NRL Predictions – Round 2

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Following a disaster of a round in NRL Predictions last week, will rugby league writer Daniel Boss be able to redeem himself this week? Read to find out if you think that he can.

Wow, what a bad week for yours truly last week. Not only did I only correctly predict one game correctly in round one, but I also saw my beloved Tigers get flogged by the rival Dragons. I hate the Dragons so much and their supporters were celebrating like they had won the Grand Final. Ah, Dragons Army. You only beat the Tigers, but I digress.

There were a lot of issues to come out of the first round of the competition. Low crowds, new rules, the removal (it seems) of some old rules and people still complaining about the outlawing of the shoulder charge. I will discuss all of these in this week’s podcast aside from the low crowd issue, which I will write about later in the week, so stay tuned to the Blindside Sport website for both of those. Also, I will talk more fantasy in the podcast as well, so my analysis of the games will be less focused on fantasy and more on the result which is the same as last year.

As mentioned above, I had a dreadful week in tipping. I can’t remember the last time that I only got one tip right and as a result, I am coming last in all of my tipping comps. For those in a similar situation, I implore you to stay patient. Sure, it was a bad start but it’s only Round 1. There’s plenty of time to make up ground. I sure hope that I do.

2014 statistics

  • Lock of the week: 0/1
  • Upset of the week: 0/1

Manly Sea Eagles v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Tip: Souths. The Rabbits were the most impressive team in the first round of the NRL. Despite injuries to key players, Souths completely outplayed the defending premiers. I can’t tip against them this week. The Sea Eagles completely blew the game against Melbourne last round. In addition to that bad loss, they lost Brett Stewart with injury. This team is nowhere near as good with him out of the team. To cover the loss of Stewart, Hiku moves from wing to fullback and David Williams is named to take Hiku’s place on the wing. Also, Jason King is added to the 5-man bench. Souths have named an unchanged side from 1 to 17, with Joel Reddy and Kyle Turner again added to the extended bench.

Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys

Tip: Cowboys. Last week, the Broncos did enough to get over the line. Ben Barba was in good form and if he keeps this up, then Brisbane will be a chance in most games this season. Having said that, they only just beat a disappointing Bulldogs team. The Cowboys were impressive when they finally kicked into gear after 30 minutes of their game. Johnathan Thurston was very impressive and I think that he will lead his side to victory, particularly as the Cowboys are far stronger in the halves. Both sides have named unchanged sides from 1 to 17, but both have named 18 men, with David Hala for the Broncos and Ashton Sims for the Cowboys.

New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons

Tip: Warriors. I’m giving the Warriors one more chance. They were quite bad last round, which was not unexpected from me. They should be too strong in this game and they are at home. If this was in Sydney, I would be tipping the Dragons. As for the Dragons, they comprehensively beat the Tigers last Sunday. However, I didn’t think that they really threw a lot at the Tigers in attack. The Tigers’ poor defence made the Dragons look a lot better than they actually were. Having said that, Gareth Widdop played quite well and looks to be relishing a more senior role in this team. For the Warriors, Jerome Ropati is named to start in the centres for Tuimavave and Ben Henry is added to the extended bench. As for the Dragons, Sam Williams replaces the injured Witt at halfback. Also, the injury to De Belin means that Frizell and Hunt are named to start at prop, while Bronson Harrison is added to the bench.

Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers

Tip: Storm. Melbourne showed how much grit and determination that they have in their comeback victory over Manly last round. As they are back at home and with Cooper Cronk back in the team, I can’t see them losing. Penrith were quite good last round, however they did beat a side that lost their fullback after 15 minutes and their hooker after 30 minutes. No side in the NRL can cope with those two losses, so I’m not sure what to take out of last week’s victory. I do expect them to put up a strong fight but I’m not tipping against the big three at home. For Melbourne, Cronk is named at halfback, while Roberts is named as the 18th man to provide cover if Cronk is unable to play. Penrith have named an unchanged line up for this week’s game.

Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels

Tip: Roosters (Lock of the week). Surely the Roosters can’t let me down twice in a row. I think that they will bounce back from last week’s loss and win this game convincingly. One concern for the Roosters was how much their forwards struggled with the quicker pace of the game. Parramatta were quite good last week, however they did lose Nathan Peats to a club-imposed suspension. Peats was a big factor in the Eels’ win last week and his loss will make a difference. I also thought that the Eels’ centres Willie Tonga and Will Hopoate were impressive last round. Sonny Bill Williams is out due to suspension for this game, with Aubusson moving from the bench to start in the second row. They have added props Remi Casty and Kane Evans, as well as back rower Siosiua Taukeiaho to the 6-man bench. The only change for the Eels from 1 to 17 is the inclusion of Kaysa Pritchard for the suspended Peats, while Mitch Allgood and David Gower have been added to the extended bench.

Gold Coast Titans v Wests Tigers

Tip: Titans. The Titans did enough to win against the Sharks on Monday night, but did not look overly impressive in doing so. They looked to lack some punch in the backline, as most of their backs are not overly big. As for the Tigers, well, what can I say about that performance? To put it simply, it looked like they didn’t want to tackle. Luke Brooks was a liability in defence, as most of the Dragons’ tries went through him. Plus, some of the other tries they conceded were just very soft. On one positive, James Tedesco was quite impressive and looks to be fully over his knee injury from 2012. The Titans have named an unchanged line up, with the only addition of Ryan James as the 18th man. The Tigers have named the same 17 that played against the Dragons, as well as Keith Galloway and David Nofoaluma on an extended bench. If these two are fit, then they will play so expect some change to the Tigers side on Sunday.

Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders

Tip: Raiders (Upset of the week). I know that the Knights lost a lot of key players in last week’s game but they were very ordinary in the first half against Penrith when they still had most of their players on the field. I think that they will be better at home this week but I’m not sure how much better. Canberra were quite impressive, especially in the first 30 minutes against the Cowboys. I’m particularly interested to see how Jack Wighton goes at five eight. He didn’t have the best game there last round, but he will need to be better if the Raiders are to win. Gidley moves to fullback to replace Boyd, which means that Waddell is named to start at hooker. The additions to the bench for the Knights are David Fa’alogo, Matt Minto and Jake Mamo. Minto and Mamo are there to cover for Gidley and Roberts, if they are unable to recover from concussions. As for the Raiders, they have named an unchanged side.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks

Tip: Bulldogs. The Dogs are another team that I’m giving another chance. They were very uninspiring last Friday night against the Broncos. After one round, I’m already doubting my prediction of 3rd for them and they need to show a lot more in attack. As for the Sharks, they are much depleted right now and are well under strength. The injury to Paul Gallen and possible suspension to Andrew Fifita certainly isn’t helping things. If the Dogs can’t win this game, then they surely won’t too many games this season. It’s a must win for them. The only change to the Bulldogs side is the addition of Moses Mbye to the 5-man bench. Todd Carney has been named at five eight for the Sharks, which means that Graham moves back to the second row, Arona moves to lock for the injured Gallen. Fifita has been named but may miss the game to suspension. The only other addition is Chris Heighington to the extended bench.

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