Finals week two

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles – Friday night – ANZ Stadium

This is the third meeting of these sides this year, and thus far the teams have won one game each, and on each occassion the margin was a solitary point. That would indicate we are in for another close contest here. I'm looking to the most recent contest between these two, which was in round 17 when the Bunnies prevailed 21-20. Note that the Sea Eagles scored more tries in that game and the Bunnies didn't score any tries in the second half – it was the kicking boot of Adam Reynolds that got them over the line. The other thing to be mindful of when looking at that round 17 game is how the playing lists have changed for both sides. Manly have added Koroisau at dummy half which is a positive, but they are without Thompson and Sironen in the back row (not that their absence stopped them last week). Perhaps more importantly, here are the players for the Bunnies on Friday that didn't play in round 17:

  • Alex Johnstone
  • Sam Burgess
  • Tom Burgess
  • George Burgess
  • Ethan Lowe
  • Mark Nicholls

That's five very handy forwards and a very dynamic finisher. The return of Taupau for Manly is a huge inclusion, but it looks like the Bunnies have an edge in the middle. If the Rabbitohs forwards can keep it simple and win the yardage battle, I expect Cook, Murray, Walker and Reynolds to get the job done. This is just the second time Manly have played at ANZ all season, and their record at this ground in recent years has been poor.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 8

Result – Rabbitohs 34 defeated Sea Eagles 26

Melbourne Storm vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – AAMI Park

Teams don't crack the 50 point barrier very often. It's only happened four times all season, and the Eels have done it twice. Their 58 points over the Lightning Link Broncos is the equal second highest score for the year. That's the good news. The bad news is that the highest score this season was 64 the Storm...against the Eels. The Storm did that at a neutral ground (although it was at Suncorp where the Storm seem to perform better than at home). I'm not suggesting for a minute that we will see a repeat of that on Saturday night. The Eels were terrific against the Broncos and they have to be heading south with a spring in their step. But the Storm are not the Broncos, and I expect their preparation will be absolutely professional. The Storm have lost just five games all season and the margins in those games have been 1, 2, 1, 4 and 2. I was deluded enough (even if I was right) to tip against them last weekend, but I can't tip against them this time.

Verdict – Storm by 4

Result – Storm 32 defeated Eels 0

Wally Lewis - week two finals selections (in bold)

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

  • RABBITOHS vs Sea Eagles
  • STORM vs Eels


newbie from perth's picture

Finally! First time ever that I've managed to be the first to post a comment 💪 That’s it, just wanted to say that. Don’t worry, I’ll be back later with this week’s prognostications but thankfully there’s only 2 games this week so it’ll be a nice short 10,000 word submission 😁 Take care peeps….

newbie from perth's picture

I get the second comment as well ... Mr Thinker Sir, you've got the Roosters playing the Rabbitohs at the top of the page. Yay! that means we'll win it 😁 Cheers Boss...

a's picture

Ive got the third It should be an interesting round of football

Esra Star's picture

Hey there Mr Thinker.
Is that draw you have posted right? I thought Souths were to play Manly?

The Thinker's picture

Apologies Newbie and Esra

A hangover from week one...I have amended it now.

All the best

The Thinker

Esra Star's picture


Christine 's picture

Mark I bet your not happy that the broncos players were as t a pub playing ponies till late hours the night before the ET e game again eels I bet the coach is even less impressed by it all too my one player has been told me is no longer needed to look else but I bet that is just the start of it ...

mark ashford's picture

As usual the media is going apeshit over this, mainly the NSW media.
As more info comes to light the Broncs were just playing the pokies and only one drinking. Either way the NSW media who broke the story need to have a look at themselves and truthful reporting, something the NSW media has trouble with.

mark ashford's picture

To All
The Broncos have a lot to answer for with that record losing effort to the Eels. How about we await the Broncs end of season review to see who has been naughty and who has been not. It will come out I can assure you.

mark ashford's picture

I know your probably salivating about the Broncs loss and the latest news. The season is over for both our clubs so how about we wait until next year to see how we go head to head. I'll look forward to going head to head with you over our clubs, will be fun.

christine's picture

mc cullough ha been told he can look elsewhere ...

christine's picture

the media reporting is fox sport league ...

Baggy_Gee's picture

Theres not a lot to say about the Broncos till the review is done. It's the same as last year's with the BOYS. Nothing to talk about till it is settled and makes sense. Look at the result, Staffs could stub his toe and the media would try to read into it. I'm sure the true Broncos fans will let us know the truth vs the lies.

newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

For once I don’t have much to say leading into the comments so what about this:

Saw this on Reddit, no sound but (mildly) funny. You’ve all most probably seen it but for those that haven’t, do you wanna waste 40 seconds of your life?

OK, let’s get into it…

Rabbitohs vs Manly 55-45 @ ANZ Friday Night
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

The Roosters simply outclassed the Rabbitohs last Friday night and were convincingly beaten 30-6. They were put on the back foot from the very start by the Roosters’ speed in attack and enthusiasm. Instead of beating the Roosters like they did in Round 25, they got smacked and now face a do-or-die match here against Manly. Can they turn last week’s rather lacklustre effort around and progress?

They had an absolute horror start to the game when Alex Johnston knocked it dead with the Bunnies’ first touch from a Roosters kick at the 50 second mark. And it didn't really get much better after that. Wouldn’t have thought the Rabbitohs would suffer from finals nerves but maybe they did. Not sure. OK, the Rabbitohs didn’t have Big Sam or Dane Gagai but that surely wouldn’t have had that much bearing on their poor showing would it? I reckon Bennett putting Doueihi on the wing had more of a negative impact actually.

A much better showing from the Rabbitohs in the second 40 but they never really looked like they were going to threaten the Roosters. If they didn’t know the game was lost then they must have when Mitchell scored in the 58th minute. They did manage to get on the board when Reynolds scored in the 64th minute but in all honesty, they should never have scored that one had the Roosters not displayed some lazy defence. But hey, it was a nice offload from Sutton (they’re gonna miss him next year) and some nice footwork from Reynolds nevertheless.

The Bunnies needed to stop the onslaught in the second half and they succeeded. They won on the scoreboard as well so they should take some comfort from that. They know their first half was unacceptable so now all they have to do is rectify that to get up in this one.

This week they’ll have Big Sam back (I would expect he’d be all fired up too) as well as Gagai so those two fellas should bolster the Bunnies’ chances. Forget about last week, get focused and show a little more intensity and get the job done. That’s all that’s needed. Footy’s only hard if you make it hard. The Bunnies have the firepower to get this done if they can tidy up the errors from last week.

Obviously their stats weren’t good last week. They only had 42% possession, 66% completion and a paltry 57% kick defusal. On top of that they ran 550 metres less than the Roosters and had 200 less post contact metres. They shared the errors (11-11), penalties conceded (4-5) and missed 30 tackles.

Shock and awe! Manly simply made all those doubters (me included I have to admit) eat some humble pie last week. They just came out against all odds and ambushed the Sharks 28-16. Yeah, the scoreline doesn’t really show it but the Sharks got smacked.

The Manly attack was determined and consistent and they thoroughly deserved their win. What made it more admirable was the sheer number of players they have missing at the moment. There’s that never-say-die attitude for you. Now they have to go again, this time against the Bunnies in sudden death.

Absolutely awesome game from Fonua-Blake. He put his hand up and covered well for Taupau. He was just so dominant last week and ran for 187 metres, scored a try and made 7 tackle breaks. And then they had Moses Suli giving the Sharks someone to worry about a lot of the time. He ran 177 metres (only 10 less than Fonua-Blake) and he too made 7 tackle breaks and scored a try. Last but not least there was DCE. He set up a couple of tries and his kicking game was on point. Just a good all round effort.

Pretty good stats from Manly actually. They managed 54% possession, 454 post contact metres, 7 line breaks, 43 tackle breaks and they kept the missed tackles down to 16 (Sharks 42).

