Round 8 looms as something to be enjoyed this week, not only is there 5 good games on Saturday in a row, but it is the round before the International break, and not far away to the inconvenience of the bye rounds where 4, 5, and 6 games a week will become the norm for an annoying 10 or so weeks.
If you’re up for it, why not try our famous NRL Drinking Game for the big day on Saturday, after respectfully marking the Anzac Day activities of course.
We attempt to go through the games for this week with our selections for an NRL Super Multi for you to follow/ignore. Unlike an NRL contract we are unable to reverse our bets halfway through the weekend if they’re losing. More on that another time.
FRIDAY 7:45pm – BULLDOGS v WESTS TIGERS
The Tigers will be wondering where that 22-0 lead went last weekend against Canberra at one of their spiritual home grounds of Leichardt Oval, luckily they play away at one of their other home grounds at the Olympic Stadium against the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs had a good win against Manly despite still having players out, and a few more return this weekend to make them even stronger. They should have too much for the young Tigers. This time,
TIP – WEST TIGERS +8.5 start
SATURDAY 11:45am – NZ v GOLD COAST
Two of the most unpredictable teams kick off the Anzac Day 5 game slothfest. Gold Coast turned around a 40-0 loss to Penrith from their first meeting of the season to run out 32-6 winners. NZ ran the Cowboys close on the back of a good win previously against the Tigers. That game saw tries to Manu Vatuvei on his 200th start, and fans of the big man, and who isn’t, will be hoping there’s plenty more coming.
TIP – NEW ZEALAND to win.
SATURDAY 2:00pm – NEWCASTLE v NORTH QLD
This game will be all about the supposed payback of the Cowboys for Beau Scott in the news after he was allowed to “put plenty of pressure” on Johnathan Thurston in the earlier clash of the season. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys hand back some of the punishment they promised.
Away from the potential rough housing the form is interesting reading. The Cowboys looked set for another disappointed season of underachieving and the Knights surprised with four straight wins. Since Round 4 the Cowboys have won all their games and the Knights none. Everything points towards a Cowboys win, but with the Cowboys you can never be sure, and the Knights may have some inspiration playing for the weather affected fans.
TIP – COWBOYS +2.5 start.
SATURDAY 4:00pm – ROOSTERS v DRAGONS
The “traditional” Anzac Day game kicks off at 4pm between two of Sydney’s best. There’ll be plenty of pomp and ceremony in an attempt to emulate the AFL game.
The game will be the usual tough affair, and with Dragons outstanding defence and the Roosters hot and cold attack it should be a reasonably close game. Given their off field dramas and shortish odds for wooden spoon at the beginning of the year, you sit back and wait for the Dragons winning streak to end, but somehow they keep on winning as the opponents get tougher. The Roosters will provide another big step up this weekend.
TIP – UNDER 39.5 points total score
SATURDAY 6:00pm – MELBOURNE v MANLY
The clash of Brookvale in which these two sides were the biggest deal in rugby league must seem a long time ago, especially for the Sea Eagles who are the only side in the comp not to have won three games or more. In fact it is only one win thus far, and they can blame the off field issues with transfers, but that still won’t win anymore games. Non Manly fans (most of the fans of the other 15 teams) will be enjoying their ride at the bottom.
Melbourne on the other hand are doing their usual for the last decade (well, salary cap creativity aside) in leading the competition with a few of their big name stars surrounded by no names, up and comers and discards. No one does more with less than the Storm.
We get the feeling though that if Manly can’t get up for a game against one of the biggest rivals for the last few years, they’ll had one hand on that wooden spoon.
TIP – MANLY +10.5 start.
SATURDAY 8:00pm – BRISBANE v PARRAMATTA
The Broncos and Brisbane fans alike will be wondering what to do on Friday night, as they take to Suncorp Stadium on the unfamiliar surroundings of Saturday night. The game is the last of the 5 planned for Anzac Day, and the rear end could be sore by the end of this game.
Brisbane were unable to beat Parramatta in Sydney last year, and their last up loss to the Dragons could have gone either way without the costly errors. Parramatta surprised the Knights in Newcastle, but away in Brisbane looks a different prospect and Parramatta are due another poor performance after a good one last week.
TIP – BRISBANE -13.5 start
SUNDAY 2:00pm – PENRITH v CRONULLA
Another two teams that surprised last week. Penrith surprised after being blown away in the second half by a side they beat 40-0 earlier in the season. Cronulla surprised on two fronts: 1- that any fans actually showed up to that game given the weather 2 – they resolutely held out the Premiers South Sydney in the wind and rain on Monday night.
Penrith should turn it around this weekend, but with the Sharks in such good form, especially some of their young’uns it is hard to pick. But we will.
TIP – CRONULLA +6.5 start
SUNDAY 4:00pm – SOUTH SYDNEY v CANBERRA
This bad run for the premiers has been coming, and the loss against the Sharks was the third loss away for the Rabbitohs against that opposition. They were lucky to beat the Wests Tigers and the infamous Bulldogs game. And so it proved when they were tortured by Thurston two weeks ago, and loss to the Sharks.
Canberra got a much needed win on the weekend, and most people selections as wooden spooner are starting to look unlike a team that will finish ladt. But Ricky Stuart is in charge, so probably not long before the rot sets in.
Souths should win, but they have a patchy record against Canberra.
TIP – CANBERRA +12.5 start
SUPER MULTI with all the above selections – $51