First of all, I would like to apologise to all of the sports betting franchises for what is to be revealed in this article. The accuracy is astounding. However I shall try not to reveal too much information.
This is an insight into Round 18 of the NRL in season 2005. The State Of Origin series was wrapped up by New South Wales. The last game went down to the wire, and wasn’t decided until John Skandalis potted a field goal from 38 metres out to give NSW the series victory with just seven seconds remaining on the clock.
The first match of the round is at Parramatta Stadium when the Eels take on the Dragons. Parramatta, on a high after a nine game winning streak, including a 114-2 win the previous week against a full strength Rabbitohs side, come up against an under strength Dragons outfit. The Dragons have been hammered once again by injuries, with Ben Hornby (arm), Trent Barrett (ego), Mark Gasnier (phone), Matt Cooper (ankle), Shaun Timmins (knee, ankle, shoulder, back, hip, eyebrow, nose, elbow) and Nathan Blacklock (lost). Parramatta go into the match as firm favourites and by the time the halftime siren sounds, Dragons are surprisingly leading by 12-8. Unfortunately the fairytale doesn’t continue in the second half as the Eels run in twelve tries to one and win 68-14.
Knights and Cowboys face off in a very uneven contest in Newcastle. Newcastle have been back to their best and are running third on the ladder, just four points behind the leaders. Cowboys have failed to live up to the hype of last season and are currently sitting at thirteenth on the ladder. With a small, quiet, predictably boring Newcastle crowd looking on, the Knights run away with a 34-18 victory in miserable conditions.
Out at Penrith, a battle for fifth was taking place between the Panthers and Manly. In the second minute of the match Terry Hill was sent off for dissent. He allegedly spat at the referee and three team mates. After a hearing he was cleared of all charges, as it was revealed he was just saying ‘we need two tries fellas.’ When returning referee Mogsheen Jadwat sent him off for spitting, Hill said to team mates ‘Dissent?! This is bullshit!’ At fulltime the score was locked at nil all. After extra time, a Luke Rooney try ended the match with Penrith winning 4-0.
A demoralised Souths were hosts to an in form Cronulla. The Rabbits, low on morale after the 112 point drubbing against the Eels the previous week, and the Sharks with four consecutive wins under their belts, made this for a particularly uninteresting match. The paltry crowd of 6728 watched another lopsided match, as Souths again were belted about. At the final siren, the Sharks won 68-10. Newly appointed Souths coach Mario Fenech looks to being axed after one game, making him the third Rabbits coach to face the chop this season.
Canberra, having lost their last four games, took on a Melbourne team that is beginning to fire up for the finals. The Storm, currently placed eighth, have been in menacing form of late, scoring 156 points in their last three games. As was anticipated by many pundits, Melbourne won the match easily by 54-2. Many Raiders fans booed their team, with reports that three players had bricks thrown at them when they arrived back in Canberra.
In another lopsided match-up, cellar dwellers Warriors took on the first placed Bulldogs. In a remarkable performance by the Warriors, lead by new captain Steve Price, they managed to lose by just 26 points. The 34-8 win to the Dogs saw them remain undefeated in 12 matches.
In the last match of the round, the hot and cold Tigers play a Roosters outfit depleted of its origin stars. The Tigers held the lead at half time by a meagre two points, before running away with an easy victory in the second half, as the under-strength and inexperienced Roosters began making many handling errors and missed tackles. The 40-12 victory means that the Tigers have ninth place secured and need two wins out of the last 7 games to make the finals, a seemingly impossible task.
So there it is people, I feel it was my duty as a looking-into-the-future-person, to inform you of what may lay ahead.