweights Canterbury, fresh off a 44-0 shutout in Melbourne, and things have become so dire at Belmore they’ve recalled Kyle Flanagan for the first time since last August, without providing any explanation whatsoever.
The Dogs have copped plenty of crap for bringing back Flanagan, but if you look at the results in NSW Cup, the Berries are currently 4-0, and if you ask me, anyone who can drag the corpse of the Berries to an unbeaten Reserve Grade season is going to find the NRL a piece of piss, especially against a Penrith team who have lost 5 games in the best part of 2 years.
Anyway, there are just two words that can sum up this game for the Panthers.
And, I’ve got another two words for Penrith’s Random Pick.
The Pink Panther.
Crap, that’s 3 words….