Tipping for Dummies: Round 20

We’ve officially hit Round 20 where it’s all business. The race is on for the teams not currently in the top 8 to make it and it’s a fight for the top 8 teams to keep their spot. With that being said… welcome to Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody's favourite "Tipping for Dummies!"

Everybody’s favourite “Tipping for Dummies!”

SolSat’s Prediction Count from Round 19: 4 out of 6 (66%)

Not bad, not bad. Let’s see if I can do better this round.

Friday 26th July, 2013
North Queensland Cowboys vs. Brisbane Broncos

My main team going up against my next most favourite team. The rivals face off against one another again. Both teams had byes last week so this game is sure to be fast-paced, hard-hitting, solid footy action. With several big changes in the Broncos squad, which some argue is a long time coming, the Broncos are looking to lift my spirits and end their losing streak with a decisive victory over Thurston and Scott’s Cowboys.

SolSat’s Prediction: Brisbane Broncos

Personal biased aside, I truly believe that with the changes in my squad that the Broncos will pull out the duke in this one. Hoffman is in his element as fullback and Wallace hasn’t been playing up to scratch so I strongly believe that the change in squad will benefit the #bronxnation and lead us to victory, especially seeing as our top 8 dreams are diminishing. C’mon Broncos! Do me proud!

Canterbury Bulldogs vs. Parramatta Eels
I actually have the privilege of attending this game as a journalist with an official media pass and all… but aside from that, it was announced that the Eels are definitely out of the top 8 finals unfortunately for them. Meanwhile, the Doggies linger out on the outskirts of the top 4. If any other team could snag a top 4 position, it’d be the Doggies.

SolSat’s Prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs

Let’s face it, the Eels are going up against a brick wall. Add the extra de-motivation of having no finals dreams to strive for and the Doggies have got this one in the bag. I feel so bad for poor Mannah though… oh well. There’s always another year!

Saturday 27th July, 2013
St. George Illawarra Dragons vs. Canberra Raiders
A bad turn of luck whacked the Dragons like a cricket ball to the netheregions; SolSat favourite Matt Cooper returned from injury in Round 19 just to be sidelined for the rest of the season with another injury. This setback will only harm the Dragons as they go into battle with the ever impressive Canberra Raiders.

SolSat’s Prediction: Canberra Raiders

The Raiders are riding on a wave of momentum and the Dragons are unfortunately going to be crushed by the wave. Ferguson is rumoured to come back for the Raiders so if he does… good luck Dragons.

Gold Coast Titans vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Bunnies were heavily predicted to win against the Dragons last week so to see them lose was a major shock to the NRL world entirely. People may say that is because of Inglis being sidelined but even without Inglis, the squad is still talented enough to pull out a victory. The Titans are coming off a loss against the Sea Eagles who, let’s face it, are a shoe in for at least the semi finals.

SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs

The loss against the Dragons last week should have lit a fire underneath the Bunnies, telling them to not get comfortable even if they are on top of the ladder. The Titans haven’t had much luck recently and I’m expecting their bad luck to continue unfortunately, even with their impressive squad.

Sunday 28th July, 2013
New Zealand Warriors vs. Melbourne Storm
My Storm-fanatic brother has openly admitted that the premiers Achilles heel seems to be the Warriors unorthodox offense so this was a tough one to call. I agree with him. It’s as if the Warriors play for fun instead of points and that approach to footy may just be the catalyst of their uprise.

SolSat’s Prediction: Melbourne Storm

Besides the fact that they’re the favourite to win the premiership (again), I’m tentatively going with the Storm this time around because surely, the “Big 3” can somehow figure out a way to defend against the Warrior’s offense.

Cronulla Sharks vs. Penrith Panthers
The Sharks are coming off, bluntly putting it, the second most humiliating loss – after the Broncos shocker to the Warriors. The Sharks core in Paul Gallen is still not cleared to play so the Panthers are hoping to take advantage of that.

SolSat’s Prediction: Cronulla Sharks

Not gonna lie, I actually chose the Sharks based on dollar bet. These two teams are evenly matched, especially with the Sharks lack of main players and the lack of Mansour for the Panthers. I am expecting a great game of footy between these two teams so that’s what I’m hoping for.

Newcastle Knights vs. Sydney City Roosters
I don’t need to write about how great the Roosters’ season has been excellent and, while on the topic of the Roosters, I’d like to acknowledge the rumour that Martin Kennedy is set to sign the Broncos for next season. While we desperately need backs, I will gladly accept him. The Knights have been kind of mediocre in the season so they look to improve on that.

