While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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My Mountain of Rankings – Round 13
by Patrick Zammit
With more than a few teams suffering from the post Origin blues, this week fans may witness more than their fair share of upsets. Even though the Rep season is just beginning, it’s already clear to see the Broncos will jump into their usual mid season slump, and it looks like there are plenty of teams that are ready to join them.
#1 – The King of the Hill - Melbourne Storm
As we all know, the Storm had the Bye last week. Not too much else to say that wasn’t said last week. They have a bunch of players backing up from Origin which could be a bit scary. Storm fans will be praying that they can all back up and remain injury free.
Expectations for Round 13: The Sharkies managed to knock off Souths? Who’s to say Melbourne have got this in the bag? They’ve got a bunch of players backing up so it’ll be interesting to see how many (if any) actually pull on a jersey. The Storm should take it but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sharks pull the win out in a close game.
Despite being without Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Ben Teo and Chris McQueen, Souths managed to hold on and outlast the Knights in what was a pretty decent game. Souths showed they have pretty decent depth which could be key should they suffer any injuries heading into the back end of the season. The Souths Reps didn’t bring their A game to the Origin scene; let’s hope that they can get back on track and start playing good footy (or not...).
Expectations for Round 13: Souths get to take a nice long nap post Origin, which is pretty handy. They can watch the other top 4 sides slug it out while they sit out the couch and drink VB or XXXX. Whichever is their preference (neither, Extra Dry is where it’s at)
#3 – Sydney Roosters
Pretty much the same deal as the Storm. Three of their key players are backing up with only one days rest which is absolutely crazy to think of. Can see them falling to the Eels who seems to be angry as hell after Ricky told a bunch of them that they’re shit and won’t make the squad next season.
Expectations for Round 13: Last time the Chooks took on the Eels they put 50 on them which was a great fun match for everyone involved. I’m hoping and expecting the same thing to happen, but stranger things have taken place. The Eels are cranky as cranky can be and I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave it to a complacent Roosters side.
Manly are cool, didn’t hear much out of their camp over the weeks break so I can only assume that they were actually putting their heads down and doing as much training as they can. Good job Manly, ten respect points to you.
Expectations for Round 13: I think that Manly have their work cut out for them this week. Heading across to New Zealand to face a fired up and in form Warriors team is never easy, so Manly better watch themselves. Hopefully they did infact use their week off wisely because they are going to need it.
#5 – Penrith Panthers
These guys had a bye too. Not that any of their players would have made Origin. Let’s see if their form can last through the bye week, or maybe it screwed them over. Who knows?
Expectations for Round 13: Panthers are set for another big weekend as they face the luckless Tigers in front of what will be a packed Centrebet Stadium. I hope they put them to the sword because I actually enjoy seeing the Panthers do well. Ivan Cleary is a top bloke and he deserves to actually be a successful coach at the top level.
How unlucky is Josh Reynolds? He didn’t get to play for the Bulldogs or the Blues last week. The Bulldogs managed to grab the win without him and Morris though... just. I still don’t know just where they are at compared with the better teams in the comp, but as far as i’m concerned at their best they can wipe the floor with any of the teams below them on this here ranking. Joel Romelo had a pretty sweet game. I didn’t expect much from him, but he proved me quite wrong.
Expectations for Round 13: The Dogs are up against a weird Cowboys side this weekend, sure the Cows are playing awful footy, but who can discount them when they’re playing up in NQ at the ever threatening Smiles Stadium? I expect Reynolds to have a killer game with all his built-up Blues frustration. Watch out Cowboys!
#7 – Gold Coast Titans
Titans are on a high heading into their week off, yet I don’t really see anyone taking them seriously. They’re playing half decent football and getting wins which is the most important thing at the moment. Until they take a decent team out with their football skills I can’t see them making any shock defeats or upsets though. Will Zillman is playing some awesome football though, looks like he’s finally realising his potential which is good news for the Titans.
Expectations for Round 13: The Titans get to relax this week and maybe put their feet up and have a Mojito or two. Who can complain when you’re coming off two big wins and get the week off? After that week of, shit kinda get’s real. So they may want to hold off on the booze and get an extra bit of training under their belt.
#8 – Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
I didn’t notice whether Carney was in the news over the weekend, so I’m going to assume that means he wasn’t. Very nice job Toddy. I hope the Sharks keep winning; they are cool guys who aren’t afraid of anything.
Expectations for Round 13: The Storm are a pretty tough ask, but the fresh of beating down Souths and having a nice nap the Sharks should be raring to go (even without their King Gal to lead them). It’s time for the Sharks to show what they’re made of and strike fear into the eyes of all who oppose them!
#9 – Newcastle Knights
Newcastle were disappointing to say the least. After coming out of the blocks quickly they faded away into nothingness and decided that they’ll just take a little nap on the field and let Souths back into the game. May not have been the best decision in hindsight. They did come good again towards the end of the game but then Souths decided to put the game beyond doubt with a late field goal (take not Manly and Melbourne, Souths can kick field goals!).
