Round seventeen selections

Melbourne Storm vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Thursday night – AAMI Park

Both teams lose plenty of troops to game three of Origin but the Storm look better placed to deal with it. James Graham is a collosus but he is just one man, and most of his usual forward pack won't be there with him. Ben Hunt was 'dropped', but stays on the bench for Queensland. The Dragons pack has been one of their key strengths this season, while the Storm will lose just the one back-rower to Origin duty (Kaufusi). The Dragons don't have a great record in Melbourne at the best of times. I'm no Charles Dickens, but this looks the worst of times for the Dragons to be facing off against the purple machine. The Storm get an opportunity to peg back the lead of the premiership front-runner, and they'll take it.

Verdict – Storm by 13

Result – Storm 52 defeated Dragons 30

Penrith Panthers vs New Zealand Warriors – Friday night – Penrith Stadium

Is Hook about to get hooked? The Panthers are undertaking the dreaded mid-year review even though they are in the top four. Some may see that as an over-reaction, but their last two games have been ordinary, their one point win over the Raiders was fortuitous, and 11 of their 15 games this season have been against teams outside the top eight. There aren't many teams in the top eight that look like they could slide out of finals contention from here, but the Panthers are a candidate. They'll be without much of their playmaking prowess on Friday night too, with Cleary, Maloney and Peachey on Origin duty. Meanwhile the Warriors are near enough to full strength, and showed enough last week against the Sharks to suggest they can get the job done here.

Verdict – Warriors by 8

Result – Panthers 36 defeated Warriors 4

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Canberra Raiders – Saturday night – Belmore Sports Ground

The Bulldogs showed some of that traditional Bulldogs spirit last week with a thumping win over the Knights. Unfortunately their best player in that game was Klemmer (who carted the ball for 200 metres and gave his all), and he won't be playing this weekend. The Raiders are losing plenty of close games this season, but games are (usually) won by teams that score the most points. Only the top two teams on the ladder have scored more points than the Raiders this season, while only two teams have scored less than the Bulldogs this season ( the Eels and the Tigers). Without Klemmer they'll have even less opportunities to be in a position to score points, and the Bulldogs need more opportunities to score than most.

Verdict – Raiders by 8

Result – Raiders 32 defeated Bulldogs 28

Gold Coast Titans vs Brisbane Broncos – Sunday afternoon – Cbus Super Stadium

The Titans probably can't make the top eight this season, but they're good enough to create nuisance value for every team they come up against. They lose a fair chunk of their engine room to Origin with Wallace and Arrow suiting up for QLD, although it looks like Ryan James will now be available. The Broncos lose Wallace and McCullough which weakens them in the middle and they also lose Oates – his runs and yards early in the tackle count will be missed too. I'm sticking with the Broncos who have plenty to play for and plenty of big game experience to draw on despite the absence of their Origin players. This should be tight though, and given the weather and timeslot I think this is the game of the round.

Verdict – Broncos by 2

Result – Broncos 34 defeated Titans 0

Wally Lewis - round sixteen selections (in bold)

Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

  • STORM vs Dragons
  • PANTHERS vs Warriors
  • BULLDOGS vs Raiders
  • TITANS vs Broncos


Coach Potato's picture

At least Rugby League is foward thinking enough to have a penalty try.

I'm watching right now the Croatia v Demark playoff game. Extra time almost up, and Croatia make a break, player steps past the keeper and just needs to nudge it along the ground into the net, but is blatantly tripped from behind. Just a penalty on the spot, not a penalty goal. The defender also only got a yellow. Stayed on. Needless to say, Croatia missed the kick. Should be a rule introduced called the penalty goal.

Coach Potato's picture

The villians end up losing the penalty shoot out. The right result happened in the end, although it could have ended up a very wrong result.

Thank God for comonsense and the Rugby League penalty try.

Esra Star's picture

That was a red card offense. He should have been sent off.

Coach Potato's picture

I agree Esra, red card no doubt but still left the door open for Denmark to win after they saved the goal. Croatia deserved to have a shot at goal with no goalkeeper in front of them.

Coach Potato's picture

Japan 2 - 0 up against one of the tournament favourites Belgium. Incredible. Only 20 minutes to go.

Whoops back to 2 -1.

See if they can hang on. Sure this is not Japan, but they are from the same qualifying Asia / Pacific region that Australia is from. It kinda puts Australian soccer back on the map again - after being liquid papered our last week.

Coach Potato's picture

2 - 2

16 minutes + added time to go.
Belgium comeback just as incredible.

Coach Potato's picture

4 seconds of added time to go.

Belgium 3 - Japan 2


Coach Potato's picture

Bx and others, check the highlights of this one. Belgium score their first from a header just a metre inside the 22 yard box!! Have you ever heard of that happening at any level of the game?

Coach Potato's picture

Wow kids soccer team lost in Thailand cave found alive after 9 days.

