Round twenty three selections

Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs – Thursday night – Bankwest Stadium

What I said about the Bulldogs last week (and the weeks prior) still holds. They're winning games on the back of water-tight defence, and keeping a top four team tryless for 80 minutes is worthy of platitudes. Note that the Eels have conceded just 30 points in their last three games too, so we have two well-drilled defensive units on display on Thursday night. I keep tipping against the Bulldogs and I'm not alone. If they win again I wouldn't be surprised but I'm with the Eels for a raft of reasons:

  • a top four finish is well and truly alive
  • their record at Bankwest is hard to knock
  • their victory over the Bulldogs in round two was comprehensive and away from home

Whatever the result, having two competitive teams in Sydney's golden west is good for the game. Should be a fair crowd by Thursday night standards.

Verdict – Eels by 4

Result – Bulldogs 12 defeated Eels 6

North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers – Friday night – 1300SMILES Stadium

The Cowboys could rally together and win a game for retiring monolith Matt Scott, but my gut feel is they might do that next week in their last home game of the season. Taumalolo has been named on an extended bench but I usually interpret that to mean he isn't quite ready. With that in mind, and with what the Knights did to the Cowboys without JT last weekend, I have to tip the Panthers. A top eight finish is still a possibility...barely.

Verdict – Panthers by 10

Result – Cowboys 24 defeated Panthers 10

Brisbane Broncos vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday night – Suncorp Stadium

I had a beer with Anthony Siebold and Allan Langer last Saturday. When I say 'had a beer' what I mean is I loitered nearby while they had a beer. Why would either of those blokes want anything to do with a mug like me? Anyhoo they seemed in good spirits, especially after Siebold tipped Alfie into a winner at Eagle Farm. A bit of chat in the lead up to this game has added some extra spice. We may see some of that spill onto the field, particularly if Sam Burgess can get himself fit in time. If he doesn't, the Rabbits pack could struggle, particularly with brother Tom unavailable. The Broncos lose Pangai Jnr for this and probably the rest of their season, but Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn return just in time. The suspension of Jake Turpin might be harder to overcome, so the Broncos need Boyd to deliver alongside O'Sullivan in the halves. When these sides last met the Rabbitohs won in an absolute canter, but it's hard to believe it's the same team that couldn't score a try against the Bulldogs last weekend. The Bunnies are slight favourites but I'll tip the home side in front of what should be a sizeable crowd.

Verdict – Broncos by 4

Result – Rabbitohs 22 defeated Broncos 20

Cronulla Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday afternoon – PointsBet Stadium

Apparently the Warriors are still a chance of making the finals – it must take some particularly special form of mathematical wizardry to get them there. Any loss and it's over...if it isn't already. It was fleeting but Moylan and Dugan both played last start, which means they actually had four good hamstrings to share for a change. It was short-lived with Moylan succumbing to, you guessed it, a hamstring issue. Dugan back to fullback this weekend, hamstrings permitting. I say the best form of revenge is to live your life well, and Shaun Johnson gets to exact some revenge on the team that punted him by putting the Warriors finals hopes to the sword. I've been saying the Warriors season is over for a while now. I'll be right eventually.

Verdict – Sharks by 8

Result – Sharks 42 defeated Warriors 16

Wests Tigers vs Newcastle Knights – Saturday night – Campbelltown Stadium

The winner here keeps their finals hope alive while the loser plans their holidays. As such, this becomes one of the most important games this round. These sides met less than a month ago in Newcastle, where the Tigers prevailed 28-26. This games moves to Campbelltown which aids the Tigers cause, but they head into a must win game with two of their wisest, steadiest heads (Farah and Mbye) on the sidelines. The Tigers lost their second string dummy half last week, so they've dragged Josh Reynolds out from wherever they've been hiding him for another run. I'm sure he'll relish the opportunity but it's a big ask. Ponga and Pearce were back to their best last weekend and they'll be hard to contain if they repeat that performance. Take note the news regarding Nathan Brown too – it's amazing how often teams respond positively to such things.

Verdict – Knights by 4

Result – Tigers 46 defeated Knights 4

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Sydney Roosters – Saturday night – Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The Chooks have won five in a row and have scored 190 points (averaging 38 per game) in the process. It's been an age since a team won back-to-back premierships but they look likely don't they? The Dragons just don't have enough points in them to make this a contest. Sure they scored 40 points against the Titans, but this is a proper football team they're up against here. Taukeiaho returns from injury to make the tricolours even more formidable. We are the Roosters...the red, white and bluesters.

Verdict – Roosters by 16

Result – Roosters 34 defeated Dragons 12

Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans – Sunday afternoon – AAMI Park

You'll notice I'm languishing on the tipping ladder this season. Don't worry, I noticed too. It's partly because some of you people are freaking geniuses, and it's also partly because I've made some pretty dud calls this season. One of the biggest was tipping the Titans to beat the Storm earlier this season. The Storm rested five Origin players and they still beat the Titans on the Gold Coast 38-18. Given that result, what will the purple machine do back in Melbourne with all their Origin players available? Do rugby league scoreboards have space for triple figures?

Verdict – Storm by 68 (not a typo)

Canberra Raiders vs Manly Sea Eagles – Sunday afternoon – GIO Stadium

For the third week in a row the Raiders give us the game of the round. After a very competitive loss to the Chooks they came from behind to run down the Storm in Melbourne. That's the two best teams in the NRL so form doesn't get much better than that. The weather looks pretty good on Sunday (for Canberra) so there'll be no shortage of vikings in the stands. Manly have struggled somewhat away from Brookvale this season (winning five from eleven) but one of those wins was against the Storm. The Raiders are a warm favourite here, and should be, but I'll tip the visitors in an upset. Manly beat the Raiders earlier this season at Brookvale and they won that game without Tommy Turbo and Addin Fonua-Blake. What a game though, and thank heavens it gets the free-to-air Sunday afternoon timeslot.

