Last week was a very successful week for yours truly. Getting 7 tips out of 8 has propelled me up the ladders of the multiple tipping comps that I am in. Also, many people would be happy with me as they are actually using my tips in their tipping comps. However, I would have picked the perfect round had I tipped my Tigers. Although to be perfectly honest, I am quite happy with their improvement in form.
Last week, my lock of the week got up but my upset of the week did not. However, no favourite lost last week, so there was no possible way that I could have picked the upset of the week when there were no upsets.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: 2/2
UPSET OF THE WEEK: 0/1*
*: In round 2, no favourite lost
MELBOURNE STORM V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
Tip: Storm. How can anyone go against Melbourne at the moment? Even though the Storm have a short turnaround, I’m not going to pick against Smith, Cronk and Slater. The Dogs were better last week but still nowhere near the form of last year, that saw them take the minor premiership. Josh Reynolds was a standout and should strongly be considered for a sky blue jumper. One thing to keep an eye out for in this one is the refereeing. After last week’s game, Johnathan Thurston complained about Melbourne’s tactics in the ruck, saying that they were up to their old tricks. I hope that the refs do penalise anything to illegally slow down the game, as the past couple of rounds have seen fast and more exciting football. For Melbourne, Junior Sa’u comes in for Justin O’Neill, Vave drops off the bench, with Moors and Maurice Blair joining an extended bench. The only change for the Dogs is Tim Lafai joining an extended bench. Pritchard and Kasiano have again not been named.
WESTS TIGERS V PARRAMATTA EELS
Tip: Tigers. For the first time in 2013, this Tigers supporter has tipped his team. This game will be billed as Marshall and Farah versus Sandow and Hayne. However, it will be the forward packs that will determine this one. Last week, the Tigers showed that if their forward pack can move down the field, then they have the attack to trouble most teams. Parramatta doesn’t have the biggest pack and have suffered a big blow with the loss of Reni Maitua. However, Hayne will be looking to improve on his disappointing second half against Canterbury. For the Tigers, Woods will start at prop, replacing Galloway who will be out for quite a while. Three players have been added to an extended bench, those being Ava Seumanufagai, Masada Iosefa and Suaso Sue. For Parra, Ken Edwards comes in for Maitua and Ben Roberts starts at five eight, with Joseph Paulo moving back to the bench.
GOLD COAST TITANS V MANLY SEA EAGLES
Tip: Manly (LOCK OF THE WEEK). Well, this idiot predicted that the Sea Eagles will finish 11th in 2013. This is the only prediction that I am regretting at the moment. I did not expect them to completely dominate Newcastle in the manner that they did last weekend. Anthony Watmough in particular, was very impressive. Manly (and NSW) supporters will be hoping that he plays like that for the entire 2013 campaign. As for the Gold Coast, they took the foot off the accelerator at halftime against Canberra. If last week is anything to go by, the last thing you want before a match against Manly is a soft win. The Gold Coast will put up a fight, but Manly should be too classy here. The Titans are unchanged aside from the addition of O’Dwyer to an extended bench. Manly are unchanged from last week.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS V BRISBANE BRONCOS
Tip: Broncos (UPSET OF THE WEEK). The Broncos are not playing a game on Friday night? WOW!!! Seriously, this game is hard to get a real feel for. The Roosters were in control for the majority of the game last weekend, yet only won by 2. As for Brisbane, it took them a long while to get over the top of the Dragons. The reason I’m tipping Brisbane is because their team has been together for longer, hence their combinations have had more time to develop. I think the Roosters will be the better team as the year plays out, but the Broncos should just get home here. A key match-up will be between maligned halves Mitchell Pearce and Peter Wallace. Pearce will need a big game as he looks to retain his NSW jersey from the impressive Adam Reynolds, while Wallace has fallen out of origin talk altogether. For the Roosters, Dylan Napa joins the extended bench in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Hodges has been named despite leaving last week’s game with injury and Dunamis Lui and Nick Slyney join an extended bench.
