Our weekly preview of the upcoming NRL Round returns, and in its new truncated form, to save us and you time reading and/or ignoring this.
With as much happening off the field as it is on, it will be very hard to keep the things we’re interested in down to just the five points.
1 – STORMY WEATHER FOR BRONCOS
Apologies for the cliched pun, but it was too easy to Use.
The Broncos were very ordinary against the Bulldogs, and have been really since the Origin period started. Not that it is the Origin players backing up or their absence that seems to be the trouble, it is the supporting cast that has been below par recently. Whilst late night antics stopped Milford and Hunt being considered for this year’s Origin series, what may count against them more so is their poor form since the interstate battle interrupted the competition. With the team needing their best at the most crucial time they have been poor, and they need a sizable turnaround for the next few weeks during Origin, or Brisbane might find itself as an also ran of the top 8.
Normally the Broncos coming home to Suncorp Stadium would be an advantage, but Melbourne have not lost there in the regular season since 2009, and have already won once here this season against the Cowboys. They were also highly impressive in the first half of last weekend’s game.
2 – SHARKS AND COWBOYS FINAL FINE BY US
The Sharks continued on their merry, new club record winning streak way, but not after being pushed by the NZ Warriors and prevailing. The Cowboys too were pushed and even more unexpectedly so by lowly (feels good doesn’t it) Manly Sea Eagles.
The way both teams have looked of late, and the way the Origin players have backed up show both are ready to go deep into the finals. The Sharks winning would be a good story given the Hubbard situation in their trophy room, and Cowboys play some of the better football in the competition.
3 – ARE THE WARRIORS THE REAL DEAL OR JUST ANOTHER SEASON OF DISAPPOINTMENT
The NZ side looked good in defeat against the Sharks last weekend, have won 5 of their last 7, and with the talent should be in the top 8 by now. But that’s NZ Warriors for you, you just never know what you’re going to get.
They welcome the Gold Coast, who unlike the Warriors, have really overachieved given their pre season predictions and inability to keep/attract big names.
But can the Warriors make a charge towards the top 8 by defeating a team competing with them for a top 8 burst like the Gold Coast. Hard to trust the Warriors though, they are the Murphy’s Law of the NRL.
We hope they are On track for the finals, because they offer something different and always good to have a Philipoussis style dangerous floater in the top 8 come finals time.
4 – CANBERRA CELEBRATE ZERO TV GAMES IN LAST 6 ROUNDS BY EMBARASSING NRL BY REMAINING IN TOP 8
As the draw for the last six was announced last week it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Canberra didn’t make it. That is, didn’t get any Channel 9 TV games. Not being from Sydney, Brisbane or within a 20km radius of Rabs Warren’s house was always going to count against them. Channel Nein condescendingly give them a couple of games in origin period. Thanks. Maybe they should keep winning just to annoy the broadcaster by having no choice but to show them in the finals.
But they are going well, and mostly play good football when they are allowed. The game between them and Gold Coast was a defining moment, and they sure took their opportunity to play finals football.
FIFTH AND LAST….
HAVE PARRAMATTA SET A NEW RECORD FOR OFF THE FIELD BADNESS
Some teams have bad days/years due to things like a Salary Cap scandal – see Melbourne Storm or Bulldogs.
Some teams have scandals involving players hanging out with wrong people in public – like any club Todd Carney played for.
Some teams have players involved in alleged Domestic Violence Issues – like….no way I’m getting into that.
Some teams have players walk out mid season to play French rugby – like SBW and Bulldogs.
Some teams have players who go off the rails a touch and are stripped of captaincy and fined.
But no team has done it all in one year (so far) like the Eels have this year.. To combine all of these things going has taken a stroke of genius from the Parramatta board and/or decision makers. Although given the Salary Cap fiasco at Parramatter and the boards involvement we doubt they are smart enough to cover this all.
All they need now is an all-in Roman Style sex romp outrage to like the Bulldogs in Coffs to get a full house of off field shame.
Given the antics and attitude of the club thus far, we Wouldn’t bet against plenty more incidents like the ones above.