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 1

Wally Lewis - round twenty three selections (in bold)

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

  • EELS vs Bulldogs
  • Cowboys vs PANTHERS
  • Broncos vs RABBITOHS
  • SHARKS vs Warriors
  • Tigers vs KNIGHTS
  • Dragons vs ROOSTERS
  • STORM vs Titans
  • RAIDERS vs Sea Eagles


mark ashford's picture

We seem to have gone a little quiet on the posting folks.
Doesn't have to be footy related just anything you'd like to get off your chest. We all put in our tips but a comment or two would be helpful.
For me I'm filthy Tavita Pangai got pinged for his Maloney tackle.
If anyone deserves to get tackled hard it's that little grub Maloney.
There you go I'll kick it off and hope for some replies.
Please remember this site lives on traffic and I'm sure we all support Thinker & TLH.

a's picture

Yeah it’s been quiet lately. Hopefully we get more posts soon.

Mike T's picture

Some may have my noticed that I have missed entering my tips a couple of times.
Round 12, the first of the split rounds, and then, bugger me, I did it again on round 18.
I contacted Mr Thinker that I was upset with myself and asked to be removed from the Comp, he nicely suggested that I could stay on and that I would be welcome again next year. So I ate heaps of humble-pie and have continued with my tips.
Down at my local pub I am one game off top spot, at this stage. I have entered the same tips in both Comps all year: the reason I haven't missed at the pub is that you receive a voucher for a schooner when you ask for your tipping sheet!!
I know that I would have received 8 wins over the 2 missing rounds, so I mentally add that to my score to show to myself just what a dick-head i was (am). Even though I am still hanging in about the top third of the result sheet.
Best of luck to all with what's left of this year, I will look forward to 2020. Mike T.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I think it was the flop over the top more than anything Mark. It was just lazy effort, he should have come in sideways at the ribs and livened Maloney up a little. Might have got away with it from a different angle.

tigerholic's picture

Morning Folks
I know I have been quiet since last Thursday and that is because the Tigers disappointed me big time. I let their performance spoil my appreciation of the game we all love.

I am disappointed with how the game is being managed and refereed, some of the decisions have been ridiculous, I just hope a semi final or even the GF are lost due to a wrong call by a ref or the bunker.

I think the NRL are trying to make the game too soft, we have lost the ability to have a bit of biff, the tables have been softened and you can legally strip the ball after the other tacklers drop off.

Too much inconsistency across the ref's and the teams like Melbourne and Roosters get more advantage than most other teams. Melbourne are the biggest offenders in holding down and working a player over in tackles, the ref's let them get away with it.

Why did Cam Smith not get cited for his facial on the canberra player?

Have a great day folks, good effort from Rocket last week in guessing 6/8, he must have let his wife pick for him:)


The Thinker's picture

I don't think there is much malice in what Pangai Jnr does....he's just a big unit and he's fast over a short distance. Sometimes he's late getting there and that makes it look worse than it is.

He's like a big enthusiastic Saint Bernhard dog.

That said, if he misses his target and contacts the head he's going to get pinged for it.

The niggly facial stuff Cameron Smith (and others) do isn't likely to hurt anyone (unless you target the eyes)....but I don't like it, and the cameras we use today means that sort of stuff is going to get picked up.

Dan B's picture

Those 'fluffy' rabbitohs let me down on winning the 8 game accumulator last round. Seriously it's a joke if anyone thinks they are top four team and with the performance they put in against the dogs last Saturday night when they didn't score a try... seriously they are not remotely a finals threat.

Their attitude was crap against the dogs when early in the first half and ten metres out they took a penalty and again in the second half. confidence and no idea.

Wayne should be furious at himself. Honestly.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Hmmm Dan, how do you think Bennett will react if they fall to 6th this weekend? it is a possibility. But happy news, they shouldn't be out of the 8 this year as there is 2.5 games between 6th and 7th.

Dan B's picture

I don't think it matters what position in the 8 they end up now. They had everything to play for (a top four position) against the Bulldogs and they didn't turn up BUT Canterbury did. What does that tell you?

Their attitude is lazy. Compare that to the Raiders who had the courage and belief to turn around an 18 point deficit in Melbourne!

Winning is an 80 minute attitude from the get go. I don't see that in South's.

a's picture

Nathan Brown has just walked away from Newcastle

mark ashford's picture

Just saw a few replays of the Pangai tackle. Fair dinkum there wasn't much in it. Maloneys teammates rushing in to shove him around I'm sure influenced the refs. I see much worse each week with no punishment.
Anyway he's off to the judiciary to see what he can do, don't hold much hope.
Have a look at Cam Smith trying to remove someones ear? No penalty.
Bellamy has a lot to answer for with the wrestling, holding down etc.
I know most teams do it now but it started at Storm.

mark ashford's picture

Hey Tiger
The strip rule is a freaking joke. 3 x 100 + kg guys hit you, 2 roll off and the 3rd strips the ball before the ref calls held. Is it not enough to get smashed in a tackle? The refs seem reluctant to call held, are they waiting for an offload? Once you stop going forward held should be called immediately. For mine this is a bad look for the game.
A lot of people I talk to are going off the NRL big time, don't know where they'll go but the ladies beach volley ball has a lot going for it.

