Finals week one

Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday night – AAMI Park

I'm sure the Storm could name a few other top eight teams they would rather be playing on Friday night, but there is one statistic that will fill them with a little confidence heading into their first final in season 2018 – the Rabbitohs have not won a game in Melbourne...ever. Of course the Bunnies would rather be playing someone else too, but their confidence can come from their comprehensive victory over the purple machine in round 21...just a few short weeks ago. The Storm did well in that game to not lose by more, but it was always going to be a Rabbitohs victory that night. What's more the Storm will be without Asofa-Solomona and Will Chambers this time around, while the Bunnies add Greg Inglis. Cameron Smith is (probably) playing with niggling injuries, and Billy Slater taking some personal leave means the start of their finals campaign has been a little disrupted. The Storm are the most professional club in the NRL, and I'd be a fool to suggest they can't overcome those sort of things, but I still have the Bunnies pencilled in as a 2018 grand finalist, and to do so they probably need to win this. It's time for the Bunnies to break their Melbourne drought.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 4

Result – Storm 29 defeated Rabbitohs 28

Penrith Panthers vs New Zealand Warriors – Saturday night – ANZ Stadium

These sides have already met twice this season for one win apiece, but rightly or wrongly I'll be using the round 24 clash (just two weeks ago) as my guide. On that occasion the Warriors were convincing winners by 36-16, and they led by 36-4 until the 70th minute. While that game was played in New Zealand the Warriors have been much better on the road this season, so the trip to Sydney doesn't concern me. Since the change of coach the Panthers have won two from four, but one was an extra time victory over the Titans and the other was against a vastly under-strength Melbourne Storm. It's not convincing...and I'm not convinced.

Verdict – Warriors by 10

Result – Panthers 27 defeated Warriors 12

Sydney Roosters vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday night – Allianz Stadium

It took the Sharks a long time to win their first premiership, and right now they have a team that is capable of winning a second. If they don't win this season they may not win for a while, because their premiership window is closing fast. Gallen, Prior and Lewis are near the end of their careers. Graham and Dugan can't keep getting strapped together forever. Andrew Fifita could combust at any moment. Valentine Holmes will, I think, sign a long term deal with the Cowboys from 2020. Their time is now, but are they good enough? These sides met just once this season and it was way back in round 5. On that occasion the Roosters prevailed 28-10 at Shark Park. The Sharks had their fare share of possession in that game but they couldn't find a way through the Roosters defence when it mattered. The one player that can change this game, for better or worse, is Andrew Fifita. If he has a night out the Sharks will win, but he has a lot more nights in. Like most people I'm expecting a bruising affair – it's what the Sharks do. No doubt the winner will appreciate a week off.

Verdict – Roosters by 1

Result – Roosters 21 defeated Sharks 12

Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons – Sunday afternoon – Suncorp Stadium

These sides met way back in round 1 in the very first game of the 2018 season, and hasn't a lot changed since then. The Dragons won in a canter that night, everyone thought the Dragons were the real deal again and everyone thought Wayne Bennett had lost his mojo (again). Bennett has heard that a lot over the years, and he's heard it several times this year, but in the last three weeks his team have beaten the top two teams in premiership betting and then put on a show for the locals by thumping the Sea Eagles. In doing so they picked up a home semi-final, which is pretty important in a knock-out semi and especially important when your opponent hasn't won at Suncorp since 2009. The Dragons have had a few wins in recent weeks but I still feel they peaked around ANZAC Day. Their strength is in their forwards but that's hardly a weakness for the Broncos, and this Broncos backline can rack up some points if they need to. Of all the games this weekend, this is the only one where a Dragons victory would be seen as a genuine upset. Good luck Ben Hunt...may your demons be temporary.

