The Dolphins deal with a sudden injury crisis
So after another dodgy week in rugbaleeg, the main story is that Joseph Sua’ali’i has sent the NRL into meltdown over his decision to sign a multi-million dollar contract with Rugby Australia from 2025, who appear to be firing up a playing raid on rugba leeg in the lead-up to the 2027 World Cup in Australia, a run that harks back to the years leading up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, when the likes of Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Mat Rogers crossed to the 15-player game and became starters for the Wallabies.
I do find it funny how much some people in league just seem to have a pathological fear of Union (Hello Gus), especially when you consider the fact that someone like Wallabies coach Eddie Jones is a noted fan of league, to the point he gave the likes of Jason Ryles and Anthony Seibold assistant gigs alongside him with England, and last year Michael Cheika simultaneously coached Argentina in union and Lebanon at the Rugby League World Cup.
Looking ahead to Round 5:
The Roosters come off the bye to play the Eels, who only just snuck in for a win in the Grand Final rematch after Nathan Cleary nearly brought Penrith back from the dead with that monster 2-point field goal, but Mitch Moses smashed them on the head with a shovel and ensured the Eels were winless no more.
The Raiders (Now without the suspended Jack Wighton) play the Panthers in Canberra, in what will be the first time the teams have played since Jaeman Salmon copped Ricky Stuart’s epic “Weak-gutted dog” remark last season, which led to Ricky becoming the first coach in the history of the NRL to be suspended for comments in a press conference.
The Rabbitohs play their perennial torturers the Melbourne Storm in prime time, and we seriously don’t know if either team is a genuine contender right now, because they’re both playing exactly like their ladder position… smack bang in the mid-table.
The first country road trip of the season sees Manly play Newcastle at Glen Willow Stadium in Mudgee, with both teams unbeaten in the home of Ken Sutcliffe, with Manly winning easily in 2021 and 2022, and Newcastle smashing St George in 2019.
After their first defeat in history to the big brother Broncos, and a casualty ward piling up 10-deep, Redcliffe make the fateful trip down to The Gong to play St George-Illawarra, who come off a belting so bad that Hook only has 6 games to live before the Dragons start looking for another coach to help them chronically underperform.
The unbeaten Broncos host the winless Tigers in their third consecutive game at Lang Park, and unless the Tigers get a huge shot of Elephant Juice and the Broncos have a major lull after that superb Derby win, then the hosts should be fine.
The Sharks host the Warriors at Shark Park, and the Sharks showed how good they can be with Nico Hynes in the team, while the Warriors under Andrew ‘Lloyd’ Webster are a different team to the one who came to Shark Park last year and couldn’t score a try while they had a 2-player advantage for 25% of the game.
The last game of the weekend sees the Bulldogs, after letting that lead slip in Auckland, play the Cowboys out at the Olympic Stadium in what looks like a four-point game, with Josh Reynolds back for his first game with the Berries since 2017 after some disappointing stints with Wests Tigers and Hull nearly saw his career ended, and the Cowboys did enough to defeat the Titans and get back on the right track, although one defeat here will truly hammer home the fact that they aren’t a lick on last year’s Cowboys.
Now, enough rambling, here are my Succinct Tips for Round 5, and after 3 weeks of crap it was a welcome return to form last week with 6/8:
Round 4 Score = 6/8, Progress Score = 19/32 (59.38%)
And now, the Round 5 LOCK OF THE WEEK, and let me tell you, last week’s Lock proved to be absolutely spot on, as the Dragons were mutilated 40-8 by the Sharks in a brutal Sunday night Shark attack at Kogarah, which makes it 3/4 for the Lock this season…
Saturday afternoon in Mudgee, the locals are going to be dropping their strides and dancing to the EAGLE ROCK, because the Silvertails are marching away with the 2 points against the Knights!
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