Finals – week three

Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos – Friday night – AAMI Park

These sides have met twice already this season. Way back in round three these sides fought out a gropping contest at AAMI Park. The round seventeen clash wasn't quite as gripping, but we did see the Storm at their dominant best in a 42-12 drubbing at Suncorp. Deluded I may be, but I'm calling out the round three game as a better guide to this preliminary final than the drubbing. In round seventeen the Broncos were without Milford, Boyd and Oates and they gave us one of their most error-riddled displays all season. In round three they were better, and while the Storm dominated possession for much of that contest the Broncos led until the 76th minute, with Cameron Smith converting the late try to put the purple machine in front. The Storm still won, as they generally do, but they had to earn it. The Broncos lost, as they generally do when they play the Storm, but I'd call that game out as their best loss all season. The Broncos are one of the best in the NRL at defending their line. That was on display back in round three, and it was on display last weekend against Penrith. Boyd returns this week which should, I expect, make them an even tougher nut to crack. Unfortunately for Broncos fans, no-one cracks nuts like the Melbourne Storm. They'll keep their composure. They'll stick to their structures. They'll continue to believe that the game plan will get them the win if they stick to the game plan. Some people may call it out as boring, but some may call a top end BMW boring. The purple machine works. They hum along like a perfectly tuned piece of engineering. They are a metronome. I would describe it as hypnotic rather than boring. I'm like a cobra sitting on the couch dazzled by chief snake charmer Cameron Smith. They've been the best team all year, and they deserve a place in the grand final. Cooper Cronk, in his last game in Melbourne, can slot the field goal that gets them there.

Verdict – Storm by 1

Result – Storm by 30

Sydney Roosters vs North Queensland Cowboys – Saturday night – Allianz Stadium

The people of Sydney have just one local team to cheer for this season – let's hope they turn up in numbers on Saturday night. The Parramatta Eels brought more then 41000 through the gates for their loss to the Cowboys last week – a fantastic turnout given the local AFL team was playing in a final at the same time and drew just 14000. No doubt a couple of thousand Cowboys diehards will make the trek all the way down the eastern seaboard to support the fairytale team in season 2017. The Cowboys are winning by adopting a fairly simple approach to their game plan. In their last three games their completion rates have stood at 87%, 80% and 85%. That alone will keep your team in the game, but when you couple that with a deft kicking game you become a very difficult team to beat. Michael Morgan had the ball on a string in that second half against the Eels. The pressure mounted on the Eels and the errors came. More errors brought more pressure. The Eels led at half time, but by the 60th minute the contest was all but over, and it was only ever going to be a Cowboys victory. The Roosters had a week off on the back of their win over the Broncos but they won that game by the skin of their beaks, and the Broncos were a long way off their best that night. The Chooks deserve to be a very warm favourite on Saturday night, but I'm a sucker for a fairytale. Taumalolo needs to make 200+ metres with the ball under his arm. Morgan needs a repeat of his brilliant performance against the Eels. Ethan Lowe needs to slot two-pointers like he did last weekend. Winterstein needs to match his much taller opponent under the high ball. I'm asking for a lot here, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

Verdict – Cowboys by 10

Result – Cowboys by 13

Wally Lewis - finals week three (in bold)

Note: tips from Wally will be published on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

  • STORM vs Broncos
  • ROOSTERS vs Cowboys


christine's picture

My tips for finals week 3 are :
let the refs & the bunker make the right decisions ...

Mary S's picture

Commenting on your post from Finals week 2.
Your comp idea sounds interesting actually, particularly as I would have to research into players etc to take part – keeps the brain ticking over as I learn more about the sport. I certainly enjoyed the one ‘a’ suggested, particularly after recognising the strategy that was involved.
I hope you continue to comment TAD, as you do have an opinion that you are entitled to express, and certainly from my point of view, your comments do not have any malice or aggression behind them that some previous posters thought was OK.
Please keep in mind - Some of the regular posters have, in the past, been given a fairly torrid time, as you will no doubt know, if you, like I, have followed The Thinkers site for a while.
Personally, I find it quite a challenge, when one is interpreting the written word only, without the assistance of body language and tone of voice, plus the mood you, as the reader is in, to take on the opinions of others – more so if they don’t agree with your own!!!!!
I also find that it pays to go back through previous comments too, to make sure I haven’t missed the essence/meaning of the post. Putting in the punctuation, hopefully in the right places, also makes a big difference in the meaning of the written word. Being retired (sort of), I have the time to do that and I appreciate that not everybody does.
In regard to your comment about Eels – even as a Cowboys supporter, I can appreciate the disappointment of the team and the fans, as when you are competitive, it is no fun being second. Much like other Cowboys fans, most were horrified at the idea of the team being without Johnathon Thurston, but they played on and others have shone during that time. To me, Semi also has exceptional talents, as do others I could name, but is also part of a team that have to work together for the end result. He will be missed. The team dynamics for all clubs will change again in 2018 as players move from present to new.
Hang in there TAD, enjoy your day and your league.

