The 2018 Pre-Season is well and truly underway in the UK with several games already played and plent...
4 days ago
My Mountain of Rankings – Round 14
by Patrick Zammit
After two weeks without a full slate of games we’re blessed with eight brutal contests this week. Even though my lifeless body has succumbed to the dreaded man flu, I will soldier on to deliver these completely top-notch non-bias rankings to the best of my ability. Let’s hope that the blokes who completely blew their load last week can get back on the straight and narrow.
#1 – The King of the Hill - Melbourne Storm
It seems the Storm are back to their old selves after they completely annihilated the Sharks this past weekend. There were no sign of any post-Origin tiredness or sleepy-headedness so they were just able to do what they do. Which is generally blow the other team off the part with little-to-no sense of remorse. This is no shot at the Sharks, but the Storm are just too damn good for them, they are too good for most teams actually.
Expectations for Round 14: All the Storm have to do is continue from where they left off last week and they’ll be able to run up a score on the average Knights. Seriously, can you imagine how bad the Knights would be if they weren’t coached by Wayne Bennett? But anyway, I expect Storm will carry on and beat the Knights.
The news coming from the Souths camp was pretty dull throughout their bye week so I don’t really know what to expect from them this weekend. I’m sure I can trust that they’ll be well drilled from all that rest they’ve been doing so I expect nothing but big things from the Redfern Rascals this weekend. They did pretty damn well without their stars two weeks ago, imagine what they’ll be like with a week’s rest?
Expectations for Round 14: Now that they’ve had their week off to get reacquainted with each other and all of that male-bonding goodness it’s time to get back to business for Souths who hopefully haven’t wasted a minute of the extra time they had to prepare, because they’re going to need every little bit of skill to topple the Titans this week.
#3 – Sydney Roosters
The Roosters probably played one of their more disappointing games of their 2013 campaign this past weekend, but still managed to count for a spirited Eels side while only breaking into a slight sweat. I’m not sure if they’ve peaked too early but they are certainly making things difficult for themselves with a lot of amateur errors still remaining in their game. They really need Moa and JWH back in their line-up. As good as Kennedy and O’Donnell are it’s hard for their halves to get anything going at the moment.
Expectations for Round 14: It feels like every game between these two sides is an absolute cracker, with the Warriors in what seems like scintillating form this should follow the same script. The Roosters have been up and down of late so they could get beaten by the Warriors, or they could send them back to reality with a beat down of their own. I’m expecting option 2.
The Sea Eagles bit off a bit more than they could chew when it came to taking on the Warriors over the weekend. The game was messy at times but despite their many shortcomings the Warriors managed to hold out the Sea Eagles and do their thing which was pretty damn cool. Like i’ve said previous weeks, the Sea Eagles are one of the better teams in the comp; they just fall asleep sometimes and fail to do what is required to put teams away.
Expectations for Round 14: This game is one I am definitely looking forward to. The Doggies are in some pretty encouraging form, and the Sea Eagles are, well, the Sea Eagles. The winner will depend on which Sea Eagles team turns up, although I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended in a draw.
These guys did a pretty handy job on the Cowboys and managed to lift themselves up the Rankings to the number five spot. They’re still not at their best and they tend to snooze in defence here and there, but they’ve been playing well and they’ve got one hell of a formidable line-up. The thing about the Doggies is, that I feel like it’s their unknown players who are stepping up and showing their stuff rather than the guys who are on the big dollars.
Expectations for Round 14: Manly are going to be a tough ask for the Doggies, although much like the Sea Eagles, the Doggies are prone to lapses in concentration and stupid errors. It’s hard to pick a winner and the game could really go either way. But the Doggies can definitely get it done if they can contain the Eagles attack.
#6 – Gold Coast Titans
Much like Souths, the Titans are coming off a pretty relaxing week off which is usually a good thing. However, much like Penrith, the Titans were on a bit of a roll heading into the bye, so it may or may not have put them off their game slightly. It’s hard to say how they’ll perform but I’m thinking that the Titans may struggle to find their groove again after this week off. For what it’s worth, I’m hopeful that they will put in a good performance.
Expectations for Round 14: I expect that the Titans will be a little flat this week, half of it’s because of their week off, the other half because they’re taking on the freaking Rabbitohs who seem to be a pretty damn professional club at the moment. I hope it’s a close game but I’m expecting a comfortable win to Souths.
#7 – Penrith Panthers
What a disappointing effort by the Panthers, absolutely horrendous. How do you lose to the bloody Tigers? As rubbish as their performance was, at least it confirms what the entire world knows regarding byes. They’re great when you’re playing rubbish or consistent footy. But when you’re riding a high of good performances then it is one hell of a way to stop your momentum. Hopefully the boys from the foot of the mountain can get back on track.
Expectations for Round 14: Had the Panthers not been embarrassed by the Tigers last weekend i’d think they’d be a shoe in to upset the Raiders who are in a sneaky bit of form. But alas they played like their boots were filled with sand and for that I’m expecting they’ll get the same treatment from Canberra that they got last week.
#8 – New Zealand Warriors
How about them Warriors? Knocking the big boy Sea Eagles of their high perch is a task which many a team has failed to execute. Much like the Tigers, these guys are playing with an unbelievable passion which is pretty inspiring to watch. Their attack is able to score points when it matters (kind of) and their defence steps up and allows them to hold out the opponent for a win. At the start of the season there is no way in the world that the Warriors would have won that game.
