Round one selections

Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos – Thursday night – AAMI Park

If you listen to the pundits (of which I am probably one), you would think Storm coach Craig Bellamy is facing the greatest challenge of his coaching career. He's one year on from losing Cooper Cronk (who proved a handy inclusion at the Roosters), and in season 2019 he has to scramble together a side without another one of his little big men in Billy Slater. There aren't a lot of jigsaw puzzle pieces shaped like Billy Slater, but Jahrome Hughes has been handed the task of replacing the man who, in my dodgy opinion, is the greatest fullback to ever play the game. I'm not sure how you replace the irreplacable, but Bellamy still has the best pack of forwards in the competition. The GOAT may be an ageing hooker (which sounds like an NRL off-season incident in waiting), but he still knows how to control a game, and he has a pack of men around him that can help shape the board/football field as he wishes. To borrow from Mark Twain – rumours of their death are greatly exaggerated. As for the Broncos, their spanky new zillion dollar academy is literally (not Mark Twain literally) my next door neighbour. Because of this, I've been able to see plenty of the Broncos in pre-season. They look slick, and they trained on Sunday and looked even slicker. Perhaps it's the music Anthony Siebold has crackling through the speakers. Wayne Bennett wanted to stay because he thought this side were the most promising bunch of lads he has ever trained. I keep thinking back to that Rabbitohs backline in 2018, and how darn fabulous they were with the ball in hand when they were on song. And I'm asking myself if Siebold can make that Rabbitohs backline look so good, what can he do with Nikorima, Milford, Isaako, Roberts, Bird, Oates and Boyd? They're my top pick to win the whole box and dice this season...so I better tip them here (even though the Storm almost never lose the first game of the year). I imagine a few Sydney-centric types will be annoyed that the first game of the season involves two out of towners playing out of town...but what a first game of the season.

Verdict – Broncos by 4

Result – Storm 22 defeated Broncos 12

Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks – Friday night – McDonald Jones Stadium

The NRL is unpredictable enough during the season, so it's hard to take trial form seriously (unless the trial involves Jack de Belin....boom tish!). That said, the Sharks were comfortable victors over the Knights two weeks ago, and in the absence of any other form to work with I'm working with that. How the playmakers in both sides go is where much of the interest in this clash lies. Ponga moves into the halves with Pearce, and those that watched the All-Stars game had a window view into the future (to think the Cowboys let him go....sigh). Almost as interesting is the inclusion of Shaun Johnson at the Sharks. His combination with Townsend and Moylan looks a little bit special. Johnson gets a chance to weave his magic behind a decent pack of forwards at the Sharks, and I don't think he had that luxury at the Warriors.

Verdict – Sharks by 4

Result – Knights 14 defeated Sharks 8

Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday night – Sydney Cricket Ground

There is so much to talk about here. I honestly don't know where to start, and once I start I'm not sure if I'll ever finish. I'll try to keep it brief. The only foundation clubs in the NRL at a traditional venue. Our longest serving coach (and Australia's oldest living person) takes up the clipboard at the Bunnies. The Roosters trying to do what no club has done since 1993. Angus Crichton lines up for his new club against his old club. He joins another former Bunny Luke Keary, who won a Clive Churchill (Rabbit) medal with the Chooks last year. Baby George Burgess plays his first game since starring in an off-off-off Broadway play as Prince Charming (honestly not made up). Inglis (possibly) returns...and he's either 15 kilos overweight or in the best shape ever (depends who you ask). If he does return, he squares off against Latrell Mitchell. I could go on...and I will, because unfortunately the talking point out of this game might end up being the state of the playing surface. If the field falls to pieces, and takes out a Tedesco, Mitchell or Inglis for the season in the process, it's the only thing we'll be talking about this weekend. That's disappointing...so I hope I'm wrong. I hope this is a game for the ages, and clashes between these two teams often are. I'll take the Chooks, who have kept things on the down-low since returning from the trip to England. The doubts around Inglis sway me somewhat too.

Verdict – Roosters by 7

Result – Rabbitohs 26 defeated Roosters 16

New Zealand Warriors vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Saturday afternoon – Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors often start a season slowly, hit their groove in the middle of the year, and then fade away as the competition gets serious. Last season was better, but the pattern was much the same. This year their first game of the year is at Mt Smart Stadium, and this could prove the difference this time around. Their trial form has been promising, and while they haven't quite worked out how they are going to replace Shaun Johnson, they at least have two options to choose from. It looks like Adam Keighran gets the first opportunity, but we'll see Chanel (not the perfume) Harris-Tevita sooner or later. I'm sure the Warriors fans won't be shy about reminding Dylan Napa of his recent (not recent to be fair) indiscretions. How he responds will create plenty of interest. The Warriors at home for me – even without Johnson their backline looks too strong here. Imagine being the Mum and Dad who decided to name their son Chanel. Bold. Very Bold.

