NRL Round 1: You gotta love footy


by Prop among the Canefields


Viva Las Vegas! 2024 started with a stunning first two games where I managed to successfully pick none from two! So, for the last time I’ll quote the King (not Wally).

“I’m gonna keep on the run, I’m gonna have me some fun, if it costs me my very last dime

 If I wind up broke. Oh well I will always remember, That I had a swinging time.”

It won’t be until season 2025 whether we will know if the Vegas Vacation was worth it. V’Landys as Clark Griswold, Abdo as Ellen, Matty Johns as Marty, Peter Beattie as Cousin Eddie and of course Wayne Newton as himself! As Cousin Eddie says to Clark in the movie as Marty is taking him down at the tables “That’s its Clark…. Show him who’s Boss. It’s people like you who come here and blow the family nest egg that built this town… not this pretty boy!” Time will tell.

I enjoyed the games and thought Souths ‘24 looked like Souths ’23 – too many mistakes from loose play at critical times in the game. They need to tighten up their play, especially from their key players if they are to threaten this competition. On the other hand, Brooks, with the support of the ageless DCE looked like the player he promised to be. Demetriou needs to control South’s egos quickly or Rusty will have Sam back before he knows it. On the other side Manly showed enough that without injury they may be a force.

The second match showed clearly that the Broncos will get no free rides this season. They were in a winnable position when they got to 14-10 but blew it. Clearly, they missed Flegler and the early shift to the edge for Carrigan did not suit them. The Roosters looked better than they did for most of last year and clearly have benefited from having a longer off-season not affected by a world cup. Sadly, the incident at the end of the match tarred the overall weekend but the lesson is clea r- it is not what you say that is important but it is what is heard that is – and clearly what the Bronco heard was unacceptable – full stop.

Anyway, given I’m none from two – follow me at your peril.

Thursday night sees Newcastle play Canberra and like many I think Canberra are on the slide. Even more so with Whitehead and Horsburgh out. Newcastle on the other hand finished season 23 in a flourish on the back of Ponga and again will rely heavily on him.

Friday night sees 23’s surprise packet -the Warriors up against the Sharks. Unless the Sharks can develop a game plan where everything is not centred on Hynes, the top sides will have little trouble picking them off. However, following the Warriors is heartbreak territory but if they are to go one step further this year than they should be untroubled netting the Sharks.

Clearly the game of the round is the Melbourne – Penrith clash. Interest is focussed on Bellamy’s first up record. It is Black Caviar like – 22 starts 22 wins. But his is a significant test against potentially the greatest club side of the modern era. Even though Cleary is their centrepiece, unlike Cronulla for example, their point of attack can shift to a number of players. Melbourne’s big 4- Pap, Hughes, Munster (hopefully fit) and Grant will have to be on song from the start. A fascinating Round 1 match-up.

The Eels should be too strong for their neighbours and most interest here is how soon the drums will beat for coach sackings if either team doesn’t perform. I’m not sure having Gus as your Number 1 supporter is a great thing!

The Titans and St George is the other game of great interest. Both with new coaches and clubs with points to prove. I am especially interested in having a look at St George as they lost a number of early games last year by small margins before their season completely imploded.

The final match should see a bumper crowd at Lang Park for Redcliffe and the Cowboys. Unlike last year, when no one knew how Redcliffe would play, this year oppositions will be ready. The loss of Gilbert as I said last week is a telling blow and Nikorima at 5/8 is interesting. The selection of Nui ahead of Averillo also surprises me. Hess is a loss for the Cowboys but they are one club with backrow riches. I think the Cowboys will be too strong.

So, my selections are Newcastle, Warriors, Penrith to ruin Bellamy’s record, Eels, St George Cowboys and the Tigers to start the season with a strong win over the Bye!

My season prediction positions after Round Zero:  Penrith, Broncos 16th, Melbourne, Souths 17th, Roosters 2nd, Cowboys, Newcastle and St George.

Odd fact: 6 NRL Club Captains at some stage represented Capricornia School Sport (area taking in Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and the Central Highlands) – Harry Grant, DCE, Ben Hunt, Kayln Ponga, Rueben Cotter and Tom Dearden.


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  1. Russel Hansen says

    Demetriou to control Souths’ egos? I live in hope!

    How will Reynolds go tomorrow night against his former club?

    I am doing to say, VERY WELL!

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