Big day for soccer around the world - whether you are a fan, or not.

BigPeteBx's picture

Certainly a top chance and shot. Good neck muscles to enforce the ball.
However, keeper and judgement.....??????

I haven't seen a lot of games, as losing sleep and my job, don't mix.
Over the many years of Oz Soccer (football for here), Japan was one of our biggest hurdles to overcome. They always lift themselves for BIG matches, much like Philippines in basketball....phew.

I reckon that long shot of France's the other morning, (v Argies) our time, from Griezmann, was a howler.
Neymar lifting himself a cog for Brazil, but he must get out of the rolling on the floor habit. Intimidating a referee, can lead to a yellow card. Brazil has to go better this W/Cup, as they departed the last one - disgraced. Not the Brazil I've known and followed over the years. Plus, similar colours to our Socceroos.

Cheers all and those reading - have a good day. Heading out soon.
Big Pete or Bx - (call me what you like Coach, but don't call me late for dinner....keep well).

bradapple's picture

Hi Thinker

I was late to pick last week and put through my picks on the comments. Are they still able to be added to my score?

The Thinker's picture

Hi Bradapple

Yes they can (other than any tips after kick-off)

I will track your tips down and get them added.

All the best

Mary S's picture

Hi Newbie,
I see NRL are planning to gave SoO 2 on a Sunday in Perth (new stadium) next year. Match will be played on June 23 2019!

Will be great for Perth.

christine's picture

Are you aware that warriors will be without bunty afoa & tohu harris for there game against Penrith this week , both players will be out for up to six weeks ?

Coach Potato's picture

Well that should even things out with Panthers without a dozen out Origin and injury included.

Should be an even contest now.

Coach Potato's picture

Hi Thinker, your comment about finals being sorted (almost) reminded me ..
Since this year teams only got one bye, then the normal 28 points is now, 26.

Dragons have the required 26 with 9 games to spare.

Also gives a few teams some hope in case their calculator was working on 28.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I could give the BOYS a dodgy calculator that only comes up 28pts and we still couldn't add to it. Hand me the ruler and the red pen, half the team and 2018 need to be scratched.

Coach Potato's picture

Yeah, sorry about that Eels fanatic. Didn’t mean to exclude the ones who’s calculator is already broke.

You must have thought after enduring 2016, and coming out the next year to be top 4, that the long seasons were over.

Good on you for sticking around though. You are still have the Blues, and by last week’s first 70 minutes, you’ll win a fair share of the remainder.

The Thinker's picture


Perhaps...but it also means the teams on 20 (6th-8th) are just three wins away (or 2 wins and 1 bye) away from 26 points.

a's picture

And also teams from 9 to 11 are on 9 loses

The Annoying Devil's picture

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve put a line thru all teams except for 4
Dragons Roosters Souths and storm
They also just happen to be the 4 with the best points differential
To me the rest are making up the numbers

Coach Potato's picture

Exactly, and I’m sure they think they are further away.

There’s been the odd year where 26 was the mark with 2 byes, so at a stretch, it could even be 24 this year.

I wonder if 24 puts any teams back in the race?

Coach Potato's picture

My much harangued Streak Theory shows my Panthers need another streak of three or more just to improve from 9.

Twos and ones might still get them into the top 4, but from there they would be no chance.

Not just about top4 as mentioned, pabdul.

The Annoying Devil's picture

I think the number to make the 8 is
28 points
My name is TAD and I believe they are the only teams that can win

Coach Potato's picture

Tad premature (imo).

Teams have shown themselves to be world beaters one week, and chumps the next (imo)

Dragons didn’t exactly run over team 16, and don’t forget they aren’t entitled to any home finals (imo).

mark ashford's picture

Looking at the top 8 the Broncos are the biggest worry with a minus 40 differential, sure there's some air to the next team but what does it say about their climb to the top 4.
Once you're in the 8 does the points differential no longer matter?
Coach your post about the finding of the young soccer players in Thailand "was a great day for soccer" surely you meant it was a great day for the local and international rescue teams that found them.
Also a great day for their families.
Still have to get them out, still a long way to go.

mark ashford's picture

Hi Mary S
Yes a SOO in Perth next year, will be interesting to see how many NSW/QLD fans make the trip across the country.
A game in Melbourne I can understand (the Storm) but without a Perth team in the comp it is an interesting decision.
The intense rivalry between NSW/QLD seems to say the games should be played in the eastern states.
Does the NRL have a plan to put a team into Perth?? worth thinking about.

The Thinker's picture

There are two good things about an Origin in Perth...probably more, but the two I thought of straight away:

* the game will be on at a time when my kids can actually stay up and watch it live.

* the venue is a rectangle.

Coach Potato's picture

..meaning the wider soccer community, and as the game is played around the world, then yes, that’s exactly what I said.