Verdict – Warriors by 8

Result – Warriors 40 defeated Bulldogs 6

Wests Tigers vs Manly Sea Eagles – Saturday afternoon – Leichhardt Oval

Two teams with new coaches, and with all the huff n puff that's being going on off the field I had all but forgotten that Des Hasler was back in charge at the Sea Eagles. Welcome back Des you old master. Why would you name your child Chanel when you could name them Des? Pah! The Tigers were the surprise packet early last year, and with the Sea Eagles missing one Trbojevic I'm with the big cats at home.

Verdict – Tigers by 4

Result – Tigers 20 defeated Sea Eagles 6

North Queensland Cowboys vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Saturday night – 1300SMILES Stadium

It's the big question everyone is asking – how will the Cowboys go without Ben Barba? :-) 

Jordan Kahu is a late inclusion in the Cowboys squad this year, and that answers my question about the goal-kicking duties. He's under-rated and gets a chance in a key position. If the Cowboys pack isn't the best in the NRL it's certainly on the podium, and they could be the forgotten contender in season 2019. It's still pretty warm (a little bit too warm if you ask me) in the Sunshine State and the Dragons might find the weather, and this opponent, a tough ask.

Verdict – Cowboys by 8

Result – Cowboys 24 defeated Dragons 12

Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels – Sunday afternoon – Panthers Stadium

Usually it's the Parramatta Eels with a bucketful of off-field issues to manage, but they find themselves in rare air here – a squeaky clean off-season.

Peni Terepo: "Hold my beer"

Despite all the off-field madness the western derby should have the bleachers bulging on Sunday afternoon. Team Cleary are united in matching jerseys and I think the home side will put on a bit of a show this weekend. Hopefully it's enough to lift Gus Gould out of his funk. And here's a bit of advice from a hopeless old footballer to all the brilliant young footballers out there – put down your phones and pick up your standards. Seriously.

Verdict – Panthers by 14

Result – Eels 20 defeated Panthers 12

Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders – Sunday night – Cbus Super Stadium

I've been at this caper for quite a few years now, and I'm about to say something I doubt I've ever said before – the Titans are deadset, lock-it-in, rolled-gold certainties on Sunday night. This game is a toin coss according to the bookies but I must have my titan-tainted glasses on or something. The Gold Coast pack looks the goods and the backs are good enough to keep AJ Brimson on the bench. The Raiders have named Jack Wighton in the halves, and I expect the Titans to throw a lot of very big humans at him to test him in defence. Shannon Boyd plays his first game for the Gold Coast and gets to show his old team he didn't move north because of the weather. Specials.

Verdict – Titans by 8

Result – Raiders 21 defeated Titans 0

Wally Lewis - round one selections (in bold)

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

  • STORM vs Broncos
  • KNIGHTS vs Sharks
  • ROOSTERS vs Rabbitohs
  • WARRIORS vs Bulldogs
  • TIGERS vs Sea Eagles
  • COWBOYS vs Dragons
  • PANTHERS vs Eels
  • TITANS vs Raiders

2019 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Launch Campaign

Comments

a's picture

If Pabdul doesn’t come back The Butcher will be good to fill his shoes

a's picture

While we’re on the subject what team do you support The Butcher

mark ashford's picture

Baggy
I've taken the gecko out side and fed him to a magpie. Going back to scratching my head.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I'm not sure I can do that with my children. At least they got the rabbits right.

BigPeteBx's picture

Good evening 'a'.
I seem to visualise that The Butcher is a Chookies supporter, like Thinker and Pabdul.
The feathers including mine, didn't have a great first round.
Cheers mate
Big Pete

Steel Panther's picture

Just got home from seeing Judas Priest in concert so only caught the last 10 minutes of the Cowboys win. Missed your feathers being ruffled Big Pete but did manage to see all the Warriors game before I went out. Not sure if the Warriors are that good or that the Doggies are just woeful!!! Many pundits tipping the Dogs for the spoon this season and today we saw why!!

christine 's picture

Mark
Leave the gecko alone just tip with your head not your heart i'm on 5 from 6 with 2 games still to go , I like geckos I have one that hangs around here it's a stumpy tailed gecko ...

a's picture

I’m on 5 out of6 to

christine 's picture

I just want to pay my respect to the people that died in New Zealand yesterday may you all R . I .P . you were all taken from this world before your time & may justice reign for all of you ...

