It is only three weeks until Origin I and in preparation for this year’s series, I will start a topic on the forums part of the website going through each position and analysing the depth in each position for both New South Wales and Queensland. Make sure you keep an eye on it and please reply if you would like to share your opinion.
Last week was a very solid week for me in regards to the tipping. Not many people would have tipped Parramatta and Penrith, so I was happy getting the rest right. The lock of the week was successful following Souths’ win over the Cowboys but the upset of the week was not following Newcastle’s loss to Canberra. As there were two upsets last round, this is another unsuccessful selection.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: 8/9
UPSET OF THE WEEK: 2/7*
*: in weeks 2 and 6 there were no upsets
BRISBANE BRONCOS V GOLD COAST TITANS
Tip: Titans. This is a very important game for both teams. The winner will consolidate their place in the Top 8, while the loser will almost certainly fall out of the top 8. The Broncos won the first game between these two teams in Round 5, so the Titans will be looking to take revenge with a win. In my opinion, both teams are pretty even across the board aside from the halves. In my opinion, the pairing of Kelly and Sezer is much stronger than the Broncos pair of Wallace and Hunt. The Broncos have a few changes, with Hunt replacing Prince at five-eight and McGuire starting at prop for Hannant. The additions to the bench are Scott Anderson, Jarrod Wallace and Mitchell Dodds. The only changes for the Titans are the additions of Matt Srama and Mark Ioane to a 6-man bench.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V WESTS TIGERS
Tip: Souths (LOCK OF THE WEEK). This is a no-brainer for lock of the week. Based on the current form, all that Souths will have to do is show up to win this game. Maybe the Tigers should look at organising a boycott of the game, then show up and hope the Rabbits fall for the trick and not show up, resulting in a Tigers win by forfeit. I guess us Tigers supporters are still bitter over a grand final from over a century ago, that was 80 years prior to my birth. The only change in Souths’ starting line-up is the addition of Justin Hunt, who replaces Everingham on one wing. The additions to the extended bench are Farrell and Lima. The Tigers have a few changes, with Fulton moving to five-eight and Thompson starting in the second row. This has meant that Benji Marshall will start this game from the bench. It is amazing to think that at the start of last season, Marshall and Adam Blair were the respectively the captain and vice-captain of New Zealand. Both would not be selected if a team had to be picked today. The only other change is the addition of Seumanufagai to the 5-man bench.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS V PARRAMATTA EELS
Tip: Dragons. Last week, Jarryd Hayne inspired the Eels to a victory while the Dragons got some of their own medicine as they lost by a point. However, I think that the result will be reversed this weekend. The main reason being that the Dragons are at home, as they are a better team when playing at home while the Eels are much less successful away from Parramatta Stadium. The clash of the fullbacks will be one to watch, as the returning, one-time NSW fullback Josh Dugan lines up against probable NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne. Dugan comes into the Dragons side at fullback, with Nightingale moving to the wing and Quinlan out. Matt Cooper is named to start in the centres, while last week’s replacement Prior is named on the bench. The only change for Parramatta is the omission of Lussick, with Junior Paulo replacing him on the bench.
PENRITH PANTHERS V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Tip: Panthers. This game is not an easy one to pick. Penrith had a massive win last week in defeating the previously table-topping Storm, while the Warriors let go a 16-point lead against the Bulldogs. The Warriors seem to fade in and out of games, which is one reason why they are lowly placed on the ladder. As for Penrith, I am unsure how they will back up last week’s big effort. They are at home and Ivan Cleary is very familiar with the Warriors, which is why I’m tipping them in this game. The Panthers have named an unchanged line-up, while the only change for the Warriors is the return of Sam Rapira, with Matulino named on an extended bench.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Tip: Roosters. The Cowboys were a lot better last week and were a bit unlucky against Souths. Although it doesn’t get any easier for them as they face the Roosters, who are impressing more and more with each game that they play. With that said, I still give the Cowboys a good chance to win this game. The Roosters will only have 5 days to recover from the tough game against Manly and it is being played up in Townsville. The Cowboys are currently on the fringe of the top 8, so this is a chance for them to make a statement and start to climb up the ladder. The only addition for the Cowboys is the naming of Jason Taumalolo as the 18th man, while the Roosters have named n unchanged team. However, Waerea-Hargreaves will not play after being suspended for the high tackle that controversially caused him to be sent off on Monday night.
CRONULLA SHARKS V CANBERRA RAIDERS
Tip: Raiders (UPSET OF THE WEEK). To put it simply, the Raiders are playing too well to not tip them at the moment. Cronulla will be looking for payback for the finals defeat last year, but they have not shown enough this year for me to tip them. Sure, they did beat the Tigers convincingly, but nearly all teams would have. Then again, you can never be sure which Raiders team comes out to play. During the first 20 minutes of last week’s game, it looked like the same old unpredictable Raiders were at it again. Following that was an avalanche from the Green Machine. The only addition for Cronulla is the naming of Mark Taufua as 18th man. For Canberra, Shillington and Papalii are named to start at prop and second row respectively, while Tilse and Picker are named on the bench. Shaun Berrigan has been named as 18th man.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
Tip: Bulldogs. Based solely on the eye test, if you said that Newcastle was currently coming 5th at the moment, I would have said that you were a liar. The Knights have not been able to take advantage of their good start to the season and now look like a mediocre team. The Dogs have now quietly put together 3 wins in a row, which has seen them climb the ladder to the fringe of the top 8. This is a big game for both sides and even though the Knights are at home (where they are much stronger) I like the Dogs in this one. While Canterbury has yet to find their 2012 form, they have been improving over the past few weeks and I think that they will be too good. The Knights have quite a few changes, with Joseph Leilua replacing Tahu in the centres, Jarrod Mullen returning to start at five-eight, which moves Gidley into hooker and Waddell back to the bench. I really like this move, as hooker is Gidley’s best position and halfback Roberts needs to play the entire game. Fa’alogo replaces the dropped Houston at lock, while Neville Costigan replaces Clydsdale on the bench. For Canterbury, Krisnan Inu returns from suspension and replaces Lafai in the centres. The only other changes for the Dogs are the additions of Martin Taupau and Tim Browne to a 6-man bench.
MELBOURNE STORM V MANLY SEA EAGLES
Tip: Storm. Following strong starts to the 2013 season, Melbourne have lost their last two games, while Manly have lost 2 of their last 3. While definitely not a desperate game for both sides, a win would be much welcome as it will get either side back on track. If any game will motivate these two teams, it is a clash against each other. I think Melbourne will win this one as the game is in Melbourne, the Storm have one extra day to rest and Manly’s attack is somewhat struggling without Brett Stewart. Lagi Setu is the 18th man for Melbourne, while 1 to 17 are unchanged from last round. The only change for Manly is the addition of Tom Symonds to an extended bench.
‘BEAT THE BOSS’
There is now a three-way tie at the top of the fantasy league table, with the two games that caused this tie decided by 6 points or less last round. My Bandits were able to overcome the Buzzing Hornets 512-511, while Pearce’s Pride defeated P7Panthers 507-501. The other four teams in the competition scored less than 500 points, as the Crackalackers beat the Pit Dogs 437-334 and R.Lewis+Denzel’s beat the Funky Bunch 480-456. Next rounds’ games are:
- Pearce’s Pride v Harkonnen Pit Dogs
- R.Lewis+Denzel’s v P7Panthers
- Buzzing Hornets v The Crackalackers
- Boggabri Bandits v The Funky Bunch