Finals week one

Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters – Friday night – Panthers Stadium

I think there are five genuine premiership contenders left in the running, and most people would agree who those five contenders are. The Panthers have won the minor premiership by a hefty margin, and minor premierships don't get the recognition I think they kudos for that. They've won two minor premiership prior to this, and went on to win the grand final on both occasions. The other four contenders this season are the Storm, Roosters, Raiders and Rabbitohs. Penrith have beaten every one of them this season, but here's the rub. Penrith has only had to play those four teams once each, and they were the home team every time. Three of those wins were early in the season when the Panthers were flying under the radar. That said, their win over the Raiders in round 13 was pretty bloody dominant. Their last seven games have been against what I would call also-rans (Warriors, Sharks, Tigers, Broncos, Eels, Cowboys and Bulldogs). They can only beat what's in front of them, but three of their last four games were against the three bottom teams. They've had a very good draw tis what Im saying. The Roosters had to play the Storm, Raiders and Rabbitohs twice this season. The Storm had to play the Roosters, Raiders and Rabbitohs twice this season. Tougher competition, but a top four finish for both sides nonetheless. The Panthers and Roosters clashed all the way back in round one at this venue. The Roosters led early, but were run down late 20-14. Note that the Roosters were backing up from a World Club Challenge on the other side of the planet in late February. I think they ran out of legs against a fit young team playing at home. Tipping a team that conceded 60 points a week ago seems unusual, particularly against a side that has lost just one game all year, but finals football is a different beast. In the 2019 finals series the Chooks played the Rabbitohs, the Storm and the Raiders. Those three were in the top four that year, and the Chooks beat them all. Interestingly, those teams mentioned (Roosters, Rabbitohs, Storm, Raiders) are four of the five teams in contention this year. The other one, the Panthers, didn't play in the finals at all. They're young, they're exciting, and they're talented, but I think limited big game experience brings them undone.

Verdict – Roosters by 4

Result – Panthers 29 defeated Roosters 28

Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks – Saturday afternoon – GIO Stadium

If I'm going to have a crack at the Panthers and their draw it would be remiss of me not to have a crack at the Sharks. Their draw was so easy their price to win the premiership was almost cut in half after the draw was released. Despite every advantage, the Sharkies have fallen into the top eight, losing as many games as they won. They also conceded as many points as they scored (480), and they haven't beaten another team in the eight all season. Not any of them. Not even once. The Knights, barely a top eight team themselves, put seven tries on them three weeks ago. They had their best chance last week, playing at home against a Raiders outfit with nine of their best players rested. They still lost, and they still conceded 38 points. One week later they face them again in Canberra, and the Raiders welcome back Nicoll-Klokstad, Wighton, Croker, Rapana, George Williams, Bateman, Whitehead, Papalii and Tapine. The Sharks do bring a few players back this weekend too (Townsend, Dugan, Talakai and Katoa), but this does look like a lop-sided contest. The Sharks could win if they niggle so much the Raiders lose their cool, but it's a long-shot.

Verdict – Raiders by 20

Result – Raiders 32 defeated Sharks 20

Melbourne Storm vs Parramatta Eels – Saturday night – Suncorp Stadium

It's been a peculiar year for a whole bunch of reasons, and one of those reasons is the Eels finishing the season in third position. They've had a pretty good year, by Eels standards at least, but they do look like the 'one of these things is not like the other, which one is different, do you know' team in the top four. They've done enough to win enough games, but the second half of the season looks pedestrian at best - a 2 point win over the Bulldogs, a 2 point win over the Sharks, a 2 point loss to the Dragons, a 38-0 loss to the Rabbits, a 6 point win over the Warriors, an 18 point loss to the Panthers, a 14 point win over the hopeless Broncos and a 4 point win over the Tigers. Somewhere in there they also beat the Storm 14-0, but the Storm were missing Cameron Smith, Munster, Hughes, Jesse Bromwich and Vunivalu. Those five will all be back on Saturday night, plus a whole bunch of other proper footballers who have had a week off. The Eels are treading water, and now they face a near to full-strength Storm at a venue where the purple machine regularly win by 50. There are no certainties in life and football, but you can only tip one team in this.

Verdict – Storm by 22

Result – Storm 36 defeated Eels 24

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights – Sunday night – ANZ Stadium

Did I say there were no certainties in life? The Rabbits rack up 60 against the premiership favourites while the Knights get given a footballing lesson by a team that missed the top eight. That team the Rabbitohs scored 60 against beat the Knights by 30 points in round 18. It all looks ominous for the Novascastrians, unless the Bunnies put in a performance like they did against the Bulldogs two weeks ago. That's possible, but unlikely.

