NRL Tips – Round 24, 2017

Only three games to go. There are a couple of finals places still up for grabs, as well as the all important wooden spoon battle, which is proving to be more inspirational than wondering which big market team is going to finish where in the top four.

Draw

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast (7-14) @ parramatta-sm Parramatta (13-8)

While the Gold Coast melts down over whether they’ll keep their coach or their “star” fullback/centre or boot both or neither, Parramatta have had to spend a week of soul searching after a devastating loss to Newcastle – probably the worst side to play this decade – brought their six game winning streak to a grinding halt.

The question is: Will Parramatta recover? I almost think it’s irrelevant what the Eels do. The real question is: do the Titans even bother to show up or will they follow their erstwhile leader’s example and half ass it? I’m expecting three-quarter ass tops, so the Eels should be able to recover and get their finals campaign on track.

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NRL Projections Update – Round 23, 2017

Results

souths-sm South Sydney 28 (8-13) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 14 (7-14)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 29 (5-16) d parramatta-sm Parramatta 10 (13-8)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 32 (14-7) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 10 (13-8)

st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 42 (11-10) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 16 (7-14)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 16 (16-5) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 13 (14-7)

penrith-sm Penrith 24 (12-9) d north qld-sm North Queensland 16 (12-9)

canberra-sm Canberra 36 (10-11) d warriors-sm New Zealand 16 (7-14)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 30 (6-15) d manly-sm Manly 26 (12-9)

Collated Ladder

Now to look ahead to see what the Collated Ladder has predicted for the final standings of the season.

Melbourne are currently sitting on sixteen wins and are projected to take eighteen. With three games to go and playing very well, that might be more like nineteen by the end of the regular season. Brisbane and Sydney City close out the top three spots, just as they do now. Both sides are going to stay at least four points off the pace.

The remaining spots are interesting. Penrith in the top four? They’re currently only two points off Cronulla, who are not playing well. Three wins for the Panthers and two for the Sharks would not be a surprising outcome. The Collated Ladder also has the Cowboys not far off the pace and there’s not much to separate them – Stocky wins and Pythag are very close for all three. Fourth place is very important as almost all of the premiership winners of the last twenty years have finished in the top four.

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NRL Tips – Round 23, 2017

It may surprise you to discover that this blog is actually fairly low on my list of priorities and when time’s tight, its always going to be the first to suffer so this isn’t going to be much of a post. With that in mind, this week’s games are looking like a re-run of round 20, where each game had a clear favourite. That weekend, seven from eight tips got up.

Round 23 offers more top eight match ups with the Roosters/Storm, Broncos/Sharks and Cowboys/Panthers going head-to-head. While you would expect 1st vs 2nd, 3rd vs 4th and 6th vs 8th to be tight, we’ve got the Storm, Broncos and Panthers well ahead of their rivals. In fact, the Jury was unanimous on every game except for Wests/Manly, where Euclid was the sole dissenting vote.

The favourites have an average odds of 2-to-1 of picking up the win. As I warned in round 20, you would expect to be correct in 5.2 games but still find upsets in 2.8 games. We’ll have to wait and see which games those are.

Draw

canterbury-sm Canterbury (7-13) @ souths-sm South Sydney (7-13)

newcastle-sm Newcastle (4-16) @ parramatta-sm Parramatta (13-7)

cronulla-sm Cronulla (13-7) @ brisbane-sm Brisbane (13-7)

gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast (7-13) @ st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra (10-10)

sydney city-sm Sydney City (14-6) @ melbourne-sm Melbourne (15-5)

north qld-sm North Queensland (12-8) @ penrith-sm Penrith (11-9)

canberra-sm Canberra (9-11) @ warriors-sm New Zealand (7-13)

manly-sm Manly (12-8) @ wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers (5-15)

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NRL Projections Update – Round 22, 2017

I’m running a bit short on time this week, so I’ll dispense with the usual round up of matches and dive straight into it.

Actually, I’ll take one moment to say that I watched five of the eight games on the weekend (missed the Saturday fixtures) and the Souths-Saints game was the best of the lot. It might be because my expectations were so low but that was a hell of a finish from the Bunnies.

Round 22 Results

parramatta-sm Parramatta 20 (13-7) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 4 (7-13)

souths-sm South Sydney 26 (7-13) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 24 (10-10)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 26 (15-5) d north qld-sm North Queensland 8 (12-8)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 26 (4-16) d warriors-sm New Zealand 10 (7-13)

brisbane-sm Brisbane 54 (13-7) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 0 (7-13)

canberra-sm Canberra 30 (9-11) d cronulla-sm Cronulla 12 (13-7)

manly-sm Manly 36 (12-8) d sydney city-sm Sydney City 18 (14-6)

penrith-sm Penrith 28 (11-9) d wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 14 (5-15)

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NRL Tips – Round 22, 2017

I struggled to get this post together. I must be running low on creative juices after what feels like a season that’s already been decided (Melbourne to win everything) but for some reason, we have to go through the formalities of playing the last few games. I propose we just lock the ladder positions now, go to the finals and wrap up a month early. Just in case the NRL isn’t listening to the fifteenth best non-podcast/non-gambling based blog, here’s how I think the round will go.

