So it’s the ANZAC Day long weekend, and I just wanted to start this week with the still image of Michael Maguire smiling, because after the arse-tearing the poor bastard has copped for the last 400 years, that Tigers win was the stuff of legend.
The look of a man who knows his players just bought him another month.
Progressive Score = 34/48 (70.8%)
Picks are Underlined
Cronulla Sharks (3rd) vs Manly Sea Eagles (6th) at Shark Park, Thursday 7:50pm AEST
The Battle of the Beaches lights up Thursday night, and historically Manly vs Cronulla is one of the most lopsided head to heads in the league, with Manly having won 67 (Plus 2 draws) of the 94 contests between the teams since 1967, a 72% win percentage, which is basically what the Melbourne Storm have done to 2/3rds of the league since 1998, albeit over a 30+ year shorter period of time.
In fact, would you like to know what Manly’s longest losing streak against Cronulla is over the 55 years, if you don’t count the Northern Eagles?
Still, Cronulla’s greatest First Grade victory came against Manly at Shark Park, when they won 68-6 in Round 24 of 2005, which is simultaneously Manly’s greatest defeat, although it isn’t the highest score they’ve ever conceded, which was a 72-12 defeat against Penrith in 2004.
Anyway, historical records won’t mean Jacques Merde when the teams hit the field, because the Sharks have looked pretty good at home this season, although they do come back off a 5-day break against the Storm, while Manly also come off a 5-day break without the travel factor, so having tossed a coin that landed smack bang on it’s side, I think this game will be another rough affair, but the result will be….
A SHARK ATTACK.
Speaking of Shark attacks, how about Greg Norman’s 30 For 30…
Brisbane Broncos (14th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST
Once again, a game between two teams who played not even 5 weeks ago, but on the bright side, it’s good to see the NRL getting the crap fixtures out of the way early in the season, so we don’t have to worry about them come June.
Anyway, after getting a caning from Penrith on Good Friday, the Broncos have made another change at fullback, with Tesi Niu out, and Te Maire Martin, who was medically retired from the game in 2019 at the age of 26 due to a brain bleed on a flight from Sydney to Townsville, makes a remarkable return to the NRL.
That is a triumph of the human spirit if I ever saw one.
On the other hand, the Bulldogs have been wiped out by Disease, Famine, Pestilence, War and Disease, with 12 players out of a 30 player squad either positive or isolation, and 8 other players are struggling with injuries, which has forced the Berries to dig everywhere to find players, from the top-up list, to NSW Cup, to phoning other clubs for loan players.
It’s appropriate that it’s ANZAC Day on Monday, because that’s a casualty toll to rival the First Day on the Somme.
Anyway, I’ll take the Broncos in the annual Cripple Fight.
North Queensland Cowboys (7th) vs Gold Coast Titans (10th) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm AEST
Cowboys In An Upset.
Hang on, that’s four words.
And that’s five.
Anyway, here’s Glen Campbell.
Wests Tigers (16th) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (8th) at Accor Stadium Australia, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
After I said in the Round 6 Picks that getting within 20 points of the Eels on Monday afternoon was as good as a win (Chances are I didn’t), the Tigers decided winning on the scoreboard was as good as a win, and I suppose it was destiny that Wests would defeat their geographical rivals with the last play of the game to get their first win since last August.
It wasn’t meant to be in some pissy little tryless game on the Gold Coast that the Tigers would get the 2 points for the first time in 2022, it was on the last play of the game in front of the Parramatta faithful, just to rub it in their cocky faces, and to give Tigers faithful a bit of joy and laughter in a tunnel that’s been longer and darker than the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
They say Jesus rose on the third day, well, the Tigers rose on the fourth day, and it was all thanks to letting Jackson Hastings run the ship while Luke Brooks served as first mate.
I’m not exactly sure how they’ll go against a Souths team starting to find their feet, they might even return to that familiar feeling of defeat, but on the bright side, it won’t be because the entire team thought Luke Brooks had run 100 metres downfield to score the winning try in Golden Point, only for the Bunker to reveal that Tom Burgess had successfully planted the ball down.
Newcastle Knights (11th) vs Parramatta Eels (4th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 2pm AEST
Two teams with less credibility than 3/4 of Federal Parliament talking about anything, as the Knights come off a shafting from Ben Cummins and the Dragons in Wollongong, in which Zac Lomax managed to make a knob of himself by jumping on Tyson Frizell during a try celebration, and the Eels had their title credentials utterly annihilated by the perceived worst team in the game.
Although, on the bright side, they’re now extremely popular among the bookmakers and bagmen of Australia, who were all able to buy fifth and sixth holiday houses with the sheer amount of cash that would’ve gone on the Eels at $1.07 while the Tigers were at 9-1.
So in short, the Eels are frauds, the Knights can’t win a game full stop, so with Junior Paulo back in the team, I fancy Parramatta to rack up what might be their fifth consecutive win against the Novocastrians, and for the random selection, here’s one I’ve been sitting on for so long my backside has developed second degree burns… MGMT with Electric Feel!
Penrith Panthers (1st) vs Canberra Raiders (12th) at Panthers Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
Isn’t life booming in Canberra…
The politicians have pissed off for 6 weeks, the Raiders have turned back into the Faders and are blowing 12 point leads in the 2nd Half, Sticky’s going insane in his press conferences, and they have to travel out to Penrith to play a rampant unbeaten Panthers who have been coated with Teflon from the judiciary.
So to cut a long story short
I lost my mind, the Raiders are crap, the Panthers are impervious to everyone and everything, so like everyone with a brain, I’ll go with the Mountain Men to hip drop the Raiders all the way back to the frozen capital.
And to bring the Random Pick, obviously a Panther is a big cat, so here’s a former Cat called Yusuf with a song for the recently re-signed Nathan and Ivan Cleary… Father & Son!
St George-Illawarra Dragons (13th) vs Sydney Roosters (5th) at the SCG, Monday 4:05pm AEST
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual ANZAC Day game between the Roosters and the Dragons, arguably the biggest game of the NRL’s home & away rounds, and it’s a game the Roosters have had a stranglehold on since Trent Robinson took the job all those years ago, with 6 wins to 3 if you include the rescheduled 2020 game that was played on the Lone Pine anniversary, although the Dragons lead by a reasonably comfortable 11-9.
Anyway, the Dragons come in having racked up their third win in the last 15 games, and the first time they’ve defeated a team other than the Warriors since Greater Sydney went into a mega lockdown last July.
Yep, that’s how god awful their form has been.
The Roosters aren’t playing that well, at least compared to what they can do, but the key is they’re still winning games, and the reshaped spine is getting more and more game time, especially with James Tedesco staying away from reruns of Squid Game.
Anyway, I don’t see Zac Lomax jumping on any Roosters players in celebration, mainly because the Dragons might struggle to cross the chalk against the Chooks defence, especially when Easts are rocking those 1940s Bondi Blue light blue jerseys again.
The Little Red White & Bluesters will be getting another 2 points.
Melbourne Storm (2nd) vs New Zealand Warriors (9th) at AAMI Park, Monday 7pm AEST
In the other of the annual ANZAC Day games between the Storm and Warriors, there’s going to be a lovely pre game rememberance ceremony…..
Followed by some HIGH VOLTAGE RUGBA LEEG: