TRANS-TASMAN PREVIEWS | We've got a look over and made our picks for the opening night of the rep ro...
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St George Illawarra Dragons v The Melbourne Storm
Old rivals. Saints and the Storm will have a bloody good go at each other on Friday night in Wollongong; and for good reason. Melbourne have lost 4 in row and must be getting sick of it whilst the Dragons are struggling in their own way, but still only 2 points behind 8th position. Desperate times? Perhaps. Desperate measures? No. You won't see anything different from the two best defensive units of the past 5 years.
Times and results may have changed, but their philosophies have not so get comfortable and get ready for Wrestlemania. Not the WWE version with fireworks and ladder matches and 3 hours of entertainment... we're talking about the NRL version with rolling pins and chicken wings. Actually... there might be more similarities than we thought. Cameron Smith's 'ankle hold' looks surprisingly similar to a submission move which is quite apt because watching this game could make me 'tap out'.
My tip: Melbourne 14-12
Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans
Ever noticed how, after a few losses, the media can turn every club into a soap opera style drama? Parramatta's senior players don't talk to the junior players?? The Tigers dressing room is split into sections where some hang out and some can't?? And now to the Roosters... halfback Mitchell Pearce is claimed to have delivered an ultimatum - either Brian Smith goes, or Pearce does...?? Rubbish - all of it. Since when did 1st grade footballers turn into a bunch of private school kids?
Don't answer that - this rant is over. Just like the Roosters chances of any success on the field this year and on Friday night, they host a team moving in the opposite direction. The Titans are back after crushing the Raiders in Canberra and then beating the Broncos at home. They win again on Friday night at Allianz with solid defence and a forward pack ready to take on the Bullies from Bondi. Nate Myles will be especially keen to send a message.
My tip: Gold Coast 24-18
Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys
Coaches in the NRL seem to be really enjoying themselves this year. Perhaps a few of them got together in March and decided to use the same phrases for every interview in 2012 and by gum, it's hilarious. We've all come to expect at least one "under the radar" reference each week and now we've lost count of all the teams referred to as 'the benchmark' or 'the yardstick'. Well, on Saturday night, we will find out whose yardstick is bigger.
The 'Dogs host the Cowboys in what will be your match of the round. Canterbury are on an unbelievable 8 match winning run where their defence has ruled the town. At 5.30pm on Saturday they face the team with the best attack in the NRL. Who breaks first? The