Expectations for Round 13: After losing four from their last five, it seems like everyone (even Wayne Bennett) is aware that the nights are a bloody average side with little going for them. With Gids being injured all the time all their left with is Tyrone Roberts to lead the men and Mullen to do all he can to make it look like he’s actually a good player. They better beat the Dragons this weekend or Bennett may cry.
#10 – New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors were freaking off the chain against the Broncos. I mean sure, the Broncos had pretty much nothing going for them last weekend, but they still had a bunch of decent players and they still got freaking reamed by the Warriors. Last week’s win wasn’t even in New Zealand. The Warriors brought the spark and fire and awesomeness across the Pacific with them, which hardly ever happens. Man I love watching the Warriors play when they’re on song.
Expectations for Round 13: Taking on Manly is never easy, but the Warriors are playing good footy and they’ve got a loud home crowd who will do anything in their power to make the Warriors job easier. If the Warriors were ever going to beat the Sea Eagles, it is now. BUT in saying that, as if the Eagles are going to go down that easy.
#11 – Brisbane Broncos
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Not too much else to say about the Broncos effort last week, they were woeful, and that doesn’t even describe the half of it. Sure they had some players out, but honestly you can’t put up that kind of effort against any team, even the one that is coming last in the NRL. Anthony Griffin might be having a nervous look over his shoulder this weekend if the Broncos put up another stinker of a performance.
Expectations for Round 13: If things couldn’t get anymore glum for the Broncos they have to make the unfortunate trip to Canberra to get be the whipping boys of the Raiders. While their Origin stars return that’s where the positives end for the Broncos. As I said above, unless the Broncos pull their fingers out Griffin might be gone sooner rather then later.
#12 – North Queensland Cowboys
Ugh the Cowboys are just simply playing bad football right now. You could even see the Cowboys players during Origin weren’t playing with any spark and just made some dumb mistakes. Something is wrong in the Cowboys camp and I don’t know how they’re going to fix it. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the Cowboys are probably going to lose this weekend, because they just aren’t playing good football.
Expectations for Round 13: The Cowboys host the Bulldogs this weekend and they’ve got to find some way to stop Josh Reynolds who is suffering from the greatest chip-on-shoulder known to mankind. Unless JT can suddenly rediscover himself the Cowboys are not in for a very fun weekend.
#13 – Canberra Raiders
I’m a bit harsh on the Raiders with them being all inconsistent all the time, and through no fault of their own they’ve fallen one spot without even playing over the weekend. It happens, i’m sure they’ll be back to single digits soon so they can disappoint me once more.
Expectations for Round 13: Canberra get the opportunity to dramatically increase their for and against this weekend as they host the baby Broncos who are re-stocked with their Origin players. Yet they still remain babies because they are all spent this week crying like little baby girls. Maybe that’s harsh but hey, it’s a rough world out there.
#14 – St George Illawarra Dragons
So how many of you saw the Dragons halves combination for this weekend and didn’t piss your pants laughing? The correct answer is none of you, because it’s THAT terrible. It is pretty clear Jamie Soward isn’t enjoying his football, because if he was there is noway he misses that goal to send the game against the Bulldogs into extra time. It must be tough to be dropped into the lower grades, but I feel there are Dragons players who deserved to be dropped ahead of Jamie.
Expectations for Round 13: The Dragons seem like they’re pretty much on a one way street to sucksville. They nearly won last week and now their management is making stupid ass decisions. I don’t know if Merrin and Morris an save them against the Knights this weekend.
#15 – Wests Tigers
So, what’s the one thing the Tigers didn’t want to happen this weekend? Robbie Farah to get injured. What’s the one thing that happens? Robbie Farah get’s injured. It seems the football gods have got a major distaste for the Tigers? I don’t know what they did, but they pissed the footy gods off. Which is definitely a big no-no. Hopefully they can get back on their feet (paws?)... they probably won’t though.
Expectations for Round 13: It’s still hard to believe the Tigers actually won last time they played, but without Farah they’re in a bad predicament as they face the red hot Panthers this weekend. I don’t see any future where this game ends well for Tigers. It will be a positive for them if they can make it through without anyone getting injured.
#16 – Parramatta Eels
Ricky Stuart, I don’t know what games you’re playing at. But man you make some weird ass decisions. Whose idea was it to tell half your starting squad that they won’t be playing first grade next season. Was it supposed to motivate them? Because it motivated Reni to rage quit the Eels organisation and not play this weekend. Dumbass Eels. Although to Ricky’s credit, the players he told were shit are actually quite rubbish.
Expectations for Round 13: The only positive going into this weekend for the Eels is that they play this game against the Roosters at home. The rest of it is very ugly as the Eels locker room seems like something from a horror movie with player after player being on the chopping block. What is happening to them?