2012 NRL Match Previews - Round 24
Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm
Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7:45pm - live updates
Also known as the News Limited challenge, this fixture shows two teams who've been modern day powerhouses. Although lately, the Broncos have been more s--t house than powerhouse and looking at the statistics of the past month, they smell even worse. Their last win coming against the Warriors 5 weeks ago and now 4 losses on the trot - including what must have been a painful experience for their fans against Parramatta at Suncorp.
A number of injuries to the Broncos unit might be a valid reason for this but with more changes to their line up, it will take a massive effort from Brisbane to upset the Storm on Friday night. This is not the time of year to be working on cohesion and Melbourne will benefit from a spine that has this in spades. Slater well rested, Smith too good, Cronk too classy. The visitors prove too clinical and Anthony Griffin wonders what happened to his season.My tip:
Melbourne Storm 18-12
Canterbury Bulldogs v Wests TigersANZ Stadium, Friday 7:45pm - live updates
No fluke that recently it seems every game the Bulldogs play is 'must watch' rugby league. They've recruited well over the years and we are now seeing the fruits of this labour that started before Des Hasler arrived at Belmore. Young Jackson and Finucane lured from regional NSW and plenty, it seems, from either Queensland or NZ. For those who have ever watched a match in the Canterbury junior competition, no surprise the 'Dogs look elsewhere.
The Tigers depth has also been tested this year, but safe to say they did not pass with flying colours. In fact, also safe to say that if Robbie Farah does not play, they look like a high school touch football team. No offense intended towards any high school touch footy players, but you get my drift. Mick Ennis v Farah a highlight, as always, but the home side too strong up front and too quick out back. Dogs win 12 straight.
Canberra Raiders v Sydney RoostersCanberra Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm - live updates
Last week, this column clumsily predicted "Panther Pride" would overcome the Raiders so in the pursuit of blind consistency, I reckon the Roosters are in a heap of trouble this week. Travelling from the Eastern Suburbs to Canberra for a 5.30pm game on Saturday to face a team vying for a spot in the 8, with temperatures in single figures!!?!?!.... No amount of unnecessary punctuation can explain how bad the visitors will handle this trip.
The Raiders finished over the top of a committed opponent last week and if their forward pack can handle an early onslaught from the Chooks big men, they'll do the same again here. The unsung names of McCrone and Williams teach their more famous and heralded counterparts in Pearce and Anasta a lesson in patient and controlled halves play. The niggling habits of the Roosters forwards could start something against a tough Raiders pack. Sparks will fly.My tip:
Cronulla Sharks v South Sydney RabbitohsToyota Stadium, Saturday 7:30pm - live updates
A big one from Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. Both clubs coming off losses so they'll be more than keen to avoid dropping two in a row. Not only did these two teams get nailed last week, but both the Sharks and the Bunnies