I was enjoying the week off that the rep round afforded me from doing tips and recaps. But before I knew it, I had some tipping to do and I was out on Wednesday and late home on Thursday. As a result, this will probably be completed sometime after Dragons-Eels and published Friday morning. Normally, I’d try to get it up on Wednesday morning.
Then again, if you need me to give you a tip for this game, you’re beyond my help (he writes, like an idiot, as Parramatta are up 10-2).
Cronulla at Warriors
Ooft. Indeed, the ooftest of oofts. When I think of teams defined by their forward packs, not necessarily the best but definitely the most formidable, I think of the Sharks and the Warriors. This should be a big clash, especially for the pub slot.
The Warriors craftily had most of their best players dodge the Denver Test so that they could, as they do every year, make some hay while the Origin sun shined on the Australian parts of the league. They still had to send seven guys to Denver, so it will be interesting to see how they back up. Cronulla barely had anyone selected for any rep games. I think other than Prior and Holmes at Origin and Fifita and Segeyaro at the PacTest, Cronulla were passed over.
This is despite winning seven of their last nine. I mean, those wins came against the Titans, Eels, Raiders, Bulldogs, Tigers, Knights and only one good team in the Panthers but a win’s a win and they all count for two points. Fortunately, our Greeks are not so easily fooled and, while the Sharks are above average, they’re only on 1535 for form. The Warriors, somehow, are rated worse than the Raiders, so this is a big opportunity for the New Zealanders to show us what they’re made of.
I think they’ve got the class if they can keep their heads. I think homeground advantage and the paper reputation of the Sharks should see the Warriors get home.
Melbourne at Sydney
This game, at Adelaide Oval, was one of the best games of last year. It was capped off with an incredibly disappointing field goal win by Mitchell Pearce but he’s gone this year and now we have the ultimate showdown: Cronk vs Smith/Slater. I am salivating at the prospect of these two line-ups, and one time premiership contenders, going head to head. The Match Viewability Rating (MVR) of 90.2 is the highest for any game this year.
So it should be good is what I’m trying to say and I say that knowing full well that almost every blockbuster this year has been a big disappointment. A big chunk of the Roosters and the Storm will be backing up from Origin but the likes of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, both having retired from rep footy, will be fresh and ready to go. While Billy Slater played in Origin, it was his first game in five weeks, so he will be about as rested as you can be in round 16.
I’m going for Melbourne this time but only because I still don’t believe in Sydney. Their forwards have been inconsistent, Origin Tedesco should revert to Club Tedesco and Cronk can be as disciplined and organised as he likes, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the team doesn’t come with him. The Storm have still been pretty good this year and, now that both Brodie Croft and Cooper Cronk are a distant memories, seem to have settled into very good, if not flawless, form.
Canberra at Brisbane
Yeah, boiiii. I’ll be at this one, weather permitting. It’s been a wet couple of days and the forecast has a medium chance of rain with a few mil predicted. I’m not sure about the Raiders but the Broncos track record in the wet is not great and it should make for a scintillating battle of who can drop the ball less.
The rep weekend has come and both sides were probably as affected, if more so, by the Denver and Pacific Tests than Origin. Prior to that, the Raiders offered their long suffering fans a brief glimpse of sunlight by pumping the Tigers. For me, that doesn’t eliminate the stench of failure that has been following this club around since the start of the year, and their previous results reinforce that conclusion.
In normal years, the Broncos would be a cert to dispatch the Raiders. This season, coming off a big win for Canberra and a lot closely fought wins over a mix of good and crap opposition for Brisbane, I have big doubts as to whether this will be the home team’s night. Big doubts but not enough to tip against them, so #Bronxnation.
By the time you read this, the Dragons should have beaten the Eels and even though I could change my tip to look smart, I won’t stoop to that level. The Panthers will get their season back on track by belting the Sea Eagles. I almost tipped the Bulldogs but then I remember that the entire operation has almost imploded over the last fornight and went for the Knights instead. I know the Tigers have picked up both Farah and Mbye, massively strengthening their spine, for this game but I can’t help but think the Titans can steal this. Either way, we’ll know within about five minutes of kick-off. Souths to extinguish the last remaining flame of hope that North Queensland have on their way to the 2018 minor premiership.
Easts at Ipswich
Can Brodie Croft resurrect his NRL career? This time last year he was smashing it in the premiership while the big boys were backing up from Origin. We all thought he had it in the bag, the next in line of succession for Melbourne/Maroon royalty. And this year? He’s not even smashing reserve grade. This week, Croft gets to go to the wonderful town of Ipswich and play on the baked earth that is North Ipswich Reserve. How the mighty have fallen.
The Jets aren’t doing much better than the Tigers this year. Short kick-offs and drop-outs might make some sense mathematically, they only make up a tiny fraction of the game and the Jets don’t seem to have mastered the other 99% consistently. Easts have had similar travails, good some weeks but often not.
I’m going the Jets based on the highly scientific opinion that they don’t suck as much as the Tigers plus they’re playing at home.
We’re doing reverse Rivalry Round again. I’ve got Blackhawks over Pride (Pride won in round 3), Capras over Cutters thanks to big DT (Cutters previous winners), Magpies to smash the Devils at Suncorp before the Broncos game (Devils won round 3), Tweed beating Burleigh (Burleigh won last time) and the Hunters cleaning out the Falcons (of course, Sunny Coast claimed victory in the previous rendevous). So I’m basically doing the opposite of the round 3 results, except for Redcliffe over Wynnum-Manly because that’s just good sense.