As we nitpick over various things to complain about with the great game of rugba leeg, Origin is right around the corner, and that means it’s time for Round 12 and the annual celebration of life and First Nations culture that is Indigenous Round, and we should remember that it’s not just a celebration of Indigenous Australian culture, but the New Zealand Warriors have also used the round to celebrate Maori culture, which has given us great moments like Once Were Warriors, the Clone Troopers from Star Wars, the Haka, and Taika Waititi.
Being Indigenous Round, I’ve enjoyed having the cover photo as a past great of the game who came from our First Nations people, and the first of them was the late Immortal Artie Beetson, Steve Renouf was the cover for 2020, Preston Campbell was the cover last year as it marked 20 years since his Dally M win, and this year I’ve gone for….
THE BIG GOANNA, GREG INGLIS.
Progressive Score: 60/88 (68.18%)
All picks are underlined
Melbourne/Narrm Storm (2nd) vs Manly Sea Eagles (10th) at AAMI Park, Wurundjeri Land, Friday 7:50pm AEST
With an injury toll to rival the Allied troops on The Somme, the Narrm Storm have now lost 2 consecutive games by 20+ points for the first time since the Rainbow Serpent was roaming in The Dreaming, which was right around the time that Cameron Smith made his NRL debut.
With Craig Bellamy shouting profusely into his headset, the old saying goes that desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Storm have recalled one of their all-time greats for the first time in 12 years, to help give the team a boost….
Of course, while the Storm are crippled by injuries, Manly’s entire team is out injured, as Tom Trbojevic’s year has been brought to a premature end BEFORE Origin, which is a new unfortunate low for Tom and while one Manly stalwart goes on the long term injury list, another one returns after being gone for so long we assumed he’d retired….
And that stalwart is none other than ‘The Hitman’ Jorge Taufua, who plays his first game in the 20 months since a serious Achilles injury, and we should remember that Taufua has a fine history of folding Storm players like deckchairs, as Cameron Munster found out in 2019.
So anyway, Melbourne at home, Manly without Tommy T, I think they’re in more danger than Ralph Wiggum.
Penrith Panthers (1st) vs North Queensland Cowboys (3rd) at Panthers Stadium in Dharug Country, Friday 6pm AEST
This is, without any form of hyperbole, the greatest game to ever grace the Friday 6pm timeslot in NRL history.
The Panthers are still the clear benchmark of the league, while the Cowboys, on the back of an attack unseen by a Cowboy since Billy The Kid, have played themselves into the No.2 seed with enormous wins every week, especially against the Storm last week, which was the biggest and best win of the lot, as they hit the jackpot against their crippled cousins to the south…
But unless Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai and Viliame Kikau all develop a sudden onset of diarrhea, the Panthers ain’t gonna lose this one, especially with names like Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt out for the Cowboys, and you know what this band of Stray Cats after their 50th win from their last 55 games?
ROCK THIS TOWN TONIGHT.
Brisbane Broncos (5th) vs Gold Coast Titans (13th) at Suncorp Stadium in Yuggera & Turrbal Country, Friday 7:55pm AEST
It’s the South East Queensland Derby, and the major news of the day Payne Haas, after a difficult couple of months, has requested a release from the Broncos over an ongoing pay dispute, which is the second-biggest piece of Haas family news for today…
KLESE HAAS, PAYNE’S YOUNGER BROTHER, HAS RE-SIGNED WITH THE TITANS FOR TWO YEARS.
“Gold Coast junior Klese Haas is set to join the Titans for the next two years after getting a taste of first grade rugby league with the club this season.”
“Experiencing NRL with a train-and-trial contract in 2022 and having an exciting stint in a trial against the Broncos in the pre-season, the 19-year-old will join the club on a full-time basis until the end of 2024 after continuing to impress Titans coaching staff, in action for Tweed in the QRL’s Hastings Deering Colts competition.”
“The younger brother of Broncos and Origin front row enforcer Payne, Haas is a versatile edge forward who also has the ability to play in the centres and has been among the points-scorers in the Under 21 competition, which has included an extraordinary hat-trick against Burleigh earlier in the year.”
Not even an hour later, the news came through that Brisbane had themselves a Payne in the Haas.
Anyway, regardless of the result, the Kevolution in Brisbane will continue through hell or high water, which seems to be a big problem in SEQ with all this rain, and given it’s a Queensland Derby, either way, win or lose, LIFE IS STILL GREAT IN THE SUNSHINE STATE.
You wouldn’t even know Queensland was once the most brutal prison colony on the earth.
New Zealand/Aotearoa Warriors (12th) vs Newcastle Knights (15th) at Moreton Daily Stadium in Yuggera, Jinibara, and Kabi Kabi Countries, Saturday 3pm AEST
The Warriors are going so poorly that off the back of the narrow loss to St George, they apparently gave Matt Lodge a $700,000 golden handshake not to play for the club ever again, which he immediately accepted and signed for a second-grade Brisbane rugby club, and the decision to give someone like Matt Lodge $700,000 just to piss off is now considered one of the more insane front office decisions ever made by an NRL team, simply for the amount of money spent.
