NRL 2008 ~ Round 25 Tips

29 08 2008

Roosters vs Rabbitohs

The seasons first controversy erupted from it’s very first game this year with the now infamous “prowler tackle” by Riley Brown on Craig Wing which resulted in Wing missing 12 weeks to the she shoulder injury he sustained (he had a sore wing). The Bunnies will be fired up to make amends for their subsequent loss and Craig Wing will be out to potentially put the first nail in the coffin of the Roosters’ top 4 aspirations. Both sides have struggled for any real form over the last two months with the Roosters claiming just 2 wins from their last 8 matches while the Rabbitohs have managed 3.

Of the two though, the Roosters look the better side on paper and have a lot more to play for by finishing in the top half of the 8.

Roosters by 10

Tigers vs Sharks

Again the Tigers look ready to stumble at the end of the season always finding ways to lose games that they should be winning. This is another of those games. The Sharks, though they will deny it, will be somewhat scarred from the fallout over this week’s Greg Bird incident and should be ripe for the picking. Robbie Farah is out of the Tigers side with an ankle injury and Brett Hodgson will likely miss his farewell match at Leichardt Oval due also to injury.

The absence of these two cannot be used as an excuse with the Tigers having won matches this year including their match earlier in the year against the Sharks. They have shown they have players capable of filling the gaps. Amazingly, the Tigers have not lost any of their previous 9 games against the Shire Boys, a run stretching back to round 18, 2003.

Tigers by 10

Knights vs Storm

The Knights will tell us they want to win this game for inspirational skipper Danny Buderus who sustained a season, hence NRL career given his retirement plan, ending injury last weekend. Whoever plays hooker for them for the rest of the season will not be wearing the number 9 jersey as it has been retired for the rest of the season out of respect for one of the greatest players of the modern era. With Buderus though go the Knights’ hopes of a premiership and perhaps even a top 8 finish.

Meanwhile, the Storm boys have been on a rampage over the last 5 weeks amassing 136 points while conceding only 34 for a match average of 27 – 7(ish). Once again, they are head and shoulders above the competition at the right end of the season and should have no trouble getting through this game with the two premiership points. This will undoubtedly secure them the minor premiership for the third consecutive season.

Storm by 20

Cowboys vs Raiders

The Cowboys may as well start packing their bags for this year’s end of season trip because things are not going to get any better for them over the next two weeks. Jonathan Thurston seems to be playing a lone hand and quite rightly might decide to holiday without his team mates this year. They come into this game with no form apart from one win three weeks ago against fellow cellar dwellers, the Bulldogs.

The Raiders had yet another great win last weekend and have now got the second highest points for record in this years comp. Each week they seem to struggle to find 17 fit players to run onto the park yet every week they produce the most exciting football the NRL has seen since the Tigers in 2005. More of the same in this one.

Raiders by 16

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NRL 2008 ~ Round 22 Tips

8 08 2008

Really quickly:

Sea Eagles vs Storm

Sea Eagles have won 5/6 at Brookvale against ther Storm and that trend will continue. The match will resemble the Greco-Roman Wrestling at the Olympics.

Sea Eagles by 8

Dragons vs Tigers

Although this is a Dragons home game the Tigers have had the wood on them for a few years now. More of the same tonight.

Tigers by 14

Bulldogs vs Cowboys

Battle for the wooden spoon with the Cowboys to take honours.

Cowboys by 12

Sharks vs Rabbitohs

Sharks have won five in a row. This will be six.

Sharks by 20

Warriors vs Broncos

Broncos are light on as far as their full strength side goes and the Warriors always trouble them. Think the Broncos will hold on though.

Broncos by 8

Roosters vs Eels

Roosters will be aiming for some solid performances heading into the finals. They’ll start turning it on from here.

