Read more

Who’ll salute on Anzac Day?

The Dragons have dominated the NRL’s annual Anzac Day clash in recent years and if last-start form is any guide then the Roosters will be up against it.

The Roosters were appalling in their 50-12 loss to the Cowboys in Darwin, so they will be out to make amends at Allianz Stadium.

The fact that Dragons quartet  Scott, Weyman, Creagh and Merrin are backing up from the City-Country match may give the Roosters a slight edge fitness wise in the battle of the forwards.

However, the Roosters pack will have to show more steel after Tamou, Cooper, Johnson and the Sims brothers tore them to shreds in the Top End.

Not only will pivots Soward (Dragons) and Pearce (Roosters) be responsible for sparking their respective team in attack, but their kicking games could play a vital role in the final result.

Rival fullbacks Minichiello, who has been linked to a move to Tigers next season, and Morris should feature prominently in attack, while New Zealand teammates Waerea-Hargreaves and Kenny-Dowall (Roosters) and Nightingale and Fien (Dragons) are enemies on this occasion.

Both teams have posted four wins each and sit inside the Top 8, but the Dragons have been more emphatic.

The only time the Roosters really put it together is when they rolled the Warriors 26-8 in Round 5.

It was hard not to admire the Dragons last start when they kept the Knights to just one try.

Roosters pair Pearce and Leilua will be bouyant after helping City Origin to victory over Country Origin.

 

Meanwhile, you reckon the Storm aren’t looking forward to the clash with the Warriors at AAMI Park.

The Warriors produced an outstanding 80 minute display to stun the Storm, the minor premiers, in the preliminary final in Melbourne last September.

Sadly, the Warriors couldn’t back that effort up the following week when the Sea Eagles triumphed in the grand final.

Many argue that the Storm was the only team capable of stopping the Sea Eagles in the grand final, and they would have been fired up after the Battle of Brookvale.

The Storm will be out to prove that that loss to the Warriors was an aberration, however it would be wise not to write off the New Zealand outfit as they have experienced more than their fair share of success in Melbourne.

Back in 2008, the Warriors became the first eighth-placed team to win during Week 1 of the finals when they toppled the first-placed Storm.

A host of recycled players in the Storm ranks were embarrassed in that preliminary final last September, so the “second stringers” will have to lift if the unbeaten competition leaders are to make it eight wins from as many games.

Test trio Smith, Slater and Cronk will insist that their Storm teammates will keep their minds on the job.

Expect a big game from Cronk after a far from impressive display when last both teams clashed.

There were four Warriors in the Kiwi outfit that pushed the Kangaroos to the limit last Friday night, however there is a question mark surrounding the fitness of Vatuvei and Johnson.

Mateo may end up in the NSW 17 if he fires for the Warriors.

The Warriors have been inconsistent thus far in 2012, so it’s the Storm.

AFL

It’s the 18th meeting between the Magpies and Bombers at the MCG on Anzac Day.

The Magpies hold a 9-7 advantage, and who will ever forget their first encounter back in 1995 that ended in a draw in front of 94,825 fans – the biggest crowd to attend the match.

The Magpies have won five of the past six games, which hasn’t necessarily been a surprise as they have been among the best teams in the competition in recent years.

Victory by the Bombers in 2009 came as a shock as the Magpies had the match in its keeping before capitulating in the last quarter.

The Bombers have made a superb start to the season and share the competition lead with the Eagles and Swans with a 4-0 record.

They were lucky to roll the Kangaroos in Round 1 and took a while to shake the Power before getting out of jail against the Suns.

It didn’t seem possible that the Bombers could sink the high-flying Blues, but they produced something pretty special and ran out derserved, if not comfortable winners.

Can they continue from where they left off on Saturday?

If they do then they are a huge chance of not only toppling the Magpies, but also enhancing their Top 4 hopes.

The Magpies were no match for the Hawks and Blues, but got the cash against the Tigers and Power.

Clearly the Magpies haven’t had too many problems with teams that didn’t make the Top 8 in 2011, yet are incurring early problems against teams who played finals a year ago.

They kicked seven goals in the first quarter to set up victory against the Power, but for the remaining three quarters the Power kicked eight goals to seven.

Back in Round 2, the Bombers and Power both kicked 5.2 in the first quarter, but from that point the Bombers kicked 11 goals to eight.

This is the kind of match that will determine if the Magpies will in fact miss Ball.

Can Fletcher and Pears nullify Cloke and Dawes?

Crameri kicked five goals for the Bombers against the Blues, but is he good enough to fill the shoes of Hurley against the likes of Maxwell and O’Brien?

Who will win the battle between Watson and Swan?

Will Jolly lift against Ryder?

Will Jetta and Davey make life a misery for the Magpies defence, and will Beams and Blair cause the Bombers backmen similar stress?

The last two games haven’t been close, so can an in-form Bombers deny the Magpies a third straight win?

The Bombers have injury concerns, and with premiership players Didak and Brown tipped to return the Magpies perhaps have a slight edge.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

  • Plenty of Paine for Tim Posted on: Jan 2nd, 2017

    He suffered a shocking thumb injury, and unfortunately for Tasmanian wicketkeeper Tim Paine it came at the wrong time…

Read more