Seriously, someone like Uncle Nick wouldn’t even fork out $700,000 to get rid of someone from the Roosters…
Unless it was Ricky Stuart.
Meantime, Newcastle had a huge chance to make it back to back wins for the first time since March, but a couple of crucial decisions went against them, and eventually the guts of the team fell out through their arse in the last 10 minutes, and the Broncos ran in 4 tries without reply, keeping the Knights anchored to 15th on the ladder.
So with the Oranges playing the Lemons in Redcliffe, I’ll pick the Oranges off the tree, the boys from Aotearoa, and I hope we see a Haka on Indigenous Round, followed by a rousing rendition of the New Zealand national anthem, performed by Dave Dobbyn:
South Sydney Rabbitohs (9th) vs Wests Tigers (14th) at Accor Stadium in Wann-gal Country, Saturday 5:30pm AEST
They should be calling this game the Toilet Bowl…
Because you’ve got a team with a crap attitude in Souths, versus a team that have played like crap for 16 years…. Although they got a rare moment of glory against the Bulldogs last week, and they ripped the Bunnies to shreds by a point on the ANZAC Day weekend.
So it’s a big weekend for Souths, because while they’ve now got a Random Souths Guy in as Prime Minister, their fortunes in 2022 are now hanging by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins after getting belted by Canberra in Dubbo, which marks the first major blow dealt by Canberra against Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister, dropping the Bunnies out of the Top 8.
Still, Souths might just be able to lift on one of the biggest weekends for the club, getting to represent the great diverse suburb of Redfern in Indigenous Round, and I think there’s a sensible, Indigenous-themed pick to make for Souths….
The Warumpi Band with the timeless classic, Black Fella White Fella, ’cause it doesn’t matter what your colour, as long as you a true fella!
Cronulla Sharks (4th) vs Sydney Roosters (7th) at Shark Park in Dharawal Country, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
The Saturday prime time slot is highly interesting, for the simple fact that it’s the first time that a Roosters Life Member in Craig Fitzgibbon has coached against Trent Robinson and the Roosters, whom he coached alongside for Robinson’s entire tenure with Easts after his fantastic playing career, in which he won everything except a meat pack in a raffle at the Leagues Club in Bondi.
Of course, while the Roosters splutter along and fall out of the Top 4, the Sharks are ticking heaps of boxes under Fitz, with the occasional blip, and they can tick another box on Saturday night against a fellow Top 8 team, because the last time the Sharks defeated the Roosters was Round 17 in 2017, when they won by a lazy 44-12 in Gosford, a place which has always been the Waterloo of the Roosters, no matter how good or bad they are, and since that game the Chooks have won the last 6 encounters, and they haven’t conceded more than 20 points in any of them.
But, for whatever reason, the Sharks have taken home ground advantage to an extreme this season, and when you come to Cronulla Beach, what do you have to watch out for?
A SHARK ATTACK!
I am committed to running that song into the ground, and nothing shy of a lawsuit from the Finn Brothers will stop me.
Canterbury Bulldogs (16th) vs St George-Illawarra Dragons (11th) at Belmore Sports Ground in Dharug, Eora & Bediagal Country, Sunday 2pm AEST
The Bulldogs’ spiritual home of Belmore hosts it’s first NRL game since the Dogs played the Storm in the Indigenous Round of 2019, which was exactly 3 years ago today, and this time around, the Berries will be hosting their long-term neighbours St George-Illawarra, the game that used to be on the Queen’s Birthday before the NRL decided to get two better teams on the day…
Like the Bulldogs and Eels.
Hang on, wait a minute…..
Anyway, I’ll take the Dragons, and here’s Peter Paul & Mary to serenade the late Reg Gasnier.
Canberra Raiders (9th) vs Barramadda/Parramatta Eels (6th) at GIO Stadium in Ngunnawal Country, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
The Eels are always a noteworthy example when it comes to Indigenous culture, because the name of Parramatta came from the Anglicizing of the Dharug word “Barramattagal”, which means “Place where the Eels lie/dwell”, in reference to the eels in the Parramatta River that the traditional owners hunted for thousands of years, and in turn, that meaning led to Parramatta acquiring the nickname of ‘Eels’ in the 1960s when they were struggling for an identity.
Heck, they’ve even updated their logo for this weekend, and it looks deadly:
Similarly, there’s the long told story that the name Canberra was chosen because it was derived from the name of a local Ngunnawal clan who lived in the area that became our future capital, with a name of either Canberry or Nganbra, with the tribe’s name supposedly meaning ‘Meeting Place’ in the Ngunnawal language, although it was also believed to mean “Place where Sydneysiders and Melbournians can argue about who’s better.”
Anyway, the Raiders have strung together a good run in the last fortnight, while for whatever reason the Eels, after a comeback win last week, can’t win two games in a row, which means I’ve got a joke for you…
Q: Why can’t Parramatta players access the internet?
A: Because they can’t string 3 Ws together.
Hahahaha, look at me, I’m a bloody comedian!
So there you go – RAIDERS AT HOME IN AN UPSET, AS THEY TOUCH THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME… With help from Sir Tom Jones.