Verdict – Broncos by 16

Result – Dragons 48 defeated Broncos 18

Wally Lewis - finals week one selections (in bold)

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

  • STORM vs Rabbitohs
  • Panthers vs WARRIORS
  • ROOSTERS vs Sharks
  • BRONCOS vs Dragons


Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone, finals footy here we come. I'm extra excited and pumped about this year's finals series because of the mighty Dragons making this year. Hoping we can make it all the way but I doubt that will happen but I'm a believer and I'll be proudly supporting the Dragons throughout this finals series even if it means we'll lose in the first week of the finals. My tips for this week are:

Storm by 2 - This should be a cracking game and will set the tone for which should be one of the best finals series in a long time. I'm going the Storm to bounce back here with all of their troops back.

Warriors by 6 - I seriously think that the Warriors can go all the way this year, I seriously do. The Warriors will get be very desperate to win their first premiership this year. The Cowboys did it in 2015, the Sharks did it in 2016 and I reckon that the Warriors will do it in 2018. They're going to have to do it the hard way though and it starts here with a win over the Panthers. The only negative I have for the Warriors in their premiership aspirations is the lack of finals experience between their players which could lead them to getting knocked out first week but I'm sticking with my prediction for the Warriors in this finals series.

Roosters by 12 - Roosters to beat the Sharks at home here in what should be an interesting game of footy here. Wouldn't be surprised if Sharks win but they can't leak too many points here especially against a side with the attacking flair of the Roosters, they need to bully the Roosters, keep them in the grind and not let the game get away from them otherwise the Roosters surely win.

And finally... the mighty Dragons by 2 - I'm a believer. The game against the Knights lifted my spirits and confidence for the Dragons again in this finals series. I reckon we will win it here in a close one. If not, it was a good season for us way better than last year since we made it this year.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's tips for this week. Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

Just letting you know I am back in Oz....the current plan is to have my previews and tips for the first week of the finals published early tomorrow morning (or sooner if I can't sleep).

All the best

manyana's picture

Just for a change, I'm getting my tips in early.
For what it's worth, here they are;
Good luck to everyone.
Cheers, Manyana.

christine 's picture

Hi everyone just wanted to let you all know I might not be able to keep visiting the website but I will try to do so as long as I can my father & I are parting ways & it might be sooner than expected he just doesn't want to live with me any more even though I have a disability which means no computer to use but for now I will try to remain in contact because this site & the people on it are important to me it's my home away from home just wanted to keep you informed ...

a's picture

I'm very sorry to hear that Christine hopefully you can remain on the site Christine

Mary S's picture

Really sorry to hear your news Christine, and hope that it turns out OK for you.

The Thinker's picture


I hope things work out for you at home. The best of luck.


Christine 's picture

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts I appreciate it & I can still use my phone to post comments as long as I have it how ever long that may be ...

a's picture

Here’s my tips

Storm 19 tires Billy Slater Cheyse Blair Jesse Bromwich goals Cameron Smith 3/3 field goal Cameron Smith Rabbitohs 18 tires Angus Crichton 2 Robert Jennings goals Adam Renloyds 3\5
Man of the match Cameron Smith

Warriors 21 tires Adam Blair Ken Maumalo David Fusitu'a goals Shaun Johnson 4/5 field goal Shaun Johnson Panthers 20 tires James Maloney Josh Mansour Dallin Watene-Zelezniak goals Nathan Cleary 4/4
Man of the match Shaun Johnson

Roosters 30 tires James Tedesco 2 Luke Keary Blake Ferguson Mitchell Aubusson goals Latrell Mitchell 5/5 Sharks 20 tires Matt Moylan Sosaia Feki Edrick Lee goals Valentine Holmes 2/4
Man of the match James Tedesco

Broncos 32 tires Kodi Nikorima 2 Jordan Kahu Jamayne Isaako Corey Oates Anthony Milford goals Anthony Millford 4/5 Sam Thaiday 0/1 Dragons 6 try Jordan Pereira goal Gareth Widdop
Man of the match Corey Oates

manyana's picture

Sorry to hear that news from you Christine. Hope everything works out for you & you are back for next years competition.
All the best, Manyana.

Mary S's picture

@ Christine
Some years ago I saw the TV series Grumpy Old Men which I found hilarious at the time and thought - yes my husband is getting/thinking more like that!!