CRONULLA SHARKS V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Tip: Sharks. Both sides come off two point losses, with both sides looking quite scrappy at times in these defeats. Cronulla will play at home, in front of what should be a passionate crowd. This will be especially the case if Shane Flanagan is reinstated to the head coaching position. It will be interesting to see if the events of the past couple of weeks will have an impact on the Sharks, if it hasn’t already made an impact as they made plenty of uncharacteristic mistakes last week. As for the Warriors, there were signs of improvement. Shaun Johnson is the key for the Warriors. If the Sharks can limit his impact, then they should get up here. Luke Lewis has been named for the Sharks, despite leaving last week’s game injured and Sam Tagataese is named on an extended bench. The Warriors are unchanged and Ben Henry is the 18th man.
PENRITH PANTHERS V SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Tip: Souths. The Rabbits were disappointing in a win against Cronulla last round. They certainly won’t win the premiership if they keep that form up. However, it’s only round 3 so there is no need to panic yet. Adam Reynolds was the star last Monday night and his chances of wearing the NSW number 7 are improving with each performance. As for Penrith, they were very sloppy in their loss to the Tigers. More importantly, they suffered a big blow with the loss of five eight Lachlan Coote for the season. Souths should be far too good and should win comfortably. New signing Tom Humble starts at five eight for Coote and Matt Robinson joins a 5-man bench for the Panthers. Sam Burgess returns to start at prop for Souths, with Lima going back to the bench. Hunt and Clark join an extended bench.
CANBERRA RAIDERS V ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Tip: Raiders (I guess). Who would want to be a Raiders supporter? No words can describe how pitiful the first two performances have been from the Raiders in 2013. Last week was a disaster for the club, with star fullback Josh Dugan getting the sack and a 36-0 drubbing on the Gold Coast. As for the Dragons, they are at least trying hard. They are playing with the same structure as they did during the Wayne Bennett era. The sweep play works if you have a great, ball-playing fullback. Let’s just say that Gerard Beale is no Darius Boyd. If I was Steve Price, I would focus the attack towards their strength, which is their forward pack. Use Nightingale and Morris as support players up the middle. Those two are not getting the ball enough. I’m only tipping Canberra because of the ‘hoodoo’. Even at their best, the Dragons could not somehow overcome the Raiders. I expect this trend to continue, but won’t be surprised if it doesn’t. Brett White returns to start up front for Canberra, with Tilse moving to the bench. Buttriss also returns, starting at hooker and moving Berrigan to the bench. Jake Foster joins a 7-man bench. For the Dragons, Jack Stockwell is the 18th man in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tip: Knights. Aside from the Raiders, these two teams were the two biggest disappointments in Round 2. The Knights were dominated by Manly and questions about their attacking prowess were once again raised after the game. This is a big chance for Newcastle to prove that they are more than a pack of bullies who like to pick on smaller forward packs and put up the white flag when they are challenged. I think they will do that at home this week. North Queensland has been less than impressive in the opening two rounds. They were a bit unlucky last week, yet were still outclassed by Melbourne. Thurston has been good, but the rest of the team needs to support him more. The clash of the forward packs should be good here, even with Willie Mason’s absence. Timana Tahu replaces Gagai in the centres and David Fa’alogo replaces Mason at prop for Newcastle. For the Cowboys, Michael Morgan starts at halfback, replacing Ray Thompson. Kostjasyn and Tariq Sims have been dropped off the bench and Anthony Mitchell, Scott Bolton and Blake Leary join the 5-man bench.
‘BEAT THE BOSS’
After round 2 of the Dream Team draft competition, my mighty Bandits are still atop of the ladder, following a big 486-381 win over the Buzzing Hornets. The only other unbeaten team is Marky Marc’s Funky Bunch, as they defeated R.Lewis+Denzel’s 445-433. The Crackalackers defeated the hapless Pit Dogs 542-348 to climb into the top 4, while the game of the week saw the P7Panthers defeat Pearce’s Pride 546-515. The most anticipated match of round 3 is a top of the table clash between the Bandits and the Funky Bunch. Round 3 fixtures 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