Baggy_Gee's picture

There was nothing in the TPJ tackle, I think it was just lazy, but it is similar to these "late" tackles on passes. The one with shoulder only should be penalties, but where they are tackling the player properly its just poor refereeing. I only support the time on the sideline because it was over the back of the neck, hit him anywhere else like I said earlier I would burn NRL HQ on behalf of the Broncos fans.

mark ashford's picture

Tevita Pangai Jnr suspended for 5 games. What a joke. The NSW run judiciary will never give a QLDER or a VIC a break.
This may just be the end for me with the NRL I've had enough.
NSW you can have the comp, I'm done with the bullshit.

mark ashford's picture

Can I please have those banking details as I won't be back here anymore.
I've had enough crap from the NSW centric people. Look at the so called footy show on Sunday run by Sterling Johns and 3 NSW journos.
Later us QLDers get a little presence by Sam or someone. I've had enough. I'm going to be watching the Bribie Warrigals from now on.

Mary S's picture

Hi Mark,
Do hope you will reconsider your last comment in regard to leaving Thinker's site, as you are also a big part of the openness of expression here, on not only NRL, but a variety of subjects.

Unfortunately, there are many decisions made in so many areas these days, that raises the question of the sanity of the decision makers.

I wonder at times, if the advancement of age, also brings a certain amount of impatience with the apparent stupidity and shortsightedness of some. I, personally, know I have less patience than I used to have.

Keep smiling, keep well and please stay!!


newbie from perth's picture

@ Mr Ashford

What Mary said mate. Passion sometimes boils over and makes us say "stuff". I was in the exact same position with the AFL and endured for maybe 8 years or so before I "jumped ship" and came back to my first and true love that is rugby league.

Yeah, the game annoys me sometimes with silly rule changes and differing interpretations and so on but on balance, it's the only game I would stay with through thick and thin. Mary hit it on the head when she mentioned we lose a little patience as we get older. I can vouch for that from experience my friend 😁

Anyhoo, sleep on it, take a deep breath and see how you feel then. In the meantime, just know that you are an integral cog in the wheel that is this wonderful site. Cheers brother...

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Ready for another "War and Peace" novel length post from yours truly? Seriously, I have to get a life or start my own NRL website. Nah, I wouldn't do that to you Boss. Just gaggin" 😁

Well, so much for last week’s “experiment” with posting comments in 3 separate installments. Too hard trying to remember when to post plus the agony inflicted on you guys 3 times (ha-ha). Easier to post once and inflict pain once. Yeah, I’ll go back to the way it was.

I was all prepared to comment on the Storm’s loss to the Raiders last Saturday night but then realised they’re playing the Titans this week so no need to now 😁 Speaking of the Storm, my ratings has thrown up the highest ever ratings figure in their game. Obviously it has also thrown up the lowest too. You’ll need to scroll down to see what they came out at though. Unprecedented!

OK, ‘nuff said, let’s get into it…

Eels vs Bulldogs 65-35 @ Bankwest
Ladder Position = Eels
Bookies Favourite = Eels

Yeah, Baggy’s BOYS ended up beating the Titans 36-12 but they could’ve won by more had it not been for missed chances in the first 40 and some errors brought about by a lack of discipline. Brad Arthur summed it up by saying … "That's probably our most ill-disciplined performance that we've put in this year ... not good enough.” Their second half was a touch better, albeit it took a while to get themselves into gear. The stats were shared pretty evenly but it must be noted that the Eels had just 76% set completions, 60% kick defusals, 27 missed tackles, 24 ineffective tackles, 13 errors and 12 penalties conceded. I wouldn’t have expected that from a side like the Eels. Oh well, that’s footy for ya.

The Bulldogs have now won 5 of their last 7 matches. Who would’ve thunk it? They’ve pulled off another “upset” last week by knocking off the Bunnies 14-6. Then again, the way the Dogs have been finishing off their season, can we really consider it an upset really? Look, they’ve now won 5 of their last 7 so they must be doing something right and maybe deserve some respect. I’ve certainly been guilty of underestimating them lately. Their defence was simply outstanding. So outstanding in fact that the Bunnies were unable to score a try the whole game! Basic footy is a good starting point sometimes. Pleasing to see was that they had less missed tackles than Souths (18-26), less ineffective tackles (12-23) and they managed 3 forced drop outs (Souths 0).

As much as I’d like to tip the Bulldogs (I really would), I might just have to stick with the Eels.

Cowboys vs Panthers 40-60 @ 1300Smiles
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

The Cowboys got smashed last week by the Knights 42-6 and never really looked in the hunt to be honest. Their defence was poor (35 missed tackles) and attack-wise they could only muster 404 post contact metres (Knights 500), 2 line breaks (Knights 10) and 10 tackle breaks (Knights 35). They did however force 3 line drop outs. Just a shame they couldn’t take advantage of those though. Not sure how they’ll be able to handle the Panthers this week. Maybe start better and take their opportunities (and points) whenever and wherever they present themselves. The Cowboys have only pride to play for now whereas the Panthers are playing for a spot in the 8. Is there an upset brewing here peeps?

The Panthers were right in it at half-time (only 2 points down) but their second 40 was where they lost it last week against the Broncos 24-12. I think I might’ve been “sucked in” by their performance from the week before. They could have (and should have) done better when Turpin was sent to the bin but instead they allowed the Broncos to score. The Panthers really needed to stand up last week and cement their spot in the 8, especially considering their lousy for and against. Thought they might’ve gone on with it when the score was 18-12 but no, there was nothing they could do. They were simply out-gunned by a more desperate side on the night. They’ll need to address the missed tackles (50), errors (14) and penalties conceded (6) if they’re going to be a chance this week.

I was initially thinking of tipping the Cows in an upset but on seeing the team lists (Taumalolo named as reserve and only a rough chance of playing), I’ve decided to go with the Panthers one more time.

