Round 1 delivered a wild weekend of results, with a huge swing to home teams. Archimedes was all over that, courtesy of the gaps between teams being overwhelmed by the home ground advantage. Consequently, it got lucky while Eratosthenes and I suffered with what were logical but ultimately, bad choices. This week is a new week.
St George Illawarra at Cronulla
It baffles me that these teams weren’t merged into a superclub in 1999. The “Greater Southerner Sydney Steel Dragonsharks”, maybe. When we’re all speaking Mandarin in a hundred years time, that’s what it’ll be called. Until then, we have a local derby on our hands. Last week’s attendance at Kogarah on a Thursday night was pretty good, excellent when you remember that at any given hour, 15% of Sydney’s population is stuck in traffic. Let’s hope the Sharks fans can do likewise.
As for the game itself, the Dragons are the top of the table team, having given Brisbane a twenty-plus point pasting. The Sharks, on the other hand, were downed by the Cowboys. The Dragons are having their early season hot streak and looked quite good last week, with a good balance of powerful forwards and deft halves. The Sharks have not yet found that level of organisation with their team of props, fullbacks and nothing halves Moylan and Townsend. In summary and based on a sample of n = 1, I think the Dragons are looking better.
The Greeks are going hard on Cronulla but I think St George Illawarra will come up with the goods.
North Queensland at Brisbane
Dragons-Sharks may think theirs is a rivalry but this, this is a rivalry. Or at least it was until the Broncos collapsed into a puddle of incompetence. Hopefully, during the week, Bennett has broken each player down to the level of individual atoms, rebuilt them into a functional human beings, broke them down and, if there’s time, taught them how to pass.
North Queensland weren’t all that troubled by Cronulla which is amazing considering that Morgan was absent and Thurston had the worst game in living memory. As champion sides tend to do, the rest of the team picked up the slack, pointed themselves in the right direction and got on with the job at hand.
The Greeks have this with the Broncos but Archimedes is in the thrall of home ground advantages (which worked well last week) and Eratosthenes hasn’t quite caught on yet. Not a difficult one for mine: Cowboys to win.
Parramatta at Manly
The Eels had a weird game. They were all over the Panthers, until they weren’t and suddenly found themselves in a hole with no spade to dig themselves out. It must have been like one of those dreams where you need to run away but you can’t get any traction. You know you need to do something but you can’t and the inevitable follows. That problem, at least, can be solved with coaching and training.
Manly lost a nail biter in front of a huge, partisan Newcastle crowd. They gave Mitchell Pearce the fairytale win he needed to begin his career with the Knights. The Sea Eagles didn’t look particularly well organised all game. It’s almost as if Daly Cherry-Evans needs someone to help him keep the team running. Like another halfback but possibly in a different jersey. He would stand slightly off, like five-eighths of the way down the team instead of half. Oh well, if only such a thing existed.
If Moses doesn’t lose his head – either by concussion or with a visit to the sin bin – then the Eels should have enough talent across the park to take the Eagles.
I’m reasonably convinced the Roosters will have woken up enough to take care of the Bulldogs. Warriors should see off the Titans at home, as they usually do, while Penrith will be too strong for Souths. Melbourne will clean up Wests – it’s not even a contest. Raiders-Knights is pretty even based on what we saw last week but I’m edging in the Raiders’ favour again.
Townsville at Ipswich
The biggest problem with the QCup is that they only televise one game a week, so it’s going to take some time to get an appreciation of what each team in the comp can offer. Townsville had a bit of an off 2017. They were in the second tier of contenders with Souths and Ipswich. The Blackhawks have re-established themselves as a force with a big win last week. The Jets went down to the Hunters at home, which is not that big a deal seeing as that’s what happens 85% of the time.
The jury’s tipped Ipswich but I don’t think they’re considering that a team that handed the Cutters a 44 point hammering can probably do the same to the Jets. I’m going for the Blackhawks.
I’m tipping against the Greeks and going with Redcliffe to beat Burleigh, still sore from losing a game after the final siren. I think that the Magpies have shown they’ve got some talent, taking it to the Dolphins for a full eighty and then some, so they should take care of the Tweed Seagulls. Hunters will knock off the Pride, as the Devils will against the Capras. Tigers should be too good for the Cutters while I think the Falcons will wake up and do in Wynnum, although the Greeks disagree.