Another split round this week, which will no doubt throw up a whole bunch of questions, like: Who the fuck will win this one?
Actually, that’s pretty much my questioning each week, come to think of it. It’s a pretty topsy-turvy kind of comp this year anyway, so throw in a handful of games without Origin players, and I’m fucking at sixes and sevens as to who to pick.
Former NRL player Karmichael Hunt admitted this week that he (and a thousand of his team-mates) used speed and cocaine during the off-season (and probably the regular season, pre-season, post-season and every second Wednesday morning). This has taken a shitload of heat off the current NRL players who are under investigation for using speed and cocaine, which is a welcome turn of events, and possibly the best thing that Hunt has done for the game.
Unfortunately there’s always a yang to someone else’s yin in this sport, and the Sydney Roosters have undone all of Karmichael’s good deeds and have brought rugby league into disrepute once again:
|The Roosters were allowed to ask Bieber one question: What's it like playing in front of a big crowd?|
The NRL has announced that from the 2016 season, interchanges will be reduced from ten to eight per team in an effort to highlight athletic ability, increase unpredictability and entertainment, and to ensure that George Rose is never signed to another club again. While I think that less interchanges is a good idea, it will bring about people milking injuries to get a “free” penalty sub, and will reduce the impact of the gigantic fucking behemoth props that are running around destroying everything in their path and turn everyone into second-rowers.
Plus, there are a few other rule changes that I’d prefer to see – players need to take more onus on ball security. Just because there’s a bloke tackling your arm doesn’t mean he’s trying to illegally rip it out of your fingers (unless he’s Michael Ennis). There needs to be more action taking on ‘blocking’ when a high kick goes up; it’s like a fucking NFL defensive line at the moment, and there should be some fucking guy keeping his fucking eye on the fucking water runners and trainers who go out on the field. The Broncos have employed Allan Langer as one of their water boys, so they give him a couple of Powerade bottles, tell him to stand behind the defensive line and he directs the players around the ground. It’s no wonder that the Australian team keeps getting beaten – they have no idea what they’re doing when it isn’t being fed straight to them. Langer isn’t the only one who does it, but there are trainers who spend more time on the field than the players. In 2018, they might have to bring in a rule that requires two water-boy substitutions per game just to even things out.
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Both of these teams need to get their fucking consistency in order. I can’t rightly tip anyone with their current form. But I can’t go past Souths based on last week – John Sutton ran the ball gloriously, and racked up more metres than the Employee of the Month at the ruler making factory.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
The Cowbs let through 24 unanswered points in the second half last week, derailing their 12-game unbeaten streak, and proving that they really do struggle without Johnathan Thurston. However, the Red V are missing Dugan, Merrin and Frizzell (and probably a couple more), so anything – or nothing – could happen. I’m going for the Dragoons, but I’m not confident.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Cronulla Sharks
I wish I could be decidedly average at my job and still get paid $10 million like the Manly half-line. This will be their last chance to get any kind of form back – if you can’t beat Cronulla, what fucking good are you?
Wests Tigers vs Parramatta Eels
Well, the Eels get to do what no one thought would happen this year – play a team lower than them on the ladder. And they fucking deserve to be there too; the Tiges are playing absolutely dog’s balls right now. It’s a rare kind of thing to say, but I’m giving the Eels my “cannot possibly lose this one” stamp of approval this week. Sure, that stamp didn’t work out too well last week, but I still believe in it.