ESRA STAR 's picture

I would like to see the Broncos get up,,but then i looked over at the points differential. Ferkenheimer,,The Storm will take some beating.

Hardyards's picture

Hi Footy fans
Hearing a lot in the press that the Cowboys (Limped, Fell, staggered, Dumb luck) into the finals just because the Doggies beat the Dragons in the final round. The Cowboys won more games then the Dragons and finished with 30 points, which is enough points to make the top eight (highest amount needed since 2008). We earned it through our efforts throughout the year.
Can we beat the roosters? They are rightly the massive favourites. JWH, Cordner and Napa will take some stopping, Lolo, bolts and Hess may slow them. Pearce and Keary vs Morgan and Granville should be awesome. (My opinion) the hope we have is that the Roosters are not an 80 min side. Unbeatable when on, but there is normally a period where they falter, and if we can push we can come out on top.
I like that we are still the underdogs, no pressure!

Tailspin's picture

Getting in early this time,
Storm by 6
Cowboys by 2
Happy holidays everyone.

a's picture

Guess what Matt Scott has been named for the Cowboys but is unlikely to play

christine's picture

Yes TAD as mary s said your comments & opinion are welcome here so feel free to share your views ...

Steel Panther's picture

Mary S I enjoyed your post. Well said.

TAD...don't throw in the towel. This is a great site with some great people. If any one should have run a mile this season it's Baggy with the amount of flack he's copped. He is a great contributor to this site as is Mark. Both know their footy & are passionate about the game.

mark ashford's picture

Hi Guys & Gals
First I would like to congratulate Mary S on her post one of the best I've read for a while. We all have our own ideas about things but should respect others opinions.
Second Baggy and his team copped more s**t this year than is generated from a caged chicken farm.
Third if my post angered you TAD I apologise as that was not the intent
Baggy and I are fierce rivals and always will be. If I appeared to be supporting him it was because of the second point above.
Fourth TAD after your interesting beginning you have become an important poster with tips and team movements.
Fifth TAD I would hate to think you are leaving, offering additional comps etc.
Sixth I hope I will be crossing swords again with you in 2018

christine's picture

News just in as of 18minutes ago des hassler has been sacked effective immediately but there will be a board meeting about it on Friday but he being des has lost the support of several board members ...

christine's picture

Sorry for spelling hasler wrong spelling police before you jump on me for it ...

christine's picture

TAD I wonder if foran will still go to bulldogs now that des is gone ? ...

christine's picture

TAD Can just add that mark of all people on this site is one of the good guys & i'm sure he didn't mean to offend you believe me we had some bad ones on her but as you will find in time of being on here mark isn't one of them so we would like it if you stick around & at least get know us , we aren't all that bad ...

christine's picture

That was supposed to read can I just add ...

The Annoying Devil's picture

Good question Christine
Foran has a clause regarding coaches but he's trapped no one needs him and no one can afford him
Bulldogs disaster 2017
Best player James graham released
Local junior and crowd fav josh Reynolds not resigned
Coach Hasler sacked
CEO Raelene Castle quits
Kasiano leaves for less money at storm
Morris bros Eastwood Lichaa unsigned
Foran must think warriors weren't that bad I'm hearing Brett Morris wants to return to the dragons

mark ashford's picture

Thanks for that scoop on Des Hasler. I do believe TAD predicted it a few weeks ago but nice to have it confirmed.
ALSO Christine thanks for the other support.
I try to be a good guy and try to be fair.

