Finals week one

Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday night – Sydney Cricket Ground

This is the third meeting between our foundation clubs in 2019, which is unusual. It's also unusual that the Roosters haven't beaten the Bunnies this season, because they usually beat them at least once. The last meeting was only a few days ago, so it's a handy enough guide, although the Bunnies had more to play for and there's been some roster changes for this match. The Chooks welcome back Keary, Taukeiaho, Aubusson and Morris. The Bunnies have two Burgess brothers returning (Tom and George) but Sam is out suspended. James Roberts also returns from suspension and will slot in to replace the injured Gagai. Cameron Murray could be the form player of the NRL right now, and he's become part of a very dynamic attacking combination with Cook, Walker and Reynolds. If the Bunnies win they are the four that get them there, but I'm with the Chooks who are bringing back plenty of big match players and what looks like a slight edge in the forwards.

Verdict – Roosters by 4

Result – Roosters 30 defeated Rabbitohs 6

Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders – Saturday night – AAMI Park

While a loss doesn't mean the season is over for either side, you cannot underestimate the importance of winning a game like this – particularly for the Storm who can potentially make a grand final without having to leave Melbourne. Croft misses out for the returning Munster, who spent the week off retrieving his shoulder which was found several kilometres away from the point of impact. Neither side was super impressive last weekend against lesser opponents but at least the Storm won. That said, the Raiders bring back a whole bunch of proper first graders this weekend in Nicoll-Klokstad, Soliola, Bateman, Rapana and Leilua. The Green Machine will be heading to Melbourne free of fear, after running the Storm down in Melbourne earlier this season. I think they can do it again.

Verdict – Raiders by 2

Result – Raiders 12 defeated Storm 10

Manly Sea Eagles vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday night – Lottoland (probably)

In the 1993 film Jurassic Park, a team of genetic scientists create a wildlife park of dinosaurs on the island of Isla Nublar. Des Hasler, not afraid to think outside the box, has jetted over and brought back the T-Rex in his over-sized baggage. It's unusual, and potentially just a complete distraction, but Des has always been one to play his own tune. Speaking of dinosaurs, we're likely to have a current Prime Minister (No 1. Sharks fan Morrison) and a former Prime Minister (No. 1 Sea Eagles fan Abbott) in the crowd on Saturday night. Hopefully they don't start throwing asbestos at each other. At full strength the Sea Eagles would be a warm favourite here, but a string of injuries and a likely suspension for Taupau leaves Manly short of proper footballers.

Verdict – Sharks by 14

Result – Sea Eagles 28 defeated Sharks 16

Parramatta Eels vs Brisbane Broncos – Sunday afternoon – Bankwest Stadium

The Broncos have made the eight even though they lost more games than they won this season. Their points differential is 107 points worse than the team in seventh, and 388 points worse than the minor premiers. It doesn't read well, and their efforts in Sydney this season read even worse. They've won just one game in Sydney this season, by 2 points over the Sharks. In every game they lost they were flogged, including last week against the Bulldogs and in round 14 against this opponent at this venue. Yuck!

Verdict – Eels by 8

Result – Eels 58 defeated Broncos 0

Wally Lewis - week one finals selections (in bold)

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

  • ROOSTERS vs Rabbitohs
  • STORM vs Raiders
  • Sea Eagles vs SHARKS
  • EELS vs Broncos


The Thinker's picture

Greetings tipsters

For those of you that can't find the tipping form don't worry – you haven't lost your minds.

My Little Helper is beavering away in the back end to make it appear, but if you need to get your tips in before he finishes his beavering just put your selections for the four finals in the comments section and I will sort it out from there.

All the best

Thinker's Little Helper's picture

Aaaaand the form is now in place and ready for your collective wisdom. Enjoy.

The Thinker's picture

Aha nice work TLH....outstanding service as always.

I'll have my previews and tips published later today.

Buzz105's picture

Surprise, surprise, JWH doesn't even get a week. We may as well already hand the trophy to the Roosters, you know from now on every 50/50 call is going their way

Steel Panther's picture

Hey Buzz105....what team do you support??

Baggy_Gee's picture

I'm guessing, Eels, or Raiders.

