Round four selections

Brisbane Broncos vs Sydney Roosters – Thursday night – Suncorp Stadium

The stint of Alex Glenn as captain was short-lived - ferried down the road from Suncorp for a good old fashioned stitch-up. He won't be playing this week, and the last thing the Broncos need is to be missing more forwards. Lodge got through the game okay, but whether he has the frame for this faster version of the game is in question. The Broncos also lose their most potent strike force in the backline with Staggs suspended. A few kids get a chance, but this is a big ask against a side that impressed last start. At the time of writing we await the fate of Victor Radley at the judiciary. In any case, the Chooks have Taukeiaho back for this game which is a big plus. The Broncos will be better for the hit-out, but the Chooks look too strong.

Verdict – Roosters by 8

Result – Roosters 59 humiliated Broncos 0

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

If you asked me to pick a team in round three that would hold their opponent to zero points, the Warriors would be one of the first I would put a line through. That's amazing, but not as amazing as the Warriors breaking an historic (statistical) record by completing 46 of 48 sets. Who is this team, and why didn't they move to Tamworth twenty years ago? On form the Warriors are specials, but you can't tip the Warriors on form because they're less predictable than a bucket of sand crabs. Hiku and Paasi join an already lengthy list of unavailables for my second favourite NRL team. The Panthers couldn't put the Knights away last week, but this looks a shade easier.

Verdict – Panthers by 4

Result – Panthers 26 defeated Warriors 0

Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday night – AAMI Park

Two of our best (and crankiest) coaches will be adjusting the settings all week, following disappointing performances and big losses (by their standards). Im not sure how often the Storm get beaten by 16 points or more, but its not often. Not a lot of changes to the rosters - the Storm lose Asofa-Solomona (aka the biggest man in the world) and the Rabbits look set to quietly slide James Roberts back into their seventeen. More than anything, the Bunnies need Cody Walker back, because without his creativity and decision-making they are a far easier side to contain. The purple machine are pretty skilled at containment, and their spine of Smith (and Smith), Munster, Hughes and Papenhuyzen should do enough things right to see the home side home.

Verdict – Storm by 4

Result – Storm 22 defeated Rabbitohs 8

Parramatta Eels vs Manly Sea Eagles – Saturday afternoon – Bankwest Stadium

Have I mentioned I like the Sea Eagles this season? I must have done. Anyhoo, I still do after their dominant performance in round three, albeit against an easier opponent than the undefeated Eels. The new rule around ruck infringements seems to have opened up the middle corridor of the field, so teams that have players who can make the most of those options through the middle will shine brightest. A few players come to mind in this regard: Tedesco, Cook, Tuivasa-Sheck...and Tommy Turbo. Turbo scored an early double last week, and another big performance here seems likely. The Eels have emerged as genuine contenders this season and deserve favouritism in this, but I like the Sea Eagles. Have I mentioned that this season?

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 2

Result – Eels 19 defeated Sea Eagles 16

North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday night – Queensland Country Bank Stadium

There should be some feeling in this game, with Valentine Holmes squaring off against his last team. I expect he will handle it - if you grow up in North Queensland with a name like Valentine you get used to a few barbs. This contest has lost some of its lustre, with Taumalolo injured, Morgan still a week or two away and Gavin Cooper in doubt. Meanwhile the Sharks are set to lose Fifita and Townsend, with Moylan named to return in the halves. With Moylan and Dugan actually named in the same starting thirteen, I can only assume one of them will bust their hamstring getting off the bus or putting their socks on, and be a late withdrawal. Watch for late team changes. I rarely enjoy tipping the Sharks (actually that's not true...I never enjoy tipping the Sharks), but I think they can win this.

Verdict – Sharks by 2

Result – Sharks 26 defeated Cowboys 16

Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday afternoon – Campbelltown Stadium

It's the game of the round, and it's great to see the Raiders get a slot on free to air television this weekend. It's also the afternoon slot, and the Raiders are a great team to watch in those conditions. They surprised most of us with a big win over the Storm, but it probably shouldn't have done (their record over Melbourne in Melbourne is simply awesome). This weekend they face another undefeated side, strengthened by the return of Ponga and the likely inclusion of Pearce who looks likely to pass concussion protocols. They were gallant without being brilliant last week, but those two inclusions should see the brilliance return. A big wrap to the Raiders for finding us another star Englishman, with George Williams delivering one of the best individual performances of the round last week. This looks a ripper contest, but the Raiders style of play looks suited to rugby league in a post-Covid world, and the Knights might tire late after that extended effort against the Panthers.

