TWELVE months ago we as league fans would laugh at Rugby, laugh as tries in Rugby were scored from a knock on, forward passes and obvious off sides. Well how the tides have turned I thought to myself as I watched the Broncos play the Dragons over the weekend. The Dragons first try was scored off a forward pass, Kelly scored after a dubious call of a strip. Tallis getting sin binned in Origin 1 is another example, the Dragons controversial draw against the Raiders, the Panthers last minute win against the Sharks. The list goes on, it doesnt end there.
ON June 3rd 2002, Rugby League lost a champion. Former test and origin player Tim Brasher hung up his boots and called it a day. A neck injury and not a drop in form forced Brasher to retire.
THE Broncos have welcomed back Brad Meyers from injury. Having being first ruled out Meyers was cleared to play against the Tigers Friday night, but while getting Meyers back the Broncos have lost two more players.
THE Sydney Rooster find them selves in a similar situation to the Brisbane Broncos this weekend. With many players on origin duty and some out injured, the Roosters will be calling on plenty of first division players to fill the void.
FRIDAY night the Broncos will face the toughest challenge of any team in NRL history, they will be trying to win a game with 19 players unavailable for the game, 20 if Harrison doesnt play. The task ahead of the Broncos doesnt get easier, they have to play the Tigers at Campbelltown. With Lamb looking to secure a new coaching contract and his Tigers looking to cement a place in the top 8, the Baby Broncos will be facing a fired up Tigers outfit.
THIS round will be a tipster nightmare, as if they hadnt had enough of those this year already. All origin players will miss this round, and the Broncos have to play, minus 9 players on rep duty, and 7 injured. Even the Bulldogs arent without their headaches, or the Dragons who will have to face a strong Cowboys outfit missing Ryles, Bailey, Gasnier, and Barrett. So how to pick a winner, simple really, get yourself some paper, a pen and a hat and go from there. Think Im kidding, have a look at the match previews below.
THE Newcastle Knights have signed two of their top players and one of their most promising young players to new 2 year contracts. First graders Matt Parsons and Sean Rudder have both signed new deals, as well as youngster Kurt Gidley.
THE St George Illawarra Dragons have the best chance of all teams this year to beat the Broncos. The Dragons will be without block busting prop Jason Ryles, but thats a small loss compared to the firepower missing from the Broncos line up. Chris Walker, Allan Langer, Brad Meyers and Petero Civinoceva have all joined Michael De Vere on the sidelines for todays clash with the Dragons.
THE game kicked off with a thunderous roar from the skies above instead of the crowd, as rain was dumped down on the ground. With the rain coming down the match was always going to be messy as both teams struggled to hold on to a slippery ball. Defense and pressure were always going to be the name of the game, and both teams did it well, both teams charging down several last tackle kicks in the first half.
THE Sydney Roosters go head to head with the Parramatta Eels tonight, and they couldnt have gotten off to a worse start even though the game hasnt even kicked off yet. With the loss of Fletcher, Morley and Crocker for this game, their chances of a victory have taken a nose dive. The most likely scenario will be Peter Cusack, Todd Bryne and David Kidwell taking up places on the bench, with Cayless and Robinson moving into the starting line up.