Finals week three

Melbourne Storm (2nd) vs Cronulla Sharks (4th) – Friday night – AAMI Park

The Storm are a very warm favourite, which is somewhat surprising given the Sharks have beaten them twice this season. The issue is how the Sharks beat the Storm, and whether they have a line-up that can win like that again. With Graham injured, and Gallen and Lewis racing the clock, the Sharks pack looks a lot less formidable than it usually is. Even if Gallen and Lewis play, the Storm will be nice and rested while the Sharks are travelling to Melbourne on the back of two tough games against tough opponents. Chambers returns to add some experience to the Storm backline. Cameron Smith will be playing with both eyes this time, and this is the last game for Billy Slater in Melbourne. It's not easy to win successive premierships, but the Storm look set to make successive grand finals – that's quite the feat in itself.

Verdict – Storm by 7

Result – Storm 22 defeated Sharks 6

Sydney Roosters (1st) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (3rd) – Saturday night – Allianz Stadium

Sometimes things happen for a reason, and in what is the last NRL game at this venue before it gets dismantled and recycled into a memory, we see the team that calls it home taking on the team that used to call this venue home until they moved west to the giant empty shell out at Homebush. The new Greg Inglis won't be playing given his suspension for a crusher tackle, while the old Greg Inglis escaped suspension for what (I suppose) wasn't a crusher it's out with the new and in with the old. The absence of Mitchell and the presence of Inglis can go a long way toward determining the outcome here. The Roosters prevailed when last these sides met and they should be nice and rested after the break. Cronk and Reynolds are obviously key. It was their composed responses late in games that saw their teams progress to week three – there's every chance one or both of them will be kicking field goals on Saturday night too. The Bunnies were able to shake off the off-field dramas last weekend but sometimes these issues take a while to cook. They might be nice and tender by tender they could fall apart. That Roosters defence has been tough to crack all season and I'll back their right edge defence to hold against that Rabbitohs left edge attack. That's the key battle I think. The winner there is the winner...and the winner is:

Verdict – Roosters by 1

Result – Roosters 12 defeated Rabbitohs 4

Wally Lewis - finals week three selections (in bold)

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

  • STORM vs Sharks
  • Rabbitohs vs ROOSTERS


The Thinker's picture

Here's a nice little stat for you to get your head around.

The Australian TV audience for the Dragons vs Warriors womens rugby league game on Saturday afternoon was 172,000.

The Australian TV audience for the Wallabies Rugby Test on Saturday night was 107,000.

Over to you Peter FitzSimons.

Brad S's picture

Geeeez, I’ve been concerned about the NRL’s poor crowd attendance for a few years now but at least we do well in the TV ratings.

Australian Rugby on the other hand has small crowd numbers and dismal TV ratings. Alarm bells must be ringing.

The Thinker's picture

Brad S

The NRL and crowds is an interesting one. People assume that rugby league peaked in the late 1980s, but the average attendance at the time was a little over 8,000. Back then most games were also played at a friendlier time to actually go to the game (ie not at night through the winter).

And remember that in the 1980s they only showed one game a week on the telly, so if you wanted to watch your team you (usually) had to go to the game to do so.

I still like to get to a few games every year, but the reality is it's a great game to watch on the box....and the drinks are cheaper at home....and I don't have to wear pants.

Brad S's picture

I’m with you there Thinker - I’ve only made it to a few games this year and agree that it’s a great sport to watch from the comfort of your own home. At the same time, it would be great to make the game day more experience more enticing for people to turn up to games. Whether that be having more games at suburban grounds for better atmosphere, cheaper tickets and food.

Over the last 10 years, 7 of them (only slightly) have had higher attendance averages than this year. I think improving this area should be priority over expansion.

Baggy_Gee's picture

I still think canning Thursday night football, the second game on Friday night and running 4 games on Saturday and 3 on Sunday afternoons. It is more family friendly and I would be able to attend suncorp games with the family as it wouldn't be 10pm finish followed by 2hrs home.

