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Raiders fan Erin Molan freely admits she tipped Canberra against the Rabbitohs last week with her heart, rather than her head. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos.
I confess I have a love-hate relationship with tipping… and it goes deeper than just loving it when I’m right - and hating it when I’m wrong. Last week was the 'Round of the Upset', and while I always believe my Raiders will win, I am honest enough to confirm that I tip them with my heart and not my head, and realistic enough to acknowledge they were not expected to beat Souths last weekend, and certainly not in such a convincing fashion.

The Storm most assuredly weren’t supposed to get thumped by the Bulldogs in Perth - even without skipper Cameron Smith and a five-day turnaround, they boast enough talent and experience to cope, but cope they didn’t…

The unknown, the surprise, the Upset, is a big part of what makes rugby league the greatest game on earth - it is also what makes trying to tip with any degree of success so painstakingly frustrating, and most of the time near impossible. There are a lot of theories when it comes to 'getting it right'.  They say the more you know the worse your results are - I like to rely on that particular principle regularly, especially on a very ‘off’ round… I don’t think any tipster, regardless of their knowledge, professional role or even legendary sports star status should be classified or labelled an ‘expert tipster’, because being an expert clearly doesn’t make you a good tipster; a browse of my - and some fairly well credentialed colleagues’ - tips every week is testament to that.

So why do we try to predict what will happen week in, week out, despite enjoying (not quite the right word!) most of the time, moderate success at best?  

I’ve thought long and hard about this, because if I didn’t do the job I do, I almost don’t think I would ever willingly take part in a tipping competition… BUT, then, as I thought about it more - and took my ‘working journalist’ hat off and replaced it with my ‘passionate fan’ one - I came to the conclusion that tipping is actually a brilliant, almost necessary part of supporting rugby league.

Why? Let me tell you… I love watching my team play - and my screams can be heard throughout the halls of Channel 9 when Reece Robinson scores a try for Canberra, or Shaun Fensom smashes through an opposition forward pack. But watching any other team doesn’t quite evoke the same response.

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I enjoy the sport, the spectacle, the brilliant tries and the physicality of the tackles - but it just doesn’t generate the same degree of passion if the Raiders aren’t involved - unless of course, I’m looking down the barrel of a potentially perfect round (yes - I’ll admit this is an extremely rare occurrence) and the team I have tipped to win scores in the final minute for a miraculous victory… then my screams once again resonate throughout every nook and cranny of Nine’s Willoughby headquarters in Sydney.  

Tipping makes every game of the round exciting and interesting, and adds an edgy dimension to each contest - fans care about all the results, not just the one involving their team, and this is good for the game – in fact, it’s crucial. 

Imagine if we only ever went to or watched clashes that featured our team, and confined our interest to its performance only. The game, and our world class competition, wouldn’t thrive, excite or survive. A long bow - maybe - but I’ve drawn it, and for now my relationship with tipping is very loving - until I get none from eight next round!

And for all of my musings and considered contemplations, tipping isn’t an entirely unknown science - there’s at least one certainty for most of us in our tipping - and that’s that we shall pick our team as well-deserved favourites, or to defy the odds. I’m no exception to this rule, and for me the Green Machine is an automatic choice every week… so go you mighty Raiders!
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