The first six games of Round 21 of the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition look to be coma-inducing for anyone without a dog in the fight, but have a look at the late Saturday game and the round concluder on Sunday and find good reason to pay attention.
To support the first part of our lead-in sentence, St. George are playing Gold Coast. The Titans are fortunate that they are not an EPL club, as they would be demoted tow levels at a minimum. They could stay home, play an inter-squad game, and have a hard time obtaining a draw. Ditto the Dragons.
Is it possible that the NRL has four clubs too many?
Ah, but Saturday, sweet Saturday will serve the No. 3 Canberra Raiders playing host to the No. 2 Sydney Roosters. The two clubs have identical records through the first 20 Rounds of the season. They are tied on 28 points. Point differential favours the Roosters and the Chooks trail the league-leading Storm by just six points for.
The Raiders are second stingiest in the league for holding opponents, trailing the Storm.
Both clubs have been on nice form runs with the Roosters winning four of their last five and the Raiders coming in on four consecutive.
The bookies are offering a 1.5-point line favouring Sydney, but Canberra will not demur in the defense of GIO Stadium.
Sunday will offer South Sydney defending the fourth rung while playing Melbourne at Central Coast Stadium. In this instance, the line favours Melbourne by 4.5, but considering the scare New Zealand threw into the Storm a few round back, the outcome of this game is anything but a foregone conclusion.
That outcome can scarcely dent Melbourne, so the more significant game might be Canberra versus Sydney.
Both clubs have Manly and Parramatta chasing and the Sea Eagles and the Eels are both on fine late season runs.