ORIGIN I PREVIEW
Both sides have been named, with a few question marks still lingering over the Queensland team. Both States have named strong sides, with some interesting decisions especially on the bench. Both sides have selected more back rowers than front rowers, so both are looking for mobility in their forward packs. In my opinion, Queensland’s bench is a little thin. Papalii and Te’o (provided he actually does play) will provide some impact, while Parker and McQueen are hard-working back rowers that might not provide the same impact. The selection of Reynolds on the bench for New South Wales is a conservative selection, as the main reason he was chosen over Sutton was to provide a backup hooker if Farah goes down. Aside from that, I’m not surprised or overly critical over the selections. The starting side for Queensland is the same as the team that won last series. New South Wales have a few new players but a majority of last year’s squad are in this side.
In regards to who has the advantage, I’ll break it down between the backs, forwards and the bench. Queensland obviously has the edge in the backline, I think both teams are fairly even in the starting forward pack and I believe that NSW have the better bench. I am really looking forward to the impact that Watmough, Fifita and Merrin will provide. Also, NSW will get 10 to 15 aggressive minutes from Reynolds at least. If your opinion differs from mine, let me know your opinion by commenting to this page or by adding to the forums started last weekend. It will be another close series, so BRING IT ON! Most importantly, GO THE MIGHTY BLUES!
ROUND 12 PREDICTIONS
Last week was an absolute disaster for yours truly in regards to the tipping, as I only got 1 from 8. If you’re still reading this article for my tips this week, then you are very brave. Or stupid. One of the two. Yet, the Tigers won. That made me happy. There were plenty of upsets last week, but I didn’t get the upset of the week and the lock of the week was also unsuccessful.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: 9/11
UPSET OF THE WEEK: 2/9*
*: in weeks 2 and 6 there were no upsets
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS V ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Tip: Bulldogs. Ben Barba showed a few glimpses of his 2012 form. He, much like his team, is slowly but surely improving. The Dogs are now quietly in 10th and a couple of wins away from breaking into the top 8. The Dragons loss to Penrith last round was a big blow for their finals aspirations. Despite showing good form at times during 2013, they are still placed in 13th. A win here would be a big boost, but I can’t see it happening as Canterbury is only slightly impacted by Origin. The only change from the team named to last week’s side is the omission of Morris, with Brown moving to the centres and Drury Low named on the wing. Josh Reynolds has been named to start at five eight, despite being a late call up to New South Wales. Martin Taupau is named as the 18th man. The Dragons have lost Morris on Origin duty, with Vidot moving to the wing and Matt Prior named to start in the centres. Merrin is also out, with Frizzell moving from the bench to start at lock. Leeson Ah Mau is the player added to the bench.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS V NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Tip: Souths. Both sides suffered losses last round, with Souths losing at Cronulla in horrid conditions and the Knights yet again disappointed as they were soundly beaten by the Warriors. Both sides have been somewhat impacted by Origin and injury, but both have still named solid teams. I think Souths will be too strong in this one, although I do expect the Knights to show a lot more fight than they did last weekend. For Souths, Inglis is out, Merritt moves to fullback and Andrew Everingham comes onto the wing. Tyrrell is named to start at prop, with George Burgess named on the bench. McQueen and Te’o are out, with Lowe and Sam Burgess named in the second row and Peats named to start at lock. However, Sam Burgess is out of this game to suspension, despite being named. A replacement has yet to be named. Justin Hunt and Jeff Lima are the additions to the bench. Kevin Naiqama replaces Boyd at fullback for Newcastle and Peter Mata’utia replaces Uate on one wing. Waddell replaces Gidley at starting hooker and Jeremy Smith returns to start at lock, which moves Fa’alogo to the bench. Adam Clydesdale is added to the bench, while Costigan has been omitted.
GOLD COAST TITANS V NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Tip: Titans (LOCK OF THE WEEK). The Titans have only been slightly impacted by Origin, while the Cowboys have lost their three best players to Origin and their fullback to injury. The Cowboys have struggled to score points with Thurston in the team, so I expect their troubles to continue without him in the team. As for the Titans, they bounced back to form with a thumping of Parramatta last round. While a win against the Eels isn’t overly impressive, the manner in which they won was. For the Titans, Douglas is named to start at prop for Myles, Dave Taylor replaces Bird in the back row and Luke O’Dwyer is named at lock for Harrison. Jamie Dowling is the addition to the bench. Clint Greenshields comes in to fullback for Bowen for North Queensland. Winterstein moves into the centres for Tate, with Kalifa Faifai Loa named on one wing. Michael Morgan is starting at five eight for Thurston, while Ashton Sims is named to start at prop, with Scott and Tamou out. Hall replaces the omitted Cooper in the starting back row, with the additions to the bench being Joel Riethmuller, Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo, Ethan Lowe and Blake Leary.
BRISBANE BRONCOS V NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Tip: Warriors. This is the most intriguing game of Round 12, as this is not a very confident tip because I have no confidence in either side. I just think the Warriors will win as they will have too many points in them, especially against a depleted Brisbane outfit. Having said that, the Warriors play much better at Mt Smart Stadium than they do on any other ground and as this game is in Brisbane, I can easily see the Broncos squeaking a win here. Shaun Johnson needs to stand up and take this game by the scruff of the neck. If that happens, then the Warriors will win. For the Broncos, Hoffman moves into the centres for Hodges and Denan Kemp comes onto one wing. Scott Prince is named to start at five eight, with Hunt named on the bench. Anderson, Nick Slyney and Dunamis Lui are all named to start in the forwards in place of Thaiday, Gillett and Parker respectively. Other additions to the bench include Mitchell Dodds and Aaron Whitchurch. The Warriors only have one change in the starting line-up, with Konrad Hurrell replacing Tuimavave in the centres. Dominique Peyroux is named as the 18th man.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
As they are playing the ever inconsistent Warriors, my UPSET OF THE WEEK is the Brisbane Broncos. As mentioned above, the Warriors have been woeful away from home so far in 2013. Even though the Broncos are depleted, I give them a chance of winning. This is unlike the other three games where I can see the favourites comfortably getting up. Then again, I did tip 1 from 8 last week, so what do I know?
‘BEAT THE BOSS’
In the match of the round, P7Panthers defeated my Bandits 590-534. Pearce’s Pride also won to stay on top of the league. They defeated R.Lewis+Denzel’s 588-361. In the other games, the Crackalackers beat the Funky Bunch 489-359 and the Buzzing Hornets beat the Pit Dogs 383-251. There are games this weekend, despite only having 4 games, so teams will be depleted as a result. We may see a few upsets occur. This week’s games are:
- Pearce’s Pride v Buzzing Hornets
- Boggabri Bandits v R.Lewis+Denzel’s
- The Funky Bunch v Harkonnen Pit Dogs
- The Crackalackers v P7Panthers