Round twenty one selections

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Brisbane Broncos – Thursday night – ANZ Stadium

The Bulldogs are still trying hard, and were rewarded for effort last start with a win over a disappointing Tigers outfit, but there's two reasons why they can't beat the Broncos on Thursday:

  1. The Bulldogs haven't beaten a top eight team all season unless you count the Panthers way back in round three  :-)
  2. With the Bulldogs winning last start, the Broncos won't take them lightly.

In round nine the Bulldogs nearly beat the Broncos (and were unlucky not to), but the Broncos have improved since then while the Dogs have been shedding players and treading water.

Verdict – Broncos by 8

Result – Bulldogs 36 defeated Broncos 22

Newcastle Knights vs Wests Tigers – Friday night – McDonald Jones Stadium

Both sides lost last start to lowly opponents and both sides were ordinary at best (and I'm being polite). The Knights are tough to beat at home but the Tigers still have the sniff of a top eight finish in their nostrils – that should be all the motivation they need. A repeat of their performance against the Dogs and the Tigers season is over, but they're better than that...I hope they're better than that. With apologies to all the Tigers fans on the site – if you're only going to miss one game this weekend make sure it's this one.

Verdict – Tigers by 4

Result – Tigers 25 defeated Knights 16

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Melbourne Storm – Friday night – ANZ Stadium

First plays second and quite a few are talking up this contest in the lead-up...and why not? Here's my reason why not – the Bunnies record against the Storm is truly awful (4 wins from 28), and the last time these sides met was in the lead-up to the 2017 finals series. Back then the Storm won 64-6. We'll have nothing like that on Friday night, because the Bunnies are a serious football team this season, but the history of these sides tells a story and it's telling me to stick with the purple machine. It's a formula that's worked for a very long time.

Verdict – Storm by 8

Result – Rabbitohs 30 defeated Storm 20

St George Illawarra Dragons vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday afternoon – WIN Stadium

I think this is the toughest game to pick all round. Both sides were convincingly outplayed last Sunday and both have their place in the finals (Dragons – top four and Warriors – top eight) to defend. It's fair to say the Dragons loss to the Roosters looks like stronger form than a loss to the Titans, but the Warriors (potentially) have some very important inclusions this weekend. Adam Blair will be back and Tohu Harris and Issac Luke are likely to be back. If all three return I'm leaning the Warriors way. The Warriors playmakers are a much more dangerous pair playing behind Issac Luke, and the Warriors did beat the Dragons earlier this season when few thought they could. I'm just leaning to the home team, who have a fair run into the finals and still look on track for a top four finish. The Rabbitohs/Storm contest will get plenty of headlines, but this game should create plenty of interest.

Verdict – Dragons by 2

Result – Warriors 18 defeated Dragons 12

Parramatta Eels vs Gold Coast Titans – Saturday night – ANZ Stadium

The Eels are pretty crap, but at least they're playing at home which is the only place they've won a game all year. Perhaps that's why they are favoured to win on Saturday. The Titans are almost always expected to lose, but in their last six games they've won four and scored 30 points or more every time (and two of those were against top eight teams). Their two losses were a narrow (and dodgy) loss to the Chooks and a game they had in the bag but let slip against the Knights. The Eels by comparison have scored more than 20 points just three times all year. They've only done it once since round 8...and they lost. Not for me.

Verdict – Titans by 4

Result – Eels 28 defeated Titans 12

Sydney Roosters vs North Queensland Cowboys – Saturday night – Allianz Stadium

Last week I put my comically over-sized head on the chopping block and suggested the competition was a two-horse race...and now look at the all experts jumping on the Thinker bandwagon and tipping the Storm and the Roosters for the 2018 grand final. Get in line gurus....the Thinker is in town. The Cowboys are in Sydney this weekend and I don't know if they want to be. They jagged a rare win at home last weekend which was a nice little lift for the local fans who have suffered this season, but if that game wasn't the lowest quality contest in round 20 it was sitting right next door to it. Meanwhile the Chooks put the Dragons to the sword. They're winning, they're on track and they're a serious football team. Since Roosters coach Trent Robinson took hold of the clipboard in 2013 his troops have finished the NRL season in the following positions – 2013 (1st), 2014 (1st), 2015 (1st), 2016 (15th), 2017 (2nd). There's only one Craig Bellamy, but he's no slouch.