manyana's picture

Hi Mark, poor gecko, happy magpie.
Hasn't been a good start to round one, but it's a long season, so the only thing we can do is improve (I hope).
Keep on scratching your head, it might make some of the teams that you've picked play harder & win.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Steel Panther, hope you enjoyed your visit to the Sunshine Coast, & hope that if you come back next year I'll be able to meet you.
I was so looking forward to doing that, but that's what happens with Chronic Fatigue. I'm used to it after about 30 years, but it still hurts.
Good luck with your tips.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Lovely thoughts Christine. I'm sure that we all feel the same.
R.I.P. all the victims.

manyana's picture

Hi Big Pete bx, you mean to tell me that The Thinker is a Chooks fan?
Ah, you just can't trust anyone these days. LOL.
Good luck with your tips.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Hi Butcher, you have some very good points there.
Hope you do well with your tipping this season.
Nice to have you aboard.
Cheers, Manyana.

christine 's picture

Manyana I like your moluccan cockatoo I watch a very naughty moluccan cockatoo called pebble on you tube , she swears her head off but she is 24 years old & she is on here 10th home & has had as many owners as homes to live in including a zoo poor girl but she is a character ...

manyana's picture

Thanks Christine, I thought that it was very apt as I seem to be a galah at footy tipping.
My Grandmother had one for years, when she passed away my Mother took him and he died some time after he went to my daughter. I don't know how old he was but I think he was a fair age.

christine 's picture

manyana moluccans live between 60 - 80 years old & if it's got black eyes it's a male the girls have brown , there are only 2000 left in the wild & 600 get caught every year we need as many moluccans in the wild as possible to keep there numbers up they see for up too $3000.00 but palm cockatoos $20000.00to $40000.00 we need to preserve these animals natural habitat so they don't disappear it would be a significant loss if they were wiped out completely ...

christine 's picture

that was they sell for those amounts you knew what I meant ...

Mary S's picture

Hi Baggy,
Your boys certainly did well today and deserved their win - you will be proud.
Looked like Panthers had "butterfingers' today!
Cheers, Mary

mark ashford's picture

Hey Baggy
Just watched the Eels/Panthers game. Commentators saying the Panthers got plenty of poor calls. Just how much influence does Gould have at #9. To me it was just the opposite. The disallowed try late in the game (bunker decision) was a joke. The player regained possession and grounded the ball CLEARLY, even the #9 boffins agreed. I tipped the Panthers to win but was happy to see your guys get up.

mark ashford's picture

Hi Mary S
Gotta agree can't remember the Panthers making so many mistakes in a game. Not taking anything away from the Eels they were superb and maybe forced those mistakes.
Ivan Cleary has some work to do as does my new Coach Siebold.

a's picture

Hopefully Eels do better this year

manyana's picture

Very interesting Christine. Are you interested in all birds,or just the ones that you wrote about?
Where did you get your information from, Google, or have you bred them?

BigPeteBx's picture

Yes Manyana - I'm positive they both are Chookies and at present like my birdies - WET.
Wendy sent a text to here, over the weekend and said you've had plenty of water/rain over at Bribie. Pelted down here this afternoon, so maybe a prayer was answered.
The pee-wees and rain birds were sounding out today and it is also said they are an indication of rain. Another person told me currawongs likewise, but I wasn't previously aware of that.

Any time you have a few moments (time) on your side, have a Google at Birdlife Australia. I donate to them annually and they have some very good info on their site. Even topics for attracting birds (feathered ones) to your backyard.

Good luck tipping this year also. We'll need more than good luck.
Cheers and keep well - Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

I think Mary, their claws were blunt.
When 2pts the diff, I felt the game could change for anything, but wasn't to be.
Baggy will be doing cartwheels tonight.
Cheers - Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Evenin Mark A.
I think if Michael Jennings sets his mind on playing footy this season and keeping in the good books, he might just turn out being the difference between losing and winning. He has heaps of experience to call on and is just as good on the toe. Looks like he's put a few pounds on, going by the picture box this afternoon.
Cheers mate, have a good week and keep well
Big Pete

Baggy_Gee's picture

I could see why they said no try for that last one Mark, it was bobbling around a lot, the two calls that annoyed me were that Blake hit to Moses when his back was turned, and Campbell Gillard hitting the kicker high after he put in the kick. If Jennings high shot was a 10 in the bin, then at least 1 or both of those fouls were of a similar nature. I'm ok with the Jennings call, he did knock the other guy into next week, but if a accidental high shot is binnable, then that offside, in the back, Blake hit was worth as well. I thought we played well especially once Brown went off, he was back to his brutal best for those 20 minutes, and all the young BOYS stepping into first grade did a wonderful job. I think Mahoney showing plenty of spine and spirit was good. BTW Jennings still owes use for the second try that was let in while he was taking ten.