SolSat’s Prediction: Sydney City Roosters

The Roosters are too damn good to lose now, even against the Knights. If someone is going to derail the Chookies’ momentum right now, it’ll have to be one of the top teams: the Bunnies, the Storm or the Eagles. Other than that, they seem to be unstoppable.

Monday 29th July, 2013
West Tigers vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
The Tigers dreams of getting into the top 8 are very slim to none at the moment but at least they still have a shimmer of hope as opposed to the Eels. In what was an impressive game last week despite the loss, the Tigers are going to be desperate for this win against the Eagles tonight.

SolSat’s Prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles, with SolSat new favourite Brenton Lawrence, are predicted to defeat the Tigers with ease this round and I have to agree on that one. The Eagles are favourites to take the premiership this year and they will show why in their game against the Tigers.

One day I will get a perfect tipping score on Tipping for Dummies and I will gladly/boastfully redirect everyone back to here and be like “HA! 100%!” Until then… have a satisfying day!

– by The Black Widow

Queensland Make It 8

I am on the highest of highs… of highs. QUEENSLAND TAKE OUT ORIGIN FOR THE 8TH TIME IN A ROW!!

This needs no caption.

This needs no caption. SOURCE: NRL Facebook page

Tension was running high as the players ran out onto the field for the ultimate decider of the Origin series 2013. This was it. This was the moment. This was the moment for the Blues to shut up their naysayers and stop Queensland’s dominating streak, and the moment for the Maroons to continue their momentum from game two.

Queensland made the first half count with some early points from Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston who racked up a converted try and a penalty conversion. The Blues mounted a comeback with a try from McManus and ended the half at 8 – 4.

I could not sit down during the second half because I can honestly say a game of footy has not kept me on my toes like this in a very long time. The gruelling second half was intense and was nearly too hard for me to watch until my Broncos boy Hodges scored a try at the 61st minute which wasn’t successfully converted. All was well in the Queensland department until SolSat’s Golden Boy Corey Parker let in a try from Merrin at the 71st minute. My poor Parker.

In the final minutes of the game, 10-12 to the Maroons, it was all coming down to whoever was in possession. Just as I thought one of my personal favourites, the underrated Matt Scott would score a try, a stupid, fat, ignorant streaker ran onto the field to disrupt not only the brilliant game that had been played but Scott’s try. An array of colourful language threatened to escape my mouth but I managed to stop it. Streakers – be ready to see an opinion piece on them.

Queensland managed to keep possession in the final seconds of play and seize the victory over the Blues for their 8th straight victory in what was an unforgettable defeat.

Now, it’s time for the SOLST-O-METER!

Solst-o-meter
Even with what I perceived to be shotty officiating from one Shayne Hayne and an absolutely horrendous try-ruining streaker, my boys still managed to scrape up the victory and make it #8inarow.

1. Billy Slater – still exhibits his fine footy finesse and shows why he IS the greatest fullback in the game, despite your personal feelings for the man. RATING: Satisfied.
2. Darius Boyd – bleh first half, somewhat decent second half. If he didn’t ground that ball, I would’ve torn him a new one. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
3. Greg Inglis – I was still expecting a classic GI moment from him but didn’t get any of the sort. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
4. Justin Hodges – my bucking Bronco played excellent! Now if only he could bring that back to the Broncos, that’d be great. RATING: Satisfied.
5. Brent Tate – excellent form here by the Cowboy Tate. RATING: Satisfied.
6. Johnathan Thurston – hands down Man of the Match. RATING: Very Satisfied.
7. Cooper Cronk – some great play from Cronk, nothing earth shattering like I’m used to from him but still good. RATING: Satisfied.
8. Matt Scott – my poor Scotty, his Origin moment was taken from him. Either way, he was still incredible tonight. RATING: Satisfied.
9. Cameron Smith – the Captain of the Squad demonstrated exactly why he is the greatest player in the game today. RATING: Satisfied.
10. Nate Myles – good ol’ Myles, no punch ups this time thank goodness. Wasn’t outstanding but wasn’t bad either. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
11. Chris McQueen – good ol’ McQueen and his green eyes also did not wow me with his performance but he still played pretty well. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
12. Sam Thaiday – Thaiday started off the game firing on all cylinders then kind of went down after that but finished the game on a high. RATING: Satisfied.
13. Corey Parker – SolSat’s darling Corey Parker played the whole game excellently keeping up his great form… until he let that try in from Merrin. You could see that he was tired so I may let that one slide. RATING: Satisfied.
14. Daly Cherry-Evans – DCE didn’t play as well as he did in the second game but he was still fired up keeping me impressed nevertheless. RATING: Satisfied.
15. Ben Te’o – some excellent plays there from the former Bronco. He let out a penalty but also kept up some great defense. RATING: Satisfied.
16. Matt Gillett – my Bronco played well tonight despite giving away a penalty. Deserves a good pat on the back. RATING: Satisfied.
17. Josh Papali’i – the soft-spoken gentle giant’s defense is damn unmatched. His heavy hitting tackles are cringeworthy and then he just gets up with a cute smile on his face. RATING: Satisfied.