Manly proved to us all that even without Turbo Tom and the other 625 players they have injured, they can still draw on that Manly spirit (where they get it from I don’t know) and win the unwinnable. They did beat Souths back in Round 4 but that was a long time ago and pretty sure not with the players they have this weekend. A positive for Manly here is the return of Taupau this week. He will (or should be) all rested and fired up, raring to go.

Final words
I’m actually torn here with this one. I’d love to see the Manly “dream” continue to progress and I’m not really convinced on Souths to be honest. But I have to pick someone so I might just go the Rabbitohs. 🐇 🐰

Storm vs Eels 65-35 @ AAMI Saturday Night
Bookies Favourite = Storm

Well, once again the Raiders come down to Melbourne and knock off the Storm. This time they got up 12-10 in a really entertaining and tough encounter. I thought the Storm seemed to have the match in the bag until Bateman broke their hearts. Poor ol’ Addo-Carr drops his lollies and Canberra scoop it up and score the winner with minutes to go. Ouch! So instead of having a week off, they now have to front up against Baggy’s BOYS.

How that touch judge ruled Vunivalu out beggars belief. If it was up to me I’d send him back to the bush for a year. Mate seriously, you need to go to SpecSavers! I’m not saying the Storm would’ve necessarily won but you never know. 90 seconds to set up one last hurrah or maybe earn a penalty. It’s all irrelevant now anyway. I think on balance, the Raiders deserved to win.

The Storm weren’t their usual self in the first half but came back in the second and eventually got out to a 10-6 lead. With only 3 or 4 minutes left you would’ve thought that’d be enough to see them home but those Raiders had other ideas and just kept pushing until they managed (through a bit of luck) to finally get up over the Storm 12-10.

Impressed with the defensive effort from the Storm (and the Raiders as well) and they’ll need to carry that forward to this week’s game or else those rampaging Eels might just do a number on them. All in all, it was a great game of footy to watch and the Storm definitely had their chances but for whatever reasons, they couldn’t quite get the job done.

A lot of the stats were pretty much shared (as evidenced by the close score) but the Storm will need to work on the little things (missed tackles and errors in general) to fine tune for this game against the Eels. As we all know, the Storm don’t lose too many games in a row do they. Plus, they’ve beaten the Eels in the last 3 encounters. Mind you, the Eels weren’t in the same form on those occasions as they were last weekend. Hmmm.

What the hell happened last week at Bankwest? The Eels ran riot and broke records all over the place. To win a final 58-0 just freaked out my tiny little brain! How do you score 24 points to nil in the first half and then score 34 points to nil in the second? They were simply outstanding and basically won every aspect of the game. No disrespect intended but if that was a prize fight, the referee would’ve stopped the bout after round 2 or 3. The Eels missed 4 conversion attempts along with a missed penalty goal so it might’ve been even uglier for the Broncos if Moses had his kicking boots on.

Parramatta dominated field position and had the match pretty much under control the whole time. They were simply irresistible one could argue. They were basically doing as they pleased against the Broncos and it got so bad I was hoping so very hard that the Broncos could just score something for the day. I’m still unsure whether this failure to score was due to the Broncos having no idea on how to counter the Eels or whether it was due to the Eels just being totally on song.

I’m worried that they may have played their best football last week to be honest. How do you improve on what they did last week? And will they be able to carry last week’s form forward to this week against the Storm? Big questions I wish I had answers to. Having said that however, if they bring half the speed, intensity and enthusiasm to this week’s game, they’re a chance I reckon. A couple of their big fellas caused a bit of havoc (Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown) and first class efforts from Moses and Gutherson highlighted the gap in class last week.

As the score showed, the Eels racked up some pretty impressive stats last week. Possession at 66%, completions at 82%, total metres run 2107 (Broncos 813), post contact metres 587 (Broncos 236), line breaks 10 (Broncos 2), 41 tackles breaks and 100% kick defusal. Them’s good numbers people. I can see the Eels really testing the Storm in this one if, and only if, they bring all the positives from last week into this game.

Final words
As good as Baggy’s BOYS were last week, I’m finding it hard to imagine they could top that effort, especially against much better opposition this week. I reckon the Storm will get up here.

