Round nineteen selections

Redcliffe Dolphins vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Thursday night – Kayo Stadium

A contest between two sides coached by the same person, if you can believe the chatter. That seems a little unfair on Ben Hornby, who has his Bunnies on the same page with five wins in a row. During the same period, the Dolphins have won just one of their last five. They've been competitive in all but one of those losses, but the losses are stacking up, and the Dolphins run the risk of spiralling out of finals contention. My concern is that the Dolphins most recent game was their worst, and that a young club is starting to run on tired legs. The bye round for the home side last week might be the freshen up they all need. Halfback Isaiya Katoa is a terrific playmaker, but he's only 20 and it's a lot of pressure for a young man. He's passed with flying colours thus far, but he might need a breather at some point. Notably, Sean O'Sullivan has returned to the seventeen this week, and might get a run in the number seven jersey in the near future. The return to their home ground is a big plus, as is the return of Bostock on the wing. I've no doubt they'll be competitive. Notably, the sequence of wins for the Bunnies has mostly been in Sydney, and coincides with the return to form of Latrell Mitchell who won't be there on Thursday. A game that, perhaps like Wayne Bennett, has me torn. In the end I've sided with the Rabbitohs - they've made winning a habit in recent weeks and their forward pack is a little less disrupted than the home side.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 2

Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers – Friday night – PointsBet Stadium

Off-the-field reporting of rugby league news by journalists has always had a take-no-prisoners approach. If a player has an overdue library book there's every chance you'll hear about it, together with a sermon about rugby league players and how they need to be better role models. In the interest of balance, I've taken it upon myself to mention that Nicho Hynes helped talk a man off a bridge earlier this week. Hynes then got him into his car and drove him to get medical assistance. He checked in on him in the days that followed to see how he was going, and invited him to a game. It's likely many of you are hearing about this for the first time because...journalism, but well done Nicho. If there is a God he has a cruel sense of humour, because he's rewarded Hynes for his good deed with a leg injury shortly thereafter. He's likey to be out of action for at least 8 weeks. There goes the Dally M medal and, I suspect, any chance the Sharks had of winning some silverware this season. The Sharks did appear to be on a downward spiral anyway, having lost five of their last six. They'll be desperate to win this and show the competition what they can do without Hynes steering the ship. Having said that, the Sharks played the Tigers in round 3 and were properly flogged (32-6). In round 3, the Sharks lineup included Hynes, Talakai and Finucane - I'd argue a stronger seventeen than what we have here. The Tigers line-up this time around is much the same, with a reconstructed and rejuvenated Doueihi in the centres. If this game were at one of the Tigers 35 home grounds I'd tip them confidently. Home ground advantage for Cronulla leaves me less certain, but I'm tipping them anyway.

Verdict – Tigers by 1

Gold Coast Titans vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – Cbus Super Stadium

15th plays 16th, and its the sort of game that could be very important when it comes to dodging the wooden spoon this season. It's quite the fall from grace for the Eels, who made the grand final less than two years ago. This weekend they face the potentially dangerous road trip to the glitter strip followed by a bye next week. Eels fans will be hoping they aren't distracted by all the shiny things and some time off in the days ahead. Missing in action are Moses and Paulo, which doesn't help. The Titans lose Fotuaika to Origin, but welcome back Campbell, Sami and Haas. They return to a side that have won two in a row, and racked up a season high 66 points the last time they played at home. Not only do I think the Titans will avoid the spoon, I haven't given up on them making a run for a top eight finish. I admit it's a stretch, but on recent form you wouldn't rule them out completely. They need to win this, and I think they will.

Verdict – Titans by 8

Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Saturday night – Suncorp Stadium

The Dragons are higher on the ladder than the Broncos if you can believe it - perhaps that news might awaken the sleeping giant of rugby league and get them back on track. If it does, they'll do it without Haas, Carrigan, Cobbo and Walsh. Josh Rogers returns in the halfback role for the injured Jock Madden. Riki returns from suspension to bolster the forwards, and Staggs returns to add some starch to the backline. The Dragons lose Hunt and Lomax this week, with Faitala-Mariner and Ravalawa returning to the starting thirteen. I'm with the Broncos at home on what should be a decent surface after a few fine days in Brisbane leading into the game. Their competitive loss to the Panthers last week looks like stronger form than the Dragons capitulation to the Roosters. 

