This weekend’s NRL highlights why State of Origin needs to be standalone, and soon. Just four games, two of those featuring the hugely depleted Broncos and Cowboys line ups. Get used to it, as the NRL turns to reduced games, origin omissions, late withdrawals afterwards because of ridiculous two day turnarounds until Mid July. It will never change whilst Channel 9 runs the game, and unfortunately we’ll have to relax our Fox Sports snobbish ways to tune in on the night.
In honour of the NRL round on offer, we were going to supply just a simple Meh and not bother with our weekly thoughts, but we’ll be the bigger person, and here is the said weekly thoughts in point form for our convenience.
FRIDAY – BRONCOS v WESTS TIGERS
- A Wise Man once said you could judge how the Broncos are travelling by whether the team includes Lachlan Maranta or not. So it must be Origin time at the Broncos or loads of injuries causing the need for Maranta this week. Not that he’s that bad, he’s a solid player, but not much more than that.
- This used to the traditional Baby Broncos clash, but despite the large Origin call ups depleting the Broncos, the team still looks good. But almost unbelievably the Broncos are the red hot favourites against the Tigers at just $1.25 to $4.00.
- Perhaps it was the underwhelming performance against the Knights last weekend, which begs the questions – where is Rod Griffin? Injured is the answer, but when he’s fit there’s nothing to lose.
GURGLER TIPS – BRONCOS -15.5 start
SATURDAY – DRAGONS v COWBOYS
- The Cowboys are Origin affected too, and importantly unlike the Broncos, miss their five eighth and halfback. But the fringe players get their chance this weekend, and given the form of one of their feeder sides – Townsville Blackhawks (who could beat a number of the lower ranked NRL sides) – this Cowboys side look great value against the Dragons.
- Keep an eye out for Jahrome Hughes who has carved it up in the Queensland Cup this year, and would have been the first choice number 1 next year had Lachlan Coote left.
- If the Dragons can’t beat the under strength Cowboys at home though, they may as well book the same cruise as Parramatta.
GURGLER TIP – COWBOYS -5.5 start
SUNDAY – CANBERRA v BULLDOGS
- Like the Maranta theorem, you know it is Origin time when the Canberra Raiders get one of the Channel 9 games.
- Canberra are playing at home for the first time in 5 weeks, and that was a memorable 60-6 thrashing of the Tigers. Despite the consensus is Canberra are tough at home, the last time they won on a Sunday in Canberra was in April 2014
- Chance for overlooked players to get another chance to make the next Origin team when NSW do their usual chop and change, Players like Josh Reynolds, Josh Morris, and Aiden Sezer could break into the team with a few more good games. Josh Reynolds was the most unlucky, he is made for Origin.
GURGLER TIP – BULLDOGS win
MONDAY – NEWCASTLE v PARRARADRA
- This looms as another instalment of dreary Monday night football, the worst side in years minus their best player in Newcastle against the Eels who are going from one controversy to another.
- The only highlight appears to be Semi Radradra given extra space by the disappearance of Michael Jennings to Origin. Without the Hog that is Jennings on, the Eels might be able to get the ball to Semi more often now. Although one does wonder how one can play for Australia but not be eligible to play for their state.
- Why given how bad the Knights are, why they didn’t go with the Walker brothers instead of Nathan Brown. Whilst Brown might be a youngish, safe option, the Walker Brothers were a more exciting option, and given what their fans are putting up with this year, they may have well tried something completely difference.
GURGLER TIP – NEWCASTLE +6.5 start
BRONCOS -15.5 start
COWBOYS -5.5 start
NEWCASTLE +6.5 start
$1 for $30