Verdict – Raiders by 10

Result – Knights 34 defeated Raiders 18

Gold Coast Titans vs Wests Tigers – Sunday night – Suncorp Stadium

He's not as quick as he once was, but Benji Marshall is exactly the sort of player I was referring to earlier (i.e. players that can take advantage of opportunities in the middle corridor). This could be one of his best seasons in years. and he's got a new book out, so he'll be keen to play well and give that a plug. The Titans tried (as they usually do) last weekend, but they simply lack the cattle to compete with the better teams.

Verdict – Tigers by 16

Result – Titans 28 defeated Tigers 23

Canterbury Bulldogs vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Monday afternoon – Bankwest Stadium

Two teams under scrutiny and barring an extra-time draw, one of these sides will notch up their first win for the season. The Dragons coach is said to be under mounting pressure, but he's kept his hand steady on the wheel and stuck with the same side that couldn't get out of the blocks against the Warriors. I actually think they'll win this, and the Dragons did beat the Bulldogs pretty comfortably twice last season.

Verdict – Dragons by 10

Result – Bulldogs 22 defeated Dragons 2

Wally Lewis - round four selections (in bold)

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

  • Broncos vs ROOSTERS
  • PANTHERS vs Warriors
  • STORM vs Rabbitohs
  • EELS vs Sea Eagles
  • COWBOYS vs Sharks
  • RAIDERS vs Knights
  • Titans vs TIGERS
  • Bulldogs vs DRAGONS

Comments

The Thinker's picture

Greetings tipsters

I have updated the NRL ladder and our tipping comp after round three. Just an FYI that in the event of a drawn game, no one gets a point. Most of us scored 3 or 4 from 8, so if you did better than that, well done. A special shout out to Baggy_Gee, who top scored with 6 from 8. Outstanding work, and his team are looking pretty good too.

As you can see I have published the round four page, and I will add my previews and selections on Tuesday.

And if anyone thinks I've made any mistakes with the scoring, just let me know and I'll go back and triple check.

Kind regards

The Thinker

The Butcher's picture

Thinker
You might need to give Big Pete his round 3 total of 4
even if he goes for Manly

tigerholic's picture

Baggy

Great work mate, you're on top of the table just like your team. Have a great week.

Tiger

Baggy_Gee's picture

Thanks Tiger, I'll have to take a picture, probably one of the last times I'm up there. The BOYS on the other hand are going to have a fun game this week, Manly's only weak point was their goal kicking but if that is on song......................... could be a very close game.

The Thinker's picture

Thank you The Butcher.

Well spotted. Not sure why his scores didn't update, but it's there now.

BigPete is both a Manly fan and a really great person...quite an unusual combination :-)

Kind regards

The Thinker

The Butcher's picture

Ha ha
Though you have made bigger mistakes
You did leave the Roosters for the Broncos

The Thinker's picture

I was an albatross around the Roosters necks. Clearly they are a better side without me  :-)

Steel Panther's picture

Nik needs a couple of Round 3 tips Thinker

Cheers

The Thinker's picture

Thank you Steel Panther....really appreciate it.

Updated now.

Mary S's picture

Hi Boss,
In the 3 strike comp, Manyana has 1 point & 2 strikes as Roosters came in with a win this week.

Taka did not pick for R 3 so he now has 3 strikes.

Cheers,
Mary

shotfromthehip's picture

can anyone clarify which refs cuddled up to which teams to tell them the rules?

BigPeteBx's picture

Butch - thanks for that, as I only just came on site late this arvo.
Last time I spoke to you, I recall you being down in W/Valley doing some "caretaking".
You certainly got out of there fast, as a person I work with, was there on 48hr watch when bush fires were fast approaching.

@Thinker - thanks for amending. Fresh eyes are all about comrade.
But my eyes not so the best at times with glare. Worst of all, I presently nurse a torn ankle ligament, which long term requires reconstruction. So I've been benched for this season with me Eagles.