Broncos vs Rabbitohs 55-45 @ Suncorp
Ladder Position = Rabbitohs
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

The Broncos got up last week 24-12 and live to fight another day. Thought they did very well defensively and even better when they scored after being a man down when Turpin was binned. They came out in the second 40 a different side and got the better of the Panthers. Actually they seemed to have the Panthers’ measure for all of that time. That being said, it’s slightly worrying that they missed 40 tackles, made 9 errors, conceded 10 penalties and had 2 players sent to the bin. But hey, they did make 50 tackle breaks though. The Broncos need another big game from Haas and Isaako to increase their chances here.

The Rabbitohs disappointed last week and lost to the Bulldogs 14-6. I thought the Bunnies’ game against the Dogs was rather average (poor actually). I don’t think the Bunnies had any plans in place and a lot of their blokes underperformed. They had some chances but were simply not able to get past the resolute defence of the Dogs. I’m still shaking my head that they couldn’t score at least one try in the match. Now you don’t see that happen with the Bunnies too often do you? They surprisingly couldn’t manage any forced drop outs, they missed 26 tackles and made 23 ineffective tackles. Repeat that and the Broncos will smack ‘em. Rabbitohs have now lost 7 of their last 10 matches. Who would’ve thunk it? And who would’ve “thunk” they haven’t won at Suncorp since 2015 either? Hmm.

Dunno with this one. I can make a case for both these sides actually. Got a feeling that Souths might “bounce-back” this week. Not confident at all but I’ll go the Bunnies.

Sharks vs Warriors 65-35 @ Shark Park
Ladder Position = Sharks
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

The Sharks’ 18-12 win last week against the Dragons was far from convincing to say the least. You could almost say that they “stole” that win. Did everyone hear Wade Graham admit on air that that ball did in fact touch his arm? Not sure how the call would’ve gone had the Bunker been able to prove that though. Anyway, it’s all done and dusted now and the Sharkies bagged another 2 valuable points. If they play finals like they played last week then they’re absolutely no chance. Their whole game was riddled with mistakes and a lack of discipline from what I saw. Set completion 71%, missed tackles 26, ineffective tackles 26, errors 16 and penalties conceded 5. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Dragons were just as guilty in the mistakes department, the Sharks would’ve lost that one.

The poor ol’ Warriors play a blinder one week and then a shocker the next. Ah, that’s the Warriors of old right there. Not sure what’s wrong with these fellas. There’s definitely something going on between their ears but no idea what it is. I doubt whether they know either. I’ve stopped trying to work them out and tipping them each week is gonna be a bit hit’n’miss I reckon. Signs looked promising last week against the Chooks when Tuivasa-Sheck scored that try after 3 minutes. Unfortunately for them, that try and conversion were the end of their points for the afternoon. Yikes! They had a 75% kick defusal count and 55% possession yet somehow couldn’t find a way to capitalise on that. Some of their stats were very poor indeed. No line breaks at all, 13 tackle breaks (Roosters 27), 84 kick return metres (Roosters 243), 27 missed tackles and 16 ineffective tackles. Maybe they were rubbish because they were up against the best team in the world 😂 Who knows eh?

I’m gonna go right off my rocker here and tip the Warriors. Have absolutely no idea why but I’m tipping them anyway. My gut feeling (which is mostly wrong) is telling me to. Meh!

Tigers vs Knights 50-50 @ Campbelltown
Ladder Position = Knights
Bookies Favourite = Knights

The Tigers needed to do well last week against Manly to stay in touch of the 8 but ultimately fell way short and got beaten pretty comfortably 32-12. Their defence was finding it hard to deal with the speed of Manly’s game and only having 36% possession didn’t make their job any easier. They were already missing Farah, Mbye and Garner and then they lost Jacob Liddle after the first 5 minutes. That wouldn’t have helped much. Tigers were always going to find it tough with silly errors (8-2) and poor discipline. They couldn’t force any line dropouts, could only make 19 tackle breaks (Manly 50), missed 50 tackles (Manly 19) and could only muster 416 post contact metres (Manly 666). They were good here and there but on balance they just couldn’t keep pace with the Sea Eagles.

The Knights finally got back on track and were very dominant in their 42-6 win over the Cowboys last week. Their faint chance of getting into the 8 is still flickering and they have winnable games in 2 of their last 3 for sure. But it’s all gotta start here this week against a wounded Tigers outfit. Pearce and Ponga both scored doubles and were major factors in setting up the Knights’ win last week. They were pretty dominant over the Cowboys and the stats prove it. 500 post contact metres, 10 line breaks and 35 tackle breaks. While they couldn’t force any drop outs, they did have far fewer missed tackles (10) compared to their opposition who racked up 35.

You know what? I reckon the Tigers are a chance here. Yeah, might just tip ‘em to get up in a close one.

Dragons vs Roosters 20-80 @ Jubilee
Ladder Position = Roosters
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The Dragons were the “bad luck” result of last week’s round for me. Sharks beat them 18-12 courtesy of a rather “dubious” try at the death. They were on par with the Sharks in the first 40 and were right in it and you would’ve expected they should have won it given their dominant possession and field position in the second 40. To get done via that aforementioned try was (or should have been) just so heart-breaking for them. The way they battled on in the later stages with no interchanges left was admirable and showed a lot of heart. They simply refused to surrender. That my friends, is a sign that they’re on their way back. Now all they have to do is figure out how to avoid all the mistakes. Just 68% completion, 35 missed tackles, 16 ineffective tackles, 17 errors and 6 penalties conceded. You don’t make the job any easier if you’re putting out numbers like that. Sheesh!