Not to be discriminating, the TV also put out the series Grumpy Old Women - and I related to some of the views being expressed!!

Now at 70+ myself, there are some opinions (not all) that I find myself more in tune with (at times).
Not sure how old your dad is, but he maybe he is more in tune with some of the various thoughts expressed at the moment.

Perhaps a point for discussion for you both, if you think it is correct/appropriate.
All the best,

mark ashford's picture

Dealing with ms is hard enough but now this.
So sorry to hear you and your Dad may be parting company.
You said this site and it's people are important to you, well let me tell you all of us want you here, just look at the comments above.
If there is anything I can do for you, let me know here or through Thinker. Keep your chin up mate, things will improve.

mark ashford's picture

The Grumpy Old xxx series were hilarious but you must remember it was all scripted and designed to give us a laugh, which it did.
Not sure how it relates to Christine's situation which is serious.
Christine needs to sit down with her Dad and work out a solution if possible. I think I know where you were coming from with maybe just trying to lighten up the whole thing.

Brad S's picture

All the best Christine. Hope you can both sort everything out.

Tailspin's picture

All the best Christine, hope everything works out for you.

Tailspin's picture

Here are my tips,
Bunnies by 7
Roosters by 1
Warriors by 13
Broncos by 34
My Cowboys are out enjoying a rest and getting pumped for next year, so I'm backing the Broncos to take out the trophy. A good ending for one of the funniest blokes in rugby league. Sammy.
Good luck everyone.

mark ashford's picture

Now for the finals.
Storm to get over the Rabbits. Storm at home and nearly full strength it's Storm by 10 points.
Warriors to beat Panthers. Maloney is not fit and Warriors have proved they are the real deal. Warriors by 6
Roosters and of the round. Both teams playing well.
Latrelle to score plenty. Roosters by 8
Broncos and Dragons. Broncs have the wood over the Dragons in finals.
Broncos by 15.
Good luck if your team is playing this weekend.

christine 's picture

To all on this site the situation between my dad & me is at a stage that can't be sorted out meaning the more I try to get him to realize what he is doing to me the more it irritates him so he does it more as an example for 3 years now since my mother died he has told me repeatedly I drove my mother to her grave & he means it but I didn't those sort of comments you can't take back but it isn't just comments there is a physical side to it to he has a temper which he can't always contain I used to get pushed around by him & hit when I was younger even in my twenties when he got angry but i'm starting to see that side of him again & unfortunately i'm going to probably have to go & live in public housing (housing commission) which really isn't ideal but even that there is no chance of get anything there is 59000 people on the list but because of my situation i'm hoping they have escalated my case to the highest level as of today & it's a 10 year waiting list but even priority list can take up to 3 years but my situation isn't really good the way it is so the possibility of public housing or though not ideal may be better than what i'm dealing with it's all mental abuse hence my reaction to coach in the past again thinker sorry for any trouble that caused for you on your website but due to my life I have had to learn to defend myself by speaking up but my dad hates that about me & he tells me daily he does care about me or for me & I make him physically ill just living with him so I can't do this I have to look out for me cause he isn't but even if I have to go elsewhere I will try to get a computer so I can continue with my footy & the website but i'm no good with computers when they break down or even setting them up me & technology we don't gel at all & again thanks for the kind thoughts it's nice to know someone appreciates me being around ...

christine 's picture

BY the way the previous post was supposed to say my dad doesn't care about me or for me that I make him physically ill living with him but if he can get paid to be down as my career then of course he 's my best friend because that gives him money & if i'm a member of a team any nrl team he will get in free because he is down as my career but I won't let him because of the way he is towards me a career is supposed to be 24/7 he works plays golf 4-5 days a week when he's not overseas travelling so he isn't entitled to it I do the shopping & the cooking plus he gets discount from my pension on his electricity he gets his house partly cleaned from my funding through ndis & he gets his lawn mowed due to my funding through ndis all because of my disability & yet he treats me like I do nothing for him anyway enough about him as you can tell the situation isn't just going to change there seems to be no solution to this mess ...

christine 's picture

Thanks for the offer it means more than you know & mary s no offence taken I know it was meant to lighten things up but seriously he used to have a really good sense of humour & my mum had none at all so he used to always take the p##s out of her when she didn't get his jokes by saying oh it's a location joke you had to be there to get it & my mum used to say to me but where is the location it always went over her head & she never worked it out ...

christine 's picture

Taka Do you believe the bulldogs should have got the fine they got for what they did on mad Monday ? Does anyone want to give there opinion to me on the fine bulldogs received ?

