Following a dramatic Origin period, the NRL competition resumes regular service this weekend with the standard 3 games today. At 3 pm the Bulldogs will face the Rabbitohs at ANZ, the Sea Eagles will play the Storm at Brookie at 5:30 and the Raiders have the late game against the Cowboys in Canberra.
In the first game the Rabbitohs will be confident of crushing the Bulldogs. The Doggies best player, David Klemmer, has had an easier than expected load for the Blues, while Rabbitohs Origin trio Dane Gagai, Damien Cook and Angus Crichton will be more fatigued, but have also found some stunning form. Besides, the Bulldogs are demoralised by constant rumours of players being moved on as well as poor form.
The Sea Eagles vs Storm is a tough game to pick. Logic and the ladder suggests that the Storm have this one in the bag, but Manly beat Melbourne away earlier in the year, and form tends to be meaningless when these two sides play at Lottoland in the NRL competition.
Wally Lewis medallist Billy Slater will also almost certainly be missing, along with at least some of the Storm’s Origin stars, while the Trbojevic brothers will play. Manly continue their halves drama however, with both Dylan Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans under injury clouds. This game is very difficult to pick.
The Raiders and Cowboys have both been fairly unaffected by Origin, with Cowboys Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper the only players to take part who may play tonight. Michael Morgan is injured, which may free up Johnathan Thurston to take charge. The Raiders are at full strength and on a roll, with slim hopes remaining of playing into September. They should take this one, and if they don’t then they don’t deserve to play in the NRL competition finals.