Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 12: Genuinely scary

Penrith are genuinely scary. They aren’t just beating their opponents each week – they’re smashing them! The Bunnies are supposed to be contenders but the nature of their flogging by the Panthers on Sunday made them look more like pretenders for the second time in three weeks. But forget South Sydney, it’s all about the Panthers. Size, speed, skills, synchronised – sensational! Nevertheless, three questions remain; a) how will they cope during the Origin period?; b) have they peaked too early?; and c) what happens if Cleary gets injured? But, for now, let’s enjoy the show.

 

A few other takeaways from Round 11: the Raiders are in deep do-do!; the Knights are gone and the Dragons had us fooled there for a while a month ago; did the Roosters just have a bad night against the Broncos or are they susceptible to sustained ‘in your face’ footy?; likewise the Eels; the Sea Eagles don’t play anyone above them until the beginning of August – will they be finals certainties by then, even top four?; with the current attrition rate due to suspensions, what will Origin I teams look like?; Nicho Hynes!; my mid-season prediction is a Panthers v Storm Grand Final – the best and toughest teams going around at the moment.

 

With one or two exceptions, Round 12 is looking a bit ho-hum. The Broncos need their very best troops on the park to have even the slightest hope against the Storm but, instead, have lost at least two to suspension this week. The Storm (missing Munster, Papenhuyzen, Grant and Smith last weekend) seem to have a bottomless pit of talent lurking in the background, all part of their ‘system’ of interchangeable parts that just rolls on. Rack up another win for them tonight.

 

Tomorrow evening sees the Cowboys host the Warriors which could be an interesting clash given their respective efforts last weekend. The result is irrelevant to the overall competition but significant for both teams. The Warriors have cost me a few tips this year but I’ll go with them this week as I think they may be just a little more bankable than the Cowboys, even though the latter are at home. The night match between the Tigers and the Dragons is a meeting of The Disappointments. And, again, who really cares apart from the rusted on supporters of both teams? Toss the coin to pick a winner here – it’s ‘tails’ so I’ll go with the Tigers.

 

Come Saturday afternoon, the Panthers will be looking to rack up another half-century against the barkless, biteless Bulldogs and I don’t see why they can’t do just that. They’re just too everything! The early evening Rabbitohs v Eels match-up is the game of the round and has the most bearing on the state of the competition. Both were well beaten last weekend and need to rebound immediately to restate their credentials. Perhaps the judiciary will have as much say as anyone in deciding this game with the Eels looking the more vulnerable on that front. The Rabbitohs have to be better than last week. Toss of the coin again – this time it’s…’heads’ so I’ll go with Parra. Later on, the Roosters host the Raiders, both losers last time out. I just can’t see Canberra getting their act together sufficiently while it would be rare for the Roosters to lose two in a row, even without Crichton and Radley. Roosters for me.

 

On Sunday the Sharks meet the Titans at Coffs Harbour. The Shire lads scraped (scrapped?) in last weekend in a dreadful game but I can’t see them matching it with the Titans who can move the ball very nicely when on song. With a few players pushing for Origin selection, I expect the Titans to prevail. Finally, the Knights host the Sea Eagles who are gathering real momentum. Their effort against the Eels was full of merit and I can’t see enough from the Knights to trouble them.

 

So my winners this week are the Storm, Warriors, Tigers, Panthers, Eels, Roosters, Titans and Sea Eagles. Then stick around for Origin I selections, probably on Monday.

 

 

Thursday May 27

Broncos v Storm, Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm

Friday May 28

Cowboys v Warriors, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 6.00pm

Tigers v Dragons, Bankwest Stadium, 7.55pm

Saturday May 29

Panthers v Bulldogs, BlueBet Stadium, 3.000pm

Rabbitohs v Eels, Stadium Australia, 5.30pm

Roosters v Raiders, Central Coast Stadium, 7.35pm

Sunday May 30

Sharks v Titans, C.EX International Stadium, Coffs Harbour, 2.00pm

Knights v Sea Eagles, McDonald Jones Stadium, 4.05pm

 

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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