Verdict – Roosters by 20

Result – Roosters 26 defeated Cowboys 20

Cronulla Sharks vs Manly Sea Eagles – Sunday afternoon – Southern Cross Group Stadium

The Sharks are in 6th and the Sea Eagles in 14th place, yet Manly have actually scored more points than Cronulla this year. That tells you a few things – Cronulla must be pretty good at winning tight games and when Manly lose they really really lose. Manly were pretty good for much of their game against the Panthers, and then they really really lost while the Thinker boiled an egg. Cronulla lost narrowly to the Broncos but that was a quality contest and they'll be winning this.

Verdict – Sharks by 14

Result – Sea Eagles 33 defeated Sharks 32

Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders – Sunday afternoon – Panthers Stadium

If some challenging officialdom didn't kill the Raiders two weeks ago the Storm certainly did one week ago. A shame really, because when the Raiders are winning, the NRL is a much more entertaining competition. They could actually win this, because Penrith are a baffling riddle. If they start slowly this weekend Canberra are the sort of team that could score a point a minute, and you can't run down a 40 point deficit in the last seven minutes of play. Reagan Campbell-Gillard should be back this week and he's a massive inclusion for the home side. You can't tip the Panthers confidently, but I can't tip against them either.

Verdict – Panthers by 4

Result – Panthers 40 defeated Raiders 31

Wally Lewis - round twenty-one selections (in bold)

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

  • Bulldogs vs BRONCOS
  • Knights vs TIGERS
  • Rabbitohs vs STORM
  • DRAGONS vs Warriors
  • EELS vs Titans
  • ROOSTERS vs Cowboys
  • SHARKS vs Sea Eagles
  • PANTHERS vs Raiders


Islander's picture

Sydney Roosters vs New Zealand Cowboys...hmm..
I'll still be tipping the Roosters!

a's picture

Cowboys are not from New Zealand Thinker

The Thinker's picture

I almost want to leave it like that now....but I won't.

Thanks team...well picked up.

a's picture

The Bulldogs haven't beaten a top eight team all season;

Umm they beat Penrith in round 3 Thinker

christine 's picture

"a" You can't correct the thinker twice in one week , it's called a seniors moment it tends to happen when you get ah what was that I saying oh that's right you don't correct the boss on his own website ...

mark ashford's picture

Christine...I love your comment, gave me a good chuckle.
Been working at my sister's house all day putting in an irrigation system and I needed a laugh....thanks!
p.s. I'm sure Thinker will love it too.

a's picture

Yeah good comment Christine Om sure the Thinhker will love it

The Thinker's picture

Seniors carer doesn't think I'm that old.

Fair enough 'a'....although round 3 was a long time ago. Let's change that to read  'haven't beaten a 'genuine' top eight team this season'.

I can get away with that now because Coach has gone to ground again and I won't have to listen to him demand an apology fifty times.


Mary S's picture

Loved the comments above from everyone!!
Like Mark, needed the chuckle after a trying day.

mark ashford's picture

Hi Mary S. Yes Christine's comment eased the pain in my back after being bent in half for about 4 hours. Getting too old for that sort of work, gotta learn to say no get some young dude to do it.

a's picture

Here’s my tips

Broncos by 8 I think the Broncos will take care of Bulldogs here

Tigers by 2 Tigers to win in a thriller here

Storm by 6 If Inglis was playing Rabbitohs since he’s not Storm

Dragons by 6 Dragons to win easy here

Eels by 6 Eels are playing alright and I think they will beat Titans here

Roosters by 30 Cowboys will get flog here

Sharks by 20 Sharks to win easily here

Panthers by 2 Panthers to win in a thriller here

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone, my tips for this week are:

Broncos by 10 - Broncos should get the win here over the Bulldogs to surely book a finals spot come September.

