Despite being a post-Origin round, if everyone sticks to the form guide for a change, it should be a somewhat easy round to tip. That said, I’ve had a shocking year so I don’t doubt that there will be some “upsets” as I would prefer to think of them but what everyone else calls “blindingly friggin obvious”.
New South Wales (49-2-59) @ Queensland (59-2-49)
Sure, why not? I don’t know anything and I’ve tipped both games wrong. Queensland fixed their game up after the first round. The Maroons will be playing at a packed Suncorp Stadium with standing room only. The poetic justice would be sweet if the NSW “dynasty” lasted for a game and a half.
I’m going to give you some free advice, New South Wales. You can’t build a dynasty on Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney. James Tedesco is pretty good but if Nathan Peats was any good, he’d be playing for a team other than the Titans. None of these guys are the once-in-a-generation players that have been at the core of the Maroons for the last decade and by sheer dint of coincidence, managed to be in the same state side. Instead the Blues have good, even great, players who are not future Immortals. That is why it will not be a dynasty but it may be more even in future. On that basis, I may start flipping a coin next year because it’s as good as any other system.
Round 15 was great with each game was more exciting than the last, except for the first one and the last one and there was only four games. Round 16 is ahead with some tricky fixtures: 1st vs 2nd, 3rd vs 5th, 11th vs 12th and the always celebrated 14th vs 16th. There’s also an Origin game where New South Wales are going to try to stitch up their first series in a few years.
Queensland (58-2-49) @ New South Wales (49-2-58)
The core issue the Maroons faced in the last game is that they were roughly as effective as the Belgian border at stopping the Germans, which is the Blues forward pack in this poor choice of an analogy.
The Blues’ forwards were so good that they didn’t even bother selecting Paul Vaughan in what I assume is an example of classic anti-Italian bias in the NSWRL selectors panel (Germans again). Andrew Fifita, meanwhile, continues to weigh a, literally, solid 15kg over any of the Queensland forwards. While the Storm contained him fairly well when they played the Sharks recently, Origin seems to get him pretty fired up and the physics of momentum is his friend.
The Queensland selection changes seemed to be made due to public and media pressure. If you believed Slater was good enough for game 2, why not pick him for game 1? It’s not like Darius Boyd was the weak point in the team. Adding Valentine Holmes, yet another fullback, feels like someone has not analysed the issues correctly in a panic to be seen to be fixing the problem.
While I’m tipping NSW, I do hope that everyone that wrote the Queensland dynasty’s obituary before the second game was stitched up are shown up in a hilariously embarrassing way.
I paid the price for my arrogance. I figured that the Raiders and the Warriors were done, dusted, spent forces that would not be able to stand up to even a weakened Roosters or Broncos outfit. They managed it and came home comfortable winners to boot. Scoring just one from four was not a pleasant experience and not one I intend to repeat. At least the rating systems had an excuse – there was nowhere to put the information that Origin is upon us – but for me, only failure.
As suggested, not a great round. No one got above 1 in 4 except good old Eratosthenes, who correctly tipped Canberra over Easts, so there hasn’t been much movement since last week. So far this year listening to the two “form” Elo rating systems would have been less effective than listening to a coin.
After round 12:
New South Wales (48-2-58) @ Queensland (58-2-48)
It’s the first of the three big games that keeps rugby league relevant in this country. The opening round of State of Origin will be played at Suncorp in Brisbane in front of a not-quite-capacity crowd thanks to a dipshit ticket pricing structure. It’s the showpiece of the entire sport so if you did run rugby league, you would want to ignore the fact that it didn’t sell out in five minutes in one of your most important markets. It’s called “giving the people what they want at a price just above what they can afford”. Look it up.