Tag Archives: state of origin

2019 Pacific Tests Tips, State of Origin Previews and Other Rep Weekend Stuff

For rugby league nerds, this weekend is the true rugby league Christmas. We have a phenomenal mix of men’s and women’s games, featuring top line players representing teams from all over the southern hemisphere. There’s a World Cup qualifier in Sydney between the Cook Islands and South Africa. There’s two State of Origin matches, one for each cisgender. We have two women’s internationals, featuring Samoa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, as well as the NRL’s Pacific Invitational with the same teams, except that famously Pacific nation, Lebanon, plays in lieu of New Zealand. The Kiwis will instead be facing down arch rivals Mate Ma’a Tonga to avenge their 2017 World Cup embarrassment in the opening fixture of the new Oceania Cup.

(Also worth a look this weekend in boring old club football: London Broncos vs Hull Kingston Rovers in a relegation battle. Kickoff 4.45AM AEST on Friday)

It’s a feast of rugby league and significantly more tantalising than what the NRL has served up lately. Here’s a bit of insight into each.

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Mitchell Pearce saved Nathan Brown’s career

Scene: C-Bus Stadium, Gold Coast. It’s the twenty-first of April and we’re in round 6 of the 2019 National Rugby League season. At around a quarter to three in the afternoon, the referee blows the whistle for half time.

The Newcastle Knights are down 22 to nil after the worst forty minutes of football in recent memory. The Knights conceded three long range tries to the Titans off the back of errors, compounded with extremely lazy defence.

The Knights fervently loyal fanbase has endured years of failure since the financial demise of Nathan Tinkler in 2014. The club’s ownership was turned over to the NRL and a horror run followed, including three straight wooden spoons and fielding an historically bad 1-22-1 side in 2016.

The club, under the new ownership of the Wests Group, signed Kangaroos prop, David Klemmer, in the 2018-19 off-season. His acquisition was seen to be the last piece of the puzzle to bring the Novocastrians back into contention, joining young superstar Kalyn Ponga and premiership winning halfback Mitchell Pearce.

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Rating the 2019 State of Origin teams

It’s that time of the year again. The weather has just turned cold and the NRL season has built just enough momentum to be interesting and has now been brought to a screeching halt. It’s State of Origin time, the world’s only all-star game that the players actually care about. Naturally, the first question anyone needs to consider is: which team looks stronger on paper?

When it comes to assessing representative games, we don’t have access to the usual team rating tools and, even if we did, the gaps between matches and changes to the teams are so significant that Elo ratings aren’t particularly useful. This year, we can evaluate the Origin teams using Production Per Game (PPG), which is a player rating tool.

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NRL Tips – Round 25, 2018

And we made it. It’s last the tips post for 2018. I plan to do a finals preview, once the top eight is actually decided, and maybe one more recap and then that’s it for a while.

Let’s not delay then and get into it.

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NRL Tips – Round 24, 2018

We’re in the penultimate round of the regular season and can definitely feel the approaching finals footy. There’s still some unfinished business to be resolved, specifically ensuring that the Tigers finish ninth as they are destined to do until the heat death of the universe, or maybe when Jeremy Marshall-King’s backended contract at the Bulldogs forces a transfer to Wests and history can try to repeat with the lesser relative. Or maybe they will have to wait until Benji’s and Robbie’s kids grow up?

In the meantime, my tipping has gone to crap so maybe you should ignore me and go with the Greeks.

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NRL Tips – Round 23, 2018

I kind of liked last week’s format, so I might try to hybridise it with the typical 2018 format. Originally, I wanted to cut down on the time these took to put together but unfortunately I also like to type a lot of garbage. Instead of the Other Games paragraph that I was throwing together and didn’t add much insight, I’m going to flesh those out a bit more but at the expense of making the top three games by MVR a little shorter.

It’s amazing that I’ve been doing this for nearly two seasons and still haven’t settled on a format I really like. Might need to follow the crowd and do a reader survey post-season to help inform it.

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NRL Tips – Round 22, 2018

I’ll be honest, I’m extremely short on time this week, so consider this an express post of tips. If you prefer this format, let me know and I’ll stop wasting my, and your, time every week.

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