Looking back at the past decade there have been some great coaches going through peaks and troughs.
NRL is finally back, with the long-awaited return kicking off this Thursday night. These are my tips for footy’s first week back.
Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels
Both teams are currently 2-0 from the first two rounds of the 2020 competition, and with both sides having a lot of young talent on the field, this game will be exciting. No David Fifita or Tevita Pangai Jr through injury and suspension respectively, but that doesn’t mean you should count the Broncos out while they have Payne Haas, Thomas Flegler and Patrick Carrigan, with Joe Ofahengaue and captain Alex Glenn to return.
Broncos by eight.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Gold Coast Titans
This doesn’t really need to be explained, but the Cowboys will win by 12-plus points, with main men Jason Taumalolo to lead from the front against a Titans side that is 0-2 and was beaten by 40 points by the Eels in Round 2.
Cowboys by 12.
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
This game has so much hype, and you can understand why. The Roosters are 0-2 even though they were tipped to do the three-peat even after losing Latrell Mitchell to the Souths and Cooper Cronk to retirement. But this game will be a cracker. Mitchell taking on his former club having been all over the news in the last month or so means he’s sure to come out firing, but I don’t see it as being enough. The likes of James Tedesco and Luke Keary will mean the Roosters are too much for the Bunnies.
Roosters win by six.
New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons
These two teams started the year poorly and both need a win on the board. I can’t see many points being scored but I can see a Warriors ahead.
Warriors by six.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Wests Tigers
Both teams started the year 1-1 after two rounds. If the Tigers want to end their ninth-place curse, they’ll need to come out and play against Shaun Johnson, who played very well against South Sydney. Sharks fans will be hoping for the same result: a win.
Sharks by eight.
Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders
This match-up is always fun. I’m purely taking a guess at who will win this one, because even through the Raiders won the last two times these teams met, I just can’t see them winning this time. A newly bearded Cameron Smith and a fired-up Cameron Munster along with the speed of Ryan Papenhuyzen will be too much for Canberra to handle, even with the likes of John Bateman, Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Storm by six.
Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights
The Panthers without Nathan Cleary and with a very young and quite inexperienced halves pairing won’t do much against a Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga-led Newcastle squad.
Knights by 12.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
This isn’t a hard one to pick. I forecast a one-sided contest.
Manly by 14.