@Others here - as much as many here, like to take the wee-wee out of Manly. Try all you like with me, as it isn't me to go knocking, but much of sports history, isn't lost with me. So tread warily and lightly, unless you want to find an enemy, because I know how some change their colors on site here.

Cheers all and keep well - but most of all, good luck with your team this re-arranged season.
Big Pete in Bx Country.

tigerholic's picture

Hey BigPete

Sorry to hear of your injury, luckily you have the footy back to fill in the time. Take care mate, have a great week. Manly played extremely well last weekend.

Tiger

The Thinker's picture

Thanks Mary S

That's been updated now.

Kind regards

The Thinker

DarK-HorsE's picture

The Thinker Waiting for ur preview 🤔 i like it when u take ur time

BigPeteBx's picture

Evening Tige and great to see you in print mate.
I'm still working, but from home these days/weeks.
Tigers also went well, once they got the engine firing.
Don't mind the old TigPies, as much as many hate Manly for the past years of former Wests and the purchasing spree of players. But like professionalism, that is the past. I also had friends/rels played under Roy Masters at Wests Lidcombe Oval days, they came from around this way.

I recall yr whereabouts, or did from Terrace days and had a couple of NSW friends who just moved up to Regency Downs/Laidley. So you no doubt would know the area, I take it.

Nice and icy here today might have got a max of 6 degs - no snow yet.

Cheers Champ and keep well.
Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Evening SFTH - Cant recall any cuddling up mate, as social distancing laws precluded that.
But will agree in some ways, things appeared a little confusing to some players. It'll work itself out, just like the fitness of one ref will.

Cheers, keep well and welcome to Thinker chats and banter.
Big Pete

mark ashford's picture

Baggy
You dark horse! Congrats on your picking and your ladder position.
Have a look at your teams for and against #1
Big Pete
Happy to see you back here and hope that torn ligament is an easy repair. Can't recall too many Manly knockers this year as there has been in the past. I'm struggling to get a handle on the restart so far.
The Butcher
To ease my tipping pain can we have another one of your anecdote stories.....I need a laugh.

Steel Panther's picture

Big Pete,

Good to see you in print again. Your posts are too few and far between these days!! Manly looking good so far. Will be a real test for them this weekend. Wishing you a speedy recovery my friend.

Enjoy the footy!!

Baggy_Gee's picture

Yeah, we'll see if i survive this round. It's great, and a 20 year record for points in the first 3 games. I'll take any performance where we put in for the full 80 minutes, and yes we made mistakes, you could argue we had the rub of the green, but the best part of the game was against a tough opponent, and not scoring for the first 25 of the second half, we hung tough and did something we don't do often enough. I think we can do it again this week, but full strength Manly, full strength us..................... Will be interesting.

BigPeteBx's picture

@ Mark A - love being here and didn't go far, as I'd been reading exchanges made, but butted out of some remarks and watched some music that was posted.
Long term op is reconstruction, short term is ankle brace being made to support foot/ankle, as op is a number of weeks off foot. Another eye op for floaters next month - that'll make both eyes done.
I apologise for cheerio you posted a few weeks ago and didn't answer, but I'm otherwise ok and still standing upright, when not seated. Walking is just a little slower and I'm starting to see many that have the same ankle issue. My sports days, I take it didn't help and being tall and mostly walking, along with the dreaded word ageing, assisted the process.
I hit the "clickety click" two weeks ago, so days of work are now in the deep thinking mode.

@Steely - thanks mate for post and I'm hanging in there, like an NBA Slam Dunker.

Others here - keep well

Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Evening Baggy - I did see a post you made about Manly and their thinking, but I just took it like a grain of salt.
All teams made goof-ups in Round 3, as it might take some readjusting to implementation of new rules. The trick will be for the cluey players, who read the play and can hang onto the ball for another 6.
If Garrick can get his direction with kicks, conversions will be better, but like yours and ours, the speedy ones love the corner post and that makes some attempts from the sideline a little more tricky. Something I'll miss in this comp is watching J Thurston using his magicians wand, to turn that ball around between uprights.

Not only will our game be about full strength teams, but also the battle of past players and your coach, with their origins.

Best of luck this week, as the game is a Saturday evening and not televised on free-to-air.