Tigers by 2 - Tigers to keep finals hopes alive in a thrilling game against the Knights.

Storm by 4 - Storm to keep top spot for the moment with a close win over the Rabbitohs in what is definitely the game of the round.

Dragons by 12 - Dragons to get back into form with a win here over the Warriors.

Eels by 1 - I just feel that the Eels will get a win here to give their fans something and a sniff of preventing the wooden spoon.

Roosters by 22 - Can't see any other result but a Roosters win.

Sharks by 16 - Sharks to run riot here over the Sea Eagles.

And finally... Panthers by 14 - Panthers too strong here at home.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's teams for this week and with everyone's tips for this week. Cheers!!!!!!!!!

tigerholic's picture

Howdy Tipsters

Hope everyone is well, footy back tomorrow night. Good luck to those at the top of the tipping comp, I think my race is run but I will see it through to the end.

Tiger's to keep their slim hopes alive on Friday night please.

Have a good week folks


mark ashford's picture

Hi all you Thinker tipsters.
With just 5 rounds to go before finals including this week I thought I'd offer a different comp to earn you $50.
All you have to do is nominate the winner of our comp in the regular season. I have selected the top 10 so far as I believe the winner will come from there. If you are in the top 10 then of course you can nominate yourself. Why not and good luck.
1. Rocket Ryan
2. Tiger Girl
3. Footy Chick
4. "a"
5. the Thinker
6. Steel Panther
7. Brad S
8. Dragons Fanboy
9. Kellys Loot
10. The Annoying Devil.
You must nominate here on a post before kick off round 22 so you have a week to think about it. If no one picks the winner closest will do.
$50 will be sent to Thinker and it's his decision to send a prize or the cash.
Just nominate a name or a number 1-10 and I'll keep track.
Good luck to all!

Rocket Ryan's picture

Great idea Mark we should have to throw in a wooden spoon a to split some of the top picks

mark ashford's picture

Just realized many people will perhaps nominate Rocket or someone else so to keep it fair as there is only one prize and to give you all a hurry up the first 10 selections here nominating 1-10 will be eligible.
I'll be watching and recording and will publish those in the race asap.
Forget about round 22 just do it now.

Rick's picture

Hi Mark I will have a go I think it just may be Rocket Ryan’s year cheers.

mark ashford's picture

Rocket I can't do a spoon as many of us haven't tipped all season.
C'mon you QLDer be the first

mark ashford's picture

Rick congrats you have the "Rocket"
1 down 9 to go.

The Thinker's picture

That is very generous of you Mark. Thank you good sir.

I'm not sure if I can play but Footy Chick always goes pretty darn well.

The Thinker's picture

Well it looks lke I can finally stop saying that the great Dave Brown is under-appreciated.

An outstanding choice.

christine 's picture

What happens if there is more than one person on the same score eg : rocket & tiger girl are both on the same score now how are you going to decide the winner out of that ...

tigerholic's picture

Hey Mark
Rocket Ryan by 3
Tiger Girl in a valiant second
Dragons Fanboy in third

Wild Card - Tigerholic :)


christine 's picture

If more than one person says the same person how are you going to decide who wins I mean I to would say rocket just as rick has but seeing as i'm not on the tipping ladder I would say don't give it to me give it to rick for that reason but how are you going to decide when it comes down to it who wins ???

mark ashford's picture

Chris, If that happens I'll leave it to our mentor to decide a winner or to divide the prize. Can't remember a joint winner here in the past many years so maybe nothing to worry about.
THINKER has chosen Footy Chick and he is elegible for a prize.
That's 2 down 8 to go. Don't miss out!

mark ashford's picture

C'mon this is more about those not in the top 10 to have a chance at something. So far 2 top tenners have spoken. I rule myself out but there are 8 more chances to go.
Christine you are reading this, take a pick.

a's picture

Mark what happens if someone wins it from outside the top ten

mark ashford's picture

Tiger, Rocket has been taken by Rick. This is not a trifecta.
Can I put you down for Tiger Girl or would you prefer one of your other picks? You only get one choice.

scott m's picture

Thanks Mark Ashford
I can't win, so I'll be cheering for Tiger Girl.

