Round 19 of the NRL arrives and a full round of games with all your favourite stars*. It is about time too. Following is our preview and best bets for the weekend. We recommend taking our individual tips and rolling them into a multi for the maximum payout for ultimate tightarse.
Exciting news with the below link regarding Channel 10 possibly stealing tv rights from Nine. Offering 5 FTA games sounds great and no Rabs, Hads and the current cast minus Sterlo and Gus sounds great. And I already have Foxtel.
We actually might see a non Brisbane game on a Friday night and something other than lower ladder all Sydney team dross on a Sunday afternoon. We can dream and hope for better. Or at a bare minimum – no worse.
Enough of dreams for the future, let’s talk about this week’s Kick to Come preview.
PARRAMATTA v BULLDOGS
FRIDAY 7:35 – ANZ Stadium (Ch9)
Old foes from some classic 1980’s grand finals meet at Parramatta’s home ground…well everyone’s home ground at ANZ aka Olympic Stadium. But that doesn’t matter. Nor really does who wins this game aside for the two sets of fans. What really matters is Semi Radradra. The man with the most enjoyable name to pronounce and add to in Australian Sport also has plenty to offer on the field, and his fans, of which The Gurgler is certainly one, will be hoping for a brace of tries minimum.
GURGLER TIP: EELS +8.5 start.
STORM v PENRITH
FRIDAY 7:35 – AAMI Park (Ch9)
All the talk for Cameron Smith aka Cam Smith will be on his 300th game, something positive for a change, which will be some kind of relief for him. After refusing the get square interview on Channel 7, and showing his class to sort out the matter in private, he’ll no doubt be happy to do more talking on the field. Very rarely does the 300 game go wrong for the host of the party either.
Penrith were great against Souths a few weeks back and were well beaten by the Roosters last weekend. That pretty much sums up theirs and their opponents seasons thus far.
GURGLER TIP: Melbourne to win
CANBERRA v SHARKS
SATURDAY 3:00 – Bruce Stadium
Many will bne thankful that this game is being played at the family friendly time of 3:00pm given the recent cold snap.
It can be no fun playing in Canberra, that must be why they don’t many games there as you would think. But their win last weekend against Newcastle showed a side that still has plenty to offer in 2015, and with the bottom half of the eight so achievable this year, the Raiders can dream. As long as future origin talk doesn’t destroy Blake Austin in the meanwhile.
The Sharks extinguished the Dragons last weekend, and would also have sights on a run to the finals. They also might be thinking of putting one over their former coach Ricky Stuart. If they are any players left from that era given the turnover.
GURGLER TIP: Sharks +6.5 start
NEWCASTLE v GOLD COAST
SATURDAY 5:30 – Hunter Stadium
ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA v SOUTHS
SATURDAY 7:30 – SCG
Aside from the Parra v Dogs clash on Friday night, this is the only other real heritage rivalry. Traditional rivals – Yes. Traditional jerseys – Yes. Traditional venue – Yes. It all sounds good, and hopefully will be. But not too good, as we don’t want Channel 9 to steal this game and call it their own just like Anzac Day between the Dragons and Roosters.
Somehow Souths are still 5th and equal on points as fourth placed NZ, this is despite being very ordinary at times this year, showing two things – good sides still win when they play average, and the gap between the top and bottom is bigger this year than ever and the midfield starts much earlier than usual. The Dragons have been unlucky with injuries and wondering where that great start to the season went. Too early to blame the coach.
GURGLER TIPS: Souths to win.
ROOSTERS v NZ
SUNDAY 2:00 – SFS
Surprised that this game wasn’t given prime Sunday afternoon slot, given Channel 9’s reluctance to have games outside of the Sydney area on Sunday afternoon. But it also may prove the anti-NZ Warriors theory of Channel 9. Maybe 60 Minutes have “Special Report” waiting on the ills of immigrating NZ Warriors into the Australian Rugby League system ruining our game.
NZ far from ruin the game, and their way of playing is a welcome breath of fresh air from the usual mundane drone like style we get from most of the other teams. Manu Vatuvei is also one of the more likeable sportsmen on Earth, so they are hard to dislike. Not that there a that manyless Kiwis in the Roosters line up, they just aren’t as likeable. But we do like the Roosters to win.
GURGLER TIPS: Roosters to win
BRONCOS v WESTS TIGERS
SUNDAY 3:00 – Lang Park
Broncos fans and TV audiences around the nation will be rubbing their eyes and wondering what day/time it is as the Brisbane side play on a Sunday afternoon for the only time this season. People love Sunday afternoon football, pity certain individuals and their employers don’t like it in Brisbane.
The question is after an excellent Origin period where they would have written off a few losses is whether the Broncos can maintain the intensity. The look of the disapproving father in Wayne Bennett will be more than enough inspiration not to.
Wests Tigers haven’t won since they pulled Souths’ pants down a few weeks ago, but whether the young guns have enough to knock off the leaders of the competition remains to be seen.
GURGLER TIPS: Broncos by 13+
MANLY V NQ COWBOYS
MONDAY 7:00 – Brookvale
Manly are making a run to the finals. Most are hoping they don’t. But their recent form warrants some respect. More than Daly Cherry Evans got on Monday night. Although given the circumstances, it is hard to argue he deserved any less.
One stat is all you need for this game. Manly have played two Monday night games for a win and a loss. North Queensland are four from four on the Monday. Based on that you can guarantee two things from this game, the Cowboys will instantly half the crowd number in Sydney on a Monday night, and the Cowboys will win.
GURGLER TIPS: COWBOYS to win.
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