Keep well and I hope your kids, outpoint you this week.
Big Pete in a very icy Bx.

mark ashford's picture

Big Pete
So you have made the "clickety click" just a tad behind me old mate.
Our young sporting days often leave us with problems as we age.
But oh the memories wouldn't change a thing. All of us here wish you a painless op and a speedy recovery. Not sure if this is an appropriate song but it's a favourite of mine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r9T7_MVqtE

The Thinker's picture

DarKHorsE

I might be overthinking it this week. Should have some previews done tonight and/or early tomorrow morning.

All the best

The Thinker

I remember moving out of home with a female flat mate which my mum wasn’t happy about being a strict Catholic so I invited her over for dinner to erase any suspicions.
The first thing my mum noticed was Wendy was very attractive and after watching us interact she gave me that look which prompted me to say “we’re just flat mates.”
About a week later Wendy said “since your mum was here I can’t find our silver serving tray, you don’t think your mum took it “?
No way ,so to prove her innocence I called her and left a message on her machine
“Mum don’t take this wrong but is there any chance you took the silver tray “?
About a week later when I was work she replied to my answering machine
She said son is there any chance your sleeping with Wendy because if you weren’t she would of found the tray by now I put the tray under the pillow of her bed.
DJ good song
I was actually at Milsons Point when this was filmed enjoy https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RnK8e-Uo1CA

BigPeteBx's picture

Yes Mark - I knew our age differences, from my first days on this site.
Memories and remembering mate. Some at my work call me Sherlock.
I'm going for the brace before op. Maybe have op after I retire.
Retire ???
I'll check that song out when I can play it and others aren't watching the idiot box, here.
Keep well and many thanks - Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Butcher - I like that one and have seen before in a run of jokes I get sent. Milsons Point eh. My uncles lived in Neutral Bay for years and played darts at Rest Hotel and Albert Hotel. A very good friend of theirs, Harry Thompson used to play piano and sing occasionally at Milsons Pt RSL - many, many years ago.

Truly your humour reminds me of another member we had here and he also followed Roosters. But where u were in hospitality/Mgt, he was in other and supposedly worked in Sydney Trains. Then he fled here, but you remind me so much of him and we got on well.

Regards - Big Pete

tigerholic's picture

Hi BigPete
I do know Regency Downs area, I live in Laidley high up on the hill near the lookout. I've got the fire going again this morning as it is a chilly 6 degrees with a top of 21 today.
I'm having some trouble this week with a few of my tips, the Manly/Eels game will be a ripper with a blade of grass between them, the Sharks/Cowboys now without the Cowboys biggest star, Holnes first game against his old club, Raiders/Knights is another close call even though I'm leaning towards Raiders, Knights have Ponga returning and I'm doubtful of Pearce playing this week.
Anyway mate, stay safe and warm, talk soon.

Tiger

mark ashford's picture

The Butcher
Good yarn mate. Someone else must have known about the silver tray as I'm sure I've heard your tale before.
How about JPY in the sailor suit? Great entertainer.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Was watching the last time Manly and the BOYS met, and Tapau got 10 for a swinging arm, Manly scored while it was just 12 on 13. I feel that with the new rules, if allowed to run its course will kill a 12 man team, making the penalty actually worth it. Team defend really well with only 12 if the ruck can be controlled, who know what might happen?

mark ashford's picture

Baggy
Your Eels v Manly may well be the game of the round. Both teams had convincing wins last weekend and both teams were very good. Ask yourself who had the harder game? your Eels away or Manly at home.
Were the Broncos easybeats or were the Dogs just out of form.
With due respect to Big Pete I have tipped the Eels to continue on their winning way.

Baggy_Gee's picture

It's hard to say, its obvious that we are in the Bronco's heads, and the more they denied thinking about last year, they were thinking it especially after a few quick points. The Bulldogs played well in rounds 1 and 2 a gritty round 1 defense, and got points on the boards against the Cows. We might have had it harder with an interstate flight, but we neither side was pushed or injured, missing N. Brown will hurt, but the young BOYS stepped it up. The only advantage I see is we have won 2 of the last 3, and we avenged the last flogging round 3 2018, in 2018. But then again their last loss was 34-16 at Bankwest so........... I'm over thinking it, but i think we might have the mental edge and that's about it.

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

First off, thanks for “Horse With No Name” Mr Ashford. Absolute classic from America (the band not the country). Well they are from America but you know what I mean 😁. Nice post, really nice post brother. One of those songs that chills me out so very easily. Thanks mate.