Draw

parramatta-sm Parramatta (12-7) @ canterbury-sm Canterbury (7-12)

Tuesday’s front page of the Daily Telegraph means we all need to sympathise with Bulldogs fans as they get painted with the same brush as an alleged terrorist, a sentence you would never write in any other sport. It’s okay though because by the weekend, we’ll all be back to panning the Bulldogs’ terrible on-field performances.

Parramatta beat the Broncos last week, taking their streak to four wins on the trot. What utter bastards. Having been forced to watch Eels’ games lately, I’m not entirely convinced they’re the real deal, particularly defensively. That won’t matter this match because the Bulldogs are pathologically incapable of scoring points (and we’re back, baby). Parra will be able to run in the minimum fourteen points required and so the Eels will win.

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NRL Projections Update – Round 21, 2017

I think rugby league historians prefer the expression “dour” when they really mean “boring” game. The Panthers-Bulldogs match on Thursday night will not be making much of an impression in the record books and so I think we’re safe to use the expression “boring”. The teams went to the break at Pepper Stadium even but we all knew something from the Panthers was coming and they delivered, scoring two more tries and taking the win.

The Sharks were never in any real doubt against the Warriors in Auckland on Friday night. The Warriors out-errored the league leaders in the field and lost out in possession, the kicking game and the game overall to the Sharks. The Broncos were in the picture in the first half against the Eels, sprinting out to a twelve point lead in the first ten minutes. The Eels got level quickly and kept the Broncos’ playmakers quiet and out-muscled their forward pack. Jonus Pearson was a liability on the Brisbane wing, slipping over half a dozen times, while Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses have formed a solid combo in the Eels’ halves, steering Parramatta to a win.

After dismantling Manly the week before, the question was “Are St George good again?” The answer was a resounding “no”. Everything went the Knights’ way for a change in front of a good turnout in Newcastle. With only a narrow lead at half time, the expectation was that the Knights would fade away but they kept the Dragons out and sealed the win with a late try and field goal. Taking a 3-1 try lead into the break, Canberra were in control of their rendezvous with Souths. The Raiders eventually took the win after the full eighty, despite a late consolation try for the Bunnies, avoiding the need for the childish meltdowns that has marked more recent Canberra losses. At Allianz, the Cowboys stormed to an early lead and looked in pole position to take a somewhat surprising win. The Roosters showed why they are in contention for this year’s minor premiership and overall premiership by pegging the Cows back to even and then taking the lead by the three-quarter mark. The Roosters kept the Cowboys at bay for the remaining quarter of the tense affair to take the two points.

Melbourne demolished Manly on Sunday afternoon for Cameron Smiths’ 350th game. The Sea Eagles were only down by six at half time before the Storm monstered their way through the second half to take a commanding win. Manly have now suffered two big losses in a row, raising questions over their form. On the Gold Coast, the Titans basically handed the Tigers a win on a platter. Any time the Gold Coast looked dangerous or in a scoring position, they managed to drop the ball or pass it forward. Wests’ execution was cleaner and netted them two points in an otherwise unentertaining game.

Round 21 Results

penrith-sm Penrith 16 (10-9) d canterbury-sm Canterbury 8 (7-12)

cronulla-sm Cronulla 26 (13-6) d warriors-sm New Zealand 12 (7-12)

parramatta-sm Parramatta 28 (12-7) d brisbane-sm Brisbane 14 (12-7)

newcastle-sm Newcastle 21 (3-16) d st george illawarra-sm St George Illawarra 14 (10-9)

canberra-sm Canberra 32 (8-11) d souths-sm South Sydney 18 (6-13)

sydney city-sm Sydney City 22 (14-5) d north qld-sm North Queensland 16 (12-7)

melbourne-sm Melbourne 40 (14-5) d manly-sm Manly 6 (11-8)

wests tigers-sm Wests Tigers 26 (5-14) d gold coast titans-sm Gold Coast 4 (7-12)

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NRL Tips – Round 21, 2017

We’re getting down to the wire, with only a handful of rounds left to run until finals time. While the finals places may be more or less decided, unless you’re a Panthers or Eels fan, there’s still a lot to play for.

The better teams are looking to secure a pathway through the finals that doesn’t involve playing the Storm. The lesser teams are using their time constructively too. By planning Mad Monday activities six weeks in advance, I’m sure they can negotiate a discount at their venue of choice. There might also be some focus on next year and not sucking so much but that’s surely more of a coach problem than a player problem. Just ask Des Hasler.

Draw

canterbury-sm Canterbury (6-12) @ penrith-sm Penrith (9-9)

The Bulldogs have nothing left to play for. They were embarrassed by the Broncos last week, so they don’t even have pride left. There’s just an interminable series of six games left to go before they can go hide for a while and go back to whatever it is Canterbury players do in the off-time. I really don’t want to know what that is.

Penrith are the only team currently outside the top eight that could conceivably still finish inside the warm embrace of finals contention. It’s an ask but they need to win games like this, even if it’s just to avoid the indignity of losing to this particular version of Canterbury. Seeing as the game plan recently has been “pass the ball to Nathan Cleary and get out of his goddamn way”, I think that will be as effective against the Bulldogs as it was against the Warriors, so I think Penrith will keep the home fans happy with a victory.

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