My BBB had a comfortable win last week against the Warriors 42-6. After the Warriors scored in the 3rd minute, it was all red, white and blue. It made me (very) happy that the boys weren’t going to sleep in the second half. 30 points to nil was proof of that 😁 I thought the Warriors would’ve given us a sterner test but 8 tries to 1 dispelled that notion. Without trying to sound biased, our second 40 was just too good and too classy for the Warriors to handle and 6 of our 8 tries came in that period. Just hope we can continue on in the same vein against the Dragons this week. I wouldn’t mind the Roosters scoring another try this week like the one that came from Cronk’s “falcon”. Man that was a classic (ha-ha). Most of the Roosters had a good game but Keary stood out for mine. He was out on his own and his kicking game and passing was on point. A bloke in complete control. Most of our stats were OK (410 post contact metres, line breaks 10, tackle breaks 27 and kick return metres 243) but we only had 45% possession (yikes!), 57% kick defusal (not good), 26 ineffective tackles (also not good) and we missed 13 tackles.

So glad I’ll be able to watch this one on TV Saturday night. As much as I admired the Dragons’ effort last week, I’m hoping they don’t repeat it (sorry DFB). Obviously I’m on the Chooks here. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Storm vs Titans 95-5 @ AAMI
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

Short’n’Sweet …. Storm win this.

Raiders vs Manly 60-40 @ GIO
Ladder Position = Raiders
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

Woo-Hoo Raiders! It was a big effort knocking off the Storm down at AAMI last week. To have 2 blokes binned in the first half and heading into the sheds 18-4 down, you would’ve thought the Raiders had no chance. People say it all the time … “it’s a funny ol’ game”. In a tough encounter, the Raiders simply out-muscled the Storm and all credit to them. To keep them scoreless for the last 52 minutes or so of the game was no mean feat. Bottom line, they put on 22 unanswered points and won it 22-18, albeit they didn’t get the winning try until the 76 minute mark. What made their win more admirable was the fact that they had a paltry 50% kick defusal, they missed 22 tackles, they had 8 ineffective tackles (the Storm had 20) and they had 2 in the bin.

Manly had a good win last week over the Tigers and won 32-12. It was a dominant performance by Manly despite some errors (missed tackles 19 and penalties conceded 2). Yeah, Manly bounced back from last week but they weren't at their absolute best. Strange I should say that given they had 64% possession, made 666 post contact metres, 50 tackle breaks and forced 5 drop outs. I’m talking about their absolute best that they’re capable of. Just sayin’… 😁 DCE once again controlled the play for the most part and Turbo Tom and Dylan Walker both put in great efforts.

Game of the round right here people. Both sides have beaten the Storm recently so the form for the Raiders and Manly has definitely been franked. This should be an absolute beauty but who to tip? The Raiders’ last 2 matches have been against the teams sitting first and second and they’d be better conditioned by those 2 games I reckon. Raiders for me.

Let’s finish off with another “Song of the Week”…

I realize not many of you are into it but here’s a little 80s R&B Groove for ya…

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and may your team win by 40 points! Until next week people. Cheers.

Anonymous's picture

I read comments on this site regularly and I find that Mark Ashfords comments are so one sided towards Queensland who are always hard done by but when NSW are in the same position they are no good grubs and they should be rubbed out of the game
I think take some time out and take a look at your bias chip on your shoulder attitude towards NSW
And by the way don’t forget to close the door behind you
God that felt good

BigPeteBx's picture

MARK - you just stay put Buddy. You aren't going anywhere, apart to the pastures. If you think we seem to have gone a little quiet on the posting at Thinker site, it'll be a hell of a lot quieter, if you jump ship on us. QLD'ers are stronger than jumping ship. They are usually there for the long haul, like NSW waited for SoO success (a little of it).

Besides, where do we all get to have a chat with you. Selective ones might have your home email address, but I'd like to know how your fishing trips, EPL Arsenal support and wrestling with crocs (not basketball), also how your appetite for Buffalo steaks - is going.

I heard from Johnny A the other night and he has a plate full as fight the fight, because we all know what decision makers are like. I once recall Peter Beattie saying (several years ago) with the drought and how it was affecting NSW, that if QLD Govt was to lock off all their dams, NSW wouldn't get any water into their northern connected rivers. Now that was the lowest coming from him and I don't forget him for it, or even the party I used to casually work for (unpaid) at NSW Elections. So just put NRL in the same boat, it has to get better.

Hang in there Brother - because u r better than that.

Cheers mate and Keep well
Big Pete in Bx

a's picture

Please stay Mark

Baggy_Gee's picture

Get your fist off it Anon, we are all biased, and Mark is exactly like the rest of us. Passionate about his state and team. Honestly there has never been fowl play by a Parra player, that is just my bias, lets talk about the Michael Jennings suspension from the start of the year. Yes it was high and careless, but worthy of a send off? Not on your life. Kika, hit the half a fraction of a nanosecond late, same deal, penalty was probably overkill and the send off again unjustified. TPJ, slightly more justified as it was a flop over the neck, so maybe........... 10 in the bin, but I do agree with Mark that 5 weeks is far to much, maybe 2 if he plead guilty and kept some carry over point. His point and I agree is there are vested interests in the game at the top making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons. So if you have a problem with passionate fans expressing their opinion, turn around, delete this site from your history and you can shut the door behind you.

Mary S's picture

Like your style Baggy!!

I didn't agree with Annons post either.

As we are all entitled to our opinion, I recognise & respect his right to have a differing view, although I am curious as to why people don't put their name to their rant, if they want to be acknowledged as an intelligent contributor, instead of hiding behind the 'Annonimouse' label.

Perhaps it is an unfortunate sign of the times, that some consider they have the right to verbal diarrhoea, or road-rage, or abuse in any form and don't need to be held accountable - hence the continued introduction of some rules/laws that just seem ridiculous!!