A bit shocked to be sitting up towards the tipping ladder stratosphere but only 3 rounds in so I have plenty of time to come tumbling down. I’ve made a mental note to have a go at shortening my posts but man it’s a big ask. Pretty hard to change a lifelong habit overnight but I’m trying 😁. For those of you who have Monday off, enjoy it and have a nice sleep in. We gotta work over here in WA and pretty sure Qld do too. Not to worry, we had last Monday off for WA Day. Boom! 💥 OK, let’s get into it…

Broncos vs. Roosters 30-70 @ Suncorp
Ladder Position = Broncos
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The Broncos seemed like they were still in the contest last week only trailing by 6 at half time but then got blown away and held scoreless in the second, eventually losing 34-6. They were just too sloppy in my opinion. No-one to blame except themselves I’m afraid. They’ll need to get things right and adapt to this 6-again rule before I can tip them with any degree of confidence. The Broncos’ lack of possession was telling to say the least. You can’t win games of footy if you don’t have your hands on the ball. As we all witnessed last week, if you don’t have the ball and you’re forced to defend all the time, you’re gonna run out of gas. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to the Broncos. Then we had the 2 bombed tries from Boyd and Milford. Yikes! I’m still shaking my head about those two “efforts” (or lack of) a week later. There were so many stats that show just how far out of the contest the Broncos were last week. Far too many to mention here but the ones that stood out for me (besides the six tries to one) were possession (37-63), completion rate (57-73), post contact metres (482-716), tackle breaks (27-41), missed tackles (44-27) and ineffective tackles (40-12). Notice that Kotoni Staggs will be sitting out this game after he was suspended for a week.

The Roosters led 12-6 at half-time and then carried on with it in the second, outscoring the Rabbitohs 16-6 to run out 28-12 winners. They were far too good for the Rabbitohs in a bruising physical encounter and finally managed to register their first win of the season. Woo-Hoo! Tedesco was outstanding, running 314 metres and scoring an important try just after half time. One of the highlights for me was Brett Morris’ try-saving effort running down Burns and then wrapping up Alex Johnston. After the break, the Roosters jumped out to a commanding 22-6 lead with just 48 minutes on the clock. The Bunnies got one back (after a somewhat questionable (?) try from Tom Burgess) and (sorta) looked a slight chance with 20 to go. The Roosters defence managed to hold on in their typically determined fashion and got the win after Jake Friend grubbered ahead for himself and scored untroubled. Stats were pretty much shared between the Roosters and Bunnies so I’m thinking there’s not much point in noting any this week. Great to see JWH got off with just a fine 😁.

Verdict: Really, you need to ask? Roosters of course. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Panthers vs. Warriors 65-35 @ Campbelltown
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

The Panthers looked to have their match all sewn up last week against the Knights. They raced out to a 14 point lead, the Knights had lost Pearce and Watson and the Chocolate Soldiers were continually pressuring an under siege Knights outfit. The Panthers let the Knights score an unlikely try on the stroke of half-time but the Panthers would’ve still been feeling confident at that point. What followed in the second 40 was nothing short of incredible. The Knights kept chipping away and the Panthers failed to register any points of their own. The game goes into extra time, the Panthers miss 4 attempts at field goal and the lollies are shared. What a game! Even after the Knights had fought back and levelled the scores, I was impressed with how the Panthers (just like the Knights) defended every time the Knights got a roll on. Inspiring stuff from the Panthers no doubt but they should’ve won that game, given the circumstances and the stats. They had more possession (59-41), more line breaks (6-3), more tackle breaks (33-24), forced more drop outs (3-0), made less tackles (449-526) and missed less tackles (24-33).

Great first half effort from the Warriors saw them leading 12-0. After keeping the Dragons scoreless again in the second and adding another 6 points themselves, they ran out comfortable winners 18-0. A really great reward for the sacrifices they’ve made so far. As we all know by now, on the way to a completion rate of 46 from 48, the Warriors set an NRL record of most sets completed in a row with 44. Probably ranks right up there as one of their better efforts maybe? Stats-wise, nothing much to report other than the Warriors’ great completion rate (96-83) and a slight edge in possession (53-47). They did have more ineffective tackles though (13-7) but had less errors (4-9).