The Annoying Devil's picture

It's not your comment that bothered me but I must say I have a crush on Mary s vocabulary
Back to the footy
If the bulldogs had anymore problems there would be enough lines for billy joel to rewrite we didn't start the fire
And that my friend is hummable

a's picture

Yeah Hasler got sacked

mark ashford's picture

TAD you have to get behind me, I too have a crush on Mary S
but I'm humming mate I'm humming

mark ashford's picture

Committing tipping suicide I'm going Broncos & Cowboys this weekend.
Can't go past the QLD teams.
Broncos probably no hope but the Storm did have a battle against the Eels.
Cowboys, how can you tip against them after what they have done.

ESRA STAR 's picture

Mind games A.

christine's picture

Mark I know you try to be fair there has been times when you have stuck up for me when I've been copping more than my share of b##L s##t in the past so I don't mind returning the favour ...

christine's picture

TAD Did you see the article in tweets today about the souths warrior seriously that guy is loyal he lives in cowra & travels down for every game by public transport to Penrith then gets himself ready for the game as the warrior & gets taken in from Penrith to every game , he's been doing that since he lost his wife & then the following week his son died so he has been going to the souths games as the souths warrior ever since because the atmosphere in the burrow helps him so I thought I would share that with you incase you missed it ..

The Annoying Devil's picture

Hi Christine
I've met the Souths warrior in the burrow
I didn't know his story except he traveled a distance to get to anz
He can make you laugh when he shouts out things like
They can take our lives but they'll never take our rabbits

christine's picture

Sorry to all lately there seems to be a lack in my spelling but it's not me it's my keyboard I think i'm in need of a new one ...

Taka's picture

My tip for this week finals. I'm thinking 2015 grand final rematch for this year's so I'm tipping the 2015 grand final premiers & runner up.

Broncos by 7
Cowboys by 8

Enjoy your footy...

The Annoying Devil's picture

This weekend is shaping up to be a beauty
I think the storm are due to lose one with the minor premiers having the week off and the return of Boyd
They are the best but better teams have lost. Broncos by 2
Who ever wins out of the the roosters v cowboys I'll be on the following week. I love thinkers stats each week to justify his tips and he's usually close to the mark but good completion rates over 3 weeks is the cowboys only positive when it comes to playing their bogey team the cows have won only 10 from 35 against the roosters and 3 from 14 at Allianz
Sorry thinker but cowboys by 10 may just have your specimen return positive
Good luck to both
Roosters by 12

christine's picture

Does anyone know what has happened to pabdul , Thinker can you try to bring back pabdul his roosters need him & we need a laugh ? ...

Jazzy's picture

Thanks everyone including The Thinker for your insights. I came second in the work tipping comp. $260 bucks.
Being a huge Broncos supporter i am hoping for a win against the Storm, and picking the Cowboys against the Roosters. I want to relive the 2015 GF. Go Queenslanders!!!!

KellysLoot's picture



a's picture

Here are my tips

Strom by 6 as much as I would love Broncos to win I just cant tip them sorry

Cowboys by 2 I think Cowboys could do it with or without Scott

christine's picture

I have tipped roosters this week for finals week 3 but I would like to see cowboys beat them after seeing what they have been able to achieve without jt ...

The Annoying Devil's picture

Ex raider Dean pay to coach Bulldogs

mark ashford's picture

Dessie Hasler has already started (allegedly) legal action against the Dogs. Dogs management AND the NRL have stated he has no case.
There was lots of publicity about Des being offered a two year extension but was anything signed.
As TAD said both Reynolds and Graham arguably two of their best being let go (as well as a few others) isn't a good look.
Sure the Dogs haven't done all that well this year but shouldn't Dessie have been given a crack at the new squad in 2018.
Players come and players go but I thought Des did a pretty good job at Manly and the Dogs.
Dean Pay was a great player, will he be a great #1 coach.
James Graham has said the players had a role is Des's sacking.
Is this the Tigers woes all over again?

mark ashford's picture

Dessie Hasler has already started (allegedly) legal action against the Dogs. Dogs management AND the NRL have stated he has no case.
There was lots of publicity about Des being offered a two year extension but was anything signed.
As TAD said both Reynolds and Graham arguably two of their best being let go (as well as a few others) isn't a good look.
Sure the Dogs haven't done all that well this year but shouldn't Dessie have been given a crack at the new squad in 2018.
Players come and players go but I thought Des did a pretty good job at Manly and the Dogs.
Dean Pay was a great player, will he be a great #1 coach.
James Graham has said the players had a role is Des's sacking.
Is this the Tigers woes all over again?