christine 's picture

manyana all birds but I don't like crows be around & currawongs but ever thing else is fine I currently feed a family of grey headed butcher birds but the babies are brown they change colour when they mature , I have two that come calling for me everyday ...

christine 's picture

manyana my magpies will even come walking inside my back door if I let them I just tell them no magpies in side & they go out the door as fast as they come in , it doesn't take long for magpies to learn & with magpies they have facial recognition they don't forget so if your nice to a magpie it will always remember that & visa versa so remember that next time anyone is mean to one try doing the opposite & you will have a feathered friend for the rest of it's life ...

Scrum's picture

Thinker, you're killing me! I followed every tip of yours round by round in 2018 and came last in my work tipping comp. Decided to give you the benefit of the doubt this year since it may have just been a rough season, now I'm already coming last and it's only round 1. I believe you might have become the over-thinker.

My experiment of following a better footy brain than I hasn't paid off, so it's back to trusting my gut.

This is all in good fun, btw. I love the site and have been a fan for years. Keep up the great work.

manyana's picture

Hi Big Pete, after the conversation with Christine I might have a look at that site, it sounds very interesting.
We have bird baths in both front & back gardens & love to watch the birds play in the water. Saw a bubba the other day, sitting on the edge but wasn't too keen on getting his/her feet wet, even though Mum/Dad were there. He/she ended up having a drink & flying away.
Isn't it amazing what people get pleasure from?
Re tipping, I'm just lulling everyone into a false sense of security before I pounce lol.
Good tipping next week.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Hi Christine, we have quite a lot of birds around here. There are PeeWees, Butcher Birds, Minor Birds, White Cockatoos, Ibis, Magpies, Crows, & other birds. Often a family of ducks come visiting.
We have 3 bird baths, 2 in what we call "the jungle" & 1 out in the front garden. It's great watching the birds play in the water. We have had several lots of magpies with babies, and we love to watch the babies trying to catch a worm or something when the Mum/Dad don't feed them any more. When the parents are feeding them, all you hear is squawk, squawk, squawk, from the young magpie & they follow the parents until they get fed. Big Pete gave me a site to check out so I might just do that.
Hope you are keeping well & good luck with your tipping this season.

Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Scrum, why don't you make note of Thinkers tips & then tip the opposite team? LOL
Going with my gut hasn't gone too well for me so far, so I'm thinking of picking the team that I think will win, & take the opposition, so that way, not only will I confuse everybody else, I'll also confuse myself, which might be a good way to tip winners. LOL.
Cheers, Manyana.

Scrum's picture

Ha ha, I might just do that!

Baggy_Gee's picture

Haha, the BOYS are in the top eight this year. The rebuild is going well.

christine 's picture

manyana
They call them butcher birds because they are known to feed a baby bird to their babies alive but I find if you feed them they leave other birds alone , I give mine beef mince they like a little bit of fat in it not much I was giving them diced bacon which the magies just love but the butcher birds would only take the pieces of fat & drop the meat , with my birds I throw the food up in the air & they catch it it's a daily ritual here at one stage I had 4 magpies 2 adults 2 babies 6 butcher birds 2 adults 2older babies plus 2 younger babies & a kookaburra all coming here to be feed & I have lizards that get in on the act too , manyana go to you tube look up a bird called eric the legend cockatoo he is a corella & thats were you can also find pebble the moluccan & an other moluccan called max or max tv all on you tube pebble has over 100 takes on you tube you can watch so have a look at them I watch them all the time cheers manyana enjoy eric & pebble with eric the legend look for eric the legend cockatoo mission impossible it will show you how naughty they get when they are familiar with you & their soroundings ...

BigPeteBx's picture

Hello Manyana and anyone else who has a soft spot for our environment and wildlife protection.

That site is good/excellent. There are others, for other animals etc.
I have a photo my daughter took some years ago with a magpie sitting on my leg eating mince out of my hand. They love it when the babies are around or in nest. We get all types here now and even Indian Mynah birds which appear to have migrated from Sydney area. I once thought it was too cold here for them.
We have the usual mountain larry/rosella, now I have seen in my yard 4 king parrots and aren't they so lovely. Blue Wrens, Silver-eyes, Regent Honeyeater, Crested pigeon - they are funny buggers chasing each other around like the Keystone Cops - the list goes on.

