Round fifteen selections

Cronulla Sharks vs Redcliffe Dolphins – Thursday night – PointsBet Stadium

The Dolphins first visit to Sydney for the season, can you believe it? It's actually just their fourth visit to Sydney ever, but their history in the NRL is a brief one. They're yet to win a game in Sydney either - last year they were monstered by Manly (58-18), managed by the Roosters (30-14) and missed it by a whisker against the Tigers (24-23). This Dolphins side is a lot stronger than the side that lost to the Tigers, but the Sharks aren't the Tigers. The Dolphins missed by a whisker in their last outing too, going down to a solitary point to the Raiders. Notably, the Dolphins were without Tabuai-Fidow, Kaufusi and Nikorima in that game. Add those three to their starting thirteen and they probably win but, again, the Sharks aren't the Raiders. The Sharks were without Hynes last week and were still too good for the Broncos in Brisbane. He returns to steer them around his preferred ground, and has an opportunity to remind NSW selectors that he's not the bad guy. Clearly the Sharks respond positively to my criticism. I gave them a rebuke last week and they responded strongly. I give them a plug prior to that and they were awful. I'm tipping them here so....the Sharks are terrible, go Sharks!

Verdict – Sharks by 4

Result – Dolphins 30 defeated Sharks 28

Canberra Raiders vs North Queensland Cowboys – Friday night – GIO Stadium

When the Cowboys board their plane in Townsville the temperature will be in the mid-twenties. When the Cowboys run onto GIO Stadium on Friday night it will be close enough to freezing point. You can't pick a winner based on the weather, but it's a factor, especially in a case like this. An even bigger factor is the Cowboys form, who were comprehensively outplayed by the Warriors in Townsville last week. From time to time, the Cowboys show glimpses of what they're capable of. This is a roster that could win a premiership, but only if those glimpses were the standard they were setting every week. I can't trust them at the moment, and I'm not convinced a freezing night in Canberra is the right time for them to show us their best. 

Verdict – Raiders by 8

Result – Cowboys 34 defeated Raiders 16

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

In round two the Broncos prevailed 28-18 over the Bunnies in Brisbane. That Broncos side included Reynolds, Walsh and Arthars while the Rabbits were without Wighton and Arrow. Cameron Murray returns from injury off the bench and will make a difference. The Broncos were outplayed by the Sharks last week, who dominated the game through the middle at times, particularly so when Jenson and Haas were off the field. Willison returns on the bench and that can only help. The Rabbits don't have a forward pack that can dominate, but they'll hold their own. Since Wighton moved into the halves the Rabbitohs look like a different team, scoring 42 against the Eels and 46 against the Titans. The win over the Titans is significant, given the Titans beat the Broncos just two weeks ago. I've long felt that the Broncos get a bit wobbly without the steadying influence of Reynolds. I expect they'll improve on last week but they lack composure without Reynolds out there telling them all to settle down. In a close game that can be the difference between winning and losing. Mitchell to slot a casual field goal at some point and remind the NSW selectors he's keen if they're keen.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 7

​​​​​​​Result – Rabbitohs 22 defeated Broncos 12

Wests Tigers vs Gold Coast Titans – Saturday night – Leichhardt Oval

I'm pretty keen on the Titans here, who have a good overall record against the Tigers and a surprisingly good record at Leichhardt Oval. The Titans were blown away last week but I'm hoping that was a temporary blemish - prior to that they've been competing (and sometimes beating) with some of the best teams in the NRL. The Tigers have now lost nine in a row, and their last two losses were particularly bad against teams outside the top eight. A new halves pairing for the home side on Saturday, with Koroisau moving to halfback and Sezer returning from suspension. They have to try something, and options are limited for now.

Verdict – Titans by 8

​​​​​​​Result – Tigers 18 defeated Titans 10

New Zealand Warriors vs Melbourne Storm – Saturday night – Go Media Stadium

Something a little unusual is happening in New Zealand this weekend. A Super Rugby semi-final between two New Zealand sides has been re-scheduled to avoid a clash with this regular season NRL game. In Australia, we're quite used to rugby union playing second fiddle to the NRL, but this is quite a development for the rugby codes across the ditch. Needless to say, this game is another sell-out, and the Warriors are on track to be the first rugby league club anywhere on the planet, at any time in history, to sell out every single game of a season. And all this for a team currently running 10th. On Saturday night they take on the team running first, but I'm keen on their chances. Shaun Johnson returns from injury and they were very very good against the Cowboys. This is harder, but the Storm aren't at full strength, and a boisterous home crowd can help get the Warriors over the line.