Steve Kerle's picture

Broncos 1
Cowboys 2

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Finals Week 3 (aka the week before the Grand Final) is here so grab a coffee, sit back and relax ‘cos this post from Newbie will take a while. 774 words so my computer tells me. No, you don’t have to count ‘em (782). Oops, the word count has now increased to 791. Bugger, let’s get into it (797).

Storm v Broncos

The Broncos had a tough one last week and didn’t have many left at the end of the game. Not sure if Corey Oates will manage to front up here and Jai and Big Sam will need to prove their fitness after their concussions last week. I see there is some good news however in that Darius should make his way back into the starting lineup. Will the Broncos be able to play a style of game to threaten the Storm’s rock solid defence? They’ll have to if they’re gonna be any chance in this.

The Storm are simply ticking along and have won their last 8 games. They also have the advantage of having had a week off and they’ll be playing at home, no doubt with the added assistance of the Melbourne home crowd. The Storm have set the standard this year in the competition and seem to have the wood on Brisbane. Of the past 8 games between these two, the Storm have knocked the Broncos off 6 times.

Looking at how the Broncos have travelled so far in the last month, I’d have to say that based on form, they’re a slim to average chance on Friday night. Mind you, the Eels proved to everyone that the Storm (or any team for that matter) are not invincible and on the day, can be beaten. The Broncos have the “potential” to cause the Storm some headaches (and possibly win) if they can work out a smart game plan (not sure what it is though). If they don’t or can’t, the Storm should be able to assert themselves and win comfortably. Storm by 10.

Roosters v Cowboys

Wow, haven’t the Cowboys impressed? It’s no mean feat knocking off the Sharks and then the Eels, all the while fielding the walking wounded. Against all odds they have conquered the seemingly impossible. I for one, have a new found admiration for what they’ve done so far.

I read that Matt Scott has been named on the extended bench. Is that gonna happen or is it just smoke and mirrors and gamesmanship? We’ll have to wait and see but if he does return then it’s a definite bonus for the Cowboys. The way the Cowboys have been playing lately has Newbie worried. I won’t say they can’t win but I’m just thinking that their ride must come to an end one day and I’m hoping a full strength and fit Roosters side will have enough in them to win this one Saturday night.

While the Cowboys have done really well to date, Newbie, for obvious reasons (and with the utmost respect to Mary, Hardyards, Tailspin and of course to “a”) will be hoping that their finals run comes to an end this week. The Cowboys showed plenty of determination in beating the Sharks and then backed it up and knocked off the Eels last week. They were that good that the 3 tries the Eels scored came from 3 errors from the Cowboys, with the last one right at the end.

With the extra week off, the Roosters should be at full strength for this one. Not sure if Tupou should be playing. He did not look good at all in the game against the Broncos when he copped his injury. But hey, if he’s had enough time to get totally fit then yeah, bring him in.

Yeah, my BBB managed to “scrape in” against the Broncos to get to this game but we have this ability to “get up” when it matters. It’s heartening to note (for me anyway) that we have won 4 of the last 5 games against the Cowboys and haven’t lost to them in Sydney since 2012. I think our attack and defence are both up there with the best in the NRL (hope I haven’t spoken too soon) and should prove the difference this week.

Seriously, the Cowboys are a definite chance in this one. Can the fairytale run continue? I’ve suggested that it couldn’t the last 2 weeks in a row (and been wrong) and am loathe to say it again but say it I will. Begurk! Begurk! Roosters by 10.

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and may your team (and my beloved Roosters) win by 40 points! Until next week people. Cheers.

P.S. If you didn't get caught, did you really do it? Hmmm…

Steel Panther's picture

Mark....I think the Dogs started to go down hill when they let Hodgkinson go. Their 5th tackle option is dreadful with Mbye being a major contributor to this and Reynolds spent a lot of 2017 on the sideline. An absolute aimless kicking game. They really did have a poor season and surely can only improve.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Who put all these players on massive back ended deals at the Bulldogs and Manly? Was it Hasler? It has crippled their ability to maintain a strong core while recruiting internally/externally. It happened with Manly and they sort of dodged the worst of the issue as they can field a competitive roster. If he was to blame then show him the door for lack of man management, but if there is a recruitment specialist fire him before firing the coach.