Mary S's picture

I'll vote for the girls!
2) Footychick
3) Rocket

christine 's picture

Yeah I already have by saying rocket , so rocket it is for me ...

christine 's picture

I'm not on the ladder so rule me out please I think that's fair that í'm not in it ...

mark ashford's picture

Chris, Rocket was taken by Rick early on, so you can't have him.
MARY S Rocket is not one of the girls!
Can I put you down for Footy Chick better be quick.

mark ashford's picture

Christine doesn't matter your not on the ladder and because of your interest I'm making a captains call and putting your name in for "Rick"
He's number 5 on the list.....good luck.

christine 's picture

My tips this week are the same as the thinker's but I would love to see souths beat storm even though i'm tipping storm , good luck with your tips everyone & best of luck who ever takes out marks comp but I think that will be rick ...

mark ashford's picture

Mary S gets "Footy Chick" only because she included Rocket as one of the girls. Should get a laugh from the Tiger man.

christine 's picture

Thanks but no please leave it as rick it's only fair ...

Mary S's picture

Footy Chick is good

Realised as soon as I posted, my mistake in regard to Rocket seeming to be included as a girl - sorry Rocket!!

newbie from perth's picture

@ Mr Ashford,

Great gesture with your little top ten comp mate. Well done. I was gonna pick Footy Chick but I think the Boss chimed in for her didn’t he? Mate, as you can see by my position on the tipping ladder, I couldn’t pick my nose, let alone a winner. Having said that, I reckon there’s a fella who might just be capable of sneaking in here. Can you put me down for my good friend “a”.

C’mon “a”, you’ve won it before, you know what needs to be done. You can do it. Do it for the Cowboys. I have faith in ya buddy. Geez, I’m all excited now!

Thanks again Mark. Cheers…

mark ashford's picture

I. Rocket Ryan goes to "Rick"
2. Tiger Girl goes to Scott M
3 Footy Chick is a tie between Thinker & Mary S
4. Thinker is still available
5 "a" still available
6. Rick goes to Christine
7 Steel Panther is still available
8. Brad S is still available
9. Dragons Fanboy goes to Tiger Holic
10 Kellys Loot is still available
11 The Annoying Devil is stiil available.
In my haste to type this I left out my friend "a" he is now back in and we have 11 hopefuls. If I was tipping I'd take "a"

mark ashford's picture

"a" goes to Newbie from Perth. good pick my friend.

newbie from perth's picture

Addendum to above...

See Mary has Footy Chick - my bad! Maybe the Boss can nominate himself (ha-ha). Cheers bro'. Now to post my tips...

newbie from perth's picture

you're too quick for me mate! Now I see Footy Chick allocated to the Boss and Mary. I gotta go to bed... Cheers mate...

newbie from perth's picture

Phew! Finally my short novel (tips)...

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Just quickly, the maintenance work last Sunday didn’t take as long as expected so Western Power got the juice flowing again at 12.30pm which meant I got to watch my BBB face off against the Dragons after all. Yay! While I’m on the subject of said match, it’s not often I get something right, be it from knowledge or luck, but being a Rooster I just have to “crow” about my comments last week. I’d mentioned that the Chooks vs Dragons game might be a tough one and then I said …

“I’d love to be wrong and see my BBB win by 18 but in all honesty, the Dragons are just too classy to let that happen.”

