Almanac Rugby League – Round 5 and it’s getting desperate for some

We’re only halfway through April and already several NRL clubs run the risk of becoming ‘also rans’ for the 2019 season. Run your fingers over a few of this weekend’s games and you’ll see why.


The Broncos simply have to win against Wests Tigers tonight or they’ll slip to 1-4 – it’s a long way back from there. Coach Seibold says he knows what he’s doing – Broncos fans certainly hope so but need to see evidence. Nikorima and Milford are under huge pressure to lift their performances and give direction and shape after last week’s disorganised disaster. The Tigers started the season well but are staring at a third straight loss, so they’ve got their own issues, too. With a wet night in prospect, anything could happen in this one.


The Titans are fighting to gain any traction and are early favourites for the wooden spoon. They have their best chance to date at home against the spluttering Panthers with the return of Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts. But it’s the visitors who hung tough last week to win what they shouldn’t have which may just give them the confidence they need to find their form. If you haven’t already done so, start planning for next year, Titans.


The Cowboys also face tough times ahead when they host the unbeaten Storm with the prospect of being 1-4 come Saturday. You just can’t go past the lads from Melbourne who were outplayed for most of last week’s game but still won. The NQ lads could well learn a lesson or two about application and persistence from Bellamy’s boys. I can’t see any joy at 1300SMILES Stadium this week.


I’m going to see the Warriors v Rabbitohs match on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday afternoon (with the bonus of the top-of-the-table Falcons v Tigers QRL Intrust Super Cup fixture as the curtain-raiser). Historically the Warriors lead the Rabbits head-to-head but the NZ lads don’t usually travel well. The South Sydney camp has been playing funny buggers about Greg Inglis all week and can’t be fully settled either. Both teams look like solid middle ladder performers with the Bunnies the more likely to go places later in the year.


The Knights host the Sea Eagles with the home team playing well (only a -4 differential) but also in that 1-3 situation. Wins have to come soon or they’ll find themselves well adrift. The Sea Eagles will miss Tom Trbojevic. The battle between the halves, Mitchell Pearce and Daly Cherry-Evans, should be a cracker! The home crowd might see the locals get up and keep their season’s hopes alive.


The Sharks v Roosters game should be one hell of a physical battle up front with two no-nonense packs ready and willing to mix it up. But the Roosters have size, strength, speed and skills, so I expect them to get home comfortably. Victor Radley is a star in the making. Roosters are top two, Sharks solid mid-table prospects.


The Dragons v Bulldogs game seems to be one of the more interesting games this weekend. The Bulldogs were so brave against the Storm last week and will want to show that their effort was no fluke. They are also at 1-3 and so will have plenty of added incentive to win. The Dragons just got home against the Knights last week and are vulnerable without Widdop to give them organisational leadership. Or can Corey Norman do it again, this time at home? Both teams are likely lower middle ladder prospects.


For me, the most anticipated clash is the Raiders v Eels game. Both sit at 3-1 and want to consolidate their good early season form. Jarrod Crocker has his boys in green going well and confidently; the Eels are the surprise packets so far and could give this one a real shake. I favour the home side. Both teams are in the hunt for the top eight.


I picked five winners last weekend but feel a bit more confident this week going for the Broncos, Panthers, Storm, Rabbitohs, Knights, Roosters, Dragons and Raiders. Watch me make a mug of myself!



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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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