Tipping for Dummies: Round 10

Keen to get this weekend of footy started after Collingwood’s disappointing loss last night. Like really. Really.

Everybody's favourite Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody’s favourite Tipping for Dummies!

SolSat’s predictions from round nine: 5 out of 8 (62.5%)

Friday May 16, 2014
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Melbourne Storm @ ANZ Stadium
Kicking off this week’s footy is the Bunnies and the Storm at ANZ. Both teams are coming off wins last week; the Bunnies soundly defeated the Titans while the Storm won a nailbiter against Manly. The Bunnies side remains unchanged with an extended bench while Joel Romelo starts as five-eighth due to suspension.
SolSat’s prediction: Melbourne Storm
Both of these finals footy teams have been utterly disappointing this season so this prediction was based on the “lesser of two evils” really. The Bunnies have only started to come back into form while the Storm have been up-and-down. Either way, I’ll be in attendance tonight so I hope this one’s phenom.

Brisbane Broncos vs. Gold Coast Titans @ Suncorp Stadium
After the Broncos’ disappointing loss in the Queensland derby last week, they run into the local Queensland derby against the Titans at Suncorp. The Titans were the unfortunate victims of the Bunnies last week and look to regain the form that kept them on the top of the ladder. Ben Hannant returns to the bench for the Bronx while the Titans face several changes, notably Bird’s absence due to suspension.
SolSat’s prediction: Brisbane Broncos
I know the Broncos don’t lack the fire or passion to win so there’s got to be something else hindering them recently. The Titans have just been scraping past with their victories and I think that even though this one will be very close, the Broncos will come out on top.

Saturday May 17, 2014
Parramatta Eels vs. St. George Illawarra Dragons @ Pirtek Stadium
The Eels will look to use their second straight home field advantage against the Dragons on Saturday after a decisive home victory over the Sharkies last week. The Dragons were hammered by the Doggies last week and will hope to turn their luck around. Joe Paulo starts for the Eels while Nightingale starts on the wing for the Dragons. Code hopper Benji Marshall will make his Dragons debut.
SolSat’s prediction: Parramatta Eels
Coming from someone who thought the Eels were a massive joke last season, I have now been turned into a firm believer of the Eels and wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final 8. I predict a solid win for the Eels over the Saints in this one.

Cronulla Sharks vs. West Tigers @ Remondis Stadium
The Sharks are in desperate need of a win if they even want a glimmer of a shot at the finals. The Tigers started off on fire but that fire has simmered after a flogging at the hands of the Chookies last week. Gibbs and Tagataese start in the front row for the Sharks while Anasta and Farah return for the Tigers.
SolSat’s prediction: West Tigers
Anasta and Farah’s returns for the Tigers will definitely be the boost that they need to defeat the Sharks on Saturday. The Sharks need to re-discover what made them special but it might be too little too late for the Shire team.

North Queensland Cowboys vs. Sydney Roosters @ 1300 SMILES Stadium
At my favouritest named stadium ever, the Cowboys host the premiers with both teams coming off wins over the Broncos and the Tigers respectively. Antonio Winterstein, Ray Thompson and Tariq Sims return from injury for the Cowboys while the Roosters face a dramatic change with Maloney shifting to halfback and SBW of all people playing five-eighth.
SolSat’s prediction: Sydney Roosters
Regardless of the interesting dynamic with Maloney and SBW (I’m sure Maloney would love being that close to him), I think the Roosters will have a clean, decisive win over the Cowboys who continue to be the most wroughted team of the league regarding the refs shit calls.

Sunday May 18, 2014
Canberra Raiders vs. Penrith Panthers @ GIO Stadium

The Raiders are having possibly the worst season the Raiders have ever had while the Panthers have proven the doubters wrong with solid victories. Ricky Stuart has made a number of changes to the Raiders side to ensure victory while McKendry starts for the concussed Plum on the Panthers.
SolSat’s prediction: Penrith Panthers
The Panthers are also another favourite to fit comfortably in finals footy this year after having a good headstart. The Raiders haven’t convinced me that they’re in it to win it so I’m going with a comfortable Panthers victory here.

Canterbury Bulldogs vs. New Zealand Warriors @ Waikato Stadium
The Bulldogs have been firing on all cylinders with their definitive winning streak for the past several weeks. The Warriors have had an up-and-down and look to upset the Bulldogs on home turf. Both teams remain unchanged after both were victorious last week.
SolSat’s prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs
I want what the Doggies are drinking. But in all seriousness, they are the team to beat this season. Not the Eagles, not the Storm. The Doggies are the ones to watch and are proving to be serious final contenders. Solid win for the Doggies here.