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Firstly, if I may, this little piece of advice goes out to you Christine. While it may seem scary with no hope in sight, this thing with your Dad might just be the spark that you need. Maybe the Universe (or god or whatever) is making this happen ‘cos it/he/she knows you are made of stronger stuff than you think. This could possibly be the making of a better and stronger “you”. Christine, you up for a challenge? Prove your Dad (and yourself) wrong and grab this situation by the you-know-what and give it the best shake you can. You may be pleasantly surprised at what happens. There’s no harm in trying, just tell yourself you will succeed and give it your best. Anyway, hope you don’t mind me butting in with my 2c worth. Just thought I’d get it out there. Believe with all your heart and it just might happen. Trust me, I’ve seen these transformations first hand. Get Strong Girl! Have faith…xox

OK, let’s talk some footy…

Roosters Minor Premiers? That, in theory, should never have happened. Stoked that it did though. The Storm had all but locked that one in but thanks to having some players out and the Panthers playing a solid game (and that was with just 39% possession and 32 missed tackles), my beloved Chooks managed to get the necessary points against the Eels (sorry Baggy) and snatch it away from the Purple Machine. Begurk! Begurk! Anyways, why don’t we get into it eh?

Storm vs Rabbitohs 65-35 @ AAMI
Didn’t realise the Storm had those players missing last week until I started watching the game. I’m led to believe 6 of them are coming back (and so they need to) so expect a better effort this week. The Rabbitohs were in devastating form last week against the Tigers. To be honest, I’m still trying to work out if it was a great effort from the Bunnies or a lacklustre one from the Tigers. With Souths ordinary away form and with players coming back for the Storm, I’m gonna have to tip the home team in this one. And another thing for you punters out there to consider. The Bunnies are (slight) underdogs in this one. As underdogs against the Storm, the Bunnies are 0-7. Yikes!

Panthers vs Warriors 65-35 @ ANZ
Penrith had a good win last week albeit against a somewhat weakened Storm. The Panthers clearly couldn’t handle the Warriors’ attack two weeks ago and more of the same might be heading their way this weekend. The Warriors are looking pretty good in this one and had a nice hit-out last week against the Raiders. They’ve won 8 from 12 away games this year so I have no concerns with them at ANZ. Just can’t believe they’re not favourites in this game. Maybe the Panthers’ effort last week is the reason. Who knows? Yes, I realise my "ratings" have the Panthers clearly ahead but it's the Warriors for me. Peow! Peow!

Roosters vs Sharks 60-40 @ Allianz
OK, the Roosters had to wait until the second half last week before the motor started to run properly. I’m glad the win didn’t come too easy (referring to the first half) as it made them focus and it forced them to make an effort. The Sharks did what they had to do last week (as usual) and they’ll probably be a handful for my BBB. I just hope they don’t play one of their “grinding” types of games. I’m also hoping they don’t repeat what they did to the Storm in Round 22. If so, we might find it pretty hard to get over them. Yeah, we beat them last time but as the Boss has already mentioned, that was back in Round 5. This is finals footy and both sides will want to go hard and get the job done. Should be a ripper! And yes, it goes without saying that I’m tipping my BBB. Begurk! Begurk!

