Round four selections

Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos – Thursday night – Sydney Cricket Ground

The Broncos engine room under-performed against an under-strength but enthusiastic Dragons pack, and Anthony Siebold didn't spare the French with his post-match spray. You would expect them to respond, particularly with Matt Lodge returning from suspension. The Chooks have named Cronk, Friend and Waerea-Hargreaves. Who really knows if any or all of them are on the park, but if they do play there's some risk they can't finish the game. That might be a bigger risk than resting them, as Keary, Radley and Taukeiaho have all shown they can step up and adapt as required. The Broncos performed about as poorly as they could last week, and still only lost by a point in the last play of the game. They're outsiders at the SCG, as they should be, but I think they can bounce back. Plenty of eyes will be on Pangai Jnr as he faces the team that's made a play for his services.

Verdict – Broncos by 4

Result – Roosters 36 defeated Broncos 4

New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans – Friday night – Mt Smart Stadium

The season is barely underway but these two teams would already be feeling the pressure – the Titans remain winless while the Warriors have a solitary win over the under-performing Bulldogs. There is some talk that Ash Taylor may play but I'll believe it when I see it – as things stand the Titans are lacking the spine to make the most of whatever attacking opportunities arise. Without a whiff of confidence I'm with the Warriors, who are a far better side at Mt Smart than anywhere else.

Verdict – Warriors by 2

Result – Warriors 26 defeated Titans 10

Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers – Friday night – Panthers Stadium

Phil Gould is 8 years into his 5 year plan to make the Penrith Panthers a powerhouse in the NRL. During those 8 years they have finished in the top four once (in 2014) and made the preliminary finals once (again in 2014). They've lost about $30 million in the process, and haven't got an ounce of silverware to show for it. Given the money that's been spent, the people involved and the enormous catchment of junior talent they can draw upon it's hard to call the plan a success. Despite that Phil Gould is still there, and he's got the coach he (might have) always wanted, even though he turfed him not so long ago. Said coach faces his former club on Friday night, but I have no idea if said Phil Gould will call the game (probably not). Even though I've spent the last ten minutes mocking them, I'm tipping the Panthers on Friday night. The Tigers have a shorter turnaround to prepare, and we've seen time and again teams bounce off a poor performance. The Tigers were poor last weekend too, but that Panthers loss to the Storm in round three couldn't be much poorer. Pretty strange way to find a winner – the Panthers were worse than the Tigers so I'll tip the Panthers. It's a funny game rugby league.

Verdict – Panthers by 4

Result – Panthers 9 defeated Tigers 8

Manly Sea Eagles vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Saturday afternoon – Lottoland

Tom Trbojevic is just one man...but he's quite the man. We all wondered how much difference his inclusion would make to the Manly Sea Eagles. The answer is clearly lots, but the fact that the win was over a disappointing Warriors outfit muddies the waters a little. This Saturday should give us a clearer indication. They also return to their spiritual sandpit – let's all hope that we don't lose a Trbojevic or an Inglis down a Brookvale sinkhole. The Rabbitohs remain undefeated and I see no reason to drop off them yet, particularly with the inclusion of yet another Burgess brother (George) this weekend. Potentially the game of the round.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 4

Result – Sea Eagles 13 defeated Rabbitohs 12

North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders – Saturday afternoon – 1300SMILES Stadium

The Raiders have conceded 32 points through three games this season, and 22 of those points were against the unbeaten Storm. Meanwhile the Cowboys have conceded 83 points, and each week they are conceding more points than they did the week before. It's a worrying trend, and I can't have them until I see signs of improvement.

Verdict – Raiders by 4

Result – Raiders 30 defeated Cowboys 12

Parramatta Eels vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday night – ANZ Stadium

The Eels have struggled ever since Semi Radradra was lured away by a giant novelty cheque and a simpler, lazier life playing provincial rugby in France. It's rare that a winger can make such a difference to a side, but he was a unique and rare talent. While the recruitment of Blake Ferguson raised some eyebrows at the time, you'd have to say that, thus far, it's been a runaway success. In many ways he gives the Eels what Radradra used to do. Maiko Sivo, on the other wing, looks a prospect too. Two good wingers won't usually beat a team like the Cronulla Sharks, but with Moylan unavailable, Gallen unlikely and a question mark on the fitness of Fifita, I'm with the Eels to return to the winners circle.

Verdict – Eels by 4

Result – Eels 24 defeated Sharks 12

Melbourne Storm vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Sunday afternoon – AAMI Park

The Bulldogs got on the board last weekend with a surprise win over the Tigers. This weekend they face the toughest road trip in the NRL. That Bulldogs spine of Meaney, Cogger, Lewis and Marshall-King looks very inexperienced for such a challenge.

Verdict – Storm by 16

Result – Storm 18 defeated Bulldogs 16

Newcastle Knights vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Sunday night – McDonald Jones Stadium

Kalyn Ponga, perhaps not the next Darren Lockyer, has been moved back into the fullback role this weekend. No doubt he'll appreciate the extra wiggle room and a lighter defensive workload. Mitchell Pearce might respond positively too, knowing that he is very much responsible for most of the decision-making in attack. The Dragons were solid in their first win of the year over the Broncos last Thursday but, as mentioned earlier, the Broncos were pretty awful. The Knights may have only won one game this year, but have conceded just 41 points through three games. That tells me their defence is in order, and I'm thinkering that their attack will improve with Ponga at fullback.

