NRL Round 24 and NRLW Round 4: Penrith and daylight in the NRL but it’s through a glass darkly in the NRLW


Artwork courtesy of John Campbell


It’s hard to imagine that, based on recent form, anyone can stop the Panthers from a threepeat of premierships. They just seem to be able to cover any and all challenges thrown their way. Bellamy’s comments after his Storm were almost easily defused last weekend are pertinent simply because they come from Bellamy himself. Admittedly his side were well down on personnel in Round 23, especially in the backline where only Munster and Meaney were first choice selections. But the gap was there, all too plain to see. We just have to think that footy is a funny old game and that upsets do happen.



The Sea Eagles are struggling to stay in the race, just outside the finals. They get no favours when they take on the Panthers tonight. Good night, Manly, and that’s all she wrote. Penrith.


The Sharks returned to form with an unexpectedly comfortable win over the Rabbitohs. Nicho was back in form at last. Meanwhile the Titans are coming off a loss to the Warriors. Tino is back but Mo and AJ Brimson are out along with Verrills, so the visitors are both down on manpower and facing a side with renewed vigour. The Sharks at home will be too strong.


The Broncos are cruising along and look good but not ‘the goods’ just yet. The Eels are on the edge of the top eight but spluttering at the wrong time of the season. In a game that was far from pretty, they just got home against the Dragons, so that doesn’t bode well coming up against Brisbane who get Reynolds and Riki back. Brisbane for me.


The Rabbitohs are really testing out the faith of their fans with their stop/start performances of late. They’re pretenders at the moment and have only a month to get their act together. They have the talent, so what’s wrong?  The loss of Big Tom won’t help their cause. The Dragons are making up the numbers and don’t look happy. More sadness coming this weekend, I fear. Get on the Rabbitohs. (And isn’t it good to see John Campbell’s artwork again at the top of this piece?)


The Wests Tigers had no luck against Canberra but, in the end, probably didn’t deserve to win. But at least they showed more spirit. The Warriors continue to play well under the radar and you have to like the style of their play. I expect them to continue on their free-flowing way to cement that spot in the top four.


The Roosters lost their Round 1 clash with the Dolphins in one of the upsets of the season. Based on recent performances, however, you’d have to favour the Chooks this time round as the Dolphins have found the grind just too much of late. The real question is whether or not the Roosters have too much ground to make up to fall into the finals. They’re only one win outside the eight but their awful points differential makes it the equivalent of two. Perhaps they’ll help shape the eight rather than be in it.


The Storm regain Hughes and their first choice wingers this week to add considerably to their firepower when they meet the Raiders who almost threw it away last week. Who’d want to be ‘Sticky’ trying to coach this Jeckyll and Hyde mob? This is a four point game with fourth place on the line. Expect it to be willing but the brains of the Storm halves will seal it in the end.


The Knights are the ones surging at this stage of the season and have propelled themselves into the top eight. The Bulldogs are coming off the bye but really have no form to speak of. Having come this far, it’s hard to see the Knights giving it away now. I reckon they’re good to go again.


The Cowboys have the bye.


So my winners this week are the Panthers, Sharks, Broncos, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Roosters, Storm and Knights. (I got 6/8 last week.)



Round 3 saw a couple of unexpected results that have thrown the competition wide open. Somehow the Titans find themselves on top of the ladder while the Roosters had a shock loss and the fancied Wests Tigers were on the wrong end of the scoreline fore the first time. The Broncos showed some fight at last and the Raiders were gritty in their win over the Tigers. There’s lots to to look forward to as the NRLW season unfolds further.


The Dragons are languishing towards the bottom of the table and things don’t get any easier when they meet the confident Raiders this weekend. Coach Soward has wrung the changes but I’m not sure if the Dragons have the talent to compete. Canberra will be looking for more of the same and seem settled by comparison. I’ll stay with the Raiders.


The Cowboys are a lively bunch even if they’re not getting too many results on the board at the moment. The experience gained this year will be invaluable. The Wests Tigers will be looking to regain form quickly and they may be meeting the Cowboys at a good time to achieve this end. The Tigers look like being the most successful of the newcomers this season and should go on with it this time out.


The Broncos finally found some form against the Cowboys and will be looking to carry it on when they face up to the winless Eels this weekend. Grand Finalists just four games ago, the Eels look lacklustre and heading for some awful figures by season’s end. They’ve already conceded 112 in three games. Get on the Broncos.


The Sharks are still a bit hard to read. They’ve only won once but have a positive points differential. Interesting. Their clash with the Roosters will give us a bit more of an idea about both sides. Are the Sharks really doing ok in their first season? Was last week’s loss just an aberration for the much favoured Roosters or do they have flaws? Let’s see how they come out this week. I favour the Roosters.


The Knights v Titans game is the match of the round, first v second. The Knights romped home over the Eels while the Titans fell in at the death against the Sharks. That tells me that the Knights should be all over the Titans. I’m not buying into the Titans at this stage. If they get home this week, I’ll be a little more kind to them. The Knights for me.


So my winners this week are the Raiders, Wests Tigers, Broncos, Roosters and Knights.



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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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