Monday May 19, 2014
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs. Newcastle Knights

The Eagles are coming off a quite controversial loss to the Storm last week while the Knights were the recipients of a 22-point flogging from the Panthers. The Sea Eagles get an 18th man while Willie Mason and Korbin Sims return for the Knights, giving them a much needed boost in confidence.
SolSat’s prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
I would heavily prefer the Knights to win because I genuinely like the side, however I think Eagles have got this one. After a rough week last week, they will be looking to regain their confidence and will do so at the expense of the Knights.

A couple of hours until the Bunnies-Storm game. Here’s to solid footy!

– by The Black Widow

Tipping for Dummies: Round 9

I can’t even remember doing the last TFD because it was that long ago, what with the rep week and the week I accidentally missed. Nonetheless, here I am again with Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody's favourite Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody’s favourite Tipping for Dummies!

Friday May 9, 2014
Sydney Roosters vs. West Tigers @ Allianz Stadium
The reigning premiers are sitting fifth on the ladder after a very disappointing start to the season. Sitting one rung up on the ladder are the Tigers whose winning streak was cut off by the Titans two weeks ago. The Chookies receive an extended bench while Blake Austin returns as five-eighth for the Wests.
SolSat’s prediction: Sydney Roosters
What would have been a blind-easy prediction last year has been a very difficult prediction now. I don’t see how they’ve improved but by golly the Tigers have improved. I am predicting a close game from both of these top teams.

North Queensland Cowboys vs. Brisbane Broncos @ 1300 SMILES Stadium
The second Queensland derby of the year takes place this Friday, however the hosting roles will be changed as the Cowboys host the Broncos. Gavin Cooper returns for the Cowboys while Cameron King will make his debut for the club; Thaiday is still out for the Broncos while Polar Bear has been replaced by David Hala on the bench.
SolSat’s prediction: Brisbane Broncos
Bias aside, of the two Queensland teams, the Broncos have had way better form, and based solely on that, I’m backing my baby Broncos for the second-straight win in this Queensland derby. I’m really hoping that the Cowboys hit form soon though because I actually love them.

Saturday May 10, 2014
New Zealand Warriors vs. Canberra Raiders @ Eden Park

Two of the bottom teams will look to increase their form as the Warriors take on the Raiders at Eden Park to open Saturday footy. The Warriors are coming off a win in the last round while the Raiders weren’t so lucky two weeks ago. Kevin Locke may make his first appearance of the year after being named on the Warriors’ bench while Papali’i and Shillington have been put on the Raiders bench.
SolSat’s prediction: New Zealand Warriors
Even though they’re arguably the most inconsistent team in the league, the Warriors have been known to play some solid footy when the situation calls for it, and given their low seating on the ladder, I would say the situation is calling for it.

Gold Coast Titans vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Cbus Super Stadium
The Queensland team who have been sitting comfortably in the top rungs of the ladder host the Rabbitohs who should also be so lucky. William Zillman returns for the Titans from a groin injury while Aidan Sezer is in doubt for Saturday. The Souths remain unchanged with an extended bench.
SolSat’s prediction: Gold Coast Titans
Even though the odds are in the Bunnies’ favour, I am actually expecting an “upset” of sorts with a Titans victory. Hopefully Sezer will be okay to play because he has been the catalyst for several of the Titans wins this season and last.

Melbourne Storm vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles @ AAMI Park
The Storm haven’t had a great season and it shows as the team used to being in the finals sit at tenth place. They host the Sea Eagles who have had three straights wins and look to make it four. Will Chambers returns from suspension for the Storm while the Eagles will miss Jamie Lyon and Glenn Stewart due to injury.
SolSat’s prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Even with the home crowd advantage, I don’t have faith that the Storm can dethrone the always-top form Eagles. I mean, they’re sitting at second place on the ladder for a reason, right?

Sunday May 11, 2014
Newcastle Knights vs. Penrith Panthers @ Hunter Stadium

As #RiseForAlex becomes stronger, the Knights form becomes weaker with two straight losses for the side. The Panthers are barely hanging on at eighth place on the ladder. Akuila Uate returns for the Knights while Korbin Sims will miss the game due to a not-yet-happened suspension. Tyrone Peachey starts for the Panthers.
SolSat’s prediction: Penrith Panthers
I am actually convinced that the Panthers are a hidden force in the league and their full potential will be reached when no one’s expecting it. Let this be the start of said potential with a comfortable win over the Knights.