Verdict – Knights by 4

Result – Dragons 13 defeated Knights 12

Wally Lewis - round four selections (in bold)

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

  • ROOSTERS vs Broncos
  • WARRIORS vs Titans
  • PANTHERS vs Tigers
  • Sea Eagles vs RABBITOHS
  • COWBOYS vs Raiders
  • Eels vs SHARKS
  • STORM vs Bulldogs
  • Knights vs DRAGONS

Comments

Baggy_Gee's picture

How about we see how some of the more consistantley hopeless teams this season go before we lump the Broncos in with them. I do agree last week and this week have made them look ordinary, but they still have wins on the board and their for and against wasn't -50+ after 2 rounds like the Bulldogs.

The Butcher's picture

I’m calling it early
It’s only round 4 and the difference between the top 3 in storm rabbits and roosters is so superior that there’s only 1 spot up for grabs in the top 4
Even with players out they still have the depth to win
I can see them putting a 6-8 point break by origin and even with their rep players out they’ll still be competitive
By the way whoever gets 4th will only be cannon fodder anyway
I actually hope I’m wrong

MGM's picture

I'm sure you're all watching Panthers v Tigers
It's half time and for the umpteenth time we've seen just before the bell a play on the line during the 39th minute ...
how many Tigers players had their foot on the line ???
IS IT A RULE OR NOT A RULE ??!!
For the most part the NRL has cleaned up the play of the ball and the 10 mtr rule and thank God for that!
It's time for a campaign/clampdown on this overlooked infringement that seems to be 90% unenforced and it so very often has a huge effect on the result !!!!!!!
Not Happy Jan !

MGM's picture

It should be $ all now at the very least.

MGM's picture

Sorry ... should read 4 all of course.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Well a the Broncos looked pretty sharp compared to both the Tigers and Panthers. I have played in better games when I was in the u18's. I was the world's worst player but I could hold ball better than that.

Mary S's picture

Last 10 mins was the most exciting in the cats game!

Steel Panther's picture

Hey Big Pete....congrats on your Sea Eagles getting up over the Bunnies. Courageous effort!!

Steel Panther's picture

I can't believe how bad the Cowboys are. How many times did they drop the ball tonight. I've tipped them every week for only 1 collect.

a's picture

I suggest don’t tip them next week witch I certainly won’t be

christine 's picture

Rocket
Were was tiger going I know he said paris , they has been an apartment block on fire in paris today so he might be having to run down a few flights of stairs after all keep an eye out for the news too see if he is jumping out of any windows , you never know with these tiger supports ...

Baggy_Gee's picture

Not sure on that penalty try, numb nuts had an age to score but didn't try to do it. Tackled off the ball a bit of a rough call.

Mary S's picture

Storm v Bulldogs - What an exciting game, with a much closer result than many expected.

a's picture

3 golden point games in round and nearly 4

The Thinker's picture

I wonder if all three QLD NRL teams have simultaneously been in the bottom four on the ladder before.

Baggy_Gee's picture

That is a turn up for the books especially since the Broncos had a few for and against in hand over the dragons. It's a weird ladder some massive negatives down the bottom. Watching the Broncos as you do Thinker, do you think they can turn it around or are they doomed to miss the eight this year?

christine 's picture

"a" same as what you said to steel about cowboys with not tipping them I think it is safe to say the same about broncos too until we see other wise ...

christine 's picture

Rocket
Your killing me what's going on I thought I was doing bad & I am 3 up on you , you are going to turn it around I said it was your year to win the thinkers comp & I was going too make sure you do it so stop tipping your beloved team & use your head we should all know by now which teams are doing any good so tip those teams ...

christine 's picture

Thinker
Can I put a ban on rocket tipping broncos , cowboys , titans so he can only tip the teams any of those three teams are playing & see if it improves his tipping or not at least please thinker & if say broncos play cowboys then he has to take home ground advantage as an example so which ever team comes first ???

a's picture

Yes I am not tipping any QLD team until J see improvements

a's picture

By the way I will be tipping NSW to win the origin series if these 3 QLD keep it up

The Thinker's picture

@Baggy

You have possibly heard quite a few of the commentators talking about how the Broncos have been training the house down. It's true. I've been there a few times and they look a million bucks. For the last two weeks they haven't brought anything like that to the game.

They can definitely make the eight. I expect they will, and I haven't given up on them winning the comp....but they are a long way from there right now.

Note that two of their losses were against the 2018 grand finalists away from home. Their win over the Cowboys was outstanding. They were far worse against the Dragons than they were against the Storm or the Chooks...but they almost won regardless.

Still one of the better teams I say...and if they get their house in order...a threat.

The Butcher's picture

If the broncos make the grand final which is very unlikely they will meet the storm or roosters away so that’s a proven problem already

Training is easy when there’s no opposition
Until they get decent halves they will struggle

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