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

I’m lost for words … 😢

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

Christine 's picture

mark I know it was only one person that was drinking the article stated that so I didn't say anything wrong but maybe if they were not out till 11.00pm that night before the game the result may not have been that way is all I wS trying to say joey johns wants broncos to buy seizer from raiders he would be a good buy...

Christine 's picture

My father has a bet on storm to win the grand final so I would lovdvto see raiders win it only too upset my father's bet not for an other reason mark OK I wonder if johnny awesome had surfaced yet seriously I would love to see the Viking clap if raiders did win a Grand Final I don't think johnny see awesome would surface for a year he would still be celebrating the whole time...

Christine 's picture

I wonder what happened to the annoying devil he just disappeared too devil if your still lurking around call in before the big show & let us know your around & pabdul you too you both have gone silent ...

mark ashford's picture

Hi Chris
The Broncos players were all called in today for their end of season reviews. So far club management has not released a statement.
I hope the truth comes out in the next couple of days.
The Eels were red hot on Sunday, that can't be denied but the Broncos looked like they just wanted to get on the plane home.
Will heads roll? Maybe only time will tell.

christine's picture

mark there is another article today claiming darius is not needed for the opening round next season it says darius is not part of there future I hope for darius sake it isn't true I don't think that will be good for him mentally ...

BigPeteBx's picture

Hello Christine.
Both Pabdul and TAD flew the coop here, as did Screaming Eagle who I saw on another site, that I read comments on.

Pabdul an old Easts boy, could at least poke his feathers in here and say hello now and again. They must be still getting over that night out at ANZ last year, where they met and enjoyed themselves.

Cheers - Big Pete

BigPeteBx's picture

Hello Chris - again.

With Canberra being Johnny Awesome's second club, I'd reckon he'd be doing cartwheels down the hill at Parliament House.
I know he's had a fair whack on his plate of late, plus he lost his prized possession (car), when he was rammed by hoons/louts when close to his home after returning from around this way in Cent West of NSW.

But Johnny is strong and reads here when he can, with also going to work. He is still tipping with us here and that's a plus, as that way we know he is still upright on this planet.

Cheers - Big Pete

christine's picture

big pete
Johnny awesome has surfaced he has put his tips in for this week I know he lost his car I have spoken to him since then in regards to what happened, I hope his daughter is going ok I know she went to hospital with all that happened & I hope johnny awesome gets some justice going his way the police can work these things out from marks on the road & damage done to vehicles & witnesses they can also work out the speed the car was travelling at the time of impact they have there way of doing things so leave it up too them that's there job insurance can too it all plays a part when there is an accident be it your fault or not by the way stay warm I bet it is cold were you are right now ...

manyana's picture

Hello everyone, there were some interesting comments and outcomes to some games this week. I can't say i'm too sorry that I couldn't comment, as things seemed to be getting pretty heated. My computer had a virus & I didn't want to spread it to anyone. (Read the comments after the virus was fixed. It was a nasty little devil & proved to be hard to find, but all good now)
My tips this week are:
Good luck to everyone.
Cheers, manyana.

Steel Panther's picture

Hey Manyana
I trust you are all good and life is treating you well on Bribie!! Hoping to catch you next month in Mooloolabah but will understand if you're not up to making the trip. I can't wait to get away from the rain. Auckland had rain 29 out of 31 days last month and not much has changed in September!!

Look after yourself!!

Baggy_Gee's picture

Hope you bring the rain Steel, she's a bit dry at the moment. When was the last time that the finals were this open? With the exception of the Bunnies, all teams are on song and close margins. Everyone keeps bringing up that we needed a hard game v the Broncos, but I'm glad we didn't. To many times a team plays their "GF" only to fall in a heap the next weekend. This is our minimum GF this weekend. Time to rip it up.

Steel Panther's picture

I'd gladly bring some Baggy. The rains came late here this winter but as soon as the date clicked over to 1 August the rain hasn't let up. One of the down sides about living in Auckland. This is why I chase the sun haha. Next month I'm making my 3rd trip to the Sunshine Coast in 18 months. Have fallen in love with the place and will be catching up with that fine gentleman Mark Ashford and with a bit of luck young Manyana too.