Roosters by 16

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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

Queensland

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

Coach

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 »





QUEENSLAND PASSION

27 06 2008

First of all, I DID NOT write the following. It was written by a Rugby League fan and one can only assume he had been drinking at the time. It was written by someone on one of the forums I sometimes frequent. I know them only as Ser. Here, unedited except for some nice photos, is his spin on Queensland’s much vaunted state passion:

Queenslanders have long regarded state pride and passion their domain, something that no other state can match, and it is apparently exemplified during the yearly SoO campaign. Time and again we hear that it was passion that got them over the line, that Queenslanders somehow acquire more skills, stamina and doggedness when wearing maroon, that NSW cannot match Queensland for passion either within the team or even within the stadium. We’ve seen numerous NSW identities also buy this bunkum and trot it out as an excuse for a NSW game or series loss – “I wish NSW would show the same passion….”, “Qeenslanders believe in each other….” etc.

You want the truth? If you are a Queensland supporter chances are you cannot handle the truth, but here it is nonetheless. It ain’t passion, it’s fear. Fear of failure. Fear of NSW dominance. Fear of a loss of identity.

Queensland RL rightly fears failure. At a state level, through no fault of their own, NSW HAS dominated Qld over the last century. This is due to rules made by NSWelshmen that ensured Queensland had to compete without those players who were talented enough to make it in THE BIG LEAGUE. This uneven playing field lasted for a third of the century of League in Australia. There was also failure at club level. Queensland provided Australia with the first Rugby League club – is this recognised? Nope. Why not? Because the QRL did not become the DOMINANT competition in Australia, that honour goes to…… yep, NSW under the NSWRL banner. The victors in any form of competition get to write the history, whether it is correct or not. Who wouldn’t be afraid of failing in those circumstances….again.
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NRL 2008 ~ Round 16 Preview

27 06 2008

This is the last week this year where teams will be affected by State of Origin duties and for a team such as the Broncos, suffering injuries on top of heavy State of Origin representation, it can’t pass soon enough. Last week’s football was an amazing round with 6 of the 8 games being decided by one or two points. the other two games unfortunately were absolute blow outs.

Broncos 19 def Tigers 18

Dragons 13 def Panthers 12

Storm 48 def Cowboys 20

Bulldogs 18 lost Raiders 58

Warriors 14 lost to Sea Eagles 20

Sharks 16 def Eels 14

Knights 14 lost to Roosters 16

Rabbitohs 24 def Titans 23 (talk about an upset)

This week should see some of the lower placed sides taking wins against sides they may not have got near at any other time this season and two of those games kick off the weekend’s NRL action on Friday night.

Panthers vs Broncos

An already depleted panthers outfit put up a brave fight last week against the much stronger Dragons, while the Broncos with their uninjured Origin stars in the side snuck home for a lucky win against an undersized Tigers outfit. The Panthers should be able to win this one even without Petro Civoniceva even though the Broncos forward still pack some punch, their backs will be their downfall.

Panthers by 10

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State of Origin 2 – 2008: Scott Prince Returns

9 06 2008

FINALLY, Scott Prince is in the Queensland State of Origin side after a ten match absence, even if it is due to an ongoing injury to skipper, Darren Lockyer. Lockyer pulled out of Wednesday night’s game on Sunday after trying to give his knee as much time as possible to come good for the return bout at Suncorp Stadium.

One of the reasons given by selectors for not including Prince in game 1 is that he is, apparently, a poor defender. Granted, he doesn’t average as many tackles per game as some halfbacks in the NRL but it isn’t his job to make 30 tackles a game. However, the effectiveness of his defence (77%) is only marginally worse than his New South Wales counterpart Wallace (79%) but better than the guy he is replacing, Lockyer (74%) and Thurston (75%) and on a par with Greg Bird when playing 5/8. It doesn’t seem like sound reasoning to me.

He is a genius with the ball in hand and is in the top three halfbacks for try assists and line break assists, and has one of the lowest error counts and penalties conceded. In fact, I think Queensland will lose nothing with Lockyer unavailable and Thurston and Prince in the halves. It will give them real creativity either side of the ruck, great kicking options and yet another goal kicker.

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