Esra Star's picture

And,,start the damn games at a proper time so the kids get to see the whole game instead of falling asleep by half time.

mark ashford's picture

Thinker & Brad S
The final series, what's left of them will be sell outs.
It's the other 25 games each year that concerns me.
Yes crowds are down, is it the cost or are fans just getting lazy.
Mum & Dad, 3 kids go to an NRL match, with the entry to the ground, not taking into account the cost of getting there and parking, snacks & drinks for all no change out of $200 at the least.
Sit at home and shout KFC for all ($20) a beer or two for Mum & Dad ($10 if they are behaving) a couple of lollies for the kids and you're under $35. Big difference when you're on a tight budget.
So I guess if you and your Missus enjoy a drink, get some ice creams in the freezer for the kids, a few beers in the fridge and watch the great game for free on #9

manyana's picture

Hi all, here are my tips for this week.
Thinker, I'll be away from 22nd to 29th September(cruise) & won't have any internet connection, so I won't know the two teams in the Grand final. I'll know the winner of the Friday night game, but not the second game. As the G/F is being held on Sunday 30th, could I put my tip in for the G/F on Saturday 29th when I get home?
Cheers, manyana.

Mary S's picture

Hi Manyana,
Have a wonderful time on your cruise!!

manyana's picture

Thanks Mary S. Don't intend on doing anything except get a suntan & reading my book, and eating of course lol.
Good luck with your tips.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Thinker.....The mind boggles!!! lol.

tigerholic's picture

Giddy Folks

Sharks and Roosters Grandfinal me thinks. Have great weekend folks, I'm off to Fraser this weekend for 9 nights(bloody hard life)

Thanks for another great year on this site Thinker, already looking forward to another year next year, hopefully finish ahead of Rocket and Tigergirl.

All the best

The Thinker's picture


Sounds like a great trip...enjoy. Thanks for all your contributions this season. Let's hope you are back up the top of the tipping comp next year where you belong.


Your trip sounds pretty good too...Have a great time, and yes, you can post your grand final tip when you are back.

All the best

mark ashford's picture

Have a great trip to Fraser mate. Are you doing the family thing or is it a boys fishing trip. Been doing Fraser for the last 20 years or so and still trying to work out the best time for the Tailor. Went early July this year to hopefully get some colder weather. We all got fish but nothing to write home about.
Can I ask a favour? Would you mind posting a fishing report when you get back. No doubt Thinker will have something up for the off season.
Cheers mate enjoy your holiday.

christine 's picture

Tiger enjoy your trip & hopefully we will get to converse in the off season if not again next year & if not till next year have a safe Christmas & new year for you & your family ...

a's picture

Tiger enjoy your trip

tigerholic's picture

Thinker, Mark, Christine and "a"

Thanks for the nice comments, we visited Fraser last year as a family and we rebooked as we left last year for nine nights, really looking to having time away with the family, work has been a drag all year and as I am saving my leave for my wife and I to do the camino in April next year and this will be the first break.
I'll gladly put up a fishing report, I have heard from a mate that came back yesterday that the tailor were biting at dawn and dusk, we are not huge on catching heaps of fish but would like a few. We are camping at the Cathedrals, is 3 cartons xxxx 30 cans, 1 carton bourbon and cola cans, some red wine(whilst cooking) and a bottle of american honey enough??

Might have to settle for the nice scenery that arrives in big busses at Eli Creek and Champagne Pools :)

Good luck to those in with a chance, talk soon.


mark ashford's picture

This weekend.
Storm v Sharks.
Storm are back to almost full strength in Melbourne. Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffmans last game in the famous purple colours. Lots of Sharks wounded after some torrid games. If Gallen doesn't play Fiffita goes to captain which will fire the big fella up. Storm at AAMI after a week off will be too strong for a tired Sharks outfit.
Storm by 12
Roosters v Rabbits.
When I first looked at this I thought Roosters but with Latrelle out it takes away a huge bite from their attacking left edge where he has been so dominate. Not sure who's filling in for him but he better be good. The Burgess twins have shaved their heads and big Sam is free to play. With Adam Reynolds kicking game, I'm going against the bookies.
Rabbits by 8

mark ashford's picture

The grog allowance seems to be ok.
Don't waste all that red on cooking, a slurp for the cook is allowed.
The wildlife at Eli is to be admired, just make sure you have your reflective sunnies on.
Have a great trip!

