Almanac Rugby League – The Charity Shield and NRL Trials




We’re now just a week away from the 2021 season kick-off and, if the Charity Shield match and other NRL trials are anything to go by, I think we’ve had an ominous look at what the season may have in store.


Let’s start with the Charity Shield match in Mudgee where the Rabbitohs had a very convincing win over the Dragons by 48-16. Cody Walker was in sparkling form and controlled the match throughout while Latrell Mitchell showed that he is in top form going into next week’s Round 1. The news is not so good for Dragons fans – a very modest effort pointing to another long season ahead. Watch the match highlights here.


Elsewhere, in other NRL trials, the Roosters looked solid in holding off the Raiders by 26-20 while the Storm were far too good for the Knights in Albury, posting a 30-10 win. Melbourne again seem to be able to find ‘new’ players while the Knights were ordinary. An injury to Harry Grant was the main news to come out of that game.


The Bulldogs had a hard fought 16-12 win over the Sharks but it seems to have been an uninspiring hitout by both sides. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect too much from either team this year. The Titans and the Warriors had a 12-12 draw, again with little fanfare flowing from the game. With travel restrictions a problem, it looks like another year of great sacrifice by the boys from across the ditch.


Premiership favourites Penrith showed glimpses of form in their 16-6 win over the Eels at Panthers Stadium. The Eels put up a spirited showing and lost no fans on this display. There wasn’t a lot to shout about at Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe where the Cowboys turned around a 0-12 deficit to run out convincing 34-18 winners over a disappointing Broncos outfit. Almanacker Liam Hauser attended that match and lamented Brisbane’s lack of on-field leadership and poor defence but found little to be impressed by from the Cowboys. He rates Brisbane a bottom four side (he’s loyal but realistic!) with the Cowboys likely to be in the bottom half of the ladder.


In the other trial match, the Wests Tigers smashed the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 52-18 at Leichhardt Oval, suggesting that better things might be ahead in Season ’21. But the Tigers have promised a lot previously yet delivered modestly, so hold on to that one for now. The Sea Eagles were awful but, as I’ve said many times before, they’ve got Des Hasler. ‘Turbo Tom’s” hammies might be the measure of their season. For more details on pre-season trial matches click here.


So a familiar scenario seems to be presenting itself early on: Storm, Roosters and Penrith to lead the way; Raiders and Eels to be there or thereabouts; Tigers and Titans looking to make their presence felt; the rest hoping.


Seven sleeps to go!


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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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

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