Cheers to all,

a's picture

Yes Anonymous if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it

I wonder if he’s a former user

Baggy_Gee's picture

Probably is a former user "a". ICE does horrible things to your brain so does WEED. Don't do drugs kids, you grow up to be irritable, paranoid and a pain in the ass. While I understand Marks annoyance, I don't think that pulling out does anyone any good, but we need to allow Mark to deal with this in his own time and way.

a's picture

Here’s my tips

Eels by 4 I think the Eels will end Bulldogs very slim chances of finals here

Panthers by 6 I think the Panthers will want it more than the Cowboys here

Broncos by 2 I think the Broncos will lock their finals spot here

Sharks by 8 I think the Sharks will get the job done against the Warriors here

Knights by 1 I think the Knights will win in a thriller here

Roosters by 20 I think the Roosters will be to good for the Dragons here

Storm by 60 no explaining needs to be done here

Raiders by 6 Raiders to get the job done here

The Assistant Coach 's picture

Pangai has got a lot of cheap shots in his game which is ashame coz the boy can play but he got what he deserves and I admire the fact he admits the penalty was correct

Baggy_Gee's picture

So the Girls got 4/8 last weekend and are slowly slipping down the ladder with 93/168. But they are still in it and ready to tip, here they are for this weekend.
Eels - Because they are slimy, reptiles and we like reptiles.
Panthers - Because they are black and very fast
Rabbits - Because we have a toy rabbit and will like it if we choose them
Sharks - Because we are now 50-50 on the Warriors logo.
Tigers - Because they are orange with black stripes (or is it the other way around)
Roosters - Because they crow when it is dawn
Storm - Because we still like blackouts (apart from the screaming when it occurs)
Manly - Because they are purple birds.

mark ashford's picture

Hi All
Thank you for your kind words.
I would like to apologise for my temper tantrum last night.
Had too many glasses of Sauv Blanc and lost it. Silly me.
I have apologized direct to Thinker and would like to be included here if that's ok.
Anonymous. You too are entitled to your opinions as are we all. Why not declare yourself and join in on a regular basis.

Steel Panther's picture

Sanity prevails Mr Ashford.....

newbie from perth's picture

And a very good evening to one and all,

Read the comment from “anonymous” Wednesday morning concerning Mr Ashford’s alleged biased views and to be quite frank, didn’t think too much of it insofar as that sort of thing doesn't register with me. Like Baggy said, everyone has a right to be biased (passionate) as long as it’s done in the right spirit. Just like Mary said, much better if debate (heated or otherwise) wasn’t hidden behind the “anonymous” badge. Mate, I don’t think there would be any problem with putting your name (real or otherwise) to your comments. You’ll add a little spice on here (as long as it’s done with just a tiny bit of consideration) and you never know, we may even come to love ya in time 😍

I suppose I’m lucky in a way being from WA in that this state rivalry thing doesn’t affect me or burden me in any way, shape or form. I usually just sit in my neutral corner watching the Maroon and Blue tribes going at it 😁 No offence intended to either parties but it’s quite entertaining sometimes.

Actually, come to think of it, even if someone bagged my beloved Roosters, I don’t think it would bother me. Not that I don’t love my BBB, it’s just something that doesn’t flick the “angry switch” with me. I’ve come to realise that as far as I know, this life I have right here, right now, is the only one I have so I’m not gonna waste the precious time I have left by stressing out. Not directing this at anyone, not trying to push anyone’s button and not trying to “convert” anyone, just saying what I believe is all.

Mr Ashford, I hope that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was a good one mate. Some Leeuwin Estate or Rosemount maybe? 😋 No worries bud, it happens to the best of us on occasion. Power and respect to you 👍 for reaching out. OK, time to boogie on. Well, that’s my 2c worth so it’s goodnight from me and it’s goodnight from him. Cheers.

newbie from perth's picture

P.S. "Sanity prevails" indeed. Well said Steel Panther. Short and to the point (unlike my lengthy diatribes) 😁

christine 's picture

Your not to go anywhere you belong here & your staying if anyone else has a problem with that they can close the door behind them & turn off the light on there way out mark along with mary s as well as several other people on this website are kind hearted & genuine not like some of the trash that has reared it's head on this website before you go picking on one of us you deal with all of us that's just the way it is , mark your welcome here as you know & your entitled to have your say when you need to you have always been a voice of reason on here & I don't think it would really be the same without you here so please stay mark ,who else is going to help me keep my sanity ...

christine 's picture

They now claim stress is actually good for you a certain amount at least it gets the heart going they say in which case it probably the only thing I have going for me then I worry about worrying too much but the good news is I am actually going to meeting with a professor soon & if all goes well I might end up have him as my neurologist instead of who I am currently under the care of so well see if he can even fit me in his case study that is I will keep everyone informed ...

newbie from perth's picture

Hey Christine,

Yeah, some stress is good I agree but not too much 😁. Don't get me wrong, I blow my top sometimes too. More like the "lion and the lamb" sort of thing, Be the "lamb" most of the time and then once in a blue moon become the "lion" and roar! Catches everyone by surprise and they take notice. Plus "roaring" every now and then releases the steam valve and puts everything back level again.

It's always nice to hear when you have good news given the stuff you endure. Tell the prof he'll have to deal with us here if he doesn't take you on 💪

OK, I'm outta here.... Peace! 🕊

Baggy_Gee's picture

Tis all good Mark. This game of ours does funny things to us all. I was at Suncorp earlier this year whne the BOYS got badly done by those crooks from Melbourne. I walked put with 15 minutes to go, I believe that you should watch the whole game and back your team in win, lose or draw, and actively mock others who jump ship. But I couldn't take the humiliation that I was watching and had to do the walk of shame copping it from others. It was a very humbling experience. I hope that you can watch a few good games this weekend and remember how good the game can be when its 34 men on a field trying to compete without other agendas being pushed. Are you heading to Suncorp for round 23?