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Before I forget, congratulations to the Mighty Fremantle Roosters on winning the WA Grand Final last weekend. They beat the North Beach Sea Eagles 32-10 in a dominant display. If anyone’s interested, you can read it here: or watch it here (sound is absolute crap and not many cameras):

Hopefully that’s an “omen” for my BBB this year. OK, onto the “big boys”… Now there are 4, and they’re all looking to get themselves into the Grand Final. No second chance. No excuses. These 2 games will hopefully be rippers. Bring it on!

Storm vs Sharks 65-35 Friday night @ AAMI
The Storm will be nice and fresh after having had 2 weeks off following that “epic” battle against the Rabbitohs. They should be at full strength and will get Will Chambers back. They’ll be keen to not only get into the GF but to also exact some revenge for a couple of close losses to the Sharks this year. With Billy playing his last game at home, you’d expect the Storm to lift a little bit more for him. For the punters out there, it’s interesting to note that as home favourites (which they are here), the Storm are 11-3 this year. Compare that to the Sharks average 4-4 as the away underdog.

If the Sharks can replicate their form from the Round 22 win at AAMI and step it up just a tad, they’re a decent chance of upsetting the Storm here. What’s gonna make that a little harder is the fact that they’ll be missing Wade Graham as well as the question marks with “Cry Baby” (Gallen) and Luke Lewis as well. But hey, given the circumstances, if they’re even half fit I reckon they’d play. The Sharks did it tough against the Panthers last week but are still in pretty good form. Interesting to see who plays and who doesn’t. Given that the Storm are fresh and they’re at home, I’m on them to make it through. My main concern is what the “STAT ATTACK FINALS AFTER WEEK OFF” table is showing me (more on that below).

Roosters vs Rabbitohs 55-45 Saturday night @ Allianz
The loss of Latrell has me really worried. He’s such an integral part of the BBB machine and if we get done Saturday night, it’ll take me a long time to forgive him (for his over enthusiasm). On top of that, we also have Dylan missing. Another case of “over enthusiasm”? Or should I refer to it as “over exuberance without thinking”? He can be so frustrating sometimes. Anyways, no excuses, we’ll just have to do the best with what we’ve got. The last time my BBB played the Rabbitohs, we got up by a measly 4 points. It’ll be tough for my BBB to win this one (and I think they will) but there’s one thing that makes me feel a little bit more confident and that’s the “STAT ATTACK FINALS AFTER WEEK OFF” table I came across on the NRL website today. It shows that over the last 10 years, every single one of the First Preliminary finalists that had a week off, won through to the Grand Final. That’s not a “guarantee” by any stretch of the imagination, but it makes me feel a bit easier about our chances. Flawed logic? Possibly.

Not taking anything away from Souths but they just got home last week in an absolute thriller against the Dragons, who I thought were maybe a teeny-weeny bit unlucky to lose it. Bad mistakes (I’m looking at you Ben) cost ‘em any chance. Then again, Reynolds poppin’ over 3 drop goals was a joy to watch. When he’s on song, he’s remarkable. Again, for the punters out there, the Roosters have an 8-4 record as home favourites this year while the Rabbitohs are 1-3 as the away underdog. Just like the Storm, my BBB will be nice and rested and being at Allianz will be a bonus for us. I read somewhere that we’ve won 16 of our last 20 finals games there. So obviously, I’m gonna crow “Begurk! Begurk!” for one more week at least.

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and if your team is still in the race, may they win by 40 points!

It’s “Song of the Week” time again…

Ah, sweet, sweet memories. This one utterly blew my 11 year old mind! And still does to this day…

Cheers y’all…

manyana's picture

Thanks Thinker. I'm looking forward to the cruise.
Will check in when I get home.
Good luck to everyone with their tips.
Cheers, manyana.

a's picture

Here’s my tips

Storm 26 tires Curtis Scott 2 Jesse Bromwich Suliasi Vunivalu goals
Cameron Smith 5/6 Sharks 6 try Ricky Leutele goal Valitine Homes 1/1
Man of the match Cameron Smith

Rabbitohs 26 tires Greg Inglis 2 Jason Clark Alex Johnston Robert Jennings goals Adam Reynolds 3/5 Roosters 16 tires Nat Butcher Isaac Liu Jake Friend goals Cooper Cronk 2/3
Man of the match Greg Inglis

Steel Panther's picture

Hey Manyana hope you have a lovely time on your cruise!! Wouldn't mind a break right now myself lol. Still aiming for the Sunshine Coast late next February. Or maybe I should go some place else & check out this Fraser Island??? Sounds nice enjoy Tigerholic...

manyana's picture

Thanks Steel Panther, looking forward to the break. Hope the sea air helps with some of my health problems.