Buzz105's picture

Being a Queenslander I'm a broncos supporter

Buzz105's picture

I'm not saying he should have coped an eight week ban or anything like that. It was a careless forearm that attacked the head, yes the player was falling in the tackle...I just thought a week off would have been a fair punishment

mark ashford's picture

Well well well
JWH escapes penalty once again. Kane Evans from the Eels gets a week for what I think was a lesser infringement. Which player has the worst record? Sorry Newbie but the Roosters are a protected entity in Sydney. Have they ever been looked at salary cap wise? I can't remember any investigations into them whereas most other clubs have been looked at. They either have the worlds best accountants or is there something else afoot.

mark ashford's picture

I agree with you, a swinging arm is a swinging arm. It's meant to hurt or disable a player and JWH is an expert at it. With his record a week or two should have been imposed.

Baggy_Gee's picture

It's the second time someone has run into Kane's chest and been knocked base over apex. And in relation to the swinging arm, it hit his shoulder and moved because Parker slipped over. But most team fall fouls of disgustingly bad judicial calls from time to time, maybe it was our turn.

christine's picture

Don't be silly anything roosters do is a tax write off you know that besides that what politis politis gets he has more say than the nrl ...

mark ashford's picture

I believe that what Nick Politis wants he gets. It will be a sad day for NRL when we find out exactly what influence this man has. It will come out one day via a journo or a whistle blower, but it will come out.

newbie from perth's picture

No need to apologise Mr Ashford. I was surprised JWH got off as well. I’d already assumed that he wasn’t gonna play this weekend but then he gets off. Hey I’m not complaining. I’d rather have him in for sure.

After being on here for the last 5 years (nearly 6) I'm starting to understand why so many people don’t like the Roosters. I get the impression they're not totally blameless but that'd have to be the board and their shennanigans wouldn't it? I don’t know enough about it all (I am from Perth don’t forget) and don’t mind in the slightest if people voice their opinions. That's how I get to know what's happening.

I still love my BBB and always will. You know how families always have a “black sheep” in their midst? I’ll just shrug my shoulders and think of Jared as one of those “naughty” family members 😞 No worries mate, it’s all good.

Anyhoo, I'm off to make a coffee and then I'm posting "War and Peace"... Cheers.

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

Big weekend here in Perth with my beloved Fremantle Roosters playing in their third-straight Grand Final up against the North Beach Sea Eagles. North Beach were trailing 18-20 last week with a minute to go but one of their fellas kicked long, beat the defender(s) to the ball and scored a try in goal to get them home 24-20. Bugger! Would’ve preferred to play South Perth but I’m hoping the extra week off we had will have us primed for 2 in a row.

Finals footy is finally here. All teams involved need to win obviously. Those from the top 4 need to win so they can get the extra week off and those from 5-8 need to win or else they’ll be gawn! Got to love the pressure eh? With only 4 games this week, my “epic novel” should, in theory, only be half as long. Let’s see eh? 🤔

Just a quick shout-out to Anon (would love to see you with an actual “moniker” next year bro’) about his post from yesterday (Tues @ 8:05) regarding “performance based contracts”. That my friend, is a really good idea. Well thought out and makes so much sense. Nice one!

OK, let’s get into it…

Roosters vs Rabbitohs 70-30 @ SCG
Bookies Favourite = Roosters

The Roosters were looking the goods in the first half last week but missed a couple of tries that they really should’ve got (Latrell Mitchell and Victor Radley). Then they let Souths score one in the second half that they shouldn’t have but hey, that’s footy. You have to take the good with the bad. That being said, I thought they should’ve been a little further in front but as it turned out they weren’t and the Bunnies stormed home over the top of them and got up 16-10.

Not too fussed about losing last week considering who we had missing. We should get Keary, Morris, Aubusson and Taukeiaho back this week and that will definitely help our cause. So too will JWH getting off at the tribunal Tuesday night 💪 Hopefully that loss last week will give them a “gentle reminder” that this is the business end of the season and they need to knuckle down.

The Roosters had 14 errors (not something I’m used to seeing or happy about), missed 31 tackles, conceded 8 penalties and made 9 ineffective tackles. And on top of that they were held scoreless in the second half 😪 As you all know, not many teams can have a scoreless second half and still win. Some do, but not many. Hopefully with players back and some extra drilling from Trent, the “negative” aspect from last week will be tidied up for Friday’s clash. On the plus side however, the Chooks forced 4 drop outs and had 37 tackle breaks.