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone, my tips for this week are:

Storm by 6- Will be a close and physical encounter I think with the Storm just too good for the Broncs here.

And finally... Cowboys by 2- Cowboys have defied the odds in the last two weeks. I'm backing them to do it again this week also getting revenge from their semi-final 2014 defeat from the hands of the Roosters.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's tips for this week. ANd for those who's favourite teams for playing this week, good luck. One more week until the big one. Exciting times coming up. Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GuySmiley's picture

Let's go Broncos. Cannot wait for this match tonight, Broncs for the win. Cowboys to get up in an exciting encounter with the chooks.

mark ashford's picture

Gotta agree Baggy. Des was the Coach not the financial controller.
Obviously he has say about recruitment but surely someone higher up had the final say on money.
The following two clubs mentioned is purely for example only.
Lets say player A (Broncos) is on $200,000 a year and has a year to go.
Player A decides he wants to go to another club (Manly) Why oh why do the Broncos have to pay out his final year?
If Manly want him then surely they should be the ones to pay.
Don't care if player A signed a back end contract. The problem surely lies at the feet of player A or his manager.
Say for arguments sake Des Hasler is picked up immediately by the Titans. Then his claim against the Dogs should be null and void.
The clubs only have so much to spend on players and staff.
Only sacked players/coaches who have nowhere to go and were under contract should have any claims and they should be limited.

The Annoying Devil's picture

That's ironic as we speak Joel Thompson from the dragons is about to pen a deal with manly and has 1 year left on his contract

Baggy_Gee's picture

Wow coincidence. The problem is Mark let's pick on a player, hypothetical called harred jayne, if he left with 2 years to go on his contract and did a year in another code, hypothetical the lfn, and then comes back, should the contracting club have to pay for that "missing" year and if so should that contract be binding that the return year has to be with them? Or should he be cut off and owes the contracting club upon his return if it is inside the period.

BigPeteBx's picture

Not a prob Christine with Des' spelling.
He was a good player and coach but also hassled a few.

Cheers and keep well
Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Nice to hear that Mark about Des.
He only left Manly, because he wanted more of a say. News never broke until after grand final, of his and Crushers departure.
I think he still lives on Nthn Beach these days and commuted.
Dean Pay should be good for Dogs, if he signs.
He is an ex Dubbo boy, played for both Dogs and Eels. I knew his brother from railway days, out on our T/Mgr gangs, as part of track maintenance, before Federal Govt privatised it all.

BigPeteBx's picture

I made it Thinker.
Been a few long days mate. I'm a glutton for punishment. Rather ineffective trying to type sitting sideways with leg raised.
Anythings possible!!!!!
Haven't sighted Scott M The Shark here - yet. Might be circling to see what I pick.
Yes, read and heard today that Manly might be getting there own JT.
Joel Thompson from Saints. But I thought M. Moylan from Penrith was also a target.
They can ask to look the books over and over, but don't forget that Manly had heaps to spare with retirement of Brett Stewart and Steve Matai.
Finger pointers are coming out of the closests, to brand Manly with an impending Cap Breach. I'd say the doors will be well open before opening time for the auditors, when/if that time occurs, over at Brookvale.
Keep well mate
Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Baggy, Mark and co.
Totally agree about contracts and a departing player before his expiration of a said signed "deal". Pay them for the time they are there. It gets me with this paying their final years out, to see them gone or they have left, for another club.
NRL Boofheads need to have this reviewed and reworded in ways.
Hell, did I see something at the start of the season where a player was signed for 5 years. Some of them don't last the time at a club like that, unless they've come through the ranks like Beaver and Snake and wanted to be one club players.
That'll do me, as I was upped for the rent about it before, by a certain Coach from Panther Country. For this exercise, I'll call him The Mulgoa Spud.

Cheers lads and good luck this weekend.
Big Pete

Steel Panther's picture

The Storm might be leading at half time but haven't they been ugly!!! Vunivalu should be crucified for that dropped ball!!

Steel Panther's picture

And Adam Blair is coming to the Warriors!! Brisbane you can keep him...


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