Depending how long you're going to be up here, you could check out Fraser Island. I'm sure Mark could give you more info in visiting it.
If not, there's still beautiful Bribie Island & coffee with people who will be happy to call you "friend".
Good luck with your tips.
Cheers, Manyana.

manyana's picture

Steel Panther, forgot to remind you to ask the thinker for Marks or my email address so we can arrange to meet when you're up here, or if you're on fb we could get in touch via messages.
Cheers, manyana.

christine 's picture

"a" Jason clark injured himself at training he's rolled his ankle & has to prove his fitness so he may not play it only happened at training today ...

a's picture

Well hopefully he's fit

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone. Sad to see the Dragons go last week. Was a great season and I'm incredibly proud of the season that we had. Hope for better next year. Pity on that last tackle play that ultimately gave the Rabbits the game. My tips for this week are:

Storm by 4 - With the week off, the Storm are going to be much fresher and with the injuries/possible injuries of the Sharks, I expect the full-strengthened Storm to get their way into another grand final.

And finally... the Roosters by 2 - Will be a cracking game of footy. I really do want the Rabbitohs to win to make it to the grand final, but I see the Roosters, with the week off going to be the fresher side and will get a hard-fought win over the Bunnies even though their weapon Lattrel is out.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's tips for this week. Roosters, Rabbitohs, Storm, Sharks fans on this site (don't think there's any Storm or Rabbits fans on this site from what I know), good luck with your teams for this week. Should be yet another cracking week of footy. P.S. for those going on trips, Manyana and tigerholic, all the best with your trip, enjoy yourselfs and remember, don't get into any trouble lol just relax and enjoy. Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mark ashford's picture

Fraser Island is one of the most amazing places in Queensland.
It is the largest sand island on earth and is heritage listed as one of our best national parks. By car it's about 3 hours north of Noosa, top end of the Sunshine Coast. There are 3 ways to access the Island.
1 you can fly in from Hervey Bay and land on the ocean beach very exciting but then your options are limited to a little on foot exploring.
2 You can catch the barge (walk on) from Hervey Bay to Kingfisher Bay Resort which is amazing but on the calm side of the Island. They offer all sorts of activities including 4wd tours of the Islands attractions and the eastern beach. Fraser being built on sand has incredible rainforests and fresh water lakes in it's interior. Nothing is cheap at Kingfisher but some think it's good value for the experience.
Google kingfisherbayresort for all they offer and costs.
3 By far the most popular is by vehicle barge from Inskip Point across from the Islands most southerly point. Inskip is just a little north of Rainbow Beach another beautiful spot. Going this way you will need a 4wd or won't be allowed (or able to get on) the barge.
4wd's can be hired at Rainbow Beach or you can join tag-a-long tours with heaps of backpackers. Hiring 4wds is expensive for obvious reasons and being in the back of a Land Rover with 7 female 20 year old Scandinavians may not excite you.
Hope I've been of help.

mark ashford's picture

Sorry my above post was meant for STEEL.

mark ashford's picture

Dragons Fanboy
Man you were home last weekend until that last play. Had you kicked deep Rabbits would not have gotten back for the last field goal.
As we both said the Dragons gave it a great shot without Widdop.
But that's footy and like my Broncs, we can both hope next year gets us a game or two further.

Esra Star's picture

Coming 10th in the tipping i don't have a lot to lose,so i am going with the Sharks and the Rabbits. Although i am a Storm fan the Sharks tip is one i probably still would have taken for this game.
Good luck everybody.

Steel Panther's picture


Many thanks for your post on Fraser Island. I've been checking it out on the net and it looks like a magnificent location. Sun and sand are definitely my thing. Kingfisher Bay Lodge looked awesome too but like you said quite pricey. I didn't realise it was quite a distance from Noosa. Maybe one day...