It’s like everything I say needs to pass through the friggin Senate!

mark ashford's picture

Thank you Thinker for your insight.
But surely if the games were played at reasonable times (day time) in Melbourne (aami stadium) NSW (take your pick) and of course Suncorp
Your kinder could watch and not be confused by the shape of the field?

Coach Potato's picture

A bit odd you didn’t seem to think it was necessarily a worldwide celebration in the micro-analysis.

mark ashford's picture

Coach you said it was a great day for Soccer.
I said it was a great day for the rescue teams and the kids families.
You can micro-analise it all you like.
It is a victory for the rescuers, nothing else.

Coach Potato's picture

Sure. Some would think that’s a bit odd is all,

Brad S's picture

Hi Mark,

I'm worried about the Broncs making the finals, too. This weekend's game is so important. If the Titans win they will only be 4 points behind, will be hitting some form and have an easier draw to finish up. Raiders and Tigers both have a really difficult run home but Titans could push for a spot if they win this weekend. Still waiting for the Broncs to click and hit some genuine form but just don't know if it's going to happen with a Milford/Niko halves pairing.

Hoping they can prove me wrong!

a's picture

But the Origin on in Perth means it will be 9:40 QLD time

Baggy_Gee's picture

Thanks Coach, I really did think we had a winning combination but I think that the loss of ability from our second rowers is due to Kane Evans. He has broken the spirit of the 2017 team. But it's all OK, we will come back next year, we need to unload Evans and a few others to get out mojo back.

Coach Potato's picture

baggy, you always hear it’s the forwards that lay the foundations - blah blah blah. Personally, I don’t think you can have a successful team unless your entire 1 to 7 are up there pushing for Origin / International Test jerseys. Parramatta needs propping up in at least two or three positions here. (imo)

Coach Potato's picture

a is right Thinker, your timepiece is going Marty McFly. (Here’s hoping your fleeting moment of time going backwards made you feel a touch younger)

Eg an 8pm kickoff in Perth would mean 10pm over this end and so midnight or later finish. Great way to see in a Monday morning unless you :
a/ need to go to work
b/ need to go to school
c/ need to organise kids for school or
d/ are from a household with all three.

Unless of course they kick off at 6pm, in which case, 8pm over here- and nothing changes.

Sunday SOO is just as backwards as Marty McFly (imo)

The Thinker's picture

Good poimt A

I had my Aucklands and my Perths mixed up. I should be getting more sleep quite frankly.

So A is kids miss out again.

For those that attend the game in person, it is a much better spectacle if you are in a rectangular purpose built stadium, rather than the MCG or the Adelaide Oval.

Coach Potato's picture

Well done a, hope you didn’t mind me explaining to others in more simpler terms.

Coach Potato's picture

.. well not simpler, take that back. but more fully building the picture of problems regarding time zones and games played in WA.

Coach Potato's picture

Play it on Friday or Saturday and then who cares what tine kick off is.

I mean to say, why is the NRL intent on giving the games best players, the shortest possible turnaround into the next round?

The Annoying Devil's picture

It’s a 540pm kick off so it’s be shown here at 740pm

The Annoying Devil's picture

Your right baggy
It’s common sense that the forwards lay the foundation that’s why there called forwards and then the backs can get on the back of that
Anyone that thinks the different doesn’t get the concept

a's picture

Go right ahead Coach

pabdul's picture

Hey TAD and others
Anyone that thinks that the forwards don’t lay the foundations obviously hasn’t laced up a boot or just can’t get a grasp on the game
That’s why there called the hard yards trying to get over the advantage line
You can put the best halves behind a pack not winning the forward battle and they will struggle
Common bloody sense

Hardyards's picture

Hi thinker and all , made it to Broome, a few tires down and one shock about to explode but having a ball. Big shout out to the awesome rangers at Mitchell Plateau who invited me in to watch SOO on their SAT TV. Bungles next so out of range again. Can you mark me down round 18 as:
Cowboys (oh, dear :(
Thanks heaps and good luck to all.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I agree we need a Sami type winger but refuse to believe we need to buy one. Shirley we have one in the juniors. I was thinking more along the lines that the forwards who took us to the top four thought that they were being surplanted after a good effort, I think that it effected everyone in thinking that the board was more interested in buying a title, not building a long term team.

Mary S's picture

Just in case you missed it from R 16, comments p5, I will repeat my comment here.
"I believe the question was asked by 'pabdul' Coach, " How hard is it to get my name right."

The fact that you deliberately continue to misuse/misspell it is disrespectful to say the least."

a's picture

Here’s my tips

Storm by 1 if Cameron Smith wasn’t there I would tip Dragons but since he his Storm

Warriors by 4 I think the Warriors will beat the struggling Panthers here

Raiders by 6 I think last weeks preformance was one of from Bulldogs

Broncos by 2 I think the Broncos will end Titans season here


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