Yeah, it’s a flying Rooster, what’s new?
So all up, in what was a brutal Magic Round for tipping, I finished on 4/8, having nailed the Knights followed by getting the Broncos wrong as per usual, then a couple of throws at the stumps went awry, such as the Dragons completely shitting the bed in the last 10 minutes and in Golden Point when the rain came down, then the Sharks were intimidated by the lowly Raiders, and the Roosters are too well coached, and they had too big of a head start for the Eels to sustain their comeback.
Of course, this week is only slightly easier, and it’s a weekend where the Top 4 teams all play each other in what I’d call ‘Reverse Qualifying Final’ order on Election Day – 4th hosts 1st, and 3rd hosts 2nd.
We’ll find out who’s a Premiership candidate, and who’s a Bill Shorten.
Progressive Score: 53/80 (66.25%)
All picks are underlined
Newcastle Knights (14th) vs Brisbane Broncos (7th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST
I’ve been sitting on a Broncos Random Pick for weeks waiting for the perfect time to play it, which ironically enough would’ve been last Friday night if I’d been a bit braver, as the Broncos belted the Silvertails 38-0 and produced their best performance since 2017 as part of their continued Reyno-vation, but I think this week I’ll finally do it, and knowing my ability to pick a loser, the Broncos will put in a stinker with Adam Reynolds sidelined, as the Knights finally have their momentum again off the back of a win for the first time since March.
Of course, another facet to the game tonight is that former Bronco Anthony Milford will make his debut for the Knights, but that’s not my main focus, because Ladies and Gentleman, here’s the one and only Tracy Chapman, WITH A SONG FOR KEVIN WALTERS, ’cause DON’T YA KNOW, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A KEVOLUTION.
Wests Tigers (15th) vs Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) at Leichhardt Oval, Friday 6pm AEST
SPOONBOWL 2022 – BE THERE, OR BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE.
Of course, in case you were hit by a bus last week and haven’t been able to remember anything, the Bulldogs were beaten by a Knights team who hadn’t won a game since March, which led to the club announcing a board meeting on Sunday evening to discuss Trent Barrett’s position, and by Monday morning, Trent had read the tea leaves and decided to resign with the last shreds of his dignity.
So that means Mick Potter, uncle of Harry, has been appointed as Bulldogs interim coach, and rather hilariously, his first game just happens to be against the team he used to coach, and to make matters even worse, the Bulldogs have been smashed by flu for the second time this year, and Brent Naden was released from his contract with immediate effect, and just where did he happen to go?
And guess when they announced that signing?
DURING TUESDAY TEAM SELECTION.
What a power move.
So I’ll take the Tigers to rack up a rare victory, and for this week’s Random Pick, here’s a man named Maguire with a rough demonstration on how Madge got Brent Naden to Concorde:
Parramatta Eels (6th) vs Manly Sea Eagles (9th) at Commbank Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST
It was around about this time last year that Manly were getting ready to play their great rivals Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium, when the news came through that Bob ‘Bozo’ Fulton had died, and in a fitting tribute to the greatest player to don the maroon & white, the Silvertails went out to Parramatta and belted the Eels blind.
This time around, the Sea Eagles are nowhere close to the form that they built up with Tommy Turbo in full flight, and the microcosm of their problems seem to be the form of the reigning Dally M Medalist, who looked like he was playing with an injured knee on Friday night.
In fact, that 38-0 defeat against Brisbane was the first time Manly have been shut out in a game since the 2013 Qualifying Final (When they lost by a mere 4-0 to the Roosters), ending a club record run of 208 games scoring points, and it was the first time Manly have been shut out in a home & away game since Round 2 of 1999, when the Roosters walloped them 46-0.
As for the home team, Parramatta were caught on the back foot by the Roosters, going down to 12 men in the 1st Half as the Roosters led 25-6, but the Eels were able to claw back to within a point before Joseph Suaalii took a hanger on Hayze Perham’s head and sealed the win, but the fact the Eels were able to make it a live game against a decent team is one small positive from a disappointing afternoon.
Still, the other fact remains that the Eels haven’t recorded consecutive wins since Rounds 3-5, so in conclusion, you’ve got a choice between a team that played semi-decently against a Top 4 contender, versus one that got shut out…
Think we’ll have to take Parramatta in Clint Gutherson’s 150th game and extend their win-loss alternation, which means it’s time for Eddy Grant to rock down to Eel-ectric Avenue:
St George-Illawarra Dragons (12th) vs New Zealand Warriors (11th) at Kogarah/Jubilee Stadium, Saturday 1pm AEST
After being 16-10 up in the dying minutes, the Dragons could’ve escaped Suncorp with a point, but Talatau Amone decided he’d try and pick up a low ball in driving rain, a move that predictably backfired as he knocked on Ben Hunt style, and the Titans scored a try straight from the scrum thanks to Jamayne Isaako.
