Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 6: winnowing time?

Let’s start today’s rugby league coverage by paying our respects to Gregory Paul Inglis, a star for Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Queensland and Australia who announced his immediate retirement from the code on Monday. In his pomp, there were few sights as majestic as GI marauding down the field, contemptuously fending off would-be defenders like skittles as he strode to the try line or dished off a pass to a team mate, often Darius Boyd in the Origin sphere. One of the special ones!

 

In the NRL, if we haven’t already seen a ‘sorting out of prospects’ process already after just five rounds, then I think we can expect to see a further winnowing by the end of the Easter round. Match-ups at all levels of the ladder will separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

At the top of the ladder, Melbourne Storm host the Sydney Roosters, the Grand Final rematch we’ve been awaiting for several weeks. Top spot and premiership favouritism awaits the winner. Melbourne has maintained its winning run, albeit somewhat unimpressively of late, while the Roosters have been barnstorming their way through the last month. Not surprisingly, given my recent comments, I’m going for the Roosters and I won’t be surprised if it ends up being a comfortable margin.

 

The rampant Raiders host the bungling Broncos on Sunday and it’s hard to see any result other than a home win. Confidence is everything and Brisbane has none. But footy is a funny game and, paradoxically, this game is also leading contender for the upset of the Round. Everything points to Canberra, therefore don’t be surprised if the Broncos get up.

 

The Cody Walker-inspired Rabbitohs found a way to win last week and should overpower the battling Bulldogs easily, thus confirming Souths as a contender and relegating the Bulldogs to the kennel for 2019.

 

The Sea Eagles meet the Dragons, possibly the second most important clash of the weekend. Both have been in good form of late, both have good running games, both have hot halfbacks in Cherry-Evans and Hunt, and both are looking to consolidate their position in the top third of the table. Should be a cracker! At the same level on the ladder, the Eels, going better than anyone expected, have the chance to consolidate their good start when they take on Wests Tigers who got lucky against the incompetent Brisbane last week. The results of these two games will see a slight gap open up between the winners and the rest of the field below them.

 

The Sharks and Panthers are both in need of a win for both self-confidence purposes and to make sure they don’t fall too far off the bottom end of the top eight. This is a tough one to pick – perhaps golden point, or what chance a draw? It might depend of whether or not Andrew Fifita plays.

 

In the other games, the Warriors at home should give the Cowboys even more grief while the Titans, last round winners and playing at home, should get the chocolates over the struggling Knights.

 

So my winners are the Sharks, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Warriors, Dragons, Titans, Raiders and Tigers.

 

Meanwhile, in the QRL Intrust Super Cup, the game of most interest sees the Norths Devils playing host to the Townsville Blackhawks. Both teams sit at 4-2 along with the Burleigh Bears and the Wynnum Manly Seagulls – again, a case of wanting to stay in touch with the upper levels of the comp. The Devils at home for me. My Redcliffe Dolphins appear in Sunday’s TV game against the Tweed Seagulls and are desperate for a win. C’mon, Dolphins, time to move beyond the premiership hangover.

 

 

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About Ian Hauser

A happy, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV - although I do share the never-to-be-beaten record for the tenth wicket for the long-defunct Unley Lutheran Cricket Club - a partnership of 62 with Craig Hartmann in 1973! A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I'm a firm believer in the notion that there is a fine line between winning and losing in sport. 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 footyalmanac.com.au's online editors, I offer a comprehensive editing service for both new and experienced writers. Check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au Queenslander!

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