Their usual “flair” in attack seemed missing for large portions of the game. They did pile on some pressure late in the second half but to Souths’ credit, they managed to hold the Roosters out long enough.

So, the Bunnies have beaten the Roosters in the first game of the season and the last game of the (regular) season. Down by 8 at half time, the Rabbitohs came back in the second and ran over the Roosters to win it 16-10. After looking gone in the first 40 they came out in the second half with more determination than the Roosters, defended (very) well and got a couple of tries in 5 minutes (to go along with the points they already had) that got them a deserved win, especially considering they were down to 12 blokes for the last 2-3 minutes of the game.

Really impressed with the game from Murray. Why oh why did Bennett shift him to the centres? Damn you Wayne! Damn you! The Bunnies win was even more impressive given the players they lost during the game. Nah, credit where credit’s due. They did remarkably well considering. Look, I have a lot of time for Sam Burgess (really I do) but his unfortunate “brain freeze” with the hair pulling incident had me SMH. Whaa? Really? Sam, do you not realise there’s cameras everywhere? You let yourself down there mate. Then again, his two brothers look like they’ll be playing (Tom named on the interchange and George named as a reserve) so that will surely offset Sam’s absence. Or will it? Hmmm.

Stats were (sorta) shared between the Rabbitohs and Roosters last week but of some concern would be the Bunnies’ missed tackle count (37), ineffective tackles (13) and errors (11). They did manage 31 tackle breaks though and had double the line breaks compared to the Roosters (4-2).

Final words - Don’t read too much into the Roosters losing last week people. The Chooks will know what they’ll have to do and hopefully they can reverse last week’s result. If not, they get a second chance. Trust me, they won’t need a second chance. Get the win here and have a week off. Mighty Roosters for me. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Storm vs Raiders 70-30 @ AAMI
Bookies Favourite = Storm

Yeah the Storm got home 24-16 last week against the Cowboys but were far from their usual best and looked flat in certain parts of the game. Maybe they were taking it a little easy in preparation for this week’s finals. Who knows eh? Even so, and I hate to admit this, they look the team to beat for this year’s GF. Big game from Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Ryan Papenhuyzen especially. And then of course they had Cameron Smith as his usual best.

Not quite sure why Papenhuyzen didn’t pass off to Vunivalu in the first half though. He makes an excellent break and has Vunivalu clear on his outside and he decides to go for glory instead? Too greedy perhaps? If he had of passed there was a certain try there. SMH right there. Other than that blemish, he was on absolute fire. Running for 284 metres says it all. I see the Storm are getting back Brandon Smith (must admit I’m a fan), Munster and Addo-Carr amongst others and that should bolster their chances here.

Stats-wise the Storm had 54% possession, 88% completion, 555 post contact metres, 38 tackle breaks, 90% effective tackles and they forced 4 drop outs. All this from a side who weren’t at their best. Look out Raiders!

As I mentioned last week in the Raiders vs Warriors game … “You’d have to think the Raiders at home will be too good. Yeah, Raiders for me. Just hope resting their “guns” doesn’t backfire!” Well, as it turned out, it seems like it did backfire. It seemed to me that all the “new blood” upset the Raiders’ balance and their attacking style of footy looked dull and somewhat flat in large portions of the game. Nice try from Oldfield but he did his shoulder in the process. Ricky will be spewing! Then on top of that, Hudson Young goes the eye-tickle! Like I said before regarding Sam Burgess, mate, don’t you know there’s cameras everywhere? Whether you believe his testimony or not, it didn’t look pretty and he’s copped 8 weeks for his troubles. Again I’m SMH!

The Raiders were leading at half-time last week courtesy of a try on the siren from Hodgson and looked like they had it in the bag when they were up by 8 with 12 or so minutes to go. Ricky’s “gamble” didn’t pay off and the Warriors stormed home and won 24-20. Now the Raiders have to front the minor premiers down in Melbourne which to be honest, is just a smidge harder than facing the Chooks in Sydney.

