Just a few weeks ago Petero Civoniceva’s game against Titan’s was lauded as a great example of how a front rower can inspire a team. After New South Wales’ display last night, some are saying the game has moved past such a role. Gallen’s performance as a makeshift prop was tremendous. But not every side has a Paul Gallen like player who can move easily from the second row to the front and provide such an impact. But even your average prop is more mobile than those of yesteryear. Ricky Stuart’s tactics worked but new tactics often do. Once coaches wise up to it they’ll learn. The traditional prop position is dying. It is just undergoing evolution as all positions do.
And was it just me but did Queensland and New South Wales have essentially the same game plan last night? That is make sure Jarrdy Hayne saw little of the ball in space as much as possible?
Broncos v Dragons, Friday 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
Both teams are going to be a bit battered and tired. The Dragons do seem to be finding it tough at the moment and they will be missing a few players from Origin it seems. But I’m still reticent to tip against the Master as he comes up against his Apprentice. But I am going to do it anyway. The Broncos Origin players will be wanting to make a few points.
Rabbitohs v Titans, Friday 7:45pm, ANZ Stadium
If the Bunnies are going to make the eight then they need to win this one. But they are a side that just can’t seem to land a killer blow when required. The Titans will have some confidence after their win over the Dragons last week. If Isaac Luke starts turning up then the Bunnies will start to improve. They get one last tip but a loss and I’m giving up on them.
Knights v Panthers, Saturday 5:30pm, Tinkler Stadium
This could be one of the best games of the round. Both teams need to win to keep their finals hopes on track. Newcastle won’t be flogging the Panthers like they did last time. It will be a more even contest. In fact I believe the scale tilt just so every slightly towards Penrith.
Cowboys v Warriors, Saturday 7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium
The Cowboys played quite well last week. Their forwards were quite good against Manly. The only trouble was no Jonathan Thurston. But that is resolved this week and after his quiet Wednesday night he’ll be up for the game. The Warriors recent good form is fading and they will find this game tough.
Bulldogs v Sharks, Sunday 2:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Cracks are appearing at the Bulldogs close knit so called family club. Idris doesn’t turn up for training, Andrew Ryan is on the way out. Not good sign. Is this something the Sharks can exploit? Who knows given their talent for finding adversity when confronted with favourable circumstances. Paul Gallen is the key. Is he really Superman?
Tigers v Storm, Sunday 3:00pm, Leichhardt Oval
If I had better foresight I’d be at this game as Leichhard on a Sunday arvo is a tremendous experience. The Tigers haven’t been really convincing the past few weeks just doing allowing Benji and Robbie to do what they need to win. The Storm are in with a chance but they have only ever won one game from seven at the famous old ground. The heaving, seething mass of orange, black and white will see the Tigers home.
Manly v Parramatta, Monday 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval
For those wanting a real tip, stick with the home side. For the others, you know we are up against the old enemy. Nothing more needs to be said.
The Sure Thing: The Cowboys
The Roughy: The Titans