Verdict – Broncos by 4

Manly Sea Eagles vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday afternoon – 4 Pines Park

Two sides that scored gutsy wins last week. In both cases, their opponents probably should have won but weren't good enough on the day to get it done. Manly will be without their match-winner (Cherry-Evans), Jake and Ben Trbojevic are also unavailable, as is Koula who carried an injury through much of the win over the Cowboys. His replacement at fullback is handy enough, with Tom Trbojevic returning to his preferred position after a hit-out in the centres. Plenty of changes for the Knights too, with Ponga, Best and Gagai all recalled for Origin duty. A difficult game to decipher given all the key outs for both teams, but the Sea Eagles continue to be a force at home. They've played the top three teams in the competition at Brookvale this year (Storm, Panthers, Roosters) and won them all. This should be easier than that, and they'll pack the joint on a Sunday afternoon if Sydney can deliver some decent winter weather for a change.

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 4

Wally Lewis - round nineteen selections (in bold)

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

  • DOLPHINS vs Rabbitohs
  • SHARKS vs Tigers
  • TITANS vs Eels
  • BRONCOS vs Dragons
  • SEA EAGLES vs Knights


The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the NRL ladder and the tipping comp after round 18. Plenty of nailbiters as expected, but we had some solid results from our tipsters. A handful of you picked up 7 from 8, but the ovation is saved for Moonlight with a perfect round. Congrats, Moonlight...outstanding work. The Titans and the Sea Eagles were the teams that brought many of us unstuck in round 18.

As always, if you notice any issues with the scoring, just let me know.

Only the five games in round 19 - I'll have my previews and selections published on Wednesday.

All the best

The Thinker

newbie from perth's picture

Hey Frens,

Who knows how this week’s games will pan out given players missing due to Origin. I’m thinking every single one of these games could go either way. Only time will tell I suppose. Anyway, I’ve gone for a few roughies this week so I’ll either show myself to be a genius or a fool. No guts, no glory as they say. OK, let’s do this thing …

Dolphins vs. Rabbitohs @ Redcliffe
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Dolphins
Bookies Favourite = Dolphins

Yeah, the Rabbitohs were big winners last week and no offence intended, but it was against a struggling Eels. The Dolphins have had an extra week off and are at home. Dolphins by 6.

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

The Sharks have lost 4 of their last 5. The Tigers are pretty ordinary at the moment but remember this will be in the Bermuda Triangle (where strange things sometimes happen) and the Tigers are due for a good one. Don’t know I should do this but I’m going for an upset Friday night. Tigers by 2.

Titans vs. Eels @ Cbus
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Titans
Bookies Favourite = Titans

There’s no doubt the Titans are playing some confident footy at the moment. There’s also no doubt the Eels are pretty darn average. You’d have to be a madman to tip against the Titans at home but that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Eels by 4.

Broncos vs. Dragons @ Suncorp
Probability @ 60-40
Ladder Position = Dragons
Bookies Favourite = Broncos

This is the hardest one for me this week. This is a “Broncos without their Origin stars” versus “no-one’s quite sure which Dragons side will run out” type of encounter. I was sorely tempted to tip the Big Red V but thinking about both these sides’ efforts last week and the fact that Brisbane are at home, I decided not to. Broncos by 6.

Manly vs. Knights @ Brookvale
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Manly
Bookies Favourite = Manly

Even though Manly won last week (I thought they were lucky to be honest) and they’re in the top 8, they haven’t impressed me all that much lately. I was impressed however with the Knights’ effort but they’ll be missing some strike weapons due to Origin. I’ve got an uneasy feeling about this one. Knights by 4.

Bye: Bulldogs, Cowboys, Panthers, Raiders, Roosters, Storm and Warriors.

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

Say what you will about this bloke but I consider him to be an absolute songwriting genius. This one’s from 37 years ago and the video has 31,351 comments. Be warned, there’s some “kissy-kissy” in the clip. Enjoy.

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

Rocket Ryan's picture

Tiger Girl have you noticed the great Tiger supporter has abandoned the Tigers again.

NuL1F3's picture

Dammit! Forgot to put in my tips!
For the remaining games,
and if anyone was curious, I tipped Rabbitohs.

Rocket Ryan's picture

No damage done it would appear

MGM's picture

Question for Adam Gee F#('n Whizz ....
Exactly How square does a marker Have To Be ????
All Tiger's fans and Even Rocket Ryan and Sharks "tragic" Paul Gallen would like to hear your answer.
PLUS .... WHY wasn't the bunker in his ear immediately telling him "no sin bin Whizz Kid ! "

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