Broncos vs Dragons 85-15 @ Suncorp
Those Broncos were absolutely relentless last week. Very, very impressed with their effort and that sort of form has me a tad concerned, as it should concern the other 7 sides in the finals. Considering their up’n’down form this year, it looks like the “Master” (Mr Bennett) has woven his magic just at the right time. I’m sure all you Bronco fans are feeling pretty happy at the minute. At half time last week I thought the Dragons were gone. Knights up 10-2 but to their credit, the Big Red V got their act together in the second half and steadily racked up the points to run out 10 point winners. I’m reading that Gareth is back for this one. Definite bonus for the Dragons but will it be enough against the “red hot” Broncos at Suncorp? Seriously, I just can’t see St George being in the contest here but you never know eh? Yeah, gotta go the Ponies.

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and may your team win by 40 points!

It’s “Song of the Week” time again…

This one goes out to my beloved Roosters. Ain’t no stopping us now! We’re on the move!

Cheers y’all…

christine 's picture

Thanks newbie I am strong willed but I'm not making excuses here as mark may know with ms when you fall & believe me you do fall your dead weight you literally can't get up on your own no one with ms can not only does it affect your central nervous system but it also affects your muscles & the last time I fell was Saturday last week I rang my dad but he was to busy playing golf so he sent someone else over to help me up after 30mins or more on the ground in the rain which scares me but it's not just that newbie I also face the possibility of choking when i'm eating yes I know that can happen to anyone but with ms your throat can close on you just from the ms there are a lot of things like that I face that scare the hell out of me that if that happens no one will be around to help me & even tonight my dad said to me I will face being put into special by the time i'm 50 well i'm 46 next march so that doesn't really help me stay positive I still walk I still drive I still shop & cook for him which I have done for 3 & a half years & my nuro tells me to stay positive not negative but when my dad says things to me like that how can I it harder than you all think but I do y best ...

christine 's picture

that was supposed to read I will face being put into special care by the time i'm 50 so believe me there are many times you just want to give up because this isn't living life & the more my nuro does to try to help me the more damage my dad tries to undo there work by being negative by telling me not to take the vitamins the nuro feels will help my ms by telling me oh don't take as many tablets to help with neurological pain & migraines as they say you should try to stretch them out more & more everyday no enough he gets me worked up because he doesn't have my problem oh I still face the possibility that I could end up in a wheelchair yet or having to use a bed sling just to get up or be put in a nursing home you know if I was an animal they would just put me down but at least I can still walk & drive for now but how long for ???

christine 's picture

The last time I grabbed something by it's you know whats it's I know exactly what happened but lets just keep things clean here for the thinker ...

newbie from perth's picture

@ Christine,

Yeah, hear what you’re saying. My previous advice was more to do with the “mental” side of things. If you get your head right and are happier in yourself, the physical side of things might be easier to bear. Now, I don’t know your Dad (obviously) but from what you’ve said, I really, really think you need to cut him loose. The sooner the better. All that “negative” crap is not doing you any good. Listen to your Nuro and not your Dad! Take the meds he’s telling you to. Who knows more about your health situation – your Dad or your Nuro? Easy choice.

I know this might sound a bit “iffy” and I’m not trying to be insensitive at all, but even if you do go into special care, at least you can be happy inside. I admit I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to live with MS (obviously) but just think if I had something wrong with me that I’d like to at least try and feel happy inside. I know it might sound a bit wishy-washy and “new age” but that’s how I see it. Take it for what it’s worth. But I will stress again that you need to get this negative influence out of your life. Look into getting involved with like-minded souls and others who share your particular condition. The physical side of things is what it is but why not start on the emotional side first and see what happens eh? Anyway girl, good luck to ya and start believin’…

newbie from perth's picture

Christine said:

“The last time I grabbed something by it's you know whats it's I know exactly what happened but lets just keep things clean here for the thinker ...”

Newbie’s reaction:

Ha-Ha! Still laughing. Nice one Christine. That’s brightened up my morning. Cheers…

a's picture

Christine I hope everything is okay

Nathan 's picture

I have mnd and live in public housing. I was prioritized and u will b 2.waiting list is 1 year. Check Ndis out

Christine 's picture

Nathan I've already been on the waiting list for a year and a half & I've been on miss since January last year & all the news does for me is I get lawn mowing for my father's house & home care & that is all nothing else ...