Congratulations Queensland Maroons, a well deserved win from all of you. Keep up the good work and make it 9 in a row in 2014! Now to celebrate my victory by decking myself out in Maroon when I go to college tomorrow. Noah out!

– by The Black Widow

Game 2 Maroons Squad: Under the Eye of the Raven

As I sit here consuming two blocks of Caramello chocolate selfishly to myself in a pre-meal of sorts to the array of pizzas my family and I traditionally have on Origin night, I wanted to write a personal analysis of the team, yet still remain a fun piece on the Queensland Maroons squad for Game 2 in the State of Origin – seeing as I’m a Queensland supporter and have little interest in the Blues side.

We’ve seen several changes within the squad from Game One: Ashley Harrison has been completely dropped, Chris McQueen is making his Origin starting debut and my beloved Corey Parker has been moved to the starting lineup, just to name a few. These changes have put me in the state of mind that we will be victorious in game two and move onto a nail biting game three later on. If we don’t win, well… I have made it apparent on the Queensland Maroons Facebook page that they will all feel and taste my nefarious wrath if they lose.

Image

(Coach Mal Meninga, on the left, at the official Game Two team announcement. Source: QRL.com.au)

1. Billy Slater – a very disappointing performance from him in Game One. Seeya Later Slater was apparently day dreaming in game one with 2 missed tackles  and only 5 tackles, one less than Blues counterpart and one of my most hated league players, Hayne Hayne. The usually outstanding fullback didn’t live up to my (maybe unrealistic) high expectations but that doesn’t mean I’m going to lose faith. Hopefully Slater can get his head in the game and perform better in game two, up to the standard that I know he is capable of.

2. Darius Boyd – Darius “Unimpressed” Boyd (personal joke), being the only Maroon to score a try in pretty impeccable form in game one, I must say that I have no real expectations from him in game two… except to play better. Not a knock on Boyd but I can safely say that some if not most of the squad in Game One were frollicking on the field instead of playing some good footy. Nevertheless, I was pleased with Boyd’s efforts in game one and hope he can keep it going in game two.

3. Greg Inglis – I am usually wowed – underline the word wowed – with Inglis’ origin performances. The man is a rugby league machine. That being said, his game one performance was absolutely mediocre. Nothing outstanding from GI although I will applaud his 16 tackles. No incredible “GI Runs” like I was expecting so needless to say, I was a bit disappointed, but I am hopeful that GI can tune it up for game two and be the extraordinary player I know he can be.

4. Justin Hodges – being a Broncos supporter, I have high expectations from my Broncos players. And if they don’t meet those expectations? Nefarious wrath. In saying that, Hodges played very exceptional football in game one, orchestrating some terrific plays and being, in my opinion, the MVP of the team in game one. My brother is a Storm supporter so I enjoyed rubbing it in his face that my Broncos boys did way better than his Storm boys. Keep up the good work, Hodgo.

5. Brent Tate – Tate didn’t wow me in game one nor did he let me down. He was just kind of there, which isn’t bad but it isn’t good either. With 7 tackles and no other feats worth mentioning, Tate kind of just chilled. In game two, where a win is MUCH NEEDED, I would expect better work from the Cowboy.

6. Johnathan Thurston – speaking of Cowboys, Thurston… I understand that during game one, his wife was in labour with his first child so I will cut him some slack seeing as his head clearly wasn’t in the game, but that’s just it – his head wasn’t in the game. Our very own Laughing Kookaburra clocked up 5 missed tackles and didn’t play outstanding footy like I know he can, especially since they made a huge deal about Thurston being “the” State of Origin player. Now that his family is set, I hope he can get back to playing the game.

