Almanac Rugby League – NRL 2020: Round 2

What a start to the season in Round 1! I can’t remember ever being so happy to get just five out of eight tips correct. My Broncos came good, the Sea Eagles went down and the Roosters got upstaged – it’s all good.

 

As I write, Round 2 is still on this weekend, albeit behind closed doors, so here’s peek at what I think might transpire.

 

Firstly, I expect broadcasters to turn down their sideline microphones and umpire-connected sound. Either that or they’ll have to classify the telecasts with the designations of (for mature audiences only) and (language). Secondly, I hope that the absence of crowd noise might tone down the commentators somewhat since they won’t have to shout over the usual background din. (Perhaps this is wishful thinking.) Thirdly, I expect it all to seem pretty flat without the colour of the crowd.

 

On the field, we start with The Bulldogs hosting the Cowboys. Both teams lost in Round 1 and so will want to get on the winning list. The Bulldogs only lost due to a rebound and a ‘Z’ grade bounce for the only try of the game; the Cowboys conceded too much of a start before waking up and staging quite a fightback. It could go either way but I’ll go for the Doggies at home.

 

On Friday, the Dragons are at home to the Panthers. The Panthers were impressive in disposing of the defending premiers last weekend and have to be heavily favoured on that basis alone. Throw in the mediocre showing by the Dragons and it seems a lay down misere. Then the Broncos take on the Rabbitohs at Lang Park. (We purists still can’t call it Suncorp Stadium, even after all these years.) Both were winners last weekend but neither was particularly convincing. Perhaps the Bunnies to pinch this one at the death. An Adam Reynolds field goal?

 

Saturday starts with the Warriors playing a home game on the Gold Coast because of the virus issues and consequent travel restrictions. The Raiders will come north to join battle. The Warriors were underwhelming last week while the Raiders, especially Jack Wighton, were far more impressive. I expect the Warriors to lose and then retreat to the Land of the Long White Cloud, perhaps not to reappear again in the comp this year. (But then again, the whole comp might disappear for months after this Round.)

 

The Roosters v Sea Eagles clash in the early evening will be the match of the Round. The Eastern Suburbs lads will be smarting from their Round 1 loss and that spells trouble for Manly. The Roosters rarely lose successive matches. Manly played some good footy last week but were eventually ground down by the relentless Storm. The Roosters comfortably. In the late game, the Sharks host the Storm. Old Man Cameron Smith is still so far ahead of everyone else on the field that it’s not funny. I expect him to steer the Storm to another grinding victory against a yet-to-prove-themselves Sharks outfit.

 

On Sunday, the Wests Tigers, at home, should be too good for the Newcastle Knights who don’t travel all that well. Let’s hope Luke Brooks gets onto the field this week – if he does, it will be the Tigers by even more! Finally, the Titans take on the Eels at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina. If last week is any guide, the Eels will run away with it after they played solidly last week while the Titans were more titanic (as in the ship) than titanic (as in the metal).

 

In the end, it may all be purely academic if the season is forced into hibernation by the health crisis. And, let’s face it, the latter is a far more important consideration than the footy. What chance we’ll be back to look at Round 3 in a week’s time?

 

Keep well out there!

 

@blenheimboy2

 

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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

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