Christine 's picture

Nathan that was meant to read I have been on miss for more than a year & I only get lawn mowing & home care through them & that's all ...

Christine 's picture

Sorry for the double post & newbie thanks for the advice I do appreciate it but something's are up to fate , or the powers that be that crazy cosmos of ours doesn't always give us s choice sometimes it's on our side & sometimes it's against you but you can't help the cards in life your dealt but I always seam to be playing with a stacked deck not in my favour anyway enough about me ...

Christine 's picture

"a" thanks for asking yes I'm coping but the situation is very draining which doesn't help but hey the footy is on tonight that should help but I will put my tips in later today...

christine 's picture

My tips this week
good luck everyone with your tips ...

christine 's picture

I choose to make a particular point that there is one person on this site by the name of mary s that keeps a level head & isn't afraid to speak up for herself or anyone else for that matter & for that mary s I appreciate you being here so thank you ...

Mary S's picture

It's a pleasure Christine - thank you.

Glad to see you got your tips in - going to be an interesting weekend.
Wonder what upsets we have!!!

tigerholic's picture

All the best Christine, hope it works out for you. Stay strong.


tigerholic's picture

Come on Tiger Girl, where are your tips, seems a bit cagey or are you using a new strategy?


mark ashford's picture

Mary S
Just reread my post to you and realise it seems a bit critical.
Was never my intention good lady as your intentions were admirable.
None of us know Chris's Dad but from her posts and her age declaration I assume he is in his early 70's which is when some of us males reach the "grumpy" stage of our lives. (not me of course)
I apologise unreservedly if I offended you.

mark ashford's picture

You asked a question about the Bulldogs.
Yes I believe the fine is correct. Their behavior was terrible.
The Dogs have a history of playing up especially under Hasler.
I understand players like to let off steam after seasons end.
Getting nude on balconys, vomiting and passing out in the street is not on. Management should have bused them to some remote site to let the boys get drunk and silly. The Rocks is not a remote site.
My opinion only.

Brad S's picture

I just changed my tip from the Storm to the Rabbitohs. It's hard to tip against the Storm when the Rabbitohs have never beaten them in Melbourne but I've got a feeling the Bunnies will be up for this one tonight.

mark ashford's picture

Loved the disco era mate.
Flaired pants and platform shoes.
But that song belongs to the Broncos who are coming to get you!

TigerGirl's picture

@ Tigerholic I’m doing the Nana thing this weekend. 20 mth old and a 4 year old kinda got my hands full.
@ Christine stay strong we are always here to support you in anyway we can.
Tips are in though. Changed them about 10 times in my head and on paper before I finally said enough thinking and over thinking. ????
Annoyed that last week I didn’t do my homework enough with the storm game had I known they had 7 out I probs wouldn't have backed them.
Good luck to those who have a team playing this weekend????

NuL1F3's picture

A bit late but:

Mary S's picture

Hi Mark,
None of your comments on this site have ever offended me, nor I suspect, ever will.

Like Christine, I look at this site like having another family. One where there is a common interest in rugby, but also differences of opinion that can be disagreed with or lead to further individual thought, music appreciation (or not!!!) and general good-natured banter.

If appreciated, and I do, all of those things are priceless.
Cheers to all.
Back to watch the game

Steel Panther's picture

The Storm getting done by some terrible calls tonight. Two disgraceful decisions have cost them tries...

Steel Panther's picture

The Storm prevail. It would have been a crime if they had of lost that. Refs made two bad calls that resulted in Bunnies tries. Scott penalised for taking the player over the side line when momentum did and then forward pass my a$$ Vunivalu to Slater!! Overall a great game...finals footy off to an awesome start!!

Mary S's picture

Agree with you Steel - one hell of a game.

Be a few bodies that will enjoy having a week's break I suspect!!!

The Thinker's picture

Cracking game that one. Wow!

a's picture

What an amazing game of football


NRL tipping is easier if you follow the NRL news