Rocket Ryan's picture

Gee old anonynous gave it to mark when he eas a bit down not bad for a cockroach i suppose hope its not ten years till he pops up again and gives me a laugh.

manyana's picture

Hi everyone, well, finally the internet is back working. Gave Optus the flick & went wireless with Telstra. The speed has improved by miles. Here are my tips for round 23;
Broncos (with a big question mark)
Raiders (Also a big question mark)
Good luck to all, Cheers manyana.

Anonymous's picture

Rocket Ryan are you sure your a Broncos supporter?
I only picked 3 spelling mistakes
Manyana your internet’s improved
Your tips haven’t
To the rest of you I don’t dislike Mark
I just knew if I put it that way he’d do the opposite
Maybe I have been here before
Maybe U haven’t

manyana's picture

G'day Anonymous, Thanks for the show of support for my tips. I thought it would be easier this week, but I was wrong. As usual I'm not terribly confident with my tips, but I keep on hoping that things will improve. Perhaps next year?
Yes, the internet is v-e-r-y fast now, which is great!!
Before, I could go & make a cup of coffee while waiting for something to download, now it's there straight away.
Good luck with your tips.
BTW, I haven't noticed your name too far up the leaders ladder.

a's picture

Anonymous I’m pretty sure you were a user

mark ashford's picture

Hi All
As I caused this ruckus thought I'd better have a look at it.
Anons first post was at 7.04 am on the 21st giving me a serve about my anti NSW bias (probably deserved)
Then on the same day at 5.14pm a post appeared from "the assistant coach" supporting the TPJ punishment. This was a clue to Anons identity. (the assistant coach) gimme a break.
Next day Anon posted again with a serve to Rocket and some smart aleck comments to Manyana. Now if this doesn't sound like the old Coach Potato, well I'll just get back on the drink.
The final clue was my comment about the Broncs/Panthers game and we know who Coach supports. Like a phoenix he has risen.
Do we welcome him back or just ignore him. Not my call.

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hi all, I hope you guys are all well. Good to see that you are in good spirits Mark and have decided to stay on the site because we all would've missed you if you left. Good work Thinker and Newbie as always with your insights, I particularly love that Thinker has picked the Storm by 68, loving the honesty Thinker and the guts to pick a margin so big. I know it's 1st v last but geez we rarely see a margin like that happen. We'll see though we'll see. Anyways, onto my tips. My tips for this week are:

Eels by 6 - This will definitely get close and will surely be a cracker of a game between two big Western Sydney rivals. The Bulldogs have been dubbed the "giant killers" thanks to all of their upsets that they have caused over the last 6 weeks. And now they have 13th place to show for it. Credit for the Dogs for always showing up and showing some fight even when their season is over. It's crazy to think that they were down the bottom and looking like a wooden spoon to quietly creeping up the ladder ever so sightly in order to crash other team's hopes. I love it. What I don't love is that the Dogs just recently overtook us on the ladder. SMH. Well it's well-deserved anyways. The Eels, who have their top 8 spot secured and are in the hunt for a top 4 finish will be desperate for another win to continue that fight for the top 4. So will the giant killers get it done again or will it be the high-flying Eels who continue on their merry ways at Bankwest? I think that it'll be the Eels who just get the win here over the Dogs. The Eels have been able to win the close ones which does show the heart and commitment from the Eels and also the class and skills to be able to get it done. Don't know if we'll get many points in this one or not due to the brilliant defence that these two have shown in recent weeks. Time will tell. But it's Parra's turn to shine and to perhaps break or put on a holt to that giant killers tag that the Bulldogs have taken.

Panthers by 10 - The Cowboys may get it done for Matty Scott. I hope he is doing ok by the way, you never want to see anyone suffer from a stroke ever no matter the extent to which it is; mild, high, low, whatever the case may be, you never want to see anyone go through such an illness ever. It's such a shame as well because Scott was just a few games away from playing his final NRL game but to have that already be the case due to suffering from a mild stroke is such a shame. My prayers go out to him. But, hopefully for the Dragons' sake and plus, the Panthers' are looking for a top 8 berth so they'll come out firing, has me swaying towards the Panthers. Plus also, JT is still likely to be out again for the Cowboys and you could clearly see how much easier it made the task for the Knights in the forwards battle. I can totally see it being the same thing for the Panthers as well considering the forward pack that they have. Panthers will just be a little too slick in attack and will muster more energy to knock off the Cowboys here to keep them finals hopes alive.

Rabbitohs by 2 - This was such a tough one to pick. The Rabbitohs have been very disappointing as of late and were very underwhelming against the Bulldogs. No positivity whatsoever, 3 penalty goals was all they came up with. That shows that they didn't come in with an attitude to play rather just take the points when on offer. But then again, whenever Wayne is your coach, you always take the two when on offer. But to score no tries for the full 80 when your top 4 spot in on the line really speaks volumes to where the Bunnies are at the moment. But, I'm backing them to get it done this week, even though their forward pack looks the weakest, particularly if Sammy Burgess doesn't play, they still have a pretty good backline and if they're able to click, the Bunnies will just be too good for the inexperienced Broncos but nonetheless, it'll be a tough ask for the Bunnies coming to Brisbane against a desperate Broncos side. This will most definitely be an intriguing contest.

