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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Tips for round 14-NRL

The second game of Origin is beckoning which means that a lot of the teams lose valuable players.

Game 1: Dragons v Titans. The Dragons team does not at all look like the side that has been penultimate in this years competition. A mere shadow of that side faces up against a Titans side that retains most of its regular players. This game will be a true test of Dragons depth which would lead me to be picking the blue and gold this weekend.

Game 2: Cowboys v Eagles. The cowboys rely on the brilliance of Thurston, the lines of Willie Tonga and the speed of Bowen. Without all three in good working order the Cowboys lack any real attacking talent. The surprise inclusion of Willie Hopoate in the NSW origin side means Manly are without one of their real attacking weapons. The Manly side however are full of line breakers and smart footballers. Manly by plenty!

Game 3: Broncos v Raiders. One of the more interesting match ups of the round. The Broncos have a lot of young talent coming through and if these players fire Broncos should have it in the bag. The Raiders however have more experienced/solid players and if they rough these young ones up they could create an upset. Broncos are seriously weakened having a lot of players out through Origin duty. It will be a test of their depth. They are at home which makes leads me to picking the Broncos. A try in it!

Game 4: Warriors v Tigers. The game of the round!! The Warriors had it tough last week against the Chooks but are back at home this weekend against a New Zealand lead Tigers team. The other beauty about this is that no players from either team are out for origin duty. The class of Benji and Robbie Farah will be on show. If these two fire the warriors may be up against back to back losses. Its an absolute 50/50 for this one. The Warriors are having a good season but one must wonder when this has to start to turn for the worse and the fans start asking second questions. If I was to pick, Tigers.

Game 5: Roosters v Storm. The Chooks on paper have to be one of the best games in the competition. They have no reason for their place on the ladder and one must think towards the back end of the season this team has to start coming right! Melbourne as usual lose a lot of players out to origin with the roosters only having a couple. A re-shuffle in the centres due to Shaun Kenny-Dowell being injured which gives the Storm some hope but the brilliance of Carney and Anasta is sure to be on show. Roosters by a few!

Getting Started

This is my first post with the ultimate intention of becoming Rugby's (League and Union) leading authority.

I thought I would start on two controversial issues concerning the NSW Blues recent additions and the Hurricanes future non-re-signings.

First Issue: Ricky Stuart has finally decided to include the infamous 'Hayne Plane' into the mix for Origin 2. Why he didn't include this rugby league freak at the start of the campaign is anyone's guess! Hayne, although not always consistent at NRL level, has been one of the Blues best players at recent Origin Level. He won in 2007 the Brad Fitler Medal for Best NSW player so has proven experience at this level of footy. Hayne will play on the wing, where he has been proven to be very effective, instead of being put at fullback which Josh Dugan had reclaimed, yet through injury Anthony Minichello has been recalled after a long absence from origin football.
In terms of if Dugan was avaliable, I think it is a good decision in terms of the direction Ricky wants the team to head in. Hayne is a playmaking fullback and Ricky is looking for a runner off his play-makers/big forwards to pierce the gap. Dugan was safe in Origin 1 and will only get better.
In terms of Minichello however, I would rather have Hayne at the back even if he does occasionally slip in as a play-maker. NSW can pick better wings than choosing for in my mind, a player that was once brilliant but is slowly losing his touch. For game 2 I would have: 1) Hayne 2) Akuilla Uate 3) Will Hopoate

The surprise inclusion of young rookie Will Hopoate in the centres for the Blues comes to me as a huge mistake made by Ricky Stewart. I can understand the inclusion of this brilliant line breaker say on the wing, where he usually plays for the Sea Eagles. What I can't understand is throwing this player into the heat and intensity that is origin, at not only such a young age with limited experience but also at a position that he is not familiar with. NSW don't have the depth at centre as Queensland have but surely Jamie Lyon/Jamal Idris would be better suited to centre than Hopoate who usually doesn't even play there?

Union Issue: Mark Hammett has told Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore that there is no place for them at the Hurricanes in 2012. Ma'a Nonu has had a topsy-turvy year leading into the world cup but sacking a player that has matured and slowly been moulded into the All Blacks as a shoe-in second five (until the arrival of SBW) I can not understand. The Hurricanes to me have some massive selection problems and to sack two All Blacks who are at the centre of the culture of this team seems to me to be a no-brainer. The Chiefs look likely to end up with Ma'a Nonu for 2012 and I can tell you this, look out for the Chiefs to be in contention for finals rugby in next years Super Rugby competition.