Verdict: I’d like to stick with the Warriors but the Panthers are stiffer opposition than the Warriors had last week. Panthers for me.

Storm vs. Rabbitohs 65-35 @ AAMI
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

Again, teams that don’t score in the second half rarely win. And that’s exactly what happened to the Storm. Being down by 12 against quality opposition at half-time, the Storm needed something special in the second 40. They did come out and play better but the Raiders countered the Storm’s “structured play” admirably and were too good for them. Interestingly, if not for the final minute try from Canberra, both sides would’ve remained scoreless in the second half. The Storm blitzed the stats but still couldn’t make a dent. They had more possession (55-45), more metres run (1688-1542), more post contact metres (473-432), more tackle breaks (36-26), more offloads (12-9), more passes (224-188), more dummy passes (20-17) and more forced drop outs (4-2) but still managed to lose. Makes you think eh?

The Bunnies were still in the hunt at half-time last week and were only 6 points down. Unfortunately for the Bunnies, the Roosters came out in the second and outscored them 16-6 and ran out comfortable 28-12 winners. The Rabbitohs were basically dominated in the forwards by the Roosters. Not sure how they would’ve gone if Cody Walker had played in last week’s game but fairly confident it would’ve been closer. They were good in patches and pleasing to see a bit of physical stuff from them at times. Not convinced Latrell Mitchell is quite suited to fullback just yet. I’ll reserve my judgement on that one until I see a few more games. He had solid effort but nothing to get enthused about. Like I mentioned in my Roosters comments, the stats were pretty much shared in the Roosters and Bunnies match last week so I’m thinking there’s not much point in noting any this week.

Verdict: They’ll definitely wanna bounce back so I’ll play safe and tip the Storm at home.

Eels vs. Manly 55-45 @ Bankwest
Ladder Position = Eels
Bookies Favourite = Eels

The Eels were simply outstanding last week. Even though the Broncos were close at half-time (12-6), the Eels came out in the second and strangled the life out of them with a ton of possession. Force the opposition to defend continuously and they’ll run out of fuel. After that it’s easy pickings. Easy enough that they managed a comfortable 34-6 win. The Eels’ fans would have liked the ruthless aspect that showed itself in the second half and the fact they kept the Broncos scoreless. There was a lot to like in their performance last week for sure. Six tries to one tells the story and the Eels’ stats were impressive. Far too many to mention but the ones that stood out for me were possession (63-37), completion rate (73-57), post contact metres (716-482), tackle breaks (41-27), missed tackles (27-44) and ineffective tackles (12-40).

The Manly boys ended up beating the Bulldogs last week fairly convincingly. Up 14-0 at half-time and carried on with it in the second half, eventually increasing the margin and running out easy 32-6 winners. As happens from time to time, Tom Trbojevic had a blinder, scoring 2 tries and setting up another 3. There were plenty of good contributions from others as well and overall, just an outstanding effort. Stats-wise Manly enjoyed a possession rate of 57%, made 671 post contact metres, had more line breaks (8-0), more tackle breaks (43-11) and only had 11 missed tackles compared to the 43 from the Bulldogs.

Verdict: Both these sides were impressive but based on who they beat, my money’s on the Eels.

Cowboys vs. Sharks 55-45 @ Townsville
Ladder Position = Cowboys
Bookies Favourite = Cowboys

The Cowboys led 14-6 at half-time and then dominated the second half, scoring four unanswered tries to run out 36-6 winners. They should feel pretty happy with the way they dominated the Titans but the real test will be against tougher opposition. The new 6-again rule change worked perfectly for the Cowboys’ forward pack and quicks. I can’t believe Taumalolo only had 76 metres in the first half but then went on in the second to eventually rack up an amazing 290 metres. What a player! What a shame he’ll be missing this week. An impressive display from the Cowboys except for the 2 sin bins from Dunn and Hess. Not that it mattered really as on both occasions they actually increased their lead when they were a man down 💪. The Cowboys had an impressive possession rate (66-34), post contact metres (744-454), tackle breaks (33-17) and forced drop outs (5-0), less tackles made (241-426) and less missed tackles (17-33).

