Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 10: Magic Round at Suncorp!

 

Suncorp Stadium. Photo: austadiums.com

 

 

All NRL eyes turn north this week for Magic Round with all eight matches to be played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (aka Lang Park to us crusty old fogeys). I’m sure the grounds staff will be pleased to know that they’ll have two weeks to revive the surface before the next match there later in the month.

 

The biggest thing we learned from last weekend’s Round 8 is that the Rabbitohs really need to retain Adam Reynolds. Less posturing and more realism are required in his ongoing contract negotiations but, at the time of writing, all the pointers suggest that Reynolds will be in Brisbane for the next three years. The Bunnies, admittedly missing a few others first choices as well, looked awful against the rampant Storm who, fair to say, were missing one or two of their own, most notably Ryan Papenhuyzen.

 

The Roosters showed a look of pluck in the absence of almost half of their first choice players and could yet prove a major force as the season grinds on and they get a few back. The plight of the Raiders is at least as bad, if not worse than, we thought – such a sad sight for a team that looks pretty good on paper. But the saddest sight is reserved for the Sharks who looked Third Division in their slaughter by the very hot Panthers. Manly’s revival continues and the Knights showed character but the jury is still out on the Dragons after their lacklustre win over the Bulldogs.

 

Consequently, several teams will be looking for some ‘magic’ of their own this weekend to pull their seasons out of the bottom of the proverbial magician’s top hat.

 

The Knights should be untroubled in tomorrow evening’s first-up match against the directionless Tigers. Luke Brooks is the rabbit the latter need to emerge from the depths to spark something – anything! By comparison, the Knights are at least ‘goers’ and that should be enough this time out. The improving (with a long way to go) but luckless Broncos have lost Pat Carrigan for the season and come up against the building Sea Eagles in the late game. It’s hard to see anything other than a Manly win in this one. Or can the home crowd lift the locals and inspire Anthony Milford to draw on his bag of tricks?

 

The early Saturday afternoon Bulldogs v Raiders match-up suddenly has a significance far greater than it might have had a month ago. If the Raiders can’t win this one then they are gone, done and dusted for 2021. It really is all or nothing for the Green Machine. By contrast, will the struggling lads from the capital provide the fodder for the Bulldogs to get on the winners list again this season? Let’s hope so for the sake of Trent Barrett. I’ll stick with ‘Sticky’ – Canberra can’t be that bad, surely! The Rabbitohs may be missing a few players but I think they’ll still have more than enough to take out the Sharks later on in the afternoon. You’ve got to feel sorry for Josh Hannay for taking on this ragtag mob in a season destined for doom. He needs something more akin to one of ScoMo’s miracles than a mere trick to resurrect the lads from the Shire. In the night game, I expect the undermanned Roosters to have too many guns for the Cowboys. I think the Broncos lost their game last week more than the Cowboys won it. That won’t be enough this week for the northerners to beat the Bondi boys.

 

Come Sunday, the Eels, even without Dylan Brown and Marata Niukore, should have too much energy for the Warriors who are either inconsistent or tiring on their run. If there is an upset this weekend, however, then I think this is the most likely candidate. It depends on how the Eels respond to this week’s upheavals. The Storm will extinguish the Dragons even without the services of Cameron Munster and Harry Grant. How would you like to be in the situation where your club has the likes of Nick Hynes as a utility back-up? The Dragons are earnest but, frankly, don’t have the sleight of hand to trouble the purple surge. Finally, the rampaging Panthers will roll on against a Fifita-less Gold Coast Titans. Daylight second.

 

So my winners this week are the Knights, Sea Eagles, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Eels, Storm and Panthers. I just can’t see any magical results appearing this weekend.

 

Friday May 14

Tigers v Knights, Suncorp Stadium, 6.00pm

Sea Eagles v Broncos, Suncorp Stadium, 8.05pm

Saturday May 15

Bulldogs v Raiders, Suncorp Stadium, 3.000pm

Sharks Rabbitohs, Suncorp Stadium, 5.30pm

Roosters v Cowboys, Suncorp Stadium, 7.45pm

Sunday May 16

Warriors v Eels, Suncorp Stadium, 1.50pm

Storm v Dragons, Suncorp Stadium, 4.05pm

Titans v Panthers, Suncorp Stadium, 6.25pm

 

Venues and times are current at the time of publication but please check for late changes.

 

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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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