I did like the irony of the ending to the Dragons vs Raiders game on Sunday.
For the last 3 years, the Raiders have bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t get a 6 Again call their way late in the 2019 Grand Final:
Then they finally get one in the last 3 seconds on Sunday, and they still get screwed over because they should’ve been awarded a penalty thanks to Ben Hunt flopping in the ruck.
So with Origin III on Wednesday night, in a game that will decide the fate of Tweed Heads, it’s time for the last of the bye rounds, which means I’ve only got 4 games to pick, and it’s even better for Graham Annesley, because he only had to pick 4 referees to get bagged by coaches in their press conferences, instead of the usual 8.
Progressive Score After Round 16: 88/126 (69.8%), without Origin 87/124
BYES: Canberra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Gold Coast, Manly-Warringah, North Queensland, Penrith, Sydney, New Zealand
Cronulla Sharks (4th) vs Melbourne Storm (2nd) at Shark Park, Thursday 7:50pm AEST
Injuries and Origin selections have ravaged the Storm once more, which makes me inclined to have a crack at an upset for the Sharks, even though they haven’t beaten anyone of note, and Nico Hynes and Toby Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer are both Spicy Cough positives.
Newcastle Knights (12th) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (7th) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Friday 7:55pm AEST
In hindsight, with Latrell Mitchell declaring himself for Souths instead of New South Wales, plus all the deluge of rain in New South Wales, you know what would’ve been the perfect song choice for South Sydney last Saturday night?
EDDIE RABBITT, I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT.
And I’m playing that despite the fact Souths don’t have Campbell Graham, Hame Sele, Damien Cook, Jai Arrow and Cameron Murray, so don’t be surprised if the Knights go on to win this easily.
Wests Tigers (15th) vs Parramatta Eels (6th) at Leichhardt Oval, Saturday 7:35pm AEST
Who could trust either of these teams…
Well, you could probably trust the Tigers more, because they’ve at least beaten Parramatta once this season, but all told the Eels SHOULD win the ballgame, considering the only Origin player they don’t have available is Junior Paulo, as Clint Gutherson got an early release to play on Saturday night….
So that said, here’s some more ELO: Eel-ectric Light Orchestra
Brisbane Broncos (5th) vs St George-Illawarra Dragons (8th) at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 4:05pm AEST
I should remind myself that the Dragons have one of the best recent records of any team against the Broncos at Lang Park, winning their last 3 visits to the Graveyard from 2018 to 2020, and they’ve won the last 5 encounters against the Broncos dating back to 2018, but the world has changed somewhat since then, especially with the Broncos just 1 win shy of matching their total wins in 2020 & 2021 (10) combined.
Apparently the Broncos are so short-handed with injuries this week that Kevin Walters & Allan Langer are going to have to pull the boots on this weekend, with the possibility of cameos from Shane Webcke and Corey Parker, but it’s lucky the Broncs are only playing the Dragons, who won’t have Ben Hunt on the field which means the Red V are playing without a brain, although, that’s what the Dragons have been doing ever since Wayne Bennett left them 11 years ago.
Apparently FootyTips are telling me I have to pick Origin III, so off the back of a huge Game II win in Perth, I’ll take New South Wales to do what they haven’t done since 2005…..
Win a series decider at Lang Park.
Which means Queensland are going to win and reclaim the Origin Shield, so congratulations to all Banana Benders!