Tonight will see two big games in the NRL. First up will be the clash that everyone had pencilled in a few weeks ago, between St George and New Zealand in Auckland. The second game will be a blockbuster clash between traditional NRL heavyweights Melbourne and Brisbane.
Although the Warriors loss to the Broncos last weekend will take some of the spice from this clash, it will still be a contest between two of the strongest teams this season. St George is still undefeated, and is the form team so far. New Zealand has lost just the one game, and has surprised everybody with their early season form.
It is hard to see the Warriors losing consecutive games in Auckland, but if there is a team that can beat them it is the Dragons. The Dragons are in red hot form, grinding out close wins when they have to but blowing teams out of the water when they can assert their dominance.
St George has scored by far the most points this season, with the Warriors in second. The Dragon’s defence is also the second best in the NRL, behind the miserly Tigers, while the Warriors are fifth in this stat. Because of this I think the Dragons will have slightly more firepower than the Warriors, and a stronger defence. They should continue their unbeaten streak.
The Broncos are (of course) in the Friday night free to air timeslot. They are at home against the Storm. Both of these sides have had uncharacteristically inconsistent starts to the season, although they also both had confidence building wins last week.
The Storm blew away the improving Knights in Melbourne, running up a 40-14 score line. Their attack finally seems to be clicking with the promotion of Ryley Jacks to the starting side. Brisbane flew to New Zealand last weekend, and beat the previously undefeated Warriors with a comfortable final score of 27-18. They will take a lot of positivity out of that game.
Both of these sides are on three wins out of six games so far, and will be desperate to keep in touch with the top four sides. Both sides also have a new halves combination, with Jack Bird playing his first game at 6 against the Warriors last week.
This game could be a very good one, and the two teams seem quite evenly matched. History tells us that an in-form Storm is a nightmare for any NRL side, but history hasn’t been any help in tipping games so far this year. I still think the Storm will clinch a close contest.