Round 19 is Heritage Round, which is probably in my top twenty-six rounds of the NRL, and it gives the Gold Coast Titans a chance to fully appreciate their seven-year history and three previously-failed Gold Coast teams. Long live the mighty Seagulls, eh? Anyone? No one? The silence I’m being met with is like being at a Roosters vs Titans game.
The NRL has let itself down this week by not filling up any newspapers with player misdemeanours, assaults, arrests, drug charges, drinking, social media spats, code-switching, contract-dodging or peptide-chugging. So either the NRL has done a great job in keeping things quiet, or the internet is down at Josh Dugan’s house.
Way to go boys, everyone gave 110% this week, stuck to the plan and came away with the two points. The forwards provided momentum up front and made some room for the backs to take advantage of. Couple of lucky bounces in there, but that's the way of rugby league. Full credit to the opposition who really stuck in there and pushed you all the way. You should enjoy this win, go back to the drawing board & work hard at training, and hopefully take the momentum into next week, where you’ll have another hard game. Thanks to Channel 9 and Mitre 10.
Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs
This looks like the best Doggies outfit to have hit the park for some time. Unfortunately for the Eels, it looks like the usual bunch of idiots that turn up for them every week to get beaten by 20. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even Semi Radradra won’t cross the line for a four-pointer, officially making this game a waste of everybody’s time.
Melbourne Storm vs Penrith Panthers
The Pennies have a decent forward pack, but the backline looks a bit too “meh” to me to trouble anyone. And if you can’t trouble the Storm, you know you’re doing something wrong, who are on the end of a four-game losing streak. Stupid Storm. PS. They’ll win by about 16.
Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks
The mighty mighty Raiders’ juggernaut is approaching warp speed WOOP WOOP! Watch for the sneaky Sharks to take off one of their underperforming backline players (take your pick) through “concussion” for a free interchange to get Ben Barba into the game around the 50th minute mark. Canberra will be missing their underrated halfback Sammy Williams through injury, but have announced Kurt “John the” Baptiste in the half line, which will be fucking interesting to see, as it has been a while since the Raiders have fielded anyone from Middle Earth. Look for Papalli to put a few big hits (and a couple of cheap ones) on Cronulla captain Paul “I’m too old for this shit” Gallen. Raiders by a thousand, but most likely a whole lot less.
Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans
If these teams grabbed a couple of pies and some beers to watch the Under 21s play, it would be a much better outcome for everyone. Especially since Gidley would probably get his “Ooh, I wouldn’t have dropped that” comments going, and would probably get punched by a fat guy who hasn’t played since he was fifteen for slagging off his nephew.
St George Illawarra Dragons. vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Saints welcome back five players from injury and house arrest this week, but are going into this game with about seventeen reserves just in case everyone falls apart again. Both sides are playing a bit shit at the moment, but I reckon the Bunnies will get home in a scrappy, low-scoring affair.
Sydney Roosters vs New Zealand Warriors
Warriors playmaker and human hard-on Shaun Johnson was reportedly injured during training during the week and is a “maybe” to play in this game. If he doesn’t play, it will throw tissue consumption statistics in New Zealand into complete disarray. Meanwhile, the Rooters are about as strong as a team with James Moloney in it could possibly be. I would like to see the Roosters salary cap details, please. Yes, all of them. And a beer. And a tissue. Thank you. Chooks to cheat home by eight.
Brisbane Broncos vs Wests Tigers
I have been trying to imagine the Tigers repeating their effort against the Rabbitohs from a few weeks back, but I just can’t see it happening again. The Broncos are just looking too damn good right now – they are not playing magical football, but they’re getting it done with some grinding, smart play. The fact that they won six in a row during Origin, are close to full strength and playing the bottom-placed team doesn’t really give anyone many other options other than to tip a big Brissy win. And it hurts me to say that, because I still hate Brisbane because of Mick Hancock.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
This will be a good test for the Cowboys to prove that they are true premiership contenders – Manly are in good form but under shit-tins of pressure to win (how the fuck are they still a possibility to make the finals?), so this will be a good indicator of the Cowboys’ mettle. The Cowbs will rely on JT to take them home, while Daly Chery-Evans will need to stand up again to bring home the bacon. Carn you Cowbs.