NRL 2008 ~ Round 19 Preview

18 07 2008

Yes, I am back after another hiatus, this time family enforced. Damn nuisances with their by-pass surgery. Anyway, gonna be snappy this week so straight into it.

Cowboys vs Broncos.

Broncos captain Darren Lockyer returned last week after yet another recovery period for his injured knee. Cowboys skipper Jonathan Thurston is out, after having minor knee surgery on his meniscus (?), for up to six weeks. Cowboys will not win again until he returns and this week will see the Broncos deliver them their 11th straight loss.

Broncos by 20

Sea Eagles vs Eels

Sea Eagles are the team to beat at the moment having won 9 of their last 10 matches. Eels are without sensational five eighth Feleti Mateo and Luke Burt has been dropped from first grade. Their forwards are their biggest problem though and will be no match for the Sea Eagles pack. However, if history is any thing to go by this is the one game the Eels are most likely to lift for. I’ll go with the upset.

Eels by 6

Titans vs Panthers

After their sensational win against top four side the Roosters last week the Titans now know they can win without Prince and Bailey. Expect that confidence to be on show. Panthers have been solid without being sensational.

Titans by 10

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State of Origin 3 – 2008: A Kid Made For Origin

1 07 2008

With the series level at one all, it has come down to a decider for the right to claim interstate dominance in 2008. Queensland have named an unchanged line up after an emphatic 30 – 0 victory in game 2 three weeks ago. NSW have made 5 changes though it can be argued only one of those is an actual selection decision. Missing through injury are Peter Wallace, Mark Gasnier and Greg Bird while Jarryd Hayne comes back into the side for Steve Turner after being suspended for game 2. The only “change” therefore is dropping Steve Simpson in favour of Ben Cross. In for the injured players are Mitchell Pearce, Joel Monaghan and Braith Anasta.

How the sides line up:

New South Wales


Brett Stewart

1. Fullback

Karmichael Hunt

Jarryd Hayne

2. Wing

Darius Boyd

Joel Monaghan

3. Centre

Greg Inglis

Matt Cooper

4. Centre

Brent Tate

Anthony Quinn

5. Wing

Israel Falou

Braith Anasta

6. Five Eighth

Jonathan Thurston

Mitchell Pearce

7. Halfback

Scott Prince

Willy Mason

8. Prop

Steve Price

Danny Buderus (c)

9. Hooker

Cam Smith (c)

Brett White

10. Prop

Petero Civoniceva

Craig Fitzgibbon

11. Second Row

Michael Crocker

Ryan Hoffman

12. Second Row

Ashley Harrison

Paul Gallen

13. Lock

Dallas Johnson

Kurt Gidley

14. Interchange

Billy Slater

Ben Cross

15. Interchange

Ben Hannant

Anthony Laffranchi

16. Interchange

Nate Myles

Anthony Tupou

17. Interchange

Sam Thaiday

Craig Bellamy


Mal Meninga

Willie Mason has been named at prop for NSW for the fifth time in three years. In his last four games in the front row for NSW they have had mixed results, two wins and two losses. This appears to not only be an attempt to get the big fella involved more in the middle of the park, but also to blunt the effect of Queensland’s work-horse props, Price and Civoniceva. This may work against the Blues with the Queensland side likely to send a lot of traffic at him in the opening 20 minutes to sap his energy.

As a Queenslander I think Mason may just hold the key for New South Wales though. Normally a man who likes to talk himself and his game up in the media prior to big matches, he has been awfully quiet for the last nine days. Could this mean he is concentrating more on the game rather than getting himself heard? I hope it’s just that Craig Bellamy has slapped a media ban on him. Whatever the reason, Mason loves being involved in the game and, even if he does only last twenty minutes in each half I get the feeling that it will be these periods which will give the Blues their best chance of stopping Queensland winning three series in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

NRL 2008 ~ Round 10

16 05 2008

This is supposed to be a preview but the first games start in about 20 minutes and I still haven’t had dinner.

SO I am cutting this real short.

Eels vs Roosters – Roosters are missing some forwards due to State of Origin so I’m Tipping the Eels

Titans vs Bulldogs – I’m going Titans at home and with Scott Prince playing to prove his snubbing from the State of Origin was a farce.

Sharks vs Broncos – Broncos are missing plenty due to Origin as well but the Sharks are missing their two best in Gallen and Bird. Broncos in a tight one.

Dragons vs Storm – Storm are most heavily effected by Origin but Dragons are without their star centres. Storm for mine.

Sea Eagles vs Cowboys – Sea Eagles have one origin rep and the Cowboys are without too many (Origin and injury). Sea Eagles to run riot.

Panthers vs Warriors – Panthers are improving and the Warriors travel poorly. Panthers to slug out a win.

Knights vs Tigers – Knights have Marshall and Farah returning this week. Newcastle are down on personnel as well. Tigers comfortably.

Raiders vs Rabbitohs – Raiders at home should be too strong for the Bunnies who are still at the bottom of the table. Raiders by 10(?).

No time for pictures Don. Help me out. (done – D)

NRL 2008 ~ Round 4 Preview (April 4 – 7)

4 04 2008

Oh dear. 3/8 last week. These early rounds are harder to pick than a broken nose.