Expectations for Round 14: With the Warriors in form and winning games, it’s hard to know for sure how this game will play out. But the Roosters have been pretty sweet at home this season (mostly) and after witnessing firsthand what the Warriors are capable of I doubt they’ll take them lightly. I expect a Roosters win but beware the Warriors.
#9 – Canberra Raiders
These guys were pretty damn impressive last weekend which gives me hope that they may be starting another impressive run of form which leads to them taking out a bunch of the teams in their way over the next few weeks. Being without dynamic winger Edrick Lee is going to harsh their vibe a little bit but I’m confident they can get past it and keep their awesome winning streak alive at least until their next bye week.
Expectations for Round 14: Despite the loss of town favourite Edrick Lee, I think the Raiders have got what it takes to overpower the Panthers and grab the two points. Of course the fact that they’re playing in Canberra is a massive bonus. The Panthers definitely have a shot at winning, provided they completely forget about last week’s performance.
#10 – Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
I’m assuming the Sharks medical services went into overdrive last weekend as they applied ice packs and lotion to many of the body parts of the players who got absolutely spanked by the Storm. These guys were not good at all, and even that might be a little bit of an understatement. They were pretty bloody woeful. I really hope they bounce back next week because I don’t know if I could handle seeing them under-go another violent defeat next week.
Expectations for Round 14: This is certainly a danger game for the Sharkies. Parra were half decent last week against the Chooks so if the boys from the Shire don’t watch out they may find themselves run-over by the Hayne-less train that is the Eels. I hope they can fix themselves though
#11 – Newcastle Knights
This side is so bloody frustrating to watch it makes me sick. They play a decent first forty and just decide to slacken off in the second half and let the opposition back into the game. This is not what a Wayne Bennett coached football team looks like. Aside from the Knights complete collapse the other talking point from the match was Josh Dugan’s ability to win the Dragons football games by himself. The Knights are not amused.
Expectations for Round 14: If the Storm and Knights both play like they did last week then the Storm will probably take it by 50 points or so. However i’ve never known a Wayne Bennett coached side to be so shitty so often, so I’m going to assume that the Knights have something up their sleeve and are going to have a go.
#12 – St George Illawarra Dragons
Having a player who can actually score points must be a foreign concept to all you Dragons fans. I know he only managed a feeble effort of two tries last week, but for a player wearing the Red and White that’s one hell of an effort. While it remains to be seen if keeping Newy to a low score is actually an achievement. I think the Dragons deserve a bit of credit for keeping opposing attacking plays in check, at least for one week.
Expectations for Round 14: If this game doesn’t scream out “As boring as a dentists waiting room” then I don’t know what does. If Josh Dugan and JT weren’t playing, the attendees would probably have a more exciting time watching customers order at the food truck. Get your pillows ready folks, this one will be a snoozer.
#13 – Brisbane Broncos
Wow this team is supremely average. I said last week that Anthony Griffin might have to have a sneaky look over his shoulder to make sure that the Broncos management isn’t lurking in the shadows, and it’s not unreasonable to think that because of their efforts last week his time may be nearing an end. If the Broncos players want him to stay they’ll have to gear up and start putting in quality performances.
Expectations for Round 14: The Broncos have been pretty damn average of late, they’ll need to find a way to get back on top of their game if they are to have any chance of beating a Tigers side who is sick and tired of being thrashed week in and week out. Also, the Broncos kind of need to win to save their coach. No biggie.
#14 – Wests Tigers
Man these guys have been impressive. They aren’t playing lights out footy or anything like that, but they’re showing sheer guts and determination to grind out hectic nail biting wins and it’s truly showing. I thought it was impossible for them to play a decent game of footy without Farah in the line-up and they proved me wrong with that as well. Whether they can keep up this run of wins is another issue however.
Expectations for Round 14: The Tigers have been encouraging of late, but a trip up north will be a pretty hard test for them. They’ll need to be at the top of their game to overcome a Broncos side who has been down on their luck for what seems an eternity. Benji Marshall, it’s time to stand up and be counted.
#15 – North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys actually surprised me last week, to their credit they actually gave the Doggies a bit of a scare which is a good sign of things to come. However as usual their defence did their usual swiss cheese impression and allowed the opponent to rack up points when they shouldn’t have. Because of this, it was nigh on impossible for them to pull out a win under such circumstances. Hopefully JT is back this week and delivers the spark the Cowboys fans have been craving.
Expectations for Round 14: Pretty much dead on with the Dragons expectations. It will be a boring game unless JT can find his mojo and light up the Dragons. I kind of hope he does because there is nothing funnier than the Dragons getting smashed down in Wollongong.
#16 – Parramatta Eels
The Eels tried their heart out against a complacent Roosters side and nearly made them pay. But then Mini remembered how to run and 60 metres later he was popping the ball down over the try line. I think a lot of the Parra players needed Ricky’s wake up call to realise how much they loved playing football because they certainly dug in there. It’s a pity Hayne didn’t get to see out the game, as he could have lead the Eels to victory with his skills. The Eels will miss him in the weeks to come.
Expectations for Round 14: After last week’s heroic effort against the boys from Bondi. The Eels will be heading into this week’s clash with a bucket load of confidence. However facing a Sharks side hungry for redemption is never easy so I expect it will be a close clash. I expect the Sharks will take it by a whisker.