It’s a well known fact that teams that fail to score in the second half rarely end up winning. The Sharks were another side that proved that true last week. I mean to say, you’re leading 16-10 at half-time and then getting rolled 28-16 does not engender me with much confidence. They did manage to grab some momentum back after the Tigers jumped out and had 2 tries on the board after just 6 minutes but after half-time it all went south for them. Last week against the Tigers, the Sharks had less possession (49-51), less tackle breaks (25-54) but had more missed tackles (54-25). I see Townsend is out. Hmm…

Verdict: The Cowboys only beat the Titans and have JT out while the Sharks were pretty ordinary but got dusted by a good side. Dunno, this is tough. What the heck, I’ll tip the Sharks.

Raiders vs. Knights 65-35 @ Campbelltown
Ladder Position = Raiders
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

The Raiders must’ve been feeling happy going into the sheds at half-time leading 18-6. Moreso given it was against the Storm in Melbourne. Beating the Storm in Melbourne and beating them by 16 points is an indication that the Raiders are right on track for this year’s Premiership. They did make silly errors in the second half but so did the Storm. But that was just the pressure of the game and the Raiders’ defence stood firm. Even without Bateman, it was a great display from the Canberra boys and they thoroughly deserved to win. It was an absolutely awesome effort from George Williams too. The Raiders pretty much were behind in all the stats last week against the Storm. The only area they actually did better in was in their completion rate (78-68). They were basically beaten everywhere else stats-wise. And yet they won comfortably. What’s that telling us?

The Knights lost Pearce and Watson early on in their game against the Panthers last week and looked like they were down for the count at 14-0 down. Right on the stroke of half-time the Knights score a (very) unlikely try to make it interesting. Their defence was superb against a relentless Panthers outfit and to my total astonishment they fought back and managed to level the scores at 14-all at the end of regulation time. With no designated field goal “expert” to rely on, it was always gonna be hard to grab that extra point and win. A mighty effort against the odds though. I was pretty impressed with the Knights’ toughness and their desperate defence for sure. The Knights had an opportunity to get the win in extra time but for some reason Bradman Best opted to pass to Edrick Lee instead of taking a chance and going through that gap and trying to score himself. I’m pretty sure he would’ve made it but then again, what would I know eh? Just saying I thought it was a (genuine) chance gone begging. Still, it was a pretty good effort considering the missing troops. I get the feeling they shouldn’t have done as well as they did looking at their stats. They were behind in possession, line breaks, tackle breaks, forced drop outs, tackles made and missed tackles and yet managed to draw the match through sheer guts and determination. Nice effort.

Verdict: Even with Ponga back and McCullough playing his first game for the Knights (I think), Canberra will be too good. Raiders a good thing.

Titans vs. Tigers 35-65 @ Suncorp
Ladder Position = Tigers
Bookies Favourite = Tigers

The Titans lost yet again and even though it’s early days, they look like they’re headed for the wooden spoon in 2020. Interesting stats I saw last weekend was that “the Titans are the only team in NRL history to concede 24 points or more in 14 straight games and if they don't get a win by round five they will have gone a full year without an NRL win.” Yikes! Is it worth mentioning any more on how poor they were? Suffice to say their possession was woeful (34%), they missed 33 tackles, made no forced drop outs and had to make 185 more tackles than the Cowboys. They really need to start having a crack.

After jumping out of the blocks and getting 2 tries after just 6 minutes, the Tigers allowed the Sharks back into the game and were behind by 6 points at the main break. They needed to respond and respond they did. They took control of the match courtesy of some Benji Marshall magic and some sloppy Sharks defence. Last week against the Sharks, the Tigers won the possession (51-49), made more tackle breaks (54-25) and had less missed tackles (25-54).

Verdict: Tigers will have too much class and should win fairly easily you’d think. Tigers for me.

Bulldogs vs. Dragons 50-50 @ Bankwest
Ladder Position = Dragons
Bookies Favourite = Dragons

It wasn’t one of the Bulldogs’ best efforts last week against Manly to be honest. Poor handling cost them, amongst other things. It took them 70 minutes before they could register their first points of the match. Hells Bells! Not much to say about their effort last week except that it was poor. They simply posed no threat to Manly and were unable to mount any serious attacking moves. It’ll be very interesting seeing how they go this week against the Dragons. Pretty sure they have some questions to ask themselves about last week’s performance. I think they need to go back to basics if the stats are telling me anything. Their possession was down (43-57), they had less post contact metres (465-671), less line breaks (0-8), less tackle breaks (11-43) and had more missed tackles (43-11). At least it looks like Foran is back.