Hope you enjoy the footy this weekend!! Cheers

christine 's picture

My tips this week are
I know the odds say roosters but i have a feeling this is souths game good luck with your tips everyone ...

mark ashford's picture

There are affordable ways to enjoy Fraser. We take 5 to 7 guys for 8 days and it works out less than $400 a head plus your grog (a personal choice) This includes fuel allowance for the drivers, all your food and we eat well, barge fees, beach permits and fishing bait. Best thing is a house, sleeping up to 8 with hot showers, bbq and as it's privately owned we can have a fire after dinner or any time.
Let me know if you would like any more info.

Tuisova's picture

great game by the storm, unfortunately the sharks were really short handed and tired but they gave melbourne a good fight

calling a storm-roosters finals

a's picture

Good to see Sharks lose

BigPeteBx's picture

Good Saturday to you Tuisova.
Nice to see you here at Thinker site, doing some posting, which has been quite often more, than some in the past elected to do, once they signed up.
Yes, I went the same way as you have selected for g/final and I'm going back a few rounds now. Both teams had the players and dedication to go forward and grab this NRL Comp, by the throat.
Trick is, like Storm showed last night, get in front and stay in front. Admit Sharkies were a little under strength, tired or sore, but they did what they could and that is all a supporter can ask of them.

Whoever your team is at heart and if one of the remaining clubs - good luck. I can only look towards next year and hope that many issues get sorted out. Between Manly and Easts, they also have a strong NZ/Islander following, along with "some" Qld likeness, as I've noticed over the years. Many top line quality players came from those areas, to also play with some of our NSW NRL/ARL clubs.
Cheers and have a great weekend, where you live - Big Pete in Bx

BigPeteBx's picture

To you folks embarking on some quality time away with family, friends or other - have a great time.

To others, like I, relax by "the box" and watch the last of our NRL year, come to a close.
Grand finals everywhere this weekend and even in some lower grades tomorrow. We have some locals playing in Sydney lower grades. One is with Penrith against Cronulla in Jersey Flegg. Another, in the NSW Intrust Super Premiership grand final, when he lines up with Newtown Jets against Cant/Bank Bulldogs. His sister, is contracted to Sydney Roosters and his father (Bubba), played many a year with West Tigers. Apparently, Will (Kennedy) has been the clubs top try-scorer this year.

Then..........not far down the track, the track will be burning of rubber up here - with The Great Race on once again. Didn't this year fly past us!

Cheers, keep well and wherever u r, have a great weekend.
Big Pete

MGM's picture

Hi Thinker
I'm afraid I didn't get my tips in yesterday due to a bit of an emergency. I thought I could still tip today's game but but it doesn't look possible. You and I sit level at the moment so if it is possible to still get a tip in at this late stage I should go the Rabbits to keep our current tussle alive.
I completely understand if this is against the rules ... please forgive my ignorance of the rules and my tardiness.
Go the Bunnies!

The Thinker's picture

That's fine MGM....thanks for taking part

Anonymous's picture

The little prick busted our player’s shoulder with his illegal take out. He put our player out of the game, and out of the Grand Final had we made it. Dangerous obvious. Look at our player in a sling.

mark ashford's picture

There are some complete uneducated fools commenting on this site.

Mary S's picture

Succinctly put Mark!

mark ashford's picture

Of the two preliminary finals played this weekend Storm well and truly earned their spot in the GF. They were dominate over an understrength Sharks who gave their all. Billy Slater proved the superstar he is scoring and stopping tries. If the judiciary rubs him out it will be the worst decision in NRL history.
Roosters & Rabbits was an unbelievable game. I thought the chooks would struggle without Dylan Napa (who hates the Burgess boys) and Latrelle on the suspension bench. Boy was I wrong. Wahira Hargreaves and Toukaho (can't spell) gave it to the poms all night. Roosters were the best team and deserved their win.
Storm v Roosters...who will win...will be a great GF.

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Mark we sure were buddy. But yeah that's footy, who knows we could even see a Dragons-Broncos grand final next year. That would be pretty nice.


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