Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 17 Preview

With State of Origin now out of the way for 2019, the NRL enters a long run to the Finals. There are nine Rounds to play before we get there but, with fourteen teams still in potential contention, there’s a lot to play for between now and then.


A few of mid-ladder clashes will hold most interest. Wests Tigers host the Parramatta Eels on Sunday afternoon. A win for the Eels would consolidate their place in the top eight but a loss would have them sitting precariously on the edge of that crowded middle pack. Wests Tigers need the win even more to stay in the hunt. A loss wouldn’t kill them off, just make it all a bit harder. The Eels will be slight favourites. Brisbane Broncos, fresh off a good win last weekend, take on NZ Warriors on Saturday evening in Brisbane. The hosts will be keen to show that last weekend was a no fluke while the Warriors will also be looking for some consistency. This is a four point game for both teams as a loss to either will leave them at least two games and points differential out of the eight.


The Dragons v Raiders match on Sunday evening is bigger than it looks. The Dragons simply have to win or else they, too, will be two games and a lot of points differential outside the eight, possibly too much to make up in the remaining Rounds. Equally, the Raiders need a win to regain a bit of lost momentum, restate their overall credentials and keep a hold on fourth spot. The bookies can’t split them.


Melbourne Storm host the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday night and this should be a good one. Storm will have as many as six players backing up from Origin duty, quite a challenge! Cronulla appears to have lost Wade Graham to injury which is a huge blow for them. The Sharks have been a bit inconsistent in the past month but always seem to rise to the occasion against the Storm. The Sharks have more to play for to retain their shaky ladder spot so, while the Storm will start as firm favourites, I won’t be surprised if the Sharks get up.


Elsewhere, Penrith Panthers should account for Gold Coast Titans in tomorrow night’s early game. In the later game, I expect Newcastle Knights to account for bottom-of-the-table Canterbury Bulldogs. On Saturday afternoon, South Sydney Rabbitohs host Manly Sea Eagles in what should be a beauty. The Rabbitohs have been ‘off’ lately while Manly has been on a good run, albeit against some modest opposition. The bookies like the South Sydney lads but I’m not so sure. Then on Sunday afternoon, I expect the Sydney Roosters to be far too strong for the struggling North Queensland Cowboys.


After tipping three out of four last weekend (and who would have picked the Broncos over the Sharks?), I might be able to regain further credibility with a good haul this week. So I’ll be going for, in order of matches to be played, Panthers, Knights, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Storm, Roosters, Tigers and Dragons.


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

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