St. George Illawarra Dragons vs. Canterbury Bulldogs @ ANZ Stadium
Is ANZ Stadium the home of like every Sydney team? Regardless of this, the Dragons host the first-placed Bulldogs at ANZ on Sunday, even though the stadium is the home for the latter. Joel Thompson moves to the centres while Bronson Harrison takes his second row spot for the Dragons while Tim Lafai returns for the Doggies.
SolSat’s prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs
While the Dragons are definitely one of the teams to watch, the Doggies aren’t sitting on the top of the ladder for no reason. Enough said, pretty much.

Monday May 12, 2014
Parramatta Eels vs. Cronulla Sharks @ Pirtek Oval
Nathan Peats (who is one of my new faves) and the Eels side host the Cronulla Sharks to close the round. The big sweet story coming into this one is the season debut for Luke Lewis who has been out with injury from the World Cup. Darcy Lussick and Pauli Pauli start for the Eels.
SolSat’s prediction: Parramatta Eels
Even with the added boost of having Lewis back, I don’t see the Sharks taking the win over the Eels on Monday, especially with the Eels dominance in their home field. Here’s to a Peatsy-inspired win.

I’m pretty much set for comp footy after a phenom week of rep last week. Let’s go!

– by The Black Widow

What’s Up With The Reffing?

My love of the game is strained right now.

It’s no secret that NRL is my game. I love it, live it, breathe it, need it, etc. Corey Parker is my player. The Brisbane Broncos are my team. The Queensland Maroons are my team. The New Zealand Kiwis are my team (even though I find it rather difficult to cheer against Parker).

That's my team. (SOURCE: Brisbane Broncos)

That’s my team. (SOURCE: Brisbane Broncos)

 

So it must be a big deal if I’m getting ticked off with the quality of league that’s been produced recently. The players have been great and the action has been get-off-your-arse intense. So what’s been ruining the game this year? The refereeing. The officiating of the game has created a sour atmosphere in NRL all season and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better after watching some of the rep games this week.

Whenever rep footy is on, I’m always excited to see what’s going on. The action is always hard-hitting and the intensity of the game is at a high – not to mention the changing dynamic of players swapping teammates for rep teams is always an exciting thing to watch. As if it’s following a 2014 conduct, however, the refereeing of these games have been… adequate, to say the least.

Throughout the year, controversies including the Alex McKinnon tackle where officiating from not only the referees but the higher powers themselves wrecked the love of the game, to the Dragons-Storm controversy that does not need any more explaining. Let’s not forget the shocker at the end of last year that cost the North Queensland Cowboys finals footy.

If I may put my two cents into, here are some things that the referees need to improve on if the game is meant to return to its elite state:

Video refereeing, a luxury to be used only when needed
Is it me or do the referees go up to the video refs for, like, no reason? I’ve seen way too many tries scored that are as clear as day successful, yet the referee must’ve sneezed or something because he feels it necessary to go up to the video referee. I’m sorry but if I was one of these video referees who has to go through the trouble of looking through a blatantly obvious try or no try, I’d be pissed off. Almost as pissed off as the fans in the stands and at home who have to endure it.

Rules are there to be enforced
If it was illegal to wear green shoes on a Wednesday, and everyone knew it was illegal to wear green shoes on a Wednesday, why would you therefore allow someone to wear green shoes on a Wednesday when you’re in a position of power? The other day, I noticed a team captain (won’t mention names) swear at a referee in the heat of a debate. Back in the day, that would’ve been like ten in the bin straight away. This team captain got away with it and the game continued like normal. Two words: Umm. What.

The grass is green, you should be able to see that
This has nothing to do with grass, but I feel as if the referees vision are just as bad as the put-on-lack-of-vision of the referees in WWE. I don’t know what an easy solution for this problem is other than to increase your peripheral vision or something. Seriously, refs, something has got to be done about this. Calls like the North Queensland 2013 tragedy should never, ever, ever happen again.

Please, NRL, you are arguably the most loved game in sports in all of Australia. Please don’t ruin that because the officiating is as shotty as a bazooka.

NRL referees. I have four words.

Should’ve Gone to Specsavers.

– by The Black Widow

Tipping for Dummies: Round 7

I’m just going to put it out there: what is going on with the NRL? This round so far has been so inconsistent, it makes Kim Kardashian look… I’m not even going to go there.

Everybody's favourite Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody’s favourite Tipping for Dummies!

SolSat’s predictions from round six: 4 of 8 (50%) That damn perfect score is avoiding me.