Didn’t get it completely right but I did get the points right. Completely arsey on my part (apologies for the language ladies) but that piece of “extremely fortunate providence” will do me for about the next 2 years I reckon (ha-ha). Anyways, more important things to talk about than me so as I always say …let’s get into it.

Bulldogs vs Broncos 40-60 @ ANZ
The Dogs showed a lot of endeavour last week. Their effort resulted in a nice (big) win over the Tigers. They sure surprised me. Are they good enough to surprise again? The Broncos just snuck in (sorta) against the Sharks. Don’t get me wrong, they were good but they got a teeny bit of help from some “average” refereeing decisions (or lack thereof). Some may disagree but that’s how I saw it anyways. If the Broncos can replicate how they played last week, they’ve got this one in the bag. I don’t think the Dogs have got enough weapons to match Brisbane. Should be a fairly comfortable win here for the Broncos. Famous last words maybe? Obviously I’ll be tipping the Ponies.

Knights vs Tigers 45-55 @ McDonald Jones
Seeing as the Knights and Tigers both lost last week, the “bounce back” factor is only gonna work for one of them. I thought the Knights would’ve done a little better last week given the importance of needing to keep winning to make the finals but they failed to deliver (well done Cowboys by the way). If you get to a 12 point lead in the first 10 minutes and still lose, then you have me worried. The Tigers were disappointing last week (in my view anyway) and I’m not sure how to process the effort I saw them deliver. I’m assuming it was some sort of “hangover” from knocking off the Dragons and Rabbitohs previously. The Tigers are favourites with the bookies but interesting to note they have a 0-3 record as the away favourite so far this year. But hey, stats are just numbers. Then again, they do come in handy sometimes. I’m confused! What the heck, I’m on the Tigers.

Rabbitohs vs Storm 40-60 @ ANZ
This one should be a cracker. Now we’ll see who’s a genuine contender and who’s not. Yeah, the Bunnies won last week but Baggy’s BOYS ran in 3 tries (I think) against a pretty decent defence. If the Eels can get past 3 times then the Storm can do just as well, even better. I know Souths are a good side but if they don’t switch on defensively they’ll get dusted here. It may be wise to remember that the Rabbitohs have “struggled” a bit the last couple of weeks but my gut feeling is they’ll “rise to the occasion” in this game. I’ve said it before but the Storm just keep rollin’ along don’t they? Then last week they opened the flood gates! My brain is telling me that the Storm will be just too good. If I had any lingering doubts then those “stats” I talked about earlier have put my mind at ease. Storm away record is 7-3. Last 5 games against Souths 5-0. Last 4 as away favourite against Souths 3-1. Yeah, the Storm Troopers for me.

Dragons vs Warriors 65-35 @ WIN
As mentioned earlier, only one side here will enjoy the “bounce back” victory this week. I fully expected the Dragons to stand up and make a statement last week and was genuinely surprised they didn’t. It’s sort of taken me by surprise but I’ve just been reminded that the Dragons have lost 3 of their last 4. As I witnessed last week, it seems they have real problems defensively. Will the Warriors be able to exploit that weakness? Not on last week’s effort they won’t. OK, 2 tries to one in the first half but seriously, losing the second half by 28 points to nil was just out and out inexcusable in my book. There you go, plain and simple for me. I’m on the Dragons here as I just can’t trust the Warriors’ form.

Eels vs Titans 55-45 @ ANZ
The Eels had a great first half but let’s be frank here, their second was a shocker. Having said that, they only lost by 6. Outplaying the Rabbitohs for half a game might just give Baggy’s BOYS a small amount of self belief. If only they could maintain the intensity. Last week the Titans had a beauty, piling on 28 unanswered points against an out of sorts Warriors. I reckon the Titans’ form has been OK lately and their effort last week is testament to that. This might be a close one and based purely and solely on what was dished up by these 2 sides last week and even though I’ve rated them slightly under, I’m tipping the Titans.