Eels 24 def Knights 23

Broncos 36 def Cowboys 2

Roosters 10 def Storm 6

Raiders 21 def Dragons 14

Titans 18 def Sharks 4

Panthers 26 def Rabbitohs 22

Bulldogs 32 def Tigers 12

Sea Eagles 52 def Warriors 6

Now I have to be quick again this week so many apologies.

Storm vs Broncos

Hard road trip for the Broncos but the Sharks proved Melbourne are beatable at home. Brisbane will also be without Justin Hodges and PJ Marsh and possibly Darren Lockyer again. Storm will be looking for a big improvement from Cooper Cronk.

Storm by 10

Bulldogs vs Roosters

Big clash with the Bulldogs apparently out to seek revenge on their former stars now wearing the tri-colours especially Willy Mason. Roosters will be in a better position with less emotion in the camp.

Roosters by 8

Dragons vs Sharks

Both were very disappointing last weekend and Sharks are without Paul Gallen – out for three weeks for gouging at an opposing players face. Dragons need to get the ball to Gasnier a lot more.

Dragons by 10

Titans vs Raiders

Titans are great at home (75% win record) and Canberra are terrible away from home. Titans pack will be too good giving Prince a lot of space.

Titans by 16

Cowboys vs Eels

You have to go back to the 2000 season to find the last time the Eels won at Dairy Farmers Stadium. News last night was that Matt Bowen had been ruled out placing more emphasis on Thurston. Eels though have been performing alright while the Cowboys have conceded 102 points in the first three rounds.

Eels by 12

Sea Eagles vs Rabbitohs

The Sea Eagles returned to ominous form last week end while the Rabbitohs continue to struggle. They blame this on the early loss of Craig Wing when the side they have been fielding is much the same as the one that made the semis last season. Will be more effected by the loss of hooker Isaac Luke.

Sea Eagles by 34

Warriors vs Knights

Warriors are a different side at home. Last week’s heavy loss at Brookvale was just typical of their form. Knights had impressive patches against the Eels last weekend but will struggle across the Tasman.

Warriors by 12

Tigers vs Panthers

Tigers were out gunned late in the game last weekend. Two late tries to the Bulldogs flattered the score line. They still managed an 80% completion rate and this will win them more games than they’ll lose. Robbie Farah is in doubt with back soreness. Panthers came close to losing last week against the Rabbitohs after squandering a 16 point half time lead to win by just four. They’ll need a lot of possesion, ie Tigers’ mistakes, to make a go of this one.

Tigers by 12

NRL 2008 ~ Round 3 Preview (March 28 – 31)

28 03 2008

What a shocker last week. If you followed my advice you would have only got two from eight in your tipping comp. This week throws up some more close calls with another QLD derby thrown into the mix.

Round 2 results:
Broncos 20 def Roosters 14
Bulldogs 25 def Rabbitohs 12
Raiders 20 def Panthers 16
Knights 13 def Sea Eagles 12
Tigers 30 def Cowboys 10
Warriors 30 def Eels 16
Sharks 17 def Storm 16
Dragons 30 def Titans 12

Round 3:
Eels vs Knights
With Tim Smith and Nathan Hindmarsh returning to the side, the Eels should be much better performed especially defensively. They missed 47 tackles last week against the Warriors so will need to improve drastically.

The Knights have uncovered another great your half in Scott Dureau, and in tandem with Jarrod Mullen they have a new halves pairing that will win them another premiership in a couple of years. Dureau looked like a veteran in the way he ordered his forwards around and was dead calm under pressure to kick the deciding field goal.
Eels by 4

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NRL 2008 ~ Round 2 Preview (March 21 – 24)

21 03 2008

I have to keep it short and sweet this week as I’m on borrowed time on a borrowed computer. Yes your intrepid correspondant is on holidays. YAY for me.

First of all, last weeks results:

Roosters 34 def Rabbitohs 20

Titans 36 def Cowboys 18

Eels 28 def Bulldogs 20

Sharks 16 def Sea Eagles 10

Knights 30 def Raiders 14

Broncos 48 def Panthers 12

Tigers 24 def Dragons 16

Storm 32 def Warriors 18

Rabbitohs vs Bulldogs

Rabbitohs for mine. Bulldogs proved last week they don’t have the forwards for a tough contest.

Rabbitohs by 12

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NRL 2008 ~ Round 1 Preview (March 14 – 17)

14 03 2008

Rabbitohs vs Roosters

The two remaining foundation clubs go head to head in what should be a great contest.Mason welcomed to the Roosters The Rabbitohs had their most successful year last year in nearly twenty years and the Roosters finished the season with five wins and a draw in their last eight matches.

One of those wins was in the final round against the Rabbitohs 26-12. With the addition of O’Meley and Mason to their forwards I don’t see things going any differently this time round and their forwards should be far too dominant.

Rooster by 10

Titans vs Cowboys

An all QLD affair for the first NRL match at the Titans new stadium. Jonathan Thurston is rumoured to be returning early from injury for this clash to bolster the Cowboys attack. If he does it will really put the icing on the cake of what I am tipping as the match of the round.

This will pit him directly against the guy from whom he took the QLD and Australian no.7 jersey. I can’t the only thing separating the two sides is the outside backs with the Cowboys slightly better off with the experience of Bowen, and Williams. However with the home ground advantage I think the Titans will scrape home.

Titans by 6

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