Verdict – Warriors by 4

​​​​​​​Result – Storm 38 defeated Warriors 24

Parramatta Eels vs Sydney Roosters – Saturday night – CommBank Stadium

The Roosters are at times mocked for not having much of a junior nursery, but the criticism is a little unfair. They're locked in by geography to a few postcodes that aren't brimming with kids that are likely to put their hand up for a rugby league career. Most of them are trust-fund kids, much more likely to spend their childhoods in a woollen vest and an expensive school blazer, as they transition into adulthood where they pretend to like the Sydney Swans. With that in mind, the decision by the Roosters to set up camp in the United States is the sort of broad-thinking we need to celebrate, even if it's a little crazy. Brandon Smith certainly didn't grow up with a trust fund, and the Roosters are showing him some tough love at the moment. He's been dropped from the seventeen altogether, with Connor Watson returning from injury in the number nine jersey. They still look like a premiership contender, despite the recent win-loss, win-loss form. The Eels came to life with the return of Moses and Gutherson two weeks ago, then came back to earth a little with a narrow loss to the Bulldogs. Note the short turnaround from that Monday night fixture, while the Chooks are coming off a bye and should be running on fresh legs. The Eels do like CommBank as a venue, but it hasn't been a fortress for them this season. If the Tigers can beat them there, I think the Roosters can too.  

Verdict – Roosters by 8

​​​​​​​Result – Roosters 28 defeated Eels 18

Manly Sea Eagles vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Sunday afternoon – 4 Pines Park

The Dragons won't have any fears about this contest - they've already beaten the Sea Eagles once this year (20-12) and they're going better now than they were then. The complicating factor on Sunday is the venue and the timeslot - Brookvale on a Sunday afternoon has brought undone many a visiting side. Manly have lost just the one game at home all season (to the Raiders). The list of wins includes victories over the Storm, Panthers and Roosters. The Dragons are in form, but I'm not sure they're at that level. In any case, this looks like a genuine and interesting contest, and I'm backing the steadying influence of Daly Cherry-Evans and a heaving crowd to get the home side over the line.

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 1

​​​​​​​Result – Sea Eagles 30 defeated Dragons 14

Newcastle Knights vs Penrith Panthers – Sunday afternoon – McDonald Jones Stadium

The Panthers replacement fullback (Daine Laurie) ran for 343 metres against a better opponent than this last week. Not a bad spare tyre to put back in the boot with Dylan Edwards returning on Sunday. The Knights often save their best for Sunday afternoons at home, but they've won just half their games in Newcastle this season. Bradman Best returns for the Knights, and he needs to hit the ground running if he wants to reclaim a centre position for NSW. He'll need a strong supporting cast to get the points here, and the Knights look a shandy short of the better teams this season.

Verdict – Panthers by 8

​​​​​​​Result – Panthers 26 defeated Knights 18

Wally Lewis - round fifteen selections (in bold)

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

  • SHARKS vs Dolphins
  • RAIDERS vs Cowboys
  • Rabbitohs vs BRONCOS
  • Tigers vs TITANS
  • WARRIORS vs Storm
  • Eels vs ROOSTERS
  • SEA EAGLES vs Dragons
  • Knights vs PANTHERS


The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the NRL ladder and the tipping comp after round 14. Somewhat strangely, our tearaway leader after 13 rounds was missing in action last week and has stumbled through the field somewhat. Hopefully Essere il Capo hasn't fallen down a well and will resurface soon.

We now have a congested leaderboard and a three way tie at the top. I'm having my own little side contest with King Wally, and we're level-pegging as I work my way through the pack after a typically sluggish start.

Congrats to TRIIPIN_C and angel_eyes_nz who impressed with perfect rounds - who said tipping is hard during the Origin period.

As always, if anyone notices any issues with the scoring, just let me know.

I'll have my previews and selections for round 15 published tomorrow. And a reminder that we are back to a Thursday night kick-off again this round.

All the best

The Thinker

newbie from perth's picture

Hey Frens,

I’m a bit late this week but not sure it makes a whole lot of difference. Anyone taking my tips (foolish thing to be doing) won’t be travelling all that well in whatever tipping competition they’re involved with. OK, I’m sitting at my desk at work, it’s 6.48am (most probably a couple of hours more where you are) and I desperately need another espresso (my third so far). OK, let’s do this thing …

Sharks vs. Dolphins @ The Bermuda Triangle
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Sharks
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

The Sharks have bounced back in fine fashion, and the Dolphins haven’t been all that convincing of late. The Sharks have more class and should win. Sharks by 8.

Raiders vs. Cowboys @ GIO Stadium
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Raiders
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

The Cowboys lost the plot and the match last week. The Raiders look like they’re getting it together and might have more upside at home. Raiders by 6.

Rabbitohs vs. Broncos @ Accor
Probability @ 35-65
Ladder Position = Broncos
Bookies Favourite = Broncos

The Rabbitohs had a very good win last week but I’m not getting carried away too much with that to be honest. Not confident they can beat the currently out of sorts (but still classy) Broncos, even with Reece Walsh missing. Broncos by 8.

Tigers vs. Titans @ Leichhardt Oval
Probability @ 35-65
Ladder Position = Titans
Bookies Favourite = Titans

The Tigers and Titans are both struggling. The Tigers looked good early last week but ended up getting smashed. Then again, the Titans got smashed as well, and at the hands of the bottom side. Call me stupid but I got a feeling the Tigers might get up here. Tigers by 6.

Warriors vs. Storm @ Mt Smart NZ
Probability @ 50-50
Ladder Position = Storm
Bookies Favourite = Storm

For me, the match of the round. Seriously, both sides have reasons to win this. Even though the Wahs are at home and have blokes back, I can’t ignore the class of Melbourne. This is tough. Storm by 4.

