Round Eight? Holy shit. Time flies when you’re hanging out with Greg Bird. One day you’re there on the Gold Coast, chilling with the Titans, just doing Gold Coast Titans kinds of things, and the next thing you know, you’re waking up naked in a small boat on its way to Puerto Rico. It’s not easy managing international travel without pants, you know.
Speaking of the Titans, did you know that between the end of the 2014 season and before the start of the 2015 season, six players were arrested or charged by police? That’s not even counting the ones that got pinged for minor offences, or the ones that were, you know, caught in a cocaine trafficking racket.
It doesn’t even include Kevin Gordon, who, while it may seem that he’s not doing anything wrong here, it surely can’t be, you know, 100% legal.
But it’s not all bad news for both of the Titans fans, as the team is showing some surprisingly good form this year, which in no way coincides with half the club being involved in the possession and distribution of class-A stimulants.
So what else is going on in the NRL this year? Well, after three rounds, Souths had (according the Ray Warren, the voice and doyen of rugby league) “forgotten how to lose.” Then they were quickly reminded, and by the way they’ve been playing lately, may have even forgotten how to win.
So it doesn’t look like he’s favouring one team, Rabs has also fucked up the Roosters by shouting their merits from rooftops, as well as injured both of the Morris brothers for Canterbury. If I was Jonathon Thurston, I’d be pretty scared right about now, cos Ray has a massive commentator boner for him.
But the best news is that the Manly Sea Eagles find themselves with just one win so far this year, cementing themselves on the bottom of the NRL ladder. Manly’s 2015 has so far been decimated by injuries, which, when added to the infighting that’s going on with club management and their bold decision to off-load all of their good players (“Let’s hang onto Steve Matai!”) has produced a fairly lacklustre first couple of games for the Sea Eagles.
Surprise packets have been the Broncos and the Dragons so far, although I can’t imagine either of them maintaining their current form for a whole lot longer. The Dragons are relying too much on their defence to win games and have apparently not bothered with an offensive plan other than “kick it, close your eyes, cross your fingers and pray really hard.” The Broncos have been gritty so far, but I think they’re about ten minutes of bad football away from a long and painful loss of form. Plus, Jack Reed. You can’t have a successful team with that guy hanging around. Surely. Surely!
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Wests Tigers
Tedesco is running hot for the Tigers, so watch him to blow his knee in the opening 10 minutes. The mongers at Canterbury are playing for contracts and Origin spots, so they’ll be desperate to perform.
New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans
Warriors get my tip simply because they can’t be this shit for this long.
Newcastle Knights vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
Newcastle are equal second. That just doesn’t make sense. Look for Gidley to come out this week and utterly ruin all of their chances of winning.
Sydney Roosters vs St George Illawarra Dragons
If there’s a test for the Dragons defence, it’s this game. As long as they stay patient, they’ll grind to a win. And it’s always good to see James Maloney look like he’s about to cry after a loss.
Melbourne Storm vs Manly Sea Eagles
The pressure will really be on Melbourne not to fuck up the Eagles’ stellar start to the season, but I predict that this will be the second time in a week that Manly gets flogged by a Storm. Fuck it, Manly are doing so badly that even if they win the next two rounds, they'll still be coming last.
Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels
The Bronco’s form will no doubt be set back by the apparent return of Justin Hodges this weekend, but I’m tipping them to hold on for the win. Parra have been a bit lucky in the past few games, and… um… I don’t really know much about Parramatta this season. But apparently they are definitely playing. Good on them.
Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks
Both teams have been hit pretty hard by injury this year, with the Penny Panthers losing their half-line. Cronulla also lost their star five-eighth in Ben Barba, which was the best thing that’s happened to the team since Andrew Ettingshausen. Roll on, Sharkies.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canberra Raiders
With Souths missing Adam Reynolds, it leaves a big hole in their armour, and will put a heap of pressure on Luke Keary. The Raiders have found a new enforcer recently in the form of Iosia Soliola, who has shown this year that he terrorises the play-makers. If he digs deep, gives 110% and can get a good,
late clean hit on Keary, it will
go a long way into the upset of the round.
Despite that, I’m going for the Bunnies to regain a bit of form and
notch a win this round.
|I'm pretty sure Hodges and Thurston are both worried they're about to be spat on in the next four seconds|
PS. Please forgive the lateness of my reply.