Sharks by 7 - Why do teams like the Warriors exist tipsters? They make our lives so hard when it comes to tipping. Not going to lie this was quite tough to pick. As we come to know, you never know what Warriors side will show up. And the Sharks are coming off a poor performance which still constituted to a victory, albeit a get out of jail victory. An absolute heart-breaker from my boys but I am proud that we were able to hang in there. The Warriors put on a very disappointing performance last week against the Roosters after a promising start to the game. They were just blown out of the park. You would expect that would've taken a lot of the them and I just can't see them backing that up with a very good performance, that's where the Sharks will take advantage and use their desperation for a top 8 berth to fire them up to a good performance where they'll get the victory. Surely the Sharks can't play worse than they did last week, surely. It's crazy that they came away with the win considering how bad they played. Shows what a sloppy game that was considering we were equally as bad.

Knights by 4 - Now, these two sides will be desperate as it's that time of the year for these two that it's do or die. Whoever wins, their finals hopes are still alive but whoever loses, they can kiss their finals hopes bye bye. The Tigers will be at home with the home crowd heavily behind them willing them on. But that Knights win last week was really good and oh what an impressive showing they had. I did say that Ponga and Pearce desperately needed to fire and they passed that with flying colours both scoring doubles. Great to see that Reynolds is back for the Tigers. He has been going through a lot so it's great to see him back for some first grade. That energy that he possesses will be a huge help for the Tigers and may lift their spirits up a lot. But I feel that the Knights will be able to back up their impressive performance and the news about Nathan Brown, they'll want to come back and play some footy and I think that they'll get the win here to kiss those finals hopes bye bye for the Tigers. I do see that when the Knights are on, they get on a roll (they went 6 in a row), and when they aren't, they crumble (they lost 5 in a row in the start of the season and lost 6 in a row recently).

Roosters by 32 - Roosters have scored 190 points in the last 5 games. The Dragons have conceded 154 in the last 6 games. This should be more than enough to tell you that the Roosters will win and win well here. Yes, I know that the Dragons have shown some fight in recent games but I just can't see them showing enough here against the high-flying Roosters. The Roosters are just on a league of their own at the moment, well against the bottom sides anyways, putting on big score after big score after big score. The Roosters are going to absolutely bully us and will just be way too classy for the Dragons. I know that I'm a Dragons fan and I should be biased, but that's not how I operate, I love to be as honest as possible and I'm just being realistic at the moment. I don't have much hope and expectations for the Dragons here to be brutally honest.

Storm by 44 - I'll lay off the Titans a bit. I've got to give them some credit besides the Roosters, they haven't been completely blown out of a game. So I won't exactly go with a margin like Thinker's even though that isn't even too surprising if that happens but clearly the Storm are going to bounce back here and bounce back well and I mean really well. After their loss to the Sea Eagles, they came out and put on 40 against the Broncos, it's scary to think what they can possibly do to the Titans on Sunday afternoon after a loss to the Raiders after being 18-0 up. Can we have a betting odds on the Storm beating their own record score for this season which is 64. How about make it more interesting, can we have a betting odds on the Storm beating their highest score ever which was what, 70 I believe.

And finally... Raiders by 1 - Game of the round people. The Raiders have been apart of the game of the round for weeks now and they feature in surely another here with a top 4 showdown against the Manly Sea Eagles. This will most definitely be a cracker. But the Raiders are surely warmed up for this one considering they had the Roosters a couple of weeks ago and almost beat them and they had the ladder-leading Storm last week and came from 18 points behind to beat them. Now that is what you call form. Manly's form isn't looking too shabby as well, in fact, it's similar to the Raiders' they defeated the Storm a few weeks back and have defeated the likes of the Raiders already, the Bunnies (start of the season but got very close recently), and the Eels. Two of the form teams in the comp whom have improved so much from last year and are peaking at the right time of the year with plenty to play for, yes please. We've got a taste of finals for a third week in a row here. Raiders in golden point, calling it. You heard it here folks. How about a little score prediction as well, Raiders 19-18 Sea Eagles and the half-time score will be Raiders 6-6 Sea Eagles. Come back here if I'm correct. Viking clap will be in full force as well as get prepared.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's teams for this week and with everyone's tips for this week. Cheers and enjoy the rest of your week everyone!!

Mary S's picture

Hi Mark,
Sometimes, if one (the one that sounds familiar) is ignored long enough, one may crawl back into their shell - just depends on how snide that one wishes to become, and at who's expense!!

tigerholic's picture

Mark, Mary
I think the site has been a friendly place since the departure of He Who We All Ignore, I say lets leave things the way they are without any latecomers this year.
Entirely up to Thinker though!


Christine 's picture

I say it depends on panthers missing the 8 if they get in he will be cocky & if they don't he will disappear again. ...

a's picture

Well to be fair his team is playing my team this weekend so let’s hope my team wins

mark ashford's picture

Looks like a few regulars have spoken. We enjoy the site without your nasty comments. Go back to supporting the Panthers on another site.
Or have you been sent off there as well.

BigPeteBx's picture

Good evening 'a' and Mark, along with others.

I was reading into a few things and wasn't going to get involved, but bugger it, why not!

Yes 'a', me thinks this AnonMouse person, may have been a user.
A user at this website and further more, truly supported Black Cats and a very blue NSW. He loved his Couch and may have survived on Smiths Chips.

He can please himself with what name he uses, even as far as being Mighty Mouse or Snagglepuss. Disney might love it, but please here, select a name, like most of us have. Even if it means the re-birth of Spartan Warrior, coming back to life.

Cheers folks and enjoy Round 23 - Keep well!
Big Pete

Anonymous's picture

Manyana good comeback your right my name isn’t above yours but everyone else seems to be
Dragon fan boy love your comments but mate cut to the chase I only get half hour for lunch
Newbie I know you said you live in Perth but by the time I finish your comments we’ve made up the time difference .your song of the week should be “little less conversation “ ........every week
Mark your about as good at identify solving as your are drinking sauv Blanc
Though I do like the word ruckus


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