7. Cooper Cronk – Oh So Serious Cooper Cronk, part of Melbourne’s “Big 3” was, if I may be so bold to say so, not too great in game one. Just like I said for GI, Cronk is capable of outstanding play but wasn’t in good form at all during game one. If he can play as half as good as I know he can, we will be in the capable hands of the Maroons halfback.

8. Matt Scott – now here’s a Cowboy us Queenslanders should have been proud of in game one. While it seemed some players on our side were scared of running the ball, Scott grabbed the ball, looked at the oncoming players, thought “F DA POLICE” and just charged through them like an unstoppable force. His offense was excellent and his defense was also great with 36 tackles. This underrated player is a great force the Queensland squad possesses and hopefully he can continue his great form in game two.

9. Cameron Smith – our fearless leader had a good game defense wise but not so much in the offense category. He racked up an impressive amount of tackles in defense but his offense left much to be desired – maybe this is just me having unrealistic expectations of great players, in which case, I apologise, but I know Cam is capable of much better. His play with the Melbourne Storm throughout the season has been a thing of beauty so hopefully he can bring that to game two and lead us to victory against the Blues.

10. Nate Myles – Paul Gallen. Yes, now that is THE LAST time I want to hear about that scrap. Nate Myles was a bit of a let down in my humble opinion, so moving him into the front row is going to be interesting to watch. With a pretty impressive amount of meters ran, I’d like to think that Myles can keep the momentum going in game two.

11. Chris McQueen – I had a chance to have a brief chat with this Bunny at the Maroons Fan Appreciation day and he is quite lovely, if I say so myself. Seeing as my personal opinions on people have absolutely nothing to do with footy form… eh hem. McQueen here is making his starting debut on the Maroons squad after being a benchy in game one and playing only a fair bit in game one, although he made every minute count as he played some impressive footy in game one. His promotion to starting lineup should be the fire underneath his arse to keep him going and impress not only the Queensland fans but the Blues fans alike.

12. Sam Thaiday – my Broncos captain was playing such great footy in game one… until he dropped the ball near the end. Ouch! Nevertheless, he played pretty well before that “drop”, racking up 37 tackles during his performance. Keep up the good work, Sammy!

13. Corey Parker – my favourite, as made apparent by my Gravatar. All I have to say is: it’s about damn time Parker was put in the starting lineup. While my brother insists that Ashley Harrison is “an Origin player”, Corey Parker is an excellent player, period. Whether that be in season footy or Origin footy, the man’s an underrated genius. Genius may be taking it too far, but what the heck? His performance in game one was outstanding and his offloads are as good if not better than that of SBW. I’m glad his terrific form has been rewarded with a starting position.

14. Daly Cherry-Evans – DCE, but literally, his signature is DCE. This cheery young chap from Manly Sea Eagles unfortunately didn’t get any game time in game one and I hope to see this change for game two. He is pretty good if I say so myself and if his play is as great as his personality is, then he is definitely an asset to the Maroons squad.

15. Ben Te’o – this former Bronco played some great footy in game one so it’s good to see he has remained in the squad, even if it’s a bench position. Now, if random girls would stop accusing him of crimes, that’d be great.

16. Matt Gillett – Matty Gillett, a dear Bronco of mine, played well during game one and I was quite happy about that. That’s all I can really ask for. Nothing more really to add to that.

17. Josh Papali’i – this soft spoken gentle giant was an absolute delight to chat to at the Fan Appreciation Day. His defense for the Raiders is great and some of the big hits he puts on the oncoming players are quite cringeworthy so I want him to bring that hard-hitting game to Game Two so we can take this win. He is definitely the wildcard of the squad, the ace up the sleeve, if you will.


18. Jacob Lillyman – unfortuantely Martin Kennedy from the Chooks was injured so Jacob Lillyman from the Warriors has stepped up on his behalf. My best friend Rebecca must be cheering to see one of her boys play, even if she’s a Blues supporter. I’ve heard and seen good things from Lillyman so hopefully he can wow me.

Being a home game from the greatest NRL stadium in the world, Suncorp Stadium, I believe my boys can seize the win and keep the momentum rolling to game three for what is sure to be an edge-of-the-seat nail biting game final. Come on Queensland! Let’s make this 8 in a row!

– by The Black Widow