Rabbits, the real deal for the Broncos? Should Arthur look around? Happy? Manu on a mission?

Rocks and diamonds is the best way to sum up the Round 19 schedule.

There are three games between the teams battling it out for the top rungs of the ladder which, in the age of the watch when you want it, are as close as modern league fans can get to the dates.

Broncos vs Eels on Thursday night with Penrith’s double Saturday hosting Cronulla rolling in the storm to southern Sydney.

As for the other five matches, the best that can be said about them is that they are professional rugby league football matches featuring two teams running, kicking , tackle and pass over a period of approximately two hours.

If you choose to attend or watch these matches in their entirety, you will have more power, but know that professional help is available to reduce your foot addiction in the form of a tragicotomy procedure.

On a much less cynical note, one storyline that is likely to take on more significance than it otherwise will this round is Wests Tigers stalwart James Tamou, who becomes the 45th player in Premier history to cross the cap.

Universally respected by his peers and teammates, Tamou was an integral part of the Cowboys’ premiership team in 2015, captained Penrith to their 2020 grand final, won a State of Origin series with NSW and a World Cup with Australia.

Round 19 questions


Eels vs. Broncos, 7:50 p.m. at CommBank Stadium

Should Brad Arthur look elsewhere? You wouldn’t blame his management for testing the water at another club given the Eels are likely to be in some sort of rebuild next year, although it was the same reps who advised him to re-sign until the end of 2024. Parramatta this season said it was the last hurrah for many of this group of players, but if the squad and coaching staff aren’t fully focused on finishing 2022, then another fade-out looms.

Adam Reynolds. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Can the Broncos take the leap? They are 4-4 this season in games against teams currently in the top eight. They have been beaten twice by the Cowboys and largely in their only clash with Penrith. Broncos coach Kevin Walters conceded after the narrow win over Gold Coast last weekend that the club was still far from their ultimate goal of winning a premiership, but a victory over Parramatta will certainly be a big one. not in that direction.


Dragons vs. Sea Eagles, 6 p.m. at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Should the Dragons kick Griffin? In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be a problem because in this scenario, the club wouldn’t have signed him in the first place. It is premature to appeal now and the board is clearly in no rush to do so. The team is just two points from eight and has a relatively flexible schedule to complete the season. If they are still in their current situation of 11th or worse, that is when St George Illawarra need to bite the bullet and start over.

Rabbits, the real deal for the Broncos? Should Arthur look around? Happy? Manu on a mission?

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Is Des happy that the Sea Eagles are finally flying under the radar? It was a longtime joke when Des Hasler had successful teams and he insisted they fly under the radar even though they were at the top of the ladder. Well, the Sea Eagles didn’t get much fanfare after being written off when Tom Trbojevic underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. They’ve gone 4-2 since Turbo’s injury and look likely to keep the Roosters out of eighth place.

Knights v Roosters, 7:55 p.m. at McDonald Jones Stadium

Are Knights fans the best in the NRL? All signs point to yes. Newcastle’s home record is abysmal – they’ve won two out of eight this year and are only just above par with a 13-12 record if you include the previous two seasons when they reached the final . Yet Knights fans continue to be strong, which is the envy of most Sydney club CEOs. There was a crowd of 18,261 in the last home clash with Souths despite Newcastle’s ho-hum form in 12th.

Rabbits, the real deal for the Broncos? Should Arthur look around? Happy? Manu on a mission?

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

How do you stop Joey Manu from wasting in the center? He showed while Luke Keary was out at club level and in his test at the back that the more he gets his hands on the ball, the better off his team is. Keary’s return and Billy Smith’s torn ACL mean he’s back at center. That might be too drastic a solution, but why couldn’t the Roosters use Manu as a ball game lock as a third playmaker on offense like Penrith does with Isaah Yeo and someone like Connor Watson or Victor Radley slides to the center and then they backtrack when the team defends. Manu was then ruled out this week 24 hours before kick-off with a minor calf injury, but whatever method Trent Robinson uses, getting him more into the action must be a priority in the matches. final rounds with a playoff berth still far from a reality. .


Raiders v Warriors, 3 p.m. at GIO Stadium

Is Jordan Rapana becoming a handicap? His aggressiveness is appreciated at Canberra but his reputation as a player with one of the shortest fuses is only getting worse. He was banned for two games after being convicted last week against Melbourne for a high shot. Under contract with the Raiders until the end of next year, it is probably a year too long for the veteran winger.