Of all the ways to lose a game, that was one.
The Warriors also had a mind-boggling finish to their game against Souths a few hours earlier, as they trailed 32-6 with half an hour to play….
And lost 32-30.
To me, those results, and their respective ladder positions, reflect the fact that both teams are perfectly mediocre, which means the margin for this game should be within single figures, but I still consider the Warriors to be borderline untippable, so I’ll go for the Dragons to enforce a repeat of Round 1, so to mark Election Day 2022, here’s Marc Hunter and Dragon, with a song to celebrate the performance of Scott Morrison and the Coalition:
North Queensland Cowboys (3rd) vs Melbourne Storm (2nd) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 5:35pm AEST
The Cowboys are proving the surprise hit of 2022, and they continued their great run with the win against Wests Tigers on Sunday night, and while Todd Payten leads the pack in the race for Coach of the Year, I reckon Murray Taulagi just about wrapped up play of the year to date, when he provided a try assist for Scott Drinkwater after diving into Row Z:
Meantime, the Storm got hit hard by injuries in the week leading up to the Panthers game, and it didn’t get any better with Jahrome Hughes being a late out and big Nelson Asofa-Solomona going down with an injury, which all meant the Panthers didn’t waste a chance to punch a spineless Storm in the mouth and break their jaw, which showed in the 32-6 scoreline being the Storm’s worst defeat since 2014, the last time they missed the Top 4.
So right as the polls close on the East Coast, we’ll see if the Cowboys have what it takes to be Top 4 material against one of the two goliaths of the game, and while the Storm rarely lose consecutive games, they’ve got key players out, and the Cowboys have the home ground advantage…
So bugger it, I’ll tip the Cowboys to get their first win against the Storm since the 2015 Preliminary Final, and immediately regret it on Saturday evening when the Storm win 30-6 and celebrate re-signing Craig Bellamy…
But in the meantime, here’s Glen Campbell with Rhinestone Cowboy!
Sydney Roosters (4th) vs Penrith Panthers (1st) at the SCG, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
The game of the round, and the ultimate battle of contrasts in Sydney electorates – The Roosters hailing from the land of the latte sipping Liberal voters in Bondi & Wenworth, and the Panthers represent the public housing bogans from the Labor heartland of Mount Druitt in the seat of Chifley.
Until the Panthers fall off a cliff, I won’t be jumping off them in the tipping stakes, and neither will Cat Stevens as he keeps singing about Ivan & Nathan Cleary.
South Sydney Rabbitohs (8th) vs Canberra Raiders (10th) at Apex Oval, Dubbo, Sunday 2pm AEST
When you think about it, this weekend in Australia is about a Random Souths Guy trying to become Prime Minister:
Actually, you know what’s a funny coincidence here – In 2019, who played during Election weekend?
South Sydney and Canberra.
It’s the only repeat matchup from Election weekend 2019.
If only the NRL had the services of a crystal ball, we could’ve had Souths vs Cronulla to decide the Prime Ministership on May 21, put it live on Channel 9 in prime time, and pulled in 3 million viewers nationwide as the Rabbits and Sharks try to win for two blokes they have limited emotional attachment to.
Gold Coast Titans (13th) vs Cronulla Sharks (5th) at Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
So the Titans finally got a win after months of disease and famine, and by god it was ugly against the Dragons in that driving rain, but the key part is they got the win and the 2 points to go with it, and the added bonus was we saw Jayden Campbell walk on water, a feat also achieved by another biblical figure with the initials JC.
Meantime, I think Split Enz would’ve been better in Sharks jerseys than half the Sharks team last Sunday, as they had everything lined up to finally defeat the Raiders, and they were up the creek within 5 minutes after being blinded in the afternoon Brisbane sun, which decided to show up after 3 days of biblical rain.
Still, despite a poor performance, the Sharks are one of the few teams who haven’t lost consecutive games in 2022, but without Dale Finucane in the team, I think they’ll be hard pressed to keep that record going in Fitz’s short tenure, but the key might be that Nico Hynes is back at halfback to steer the ship…..
So I think there might be national headlines made on the Glitter Strip this weekend, as 17 Great White Sharks are spotted off the coast ready to maul the unsuspecting locals having an afternoon swim, and Justin Holbrook will be playing the role of Roy Scheider as he screams…..
GET OUT OF THE WATER!