Friday April 18, 2014
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Canterbury Bulldogs
@ ANZ Stadium
The annual Easter Friday bash kicks off the round as the Bunnies and the Doggies collide at ANZ Stadium in what is sure to be a whopper of a game. On the green side, Luke Burgess comes on for his suspended brother George and McQueen replaces the suspended Te’o. On the blue side, Pat O’Hanlon replaces injured co-captain Frank Pritchard on the bench.
SolSat’s prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs
I adore the Rabbitohs, I really do, but their inconsistency has ultimately made me go with the Doggies on this one. Canterbury have finally reached their peak after a lengthy stalemate and I see them defeating the Bunnies in a terrific game of footy.

Newcastle Knights vs. Brisbane Broncos @ Hunter Stadium
Friday’s second game will see the Knights take on the Broncos with their much needed home field advantage. Mullen made a surprise return last week and he just might be the catalyst the Knights need to conquer the baby Broncos. Josh Mantellato comes onto the wing for the Knights while the Broncos remain unchanged.
SolSat’s prediction: Brisbane Broncos
This tip is as tentative as firetruck. I believe in my boys, I really do, but sometimes they just let me down, especially during the last minutes. Mullen’s return ignited a fire in the Knights and they played formidably last week. I’m going with a close win for the Bronx on this one.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs. North Queensland Cowboys @ Central Coast Stadium
The most consistent team in NRL will take on the most disappointing at a stadium I don’t think I’ve ever heard of before. The Sea Eagles made good work of the Sharks last week and look to continue their impressive form against the Cowboys who came up short against the Tigers. Jason King makes his return for the Eagles the Cowboys see a rookie debut and an extended bench.
SolSat’s prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
This is like choosing to say goodbye to your child forever. I’m sorry Cowboys, but I just don’t see that North Queensland drive in you yet. I predict a decent win from the Eagles over the Cowboys to close Easter Friday footy.

Saturday April 19, 2014
St. George Illawarra Dragons vs. New Zealand Warriors @ WIN Jubilee Stadium
The controversy-ridden Dragons will look to get their heads back in the game after a terrible call cost them the game last week. The Warriors travel to foreign territory after just losing to the Doggies last week. The Dragons have been named unchanged while the Warriors side sees three new faces due to suspension, injury and “droppage”.
SolSat’s prediction: St. George Illawarra Dragons
Controversy aside, statistically speaking, the Dragons are the better side. Controversy not aside, the Dragons will be breathing fire and will run a riot against the Warriors. I see a comfortable win for the Saints.

Cronulla Sharks vs. Sydney Roosters @ Remondis Stadium
The last-placed Sharks look to use the home field advantage as they have the challenge of facing the Chookies who, despite being the premiers, have not yet impressed so far in the season. Jonathan Wright comes onto the wing for the Sharkies and the Chookies remain unchanged, although they are blessed with an extended bench.
SolSat’s prediction: Sydney Roosters
This one is, dare I say, a breeze to tip. The Roosters are playing decent footy while the Sharks haven’t found their finals-footy niche. The Roosters will have a comfortable win here, methinks.

Sunday April 20, 2014
Canberra Raiders vs. Melbourne Storm @ GIO Stadium

The Raiders have been early predicted as the wooden spooners of the year. They intend to prove those doubters wrong but have to face the Storm to do so. Joel Edwards returns to the starting Raiders side while the Storm’s Dayne Weston returns to an added extended bench and an otherwise unchanged side after the incident we’ll call the “Dragons Stormy night”.
SolSat’s prediction: Melbourne Storm
The Storm aren’t “the Storm” for no reason; they know how to play some good footy. The Raiders are, well, not up there in the stormy side of things. However, Josh Papali’i must be commended for his outstanding form. He is definitely becoming one of my faves. Heartsz.

Monday April 21, 2014
Parramatta Eels vs. Wests Tigers @ ANZ Stadium

Two of the bottom teams from last year’s ladder that are now the names to beat clash as the Eels take on the Tigers to close the Easter weekend round. Darcy Lussick returns from suspension for the Eels while Joel Luani replaces injured captain Robbie Farah for the Tigers. Coincidentally enough, Eels hooker Nathan Peats will be looking to take Farah’s NSW hooker position if he doesn’t come back in time.
SolSat’s prediction: Parramatta Eels
From last year, I’m just not used to writing “Parramatta Eels” next to “SolSat’s prediction” but this year, it’s the truth. The Eels are just playing really, really well. The Tigers have lost their key player and skipper so I see that as the main reason for their downfall. Also, Peatsy… Matthew McConnaugheeeeyyyyyy.

To all our loyal and lovely readers out there, have a lovely Easter, whether you believe in it or not. And have a few beers over some good footy!

– by The Black Widow