Would the Warriors let Reece Walsh go early? Andrew Voss launched a thought experiment on Wednesday on how the Storm would like to sign Reece Walsh for the rest of the season to replace Ryan Papenhuyzen. Walsh is leaving for the Broncos next year, so in theory it wouldn’t be the skin of the Warriors’ nose. But even if he was relegated on trade this weekend to Canberra, he should be kept to prevent the Warriors from ending the season on a bad note. Playing home games for the first time since 2019 is huge business for the club and nothing will stop fans coming back this year and next like another disappointing Warriors outfit.

Panthers vs. Sharks, 5:30 p.m. at BlueBet Stadium

Is Kurt Falls the next Panther to be poached? He has only played a few games in the NRL but the 25-year-old latecomer has looked assured at this level and out of contract at the end of the season a team like Newcastle, the Dolphins or the Bulldogs could do worse than conclude a deal. Falls is also a decent goal kicker, hitting seven of his eight attempts, his boot proving the difference last weekend against the Tigers.

Will goal kicks bite the Sharks on big chances? Cronulla’s goalscoring rate this year is better than the Wests Tigers. If a team has a stat in any category that is “better than the Wests Tigers”, then alarm bells should ring. If Nicho Hynes is your backup kicker, that’s fine, but if he’s your best option, it could be problematic. Cronulla has lost quite a few games over the past few seasons due to underhand kicks and looking ahead to the Finals and playoffs in particular, those two points can be the difference between progressing another week or starting your offseason. . The other team’s kicker on Saturday hits them well – M. 85%, league best Nathan Cleary. Where is Luke Covell when the Sharks need him.

Rabbitohs v Storm, 7:35 p.m. at Accor Stadium

Rabbitohs on a roll or still to be tested? Souths are the popular choice to move up the ranks in the later rounds now that Latrell Mitchell is fit and shooting, helping those around him do the same. They have won five of their last six games, but those victories were against non-finalists, except for their Round 16 triumph over Parramatta, while their loss was 20 points against the lowly Dragons. If they can’t get the chocolates home against a weakened Storm outfit, a lot of people will wonder if the bunnies are indeed the real deal.

Rabbits, the real deal for the Broncos? Should Arthur look around? Happy? Manu on a mission?

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Do you really think the storm is over? In 2016, they lost a champion fullback in Round 1 and still made it to the Grand Finals. Granted, they had a much better squad when Billy Slater made his shoulder that year and they had a pretty handy replacement in a youngster Cameron Munster taking the No.1 shirt. This time around with Ryan Papenhuyzen out until 2023 due to knee surgery, Nick Meaney will be stepping in. It’s nowhere so dynamic, but don’t be surprised if the fourth-placed Storm doesn’t defy the odds to stay in contention for the top half of the final bracket.


Bulldogs vs. Titans, 2 p.m. at CommBank Stadium

Anyone surprised that the Pangai Edge Forward experience is over? One of the more curious tactical decisions of 2022 was Trent Barrett’s idea to lead Tevita Pangai jnr and Jack Hetherington to the limit. Injury cut short Hetherington’s season after a few rounds, but Pangai spent the first nine rounds in second place with little impact. Caretaker coach Mick Potter has used him in the middle for the last five games and the high-priced former Bronco has been much more effective.

Fight in State of Origin 3

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Should Tino be nervous? Fa’asuamaleaui cut his teeth at NRL level around some pretty scary alpha male forwards at the Storm and he’s become a monster himself. If there are any Bulldogs forwards who are dumb enough to whisper to reporters that they’re going to come to terms with the Titans skipper for his headshot on Matt Burton during the Origin III stoush, then act in consequence after alerting the referees, they deserve to be turned on if they take matters into their own hands.

Cowboys v Tigers, 4:05 p.m. at QCB Stadium

How will the Cowboys deal with the Origin hangover? North Queensland had 10 players in the original camps over the course of the series, although a few were just members of the extended squad. Young five-eighth Tom Dearden was eager to play last week after Origin III, but the club wisely took the short-term trouble to rest him in what turned out to be a surprise loss to Cronulla rather than roll him back less than 24 hours. after his memorable debut with the Maroons.

Is James Tamou one of the big names in the modern game? He’s well and truly in the veteran class now, but in his prime he was arguably the NRL’s most damaging prop and his brace with Matt Scott was a quiet mainstay in the 2015 Northern Grand Final triumph. queensland. You won’t hear a bad word about him from any of his former Cowboys, Panthers or Tigers teammates and it would be a shame if the cellar dwellers couldn’t prove competitive in his 300th match in Townsville against one of the competitors. precursors. You can be sure that Tamou will do everything in his power to ensure his team does what is necessary to win, as he has done 299 times before.

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