The Dragons really need to ask some tough questions as well and make some tough decisions if they’re any chance of digging themselves out this hole they seem to be in. For most of the contest the Dragons didn’t look all that interested in playing competitive footy and seemed incapable of creating much in attack. Mary certainly has his work cut out for him I must say. Stats-wise, nothing really stands out. The Dragons and Warriors were pretty much on par with each other. Well, other than the Warriors’ great completion rate that is. Mind you, the Dragons did manage less ineffective tackles though (7-13).

Verdict: Simply no idea with this one. Tossed a coin and it’s come up …. Dragons.

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

OK, gonna throw something up that none of you will see coming. Y’all wanna hear some smooth urban keys? Chillin’…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx_u3DC3VlM

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

newbie from perth's picture

Bloody hell! Didn't realise it was that long. My bad! 😱

Mary S's picture

Hi Newbie,

Enjoyed the read - and the music!!!

Cheers,
Mary

newbie from perth's picture

Thank you young lady 💖

manyana's picture

Hello everyone here are my guesses for round 4:
Roosters
Panthers
Storm
Eagles
Sharks
Raiders
Tigers
Bulldogs

Christine's picture

This week i will taks the same as baggy ...
In the nrl gods we trust to keep this great game of ours going

Rob181's picture

Hi Thinker

I missed adding my tips for Round 3 - forgot I was in this comp - sigh.

Would you accept a screen shot of my ESPN footy tips for round 3 as adequate evidence for inclusion.

Its worth a shot.

Thanks

Rob181

tigerholic's picture

Well, Well ,Well
The famous Rocket Ryan has dropped his beloved Broncos for the Roosters tonight. Where is your faith and belief Rocket, they are playing at home in their favourite time slot on Thursday night.

Can't you recall when the baby Broncos beat my Tigers a few years back, you can't not believe in them already.

I am gob smacked that you are jumping out of the corral and into the chook pen, for your sake I hope the Roosters give them a touch up and you can say I told you so Tiger.

Enjoy the footy tonight folks, how are you going Christine??

Tiger

Baggy_Gee's picture

Forget the high temp, he was sick enough to be struck off by the team before flying in to Brisbane. That gives them a glimmer of a hope tonight, might be time for an upset of the best kind.

The Butcher's picture

There’s a reason why the Roosters are duel premiers. They’re strong all over the park and though Tedesco is a big loss it would of been worse if Victor Radley was suspended in the context of this game.
Roosters 13+

Baggy_Gee's picture

Here are the Baggy girls tips for round 4
Roosters
Panthers
Rabbits
Manly
Sharks
Raiders
Tigers
Dragons

mark ashford's picture

Newbie
So glad you put an effort into shortening your post!
Don't worry mate it's always a good read and I admire the effort and research you put into it. Also nice mellow tune, easy to listen to, probably just what we need in these troubled times.
Tiger
There are times when we support our teams (heart) and times when we don't (head). I think this is a (head) time.
Baggy
The absence of Tedesco, while a blow for the Roosters, won't save my Broncs tonight. I hope I'm wrong, Jesus I hope I'm wrong.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I think it is the mental aspect that will help them fire. One less strike weapon, I do agree that it isn't enough to be a sure thing Mark, but sometime all a young team needs is that glimmer of confidence, I think Roosters by 1-12.

Baggy_Gee's picture

The Baggy Girls running score is 11/24, dead last out of everyone here, but its early days yet.

mark ashford's picture

The Butcher
Watched that Victor Radley tackle a few times and while it may hurt my team I'm glad he got off. There was no malice or intent to injure so I'm happy he's free to play. On another matter JWH is also free to play after a $1600 fine (with his record are they kidding) Just hope he doesn't injure too many of my young Broncs.

The Butcher's picture

Mark I don’t think Jesus can help you
We have Nick Politis and he thinks he’s God.

Steel Panther's picture

What did you think of the hit by Staggs last weekend Mark?

Mary S's picture

Hi Islander, Dragons-fanboy,teraflare, Johnny Awesome & Jack Starky.

Have you remembered to put in your pick for R 4 of "a"s 3 strike comp????????

Not yet you haven't!!

Cheers
Mary

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