Good luck to your BOYS this weekend!!! Warriors ladies playing the Dragons at Mt Smart on Sunday I think.

manyana's picture

Hi Steel Panther, looking forward to meeting you next month. I've promised Mark that I'd wrap myself in cotton wool about 2 weeks before you come over so that I'll be able to make the trip to Mooloolabah. Good luck with your tips this week. BTW bring some of the rain with you. Bye for now, manyana.

mark ashford's picture

We're lunching in about a months time. Manyana has promised to join us. Mate don't bring the rain with you as that will spoil your holiday. Please send it NOW as we are desperate for it. Bushfires are settled for now and hopefully under control. The Boffins are blaming climate change and yes it's a bit hotter and dryer than normal but the real culprits are firebugs, some teens and others have been charged.
Can't believe the mental state of these people. Do you have this problem in NZ?

Steel Panther's picture

Evening Mark
It's never dry enough here in Auckland to have the bush fire issues you have. Yea there are some parts of the country that it happens in but not to the extent you experience in Australia. You know I'll be disappointed if it rains while I'm there. I'm coming to escape the rain haha. Really looking forward to catching up again.

christine's picture

There is another article tonight about broncos with seibold going to weild the axe but I am not touching this one just wait to see what comes out from it all when he meets with or addresses the board on Friday so I am not seen as being the bad guy ...

christine's picture

I hope you are feeling better now don't worry mark & myself are fine we are not arguing I think we have a better understanding of each other than that even though we have never met I have always given mark more credit than that , all is good ...

manyana's picture

Hi Christine, yes I'm feeling a bit better now. How are you going?
Glad you & Mark are all good.
I'm looking forward to the finals & Grand final, I think It's still an open book, so we'll have to wait & see.
Enjoy the rest of the footy season.
Bye for now, manyana.

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone, hope you all are well and are having a great week thus far. Sudden-death footy galore coming up. We had two very interesting elimination finals matches results wise. Now, it's do-or-die for every team. My tips for this week are:

Rabbitohs by 4 - The margins that the Rabbitohs and Manly have been apart of head-to-head this season were both 1. Yes, in rd 4, Manly got an upset win over the Rabbitohs 13-12 at Brookie. And in rd 17, this time at ANZ, the Rabbitohs got a 21-20 win over Manly. An interesting stat to know is that Manly haven't won at ANZ in their last nine games, their last win there... was against the Bunnies in a PRELIM FINAL in 2013 where they came out winners 30-20. That occurred on the 27 September 2013, one week to the day 6 years ago. Both the Rabbitohs and Manly have some key inclusions back with Mabnly welcoming back Taupau and the Rabbitohs welcoming back Sammy Burgess and Gagai. All of these three are key inclusions in their respective sides and will surely make a difference in their respective sides. Now, who I think will win this do-or-die match, it's the Rabbitohs for me. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Manly get up in this one to continue on their finals run, but I think that Wayne will lift his boys up for this one and they'll bounce back from their horror last week, particularly in the first half, at least they won the second half. Expect Des will lift his boys up as well as he has done well throughout the season. So the preparation for these two sides are key, use the Eels-Broncos for an example. Will be another cracking game and another close game between these two brilliant clubs, but in the end, it'll be the Bunnies who end up on top to extend that losing streak at ANZ for Manly to 10.

And finally... Storm by 8 - Geez weren't the Eels bloody amazing last weekend against the Broncos. 58-0!!! Yes, they beat the Broncos by 58!! And no it wasn't in a regular season match, it was in an elimination final, a DO-OR-DIE game for god sakes. A worry for the Eels is that they may of played their grand final last week. Surely they can't go much better than they did last week, at least half of that is probably needed if they're going to beat Melbourne because we know that maintaining that sort of performance is very hard and the Storm are no Broncos, they're the Melbourne Storm, much stiffer competition so if Parra can muster up at least half of what they produced last week, they'll be in with a shot depending on how the Storm play. But knowing them and Craig, he would've definitely talk about the negatives and worked on them very well in order to get them out of the Storm this week. Playing in Melbourne as well where the Storm don't lose at back-to-back all that often let alone in general so it's a ginormous task for the Eels. Will they win though? I don't think so. I just think that the Storm will be too classy for the Eels, who knows if the Eels come into this a little "overconfident", the Storm may even put a score on the Eels but surely the Eels won't lose a big score to the Storm again like they did in round 9 where they lost 64-10 at Suncorp in the magic round. As much as I would love to see the Eels get up, I just don't see that happening coming up against a Melbourne side coming off a loss as we know what the Storm can do after suffering a loss, plus, all of their losses this season have been all close, shows how good those Melbourne Storm are. That'll mean we'll see the Storm up against the Roosters in the prelim this time.

