After fairly nailing round three, we were brought back to earth in round four, picking up a few measly tips here and there. I think I managed three, bringing me to a total of sixteen from thirty-two or, if you prefer, about as accurate as flipping a coin. Interestingly, the jury is not doing much better, on only seveteen, but is less than either of the individual Greeks. Go figure.
Canterbury at Canberra
I’m not sure who’s idea it was to put this on Thursday night but it wasn’t a great one. It’s only getting written up this round thanks to the comparatively similar ratings between the two teams and the fact that everything else appears to be one-sided garbage. Then again, we saw how that panned out for the Broncos last week.
In the green corner, we have the Canberra Raiders playing at home and looking to snap their four game losing streak. The Raiders have been defined by three close losses and then being comprehensively outplayed by Manly. That they were in it against the Warriors, one of the comp’s form teams, suggests an underlying capacity to win a game. At some point.
In the blue corner, we have the Canterbury Bulldogs who have in fact managed to win a game, keeping the Panthers at bay by a whole two points. The Doggies have still carried through a stalwart defence from last year and have improved their offence slightly, but it’s not a great looking package overall.
Eventually Canberra will win a game and I will be there to tip it. Beats me why, but Raiders to win this one.
Cronulla at Sydney
Can the Sutherland Coffee Grinders get on top of Keary, Cronk and the Bondi Boys? I think probably not.
Sorry folks, but I’m still not a fan of the Sharks. I just don’t see the appeal. They’re like a good version of what the Bulldogs want to be. They can defend but they sure as hell as can’t attack. Their only saving grace was that the Storm really struggled to execute, got rattled and the wheels fell off. Only the Sharks have achieved the level of obnoxiousness to make that work. The Roosters play a more organic style with a bit of flow and, while Cronk was made Isaac Luke’s bitch, he’s not gonna let the guys he’s smashed at Origin – repeatedly – get in his head.
The Roosters were shamed by the Warriors last week. The Sydney fans were hugely outnumbered by Warriors fans, if not in quantity then definitely in volume. The Kiwis piled on a “Na na na hey hey goodbye” which is the ultimate salt in a sporting wound. We all jumped the gun in judging the level of gelatinisation, like taking jelly out of the fridge too early, and maybe it’ll take a bit longer but if they push sixteen past, they’ll win.
Sydney for me.
Brisbane at Newcastle
You would’ve chalked this up as a W for Brisbane as recently as five days ago but then we did the same for the Titans game and look how that panned out. I mean, I literally used the same language last week and they got punished. It was a frankly terrible performance from the Broncos, from conceding the world’s softest try in minute one, right through to minute eighty. At no point did they show any organisation or even basic footballing competence and I would have sent some of the Mini League kids out to play in the halves. Whether Brisbane want to spend the season being pummelled every three games and then scraping by in the other two, or actually return to comfortably winning games a la 2017, remains to be seen.
Newcastle’s fairy tale start, just edging past the Raiders and Sea Eagles, was brought to a crushing end by two of the premiership troika, who slotted a combined 68 points past the Knights’ defence with only 20 returned. The hype Shinkansen had definitely pulled away from the station a little bit too early and now reality is setting in. That said, if the Broncos that turned up last week turn up again, then the Knights will just need the basically competent footy that they’ve shown they’re capable of and they will roll Brisbane.
I’m tipping Brisbane but only because I fully expect Wayne to rebuild this team from individual components, again, but that will only be effective so many times this season. How many times do Nikorima or Milford need to be taught how to run a play before everyone, including me, gives up on them?
Dragons will be all over the Bunnies. I would love to go Tigers but the odds of the Storm not using this to get back on track by hammering Wests is small. Cowboys look old and lacking confidence while the Warriors are the opposite right now, so a NZ win. A Trbojevic-less Manly to bring the Gold Coast back to earth and Penrith to bury Parramatta’s season.
Tweed Heads at Townsville
The Blackhawks have conceded the best Cowboys feeder club mantle to the Pride but they aren’t doing as badly as the Tweed Heads Seagronks.
When your guys are more likely to start a fight than score a try, there’s problems. It could be youth and inexperience but it is the Intrust Super Cup, so overcoming that is part of the process of development. So we could see some improvement but it would take a lot to cause an upset here. Maybe it’s that the guys don’t want to get pushed into the Titans machine and will leave that for the Bears to clean up.
I don’t know but if this game hasn’t been won by Townsville after 35 minutes, then I’ll be shocked.
Expecting the Hunters to get into form over the Devils. I’ve got the Pride to continue taking names, including the Jets. Falcons, Bears and Magpies to continue their winning ways. I’m going against the Greeks and picking the Dolphins over the inconsistent Tigers.