Stats-wise, the Raiders were pretty well beaten right across the board. Possession 44% (Warriors 56%), tackle breaks 29-40, offloads 5-20, missed tackles 41-29, ineffective tackles 28-12 and errors 9-7. Hey, they did manage to win the penalties conceded 7-8 though 😁. I reckon the Raiders only managing 1/4 conversions might’ve cost them the game. They’re gonna get tested this week and will welcome the return of CN-K, Bateman, Rapana and Soliola. I think Leilua returns from suspension this week too so it’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders respond with some big names back.

Final words – Last week might not have been their best effort of late but at home with players back, I’m assuming the Storm will get the job done.

Manly vs Sharks 45-55 @ Brookvale
Bookies Favourite = Sharks

Manly fans must be feeling absolutely gutted about the performance last week. Yeah, there were some mitigating factors involved but to be brutally honest, they never really looked like winning. A pretty average first half from Manly last week saw them trailing 14-2 at the break. Things didn’t improve that much in the second 40 and the Eels ended up beating them 32-12. Fonua-Blake was a shining light though. A really nice game from him with plenty of runs and offloads. One bloke can only do so much though.

More bad news for Manly as they’ve now lost Martin Taupau for a week after his high shot on Stone. Add to that they’ll be missing Sironen, Thompson and Paseka. I’m sure I read somewhere that they’ve lost 7 players to injury in the last week or so. Ouchy Mama! It’s that bad they had to apply for an exemption to bring Tony Williams into their squad for this week. I’m reading TW hasn’t played NRL since Round 8 last year! Geez Louise, they haven’t had much luck with injuries this year have they. Even so, they’ve done a whole lot better than most and it’s a credit to them and Des. Mighty effort playing finals though. They’ll show plenty of ticker this week no doubt.

No standout stats for Manly other than they had 45 tackle breaks (Eels 22) and only missed 22 tackles (Eels 45). Other than that, nothing really caught my eye.

After leading 6-4 last week against the Tigers, the Sharks came out in the second half and went “wooshka” and ran out 25-8 winners. Would never have imagined the Cry Baby slotting over his first ever field goal! Don’t get me wrong, he’s been a great servant to the game and he is actually a pretty good player but I just can’t stand his whinging and complaining on the field. I watch him on 100% Footy and quite like him (a lot of good points and knowledge of the game) but his “carrying on” drives me nuts!

Regarding last week’s game, both the Sharks and Tigers were fully aware that lose and finals were gone. The Sharks’ desire was obviously greater than the Tigers and that’s why they’re here this week playing Manly. Repeat that desire and the disciplined defensive attitude from last week and they’re a (very) good chance to get up here in this one. Possession at 52% only equated to an “average” completion rate of just 77% last week but they did manage 442 post contact metres. Unfortunately they missed 37 tackles, had 14 errors and gave away 8 penalties so they’ll need to tidy up in those areas for sure.

Final words – I’m gonna tip the Sharks (some may say obviously) but I wouldn’t be surprised if Manly’s intestinal fortitude and their home crowd made this a very interesting and possibly close game.

Eels vs Broncos 65-35 @ Bankwest
Bookies Favourite = Eels

The Eels were (sorta) impressive against an undermanned Manly last week and ran out comfortable 32-16 winners. They didn’t kick clear until the last 10 minutes though and most probably should’ve won by more. They set the tone early on and had 2 tries within the first 7 minutes. Great effort from Sivo (the new Semi maybe?) in scoring his treble of tries, running around 200 metres and managing 6 tackle breaks.

The Eels will be hoping their great winning record at Bankwest holds up this week. The return of Nathan Brown couldn’t have happened at a better time for the Eels. The Eels’ rolling style of play has served them well so far and they just need to bring that again this week.

Similar to Manly, no standout stats other than the Eels were a bit below par with regards to tackle breaks (22) and missed tackles (45). Again, other than that, nothing really caught my eye.

What can I say about the Broncos? Finish the regular season with more losses than wins and they’re playing finals footy. Not a criticism, just an observation. Hmm. They really needed to beat the Dogs last week in preparation for this week but got belted 30-14 instead. They definitely need to improve on that effort to be any chance of progressing further. I see Ofahengaue is returning from his calf injury so that will possibly help. The Broncos need big games from Haas, Fifita and Milford I reckon.