Roosters vs Cowboys 75-25 @ Allianz
Watched my BBB last week and what a performance. Man I’m stoked. Latrell is a freakin’ talent ain’t he? And Teddy! When both of these fellas are on song it’s a joy watching them with the ball. Either we are peaking at the right time or the Dragons forgot to show up. But again, it felt like we eased up a bit and let Ben Hunt score a couple. Trent needs to remind the boys about maintaining the defence mindset. The Cowboys did well last week grabbing that win over the Knights but we’ll be a slightly tougher assignment you’d think. As I like to say sometimes … the Chooks are $1.20 favourites for a reason. Unfortunately for all the wonderful passionate Cowboy fans here, I think your joy from last week will be short-lived (absolutely no disrespect intended). I reckon (hoping) after the Storm and Rabbitohs game and “assuming” a win for my BBB, we’ll slip into second. Sorry my Cowboy friends but Newbie is obviously tipping the Chooks. Begurk! Begurk!

Sharks vs Manly 75-25 @ Southern Cross
The Sharks played a good game last week but got rolled by the Broncos in the end. In my opinion, too many errors and some bad calls cost them. Manly let another one slip but there’s still hope there. Not this year but I’m thinking moreso next year. Shouldn’t be letting games like that slip away. Their away record this year is 2-7 from memory so based on that and the performances of both these sides, I’m tipping the Sharks.

Panthers vs Raiders 50-50 @ Panthers Stadium
There’s always a game in which I just can’t seem to see an obvious choice and once again this is one of those games. Absolutely no idea with this one. Could go either way. I’ve rated this game as a 50-50 so it sort of makes sense I’m having a hard time with this one. Yes, the bookies have it clear cut with Panthers at $1.40 and the Raiders around the $3.00 mark but I don’t agree with those odds all that much. The Panthers would be pleased with how they fought back to win while the Raiders would be embarrassed with their flogging last week. But, and this is a big but, their respective opposition points my tiny brain towards “formlines” again. Panthers snuck in against Manly while the Raiders were given a lesson by the Storm. This is what’s causing me trouble. Maybe I’m overthinking it. Geez, just don’t know. Look, based on the fact it’s at Panthers Stadium and the Raiders’ away record is 1-7, I’m gonna have to tip the Panthers here.

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and may your team win by 40 points!

It’s “Song of the Week” time again…

Not sure many will like this one but here’s hoping. Look, I might have a few years on most of you but I really dig this sort of music. Don’t be scared…

Cheers y’all…

mark ashford's picture

Final Update and I'm off to bed.
1. Rocket Ryan..... Rick
2. Tiger Girl …. Scott M
3. Footy Chick.... Thinker & Mary S (a tie)
4. "a" ….Newbie from Perth
5. Thinker... no takers for our leader?
6. Rick...for our friend Christine
7. Steel Panther... no interest yet
8. Brad S.. we need a taker
9. Dragons Fanboy...the TigerHolic
10. Kellys Loot... needs a starter
11. The Annoying Devil. Hasn't he annoyed someone enough to pick him?
Only 5 spots left. Remember any of the 11 above can win the comp.
Can't believe no one has taken the boss. He won't take any prizes but can finish on top.

mark ashford's picture

Newbie I'm 50/50 on that sotw mate, a bit of a wishy washy tune but hay it's what ever floats your boat.
Thinker got in first on Footy Chick but after reading Mary S's post picking the girls, including the Rocket, I had to give her a spot, funniest thing I've seen here for a while, all due respect to you Ryan.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I'll take TAD, he knows his shit. And on the spoon, it would be anyone who has tipped every single round and that is a two horse race between the "king and i"

a's picture

Mark I will take the boss thanks

manyana's picture

Hi Mark, sounds like a fun idea. I haven't done my tips yet, but for your comp. I'll take Footy Chick by 1. GO FOOTY CHICK!!!.
Cheers, manyana.

bradapple's picture

Mark I will take Rocket by 1 since he has bee n ahaed pretty much the entire season.


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