REDS v REBELS
I reckon the Reds-Rebels showdown on Saturday night has the potential to be the best Super Rugby game seen at Suncorp Stadium since the glory days of 2011. That was when Will Genia and Quade Cooper were at their electrifying best for the Reds and on Saturday they will be back in action together – only this time they’ll be playing for the Rebels. After being left out of the equation by Reds coach Brad Thorn last season Cooper picked up over $600,000 playing club rugby and he will have plenty to prove when he makes his much anticipated return to his old hunting ground. He has shown some brilliant touches so far this year but the Reds have made huge strides themselves. Thorn showed great faith in his young players through some tough times and over the last two weeks they have repaid him. Chasing three-in-a-row, they will be fired up – but so will Cooper. As for Genia, he will provide the ultimate measuring stick for the Reds’ livewire halfback Tate McDermott who is getting better every week. I reckon it has all the makings of a classic. What do YOU reckon?
BRONCOS v COWBOYS
I reckon the young Brisbane forwards are in for a baptism of fire on Friday night. The way Jason Taumalolo tore the Dragons apart in the Cowboys’ season-opener shows that he is in top form and the inexperienced Broncos could be just another notch for his belt if they don’t step up. New Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold will never have a better opportunity to see what his players are made of than the local derby at Suncorp Stadium. They were given a lesson by the Storm pack in Melbourne but with a home crowd behind them there will be no excuses – not even the fact that experienced front rower Matt Lodge and boom up-and-comer Payne Haas will be sitting this one out through suspension. Seibold made a huge call by rubber stamping Haas’s suspension and he will need the likes of Joe Ofahengaue, Jaydn Su’A, David Fifita, Tevita Pangai and Thomas Flegler to back him up or the Broncos will be off to the worst possible start to the season. There is no doubt that those five, plus Haas, have the potential to be amongst the best in the competition, but as the late great Jack Gibson said, “I don’t care about potential, all I care about is what a player can do for me right now.” I reckon Anthony Seibold will be thinking the same thing on Friday night. What do YOU reckon?
NRL 2019 SEASON BEGINS
I reckon the happiest person to see the kick-off of the Broncos-Storm clash in Melbourne on Thursday night will be Todd Greenberg, closely followed by Peter Beattie. The two NRL trumps have suffered through the off-season from hell but if there is one thing the game has shown over the years, it’s that nothing can kill it. Someone once said that after a nuclear explosion only two things would survive – cockroaches and Cher. I’d add rugby league. There’s no question that the game has copped a battering over the last few months but it has taken some major shots in the past and come through in one piece. No-one would ever downplay the seriousness of the most recent off-field dramas, but even the NRL’s staunchest critics would have to acknowledge that Greenberg and Beattie have sent a strong message to the players, and fans, that a line has been drawn in the sand. Even so, as always it is the on-field action that will prove the ultimate saviour of the game and this year’s competition has plenty going for it. We’ve got the beginning of the Seibold era at the Broncos, the interest in how Wayne Bennett goes at Souths, the continued emergence of young stars like Ponga, Brimson and Isaako – and the arrival of those we haven’t heard of yet. Will the Roosters become the first side to go back-to-back since the Broncos in 1992-93? Can the influence of Mal Meninga turn the Titans into contenders? How long will the Gus Gould-Ivan Cleary bromance last? Then, of course, there is a little matter of winning back the Origin shield. I reckon it’s shaping as a season that will wipe away the blues, in more ways than one. What do YOU reckon?