The Broncos’ effort last week was pretty lacklustre to be honest. Besides that 10 minute period in the first half, they just weren’t in the contest and the Doggies had them covered for basically the rest of the match. I mean, even Meaney outscored them. Seriously, the Ponies need to lift dramatically or it’s bye-bye birdie. They need to focus and somehow get their enthusiasm and belief back. They have the players (especially the big guys up front) to get this job done but for whatever reason, they’re just hot’n’cold. Only bloke that really had a good one last week was Haas with 226 running metres (I think) and 6 tackle breaks.

Last week’s “average” showing can be seen with only having 46% possession, 71% set completion, 56% kick defusals, 31 missed tackles, 16 ineffective tackles and 12 errors. The only positive I saw from last week was the 49 tackle breaks.

Final words – I think Baggy’s BOYS had a nice hit-out last week and playing this at the fortress that is Bankwest will be enough. Eels for me.

Let’s finish off with another “Song of the Week”…

Yeah baby, this be laid back for real 😍

OK kids, good luck with your tipping and if your team’s in the finals, may they win by 40 points! Unless they’re playing the Roosters that is 😁 Until next week people. Cheers.

newbie from perth's picture

Hells Bells! Just scrolled down looking at my comments above and I think Anon has a point. Geez it was long. I just need a job that pays a lot and involves me waffling on endlessly 😁 Peace...

Mary S's picture

Love it Newbie


Anonymous's picture

I have no issue with the length of anyone’s previews. I think it’s without much testicle to be critical of others and remain anonymous.

I am no relation to other anonymous fans that are like this.

I am not Eugene.
Or am I.

newbie from perth's picture

@ Mary …. 😘 😘 😘 Thank you young lady…

@ Anonymous (whichever one this is) …. 👍 👍 👍
Looking forward to seeing Eugene on here next year. Or am I? 🤗 Cheers bud…

manyana's picture

Hi everyone, well, the cotton wool that I call a brain, has now gone & hopefully the brain is intact. I'm starting to feel reasonably human.
Here are my tips for this week.
Broncos (I'll probably kick myself for going for the Broncos, but if they're ever going to get their act together, it should be this game)
Good luck to everyone. manyana.

Baggy_Gee's picture

This is the problem. Who is the original anon, and who are the new ones. Who is Spartacus?

a's picture

Yeah I wish Anon would go by his real name

It could be
The Joker
Spartan etc

Anonymous's picture

The fake anonymous maybe Eugene and I might be Brian of Nazareth and so is my wife but I’m pretty sure just like Nathan Brown it’s a former coach.
We do have something in common though he’s a potato and I’m smiths chip the original and the best.
It’s as obvious to me as
Fortress + spell check = Eagle Rocks.

Baggy_Gee's picture

No don't insult Eagle Rocks like that. Are you an individual Anon? or are you a very naughty boy? It should be a good weekend of football, Not sure how the BOYS are going to come out after the Evans debacle, but we have 3/6 against the Broncos, and we are better at home than away. Just going to go with the favorites this weekend, can't see any sandbagging to get a better draw, this isn't Badminton.

Esra Star's picture

Who was that masked man?

Esra Star's picture

Nah,mate. I reckon the horses are good things.

The Thinker's picture

For those who were wondering about Johnny Ray recently...I noticed the other day that he was logged onto the site. He didn't add any comments, which is a shame because he's brilliant, but he is still lurking around the joint from time to time.

All the best

christine's picture

That news just made my day even better we have got to get him back on here please if you do see him lurking around the site again can you drop him a message that we would like him to come back on here we all miss him thinker ...

christine's picture

"a" two names in that above list of yours are not right the other are two more likely Spartan is not a problem just different to what others are used too thats all ...

mark ashford's picture

I know who you are, so stop playing your games.

christine's picture

Thinker knows who is who on here & if anyone is on here that has caused trouble on the website in the past or even in the present the thinker will be judge & jury that's why he is the boss he has the final say on this site at the end of the day you can call yourself what you like but you can't hide who you are to the Thinker registers your name with your computers ip address so there is no hiding unless you get another computer then once you register a name on this site with that said computer it registers your user name to that computer ip address so the thinker knows who we all are there is no hiding ...