Verdict – Rabbitohs by 38

Result – Rabbitohs 46 defeated Knights 20

Wally Lewis - finals week one selections (in bold)

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

  • PANTHERS vs Roosters
  • RAIDERS vs Sharks
  • STORM vs Eels
  • RABBITOHS vs Knights


newbie from perth's picture

Sa-wat-dee krup,

OK, I’ll go first shall I?

Finals Week 1:

Given the amount of players “rested” last week and the quality of opposition faced, I’m not sure that (some) observations about last week’s games will be of much help. Finals footy is another step up so we might just have to wipe the slate clean and apply some commonsense and a bit of “gut feeling” to start things off. Mind you, it all looks pretty clear cut except for “that” one game.

Regarding the finals draw, it’s just struck me that if you’re a side in the top 4, “losing” the first week may not be so bad. Yeah, I’m desperately trying to make myself believe the Roosters still have a chance 🤪. Now this only applies to the top 4 (obviously) but if you lose then you get a second chance in Semi Final 1 or 2. If you win in the first week, I realise you get a week off (which helps recovery) but if you lose Prelim Final 1 or 2 then you’re out. Sorta sucks you lose one game and you’re out whereas the team you beat in Week 1 gets to have another crack.

So, other than the 2 top 4 sides who lose in week one (they get to play again), everyone else has to keep winning or else they’re gawn! Food for thought? 🤔. OK, let’s do this thing …

Panthers vs. Roosters 55-45 @ Panthers Park
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

After a quiet first 30 minutes last week (just the one try), the Panthers simply slipped into gear. In the second half they put on an exhibition and crushed the Bulldogs 42-0. Look, the Panthers are deserved minor premiers for a reason 💪 and it is self-evident in the way they have perfected their attack and defence so far this season. As far as I see it, the only thing going against them is the fact that they’ve now won 15 in a row. Without wanting to rile anyone up (you know who you are brother 😉) I’m just wondering if the old adage “the longer you keep winning, the closer you get to losing” could possibly rear its ugly head this week. I’m not saying it necessarily will happen, just putting it out there. Some stats possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (52-48)
Line Breaks (6-0)
Tackle Breaks (37-16)
Kick Return Metres (220-56)

An absolutely shocking performance from the Roosters last week and it pains me to say it but they were dreadful, bordering on appalling 😥. They were slapped around and dominated for the last 70 minutes of their match against the Rabbitohs and they got themselves an embarrassing and record-breaking 60-8 flogging. Their ever reliable defence simply crumbled which is not a good sign come finals time and especially this week against the table topping Panthers. The big question is … can they turn it around in time? A good start would be trying to counter the impact from Luai and Cleary. Easier said than done as those 2 blokes are on fire. A lot has been said about “no team has ever won the Grand Final after conceding 50 points or more in a game in the same season” but stranger things have happened. Some stats possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (39-61)
Completion Rate (66-84)
All Run Metres (1335-2090)
Post Contact Metres (422-694)
Line Breaks (5-11)
Tackle Breaks (13-22)
Dummy Passes (10-33)
Tackles Made (445-245)
Penalties Conceded (6-1)
Ruck Infringements (6-1)

Verdict: Yeah, I’m an idiot. Even though my head is telling me the Chocolate Soldiers should win, I’ll tip the Roosters anyway. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Raiders vs. Sharks 65-35 @ GIO
Bookies Favourite = Raiders

The Raiders led 24-4 after 28 minutes and 24-10 at half-time. After the Sharks came back at them in the second half, the Raiders managed to hold on for a 38-28 win. Tom Starling was a standout for the Raiders, tearing through some lazy Sharks defence on numerous occasions. He scored a try, had 3 try assists, made 4 tackle breaks, 3 line breaks, laid 48 tackles and ran for 108 metres. Not a bad effort from a Raiders side missing CNK, John Bateman, Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii, Jordan Rapana and George Williams. Also a good effort considering a lot of stats were against them. Speaking of stats, some possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (47-53)
Tackle Breaks (31-41)
Dummy Passes (13-34)
Errors (11-15)
Penalties Conceded (4-2)
Ruck Infringements (6-3)

The Sharks found themselves down 24-4 after 28 minutes and that may have been the reason they lost last week against the Raiders. Allow a class side like that to get that far in front so quickly and you’re always gonna be up against it. The Sharks had a mini-revival in the second half where they scored a couple of tries in the space of 4 minutes but after that they started making silly mistakes in an effort to get back into the contest and eventually they were beaten 38-28. I read somewhere that the Sharks are the first side in 25 years to play finals without having actually beaten a top 8 side during the season. Not a very good formline heading into this week’s rematch with the Raiders. Most of the stats from last week were pretty even except for the following (and looking at those, I would’ve expected the Sharks to have done just a little better):

Possession (53-47)
Tackle Breaks (41-31)
Dummy Passes