Eels vs. Roosters @ CommBank
Probability @ 35-65
Ladder Position = Roosters
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The confidence I had with the Eels getting back on track after the return of Gutho and Moses may have been premature considering their effort last week. The Roosters seem to have stalled a little but I’m thinking they’ll rectify that on Saturday night. Roosters by 4. Begurk! Begurk!

Manly vs. Dragons @ Brookvale
Probability @ 65-35
Ladder Position = Dragons
Bookies Favourite = Manly

Manly are a far better side than their ladder position suggests. They’ve had tough opposition in recent times whereas the Dragons haven’t (except for their Origin win over the Panthers) and I can’t see them having enough to get over the line here. The Sea Eagles have the class edge and the home crowd. Manly by 10.

Knights vs. Panthers @ McDonald Jones
Probability @ 25-75
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

The Knights are at home but aren’t consistent enough for my liking. Even though the Panthers are not their usual dominant self, they’re still far too good compared to the Knights and barring an absolute boilover, they should get the job done here. Panthers by 8.

Bye: Bulldogs

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

Not exactly the “style” you’d expect from these legends but still, pretty good in my opinion.

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

Diego Kelly 's picture

Nrl tipster

MGM's picture

Jarome Luai , not satisfied with the unfair advantage he gains by letting his long hair drape across the back of his jersey (which should be able to be grabbed unobstructed) , has found another cheating way to gain an advantage .
Now , it seems , you can get away with picking a fight with your marker , thereby taking out of the defensive line .
He has shown how especially effective this can be when playing the ball on your opponent's 10mtr line ..... try awarded !

The unintentional hair pull earned his team an immediate 2 points and the fight he picked with Luke Brooks Immediately got them another 6.
... Give a cheating little grub an inch and See how much he takes!!

newbie from perth's picture

Yeah mate, once again you’ve hit the nail on the head. I was discussing that hair pulling penalty with a guy at work on Monday and we both realised that as the rules stand currently, you’re never going to be able to grab the collar of his jersey for fear of clutching a hunk of his beautiful locks at the same time.

So what are you supposed to do if he gets past you, just let him go? Plenty of blokes have longer hair (but not as beautiful, long and luxurious as the Princess) and they manage to get it up in a bun, plait it, or tie it off with a hair tie. It’s pretty plain to see that JL chooses to wear it the way he does so he gets blokes scared of giving away the penalty. Some may say it’s being smart but I’m of the opinion he is, dare I say, cheating to some degree. To me it’s not in the spirit of the game. A wise man once said:

“The behaviour you ignore is the behaviour you permit.”

One could possibly argue that the rules of the game are similar to human behaviour. Then again, I could be talking out of my you-know-what. Anyway, that’s me done for the night, I’m outta here…

MGM's picture

You can't take someone out of the defensive line once you've played the ball either. HE was the one that decided to go on with the altercation, but cleverly played the ball in between one shove and the other.
I have looked at it a dozen times to see if Brooks was equally culpable and SO SHOULD HAVE the bunker because it's CLEAR that there are THREE shoves and grabs from Luai while Brooks is Trying to keep an eye on the ball play before Brooks stupidly turns his full attention to retaliating . If Brooks had of turned to the ref instead there would Be no try awarded.
The bunker takes an age to review when it suits them and they were way too quick to dismiss this.... Luai should have been in the bin over this ! ...WHERE is Ziggy Try-Hard when you need him?
Newbie - "The behaviour they've ignored is the behaviour they've permitted" .. so watch for more of this from the little grub because he'll only be encouraged by it.

Bronco Legend's picture

Hi Thinker.
Looks like another round of upsets, 0 from 2 so far, praying for my Broncs tonight as we are struggling a bit.

Mary S's picture

Sorry Bronco Legend,
Tonight is not Broncos' night either I'm afraid.
There are 39 of us sitting on 0/3 so far this round!!!!


Bronco Legend's picture

Yes not a good night for the BONCOS once again Mary, not sure whats happening with them, they don't seem to have the urgency and will to win atm, South's stepped up tonight even with 12 players for 10 minutes, Broncs are missing Reynolds and Walsh but still should do ok without them.
But good on South Sydney for the win they are a proud club.

MGM's picture

In what universe is Jordan Riki's deliberate, forceful, careless shoulder to Cameron Murray's head less of an offense than Sua'lii hitting Reece Walsh .
Murray didn't even have the ball !
Please don't tell me that Walsh momentarily lost consciousness and Murray didn't and that somehow makes a difference.
They've said they want to stamp these head-high shoulder hits out of the game and prioritize player safety , but only sometimes it seems.
.. I've been very critical of Latrell Mitchell in the past but I was fine with him running in on Riki and grabbing him , but I'm concerned for how it could affect his Origin selection ... we don't want to be down to a 12 man NSW team for even one more minute this year!

P.S. ... while I was writing this I saw J.Thurston post match saying Riki's hit should Definitly have been a send off and others on the panel agreed.

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