But wait for it, Birdlife site, if you join (no cost unless you want to donate), does surveys through the year for you to identify all the birds you see enter your yard, or pick a local park etc. You can then be entered into a competition to win some nice prizes. Not bad if you are the observant type with some small time to spare.

Good luck with the the birds and also tipping.

Big Pete in Bx Country.

The Butcher's picture

Hi Scrum
I think that you should pick your own tips as even if you win a comp following an experts tips it doesn’t really make you an expert tipper just an expert copycat .
Thinker goes alright he tipped at 58% last year you must have some geniuses if you came last in yours
And always check your tips.
I backed the Cowboys on the tab only to see I marked the dragons by mistake in my tips
The only advice I can give if your in doubt take the home team
Anyway I have a mate with the nickname scrum but that’s because he married a hooker

christine 's picture

mayana & big pete my knowledge doesn't just stop there see I wanted to be a vet at school but I would take home too many strays as I can't bring myself to have an put down ( to sleep ) so I thought I would be a marine biologist but I have a huge shark phobia cause I know too much about them so my point is DO NOT CULL SHARKS for starters your in their domain by culling them you cause an upset in the eco system , if you don't go in the water you won't get bit & anyone who knows anything about sharks will tell you never go swimming in port steepens or Ballina those spots are nurserys for great white sharks most of the people that are being bitten by sharks in those areas it is always a juvenile great white & a great white born is a meter long with teeth they have no one to teach them what they can or can't eat so it's trial & error these people are only getting exploratory bites they don't really want to eat us & no great whites were caught on drum lines manly tiger sharks but bull sharks cause more fatalities than great whites so culling is not the answer , you cull sharks you kill the apex preditor but you leave an abundance of food in the water inturn you case an upset in the eco system leave the sharks alone ...

christine 's picture

Last comment on sharks even great whites have a predator for starters big shark eat little shark but orcas also eat great whites let the ocean look after itself we are only ruining it by littering it with plastic & killing the coral we should be ashamed of what we are doing to the great barrier reef there I have had my say no i'm not with green peace or a conservationist I just say what I have to say these anamals can't do it for them but how would you like your home destroyed that you realy on to live ...

christine 's picture

Sorry thinker I will keep it nrl related now sir ...

christine 's picture

That was supposed to read as port stephens or Ballina ...

manyana's picture

Thanks Christine I'll have a look when I'm feeling a bit better. Having a rough time with my CFS currently. I've lost my voice and have to be careful otherwise I could lose it altogether. This has happened twice and I had to go to a speech therapist to teach me to speak again.
Stay well, manyana

manyana's picture

Wow Christine, you certainly have a lot of hidden talents. It's a shame that you couldn't follow your dreams. I wish we could have a face to face chat, you sound so interesting. Now you have to devote your talents to win the Thinkers tipping competition. lol
manyana.

mark ashford's picture

Baggy
say what you want for mine it was a fair try. Campbell-Gillard seemed on a search & destroy mission. He's a big unit and should kerb his aggression or end up in the bin.
On another matter Latrell Mitchell has brought his aggressive play to 2019. He is a very angry young man and will end up in the same place.

christine 's picture

manyana I have won three tipping comps in the past 2011 ,2012 ,2015, but they were an in house tipping comp at my fathers golf course down here in Sydney & the prize money was much more different to the thinkers , what cost me $156.00 over the three years to enter gave me a retun of $1800.00 over three years & $1000.00 of that alone in the first time $500.00 the second time cause they didn't like getting beaten by a girl ( true story ) & the third time was the year my mum died & they still couldn't beat me but it was only $300.00 mind you 2013 the changed the point scoring at said place to suit themselves 2014 there was no comp run there so I did ok as far as I am concerned but they no longer run the comp any more they weren't getting anything out of it & I did promise the thinker I wouldn't make mention of any other comps on his site so enough of that manyana you might get me in trouble with the powers that be all hail the thinker ...

christine 's picture

manyana I just come on here to escape the realities of my illness & day to day life to catch up with you all & contribute in some way , I've been doing so from the beginning so that's what I stick to doing that suits me besides that i'm tipping rocket to win this year if only I can get rocket to tip with his head not his heart you got it rocket that's the first rule second rule home ground advantage plays a big part in most cases etc you should know the rest rocket it's common sense ...

Mary S's picture

Only thing about 'common sense' Christine, unfortunately it's not very common!!!!
Cheers to all, Mary

a's picture

You know we’re all glad your here
Christine

Christine 's picture

Mary s yes i know unforunatley it isn't very common & i am talking to a one eyed broncos nut in rocket , seriously what made you think they would beat storm in melbourne rocket have faith in seibold he will get your team there but you were going up against bellamy after all ...

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