NRL Tips & Previews Round 21 2009 - AFL Tips & Previews Round 18 2009 - 3rd Ashes Test Begins Bye Bye Karmichael. We all thought Karmichael would take the money in Union (which he will probably still do in 2010) but he's now switching codes to the AFL to play for the Gold Coast who enter the competition in 2011. The Broncos face a must win game in Canberra this weekend and Hunt will be under immense pressure to lift his game another notch in his final few months in the game. Friday Night Football is a beauty this week with the Dragons taking on the Storm and the Titans hosting the Cowboys in Round 21 of the 2009 NRL Premiership. In the AFL the Saints refuse to lose and were mighty against the Bulldogs to make it 17 on the trot. While the MCG hosted an absolute beauty as Geelong showed they are still a champion side by coming from nowhere to pip the Hawks with the final kick of the game from Jimmy Bartel. In Cricket England are 1-0 up and have been handed a leg up by the Australian selectors who have apparently left Phillip Hughes - a match winner - out of their team in favour of Shane Watson. Rain has delayed the start of play but you can follow the match and series in depth via regular video blogs here on wdnicolson.blogspot.com and my Twitter feed as Australia try to level the series. In Rugby Union the All Blacks were repelled by the Springboks and we now have a clear favourite for the Tri-Nations crown. They go at it again this Saturday Night in South Africa. Can you kick a goal from the sideline just 1.5 metres from the tryline - interested in giving it a go? Go to http://wdnicolson.blogspot.com/2009/05/kick-off-2009-are-you-up-to-challenge.html for more information on Kick-Off 2009! NRL & AFL Match Previews below. =================================================================== NRL ROUND 21 - 2009 Quick hit Previews for the Greatest Game of All as Friday Night throws up a possible Grand Final preview. STORM over DRAGONS > Could be a game on par with the Dogs-Dragons and Knights-Storm clashes - as the best we've seen this year if all the stars play. Melbourne are on the road but I've got a feeling they are primed to make a statement. COWBOYS over TITANS > The Cowboys are great front-runners and terrible coming from behind. Tipping they start in front and hold on against a Titans team that will really miss Laffranchi on the right side. BRONCOS over RAIDERS > Canberra played as bad as any team has this season in their loss to the Tigers but are admittedly some hope in this one. That is only because the Broncos are down on troops (but get some back this week) and have to travel. Still the Broncos have something to play for and the Raiders are playing without an idea. KNIGHTS over ROOSTERS > Gidley and Mullen playing make the Knights a must pick. PANTHERS over WARRIORS > Didn't give the Panthers a chance in Townsville last week but they were great and deserved to win. Yet here I am a week later liking the Warriors for a game IN Penrith. Taking home team but like the Warriors chances. EELS over SHARKS > Paul Gallen's status in this game may have a real impact on the result. If he plays the Sharks come into serious consideration. That being said Jarryd Hayne is playing great footy behind an in form forward pack, so at the moment with Gallen unconfirmed - pick Parramatta. BULLDOGS over RABBITOHS > Great matchup for Sunday afternoon football. The Dogs deserve favouritism but John Sutton and Souths are scoring points at will right now. Take the Dogs if Stagg plays. TIGERS over SEA EAGLES > Both Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall weren't in great touch against the Raiders and the Tigers won by 21 points. If they fire - and I expect them too - I really like their chances to beat a Manly side that is good without being great.=================================================================== AFL ROUND 18 - 2009 St.Kilda seem destined for the Minor Premiership and should they beat Sydney - are just four games from regular season perfection. BLUES over KANGAROOS North Melbourne don't have to troops to be competing for anything but a priority pick, while the Blues face another game they must win to solidify their spot in the Top 8. BULLDOGS over WHARFIES The Western Bulldogs have some key guys injured (Higgins, Walsh & Murphy) but Freo made hard work of beating a depleted West Coast Eagles last week and the Dogs should prevail. CATS over CROWS Great matchup considering the Crows are in fine form and the Cats only just snuck home against the Hawks. The Geelong machine may get back into gear this week with Steve Johnson back and the Crows are hard to back. SAINTS over SWANS Historically the Swans do well against St.Kilda in games when the Victorian club are on a roll but this roll is an avalanche and the Swans are playing poorly. MAGPIES over LIONS Brisbane are a sexy upset pick given they got 8 goals from spearhead Jonathan Brown last week, so they'll bring confidence into the clash with the Magpies. But this is in Melbourne and it's Collingwood for mine. DEMONS over TIGERS Yes the Tigers upset the Bombers last Sunday but the Demons get some key men back for this one. Melbourne aren't going that badly to be $3.50 against Richmond at this stage of the season, so we're taking the Demons here. HAWKS over POWER You would think the loser of this game is done for 2009 as the winner will jump 4 points ahead. Hawthorn may have played their last card in the loss to the Cats but in watching that game, you got the impression that Hawthorn aren't finished in 2009 quite yet. BOMBERS over EAGLES A second danger game in as many weeks for the Bombers - who lost a game they had to win last week against the Tigers. If Essendon lose here they aren't finished but they will have squandered 8 points they should've taken into Round 19. =================================================================== 2009 ASHES UPDATE ENGLAND won the 2nd Test convincingly but Kevin Pietersen's campaign is over. Australia blew the 1st Test in dramatic fashion and then were outplayed from the get-go at Lords. We now wait for the rain to clear at Edgbaston for the 3rd Test with Australia desperate to square the series at 1-1. Shane Watson is the only confirmed change, coming in for the axed Phillip Hughes. Ian 'Bunny' Bell comes in for the injured Pietersen. This website is covering the Ashes with regular video blogs, twitter updates and features over the course of the Test Series so keep checking the main page or the archive list on the right for the next addition. Follow me on Twitter during the Day's Play. =================================================================== WALLABIES TEST SERIES WINTER 2009 South Africa were too strong for New Zealand in their first Tri-Nations Test and will host the All Blacks again in the 3rd Tri-Nations Test this Saturday Night in Durban. Here is the Test Schedule for Winter 2009: June 6 Sydney 7:30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Barbarians Won 55-7 June 13 Canberra 7.30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 31-8 June 20 Melbourne 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 34-12 June 27 Sydney 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v France Won 22-6 July 18 Auckland 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand Lost 22-16 August 8 Cape Town 11.00pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa August 22 Sydney 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand August 29 Perth 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 5 Brisbane 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 19 Wellington 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand =================================================================== Good luck with your tips this weekend!