Awesome. Good luck with everyone's tips for this week. Baggy, BigPete, whoever else supports Manly and Parra on this site and whoever supports the Rabbitohs and Storm on this site, hmm? Good luck to your teams for this week. Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mark ashford's picture

Naughty I know but with only a bit to go I have swapped from Eels to Storm. I won't be watching either game as I'm off to an early night so I can get to my son & daughter on the Gold Coast for birthday celebrations ( I turn 68 tomorrow) and time with my kids far outways footy results. Good luck to you guys who still have a team in the finals.

Mary S's picture

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow Mark.

Cheers and safe trip.

Baggy_Gee's picture

Enjoy your weekend mark. Hope you stay safe and have a wonderful year ahead.

a's picture

Happy birthday Mark for tomorrow

BigPeteBx's picture

Happy Birthday Mark and have a great day.

Nothing more on tonight's match........I'm really let down at the way the match folded away in the last 10 minutes. Referee Sutton, for several years I've felt he's been soft on his calls. But that's footy and you have to grin and bear it. Manly were right in the game, but a few mistakes and sin-binning cost us.

Cheers all and keep well - Big Pete

Mary S's picture

Big Pete,
I was left with the feeling that the Bunnies had won the match by default, even though I backed them to win.

A huge disappointment for Manly supporters, but your team did you proud!


christine's picture

I forgot to get my tips in I was tipping bunnies even though I thought manly would try for an upset the reason behind taking souths is adam Reynolds he does nothing but goal kicking & he is a great at it very rarely does he ever miss I am also taking storm they are on the top of the ladder for a reason so storm it is for me & I did not know this till now But happy birthday for tomorrow mark I hope you have a great birthday with your kids / family ,try to make it one you won't forget anytime soon ...

christine's picture

sorry about not getting my tips in before time thinker it doesn't really matter if they don't count due to not being on the tipping ladder anyway I just completely forgot I have been busy doing other things ...

christine's picture

thinker it's fine by me if my tips don't count this week I didn't get them in on time even though I am not on the tipping ladder ...

christine's picture

May I say thanks john Sutton for your service to the club you have been great ...

christine's picture

before anyone says it not in the same sense of cam smith or Thurston , slater or cronk but Sutton has played his role for souths ...

christine's picture

sorry for your loss big pete I did honestly thinker manly would try for an upset ...

tigerholic's picture

Morning Folks

Controversial result last night. What did we all expect after the season we have had so far with referees, there had to be some shoddy calls and they didn't let us down.

In all fairness, I think when Roberts was tripped on the other side of the field and Parker was binned, that to me should have been a penalty
try given the position to the ball that Roberts was in.

Big Pete- I know you will be feeling gutted mate but the boys can hold their heads high,
you could hear the emotion in Jakes voice when he was interviewed.

Thinker- A Big Very Well Done Sir in picking the margin in that game
last night, Rabbits by 8

Have a great weekend folks, Tiger is off to the gym to work off some Great Northerns and then on to golf to replenish.


Steel Panther's picture

Happy Birthday Mr Ashford. 68 years young. Enjoy your day with your family!! C u soon

ScottySeahawk's picture

Happy Birthday, Mark. Have a great day!!

Anonymous's picture

Cameron Smith and Will Chambers the only ones left from the 2009 G/F - handed back for cheating. How ironic for two players that absolutely never try to cheat their way to victory.

Anonymous's picture

I forgot to mention I don’t really care it it’s marks birthday
Love Eugene


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