mark ashford's picture

I have tipped my Broncs with what will probably be their last game this year. Hey you have to stick with your team no matter what. If your Eels win then I hope they go deep into the finals.

mark ashford's picture

Just a thought on A nonny mouse.
For someone who has just surfaced this year he has an amazing knowledge of the potato man, fortress & eagle rocks, posters who have been absent for some time. He refers to posts from years ago with some accuracy. I know who you are Coach so why not declare yourself and rejoin the crew on here.

a's picture

Yes hopefully Johnny Ray comments again on here soon same as some other users we lost

Anony whoever you are you don’t have to hide your indenity we have no problem with you being on the site you know that right

newbie from perth's picture

@ Baggy – is it just me or do you and others have those annoying video freezes when watching highlights and replays on It seems 9/10 times the vision freezes (audio still runs) just as the try is scored or when the “highlight” happens. Watching that Steve Renouf video just reminded me of it. Missed half of his run 😣 Nor sure if it happens to others or whether the crap NBN forced upon us has anything to do with it. Meh!

P.S. The “anonymous” plot thickens. This is getting so exciting 🤪

christine's picture

as long as we don't go back to posting 400+ comments each week that are just stats & abuse because you disagree with someone else's team preference or choice & worst of all telling the thinker how to run his own website ...

christine's picture

It is official storm are the most hated team look at the article at the bottom of this page it says storm 25%,manly 15%,roosters 14% Cronulla 11% ...

christine's picture

thinker can you please keep the tweet feed up for me in the off season it is just something for me to look at least as boring as that might be to others on here so is a conversation with said family members , thanks for doing that thinker ...

christine's picture

my tips this week are roosters , storm ,eels , sharks yes I am tipping storm but I agree with the thinker I think raiders could surprise us on this one again & I would like to see it happen but I am playing it safe & tipping storm ...

christine's picture

guys I don't even have nbn as yet it still hasn't come in for us as yet ...

christine's picture

I have heard about all the problems you get with nbn but we still don't have it yet so we must be the last to get it is it really as bad as they say it is when you get it ???

newbie from perth's picture

@ Christine (and anyone else)…

Don’t know about anyone else but since I was forced to go with NBN (no-one has a choice once they roll it out in your area unfortunately), I’ve noticed my internet speed is slower and my phone keeps sending me notifications that my wi-fi is “unstable”. None of these 2 things happened before, only after getting NBN. Just another “let’s get this out there and not think it through properly” situation from our elected leaders. Ppptttt!

The Voyeur's picture

Hi all (in particular Christine)

Your comment re the Storm being the most hated team are quite interesting (especially since you previously had commented you hate the stats being on here) just being up front whilst I rate the Storm they are not my #1 team (that’s my disclaimer)....

Re the stat - any mathematical expert would tell you the poll is exceptionally flawed.......the bulk of the respondents in the sample are from Sydney, multiple that by the Storms success, divide that by the Sydney media’s campaign against the Storm and Smith = only 1 result.....oh and let’s add in selling news

I think you might need to have a wee cup tea and a lie down on this one.......

Baggy_Gee's picture

Never knew you where into Statistical discussions Voyeur, something else to look into?

The Voyeur's picture

More like into common sense spreadsheet needed to work that one out......

Anonymous's picture

That’s not common sense
If you have a poll and the majority of people polled are from Sydney only for fact they have the highest number of supporters it still makes the Storm the most hated team regardless
The only flaw I see is the Storms percentage is not higher
Did we really need a poll to state the obvious

Baggy_Gee's picture

Ahhhh, your a kill joy Voyeur, I had to have a think to make that joke. Lets see how the game goes tonight, especially after they met last week, and I think the 2 Burgess's who are in might over cook their hand and give away a few penalties from trying to make up for lost time.

The Voyeur's picture

Baggy I owe you an apology, missed the one liner, that was gold !!!!

Anonymous = I totally agree with you, yes the poll is correct, but would be like asking Poms who they most want to beat in cricket..........

Baggy_Gee's picture

It's all good, just trying to lighten the room up, I'd do it for nearly anyone in here.


NRL tipping is easier if you follow the NRL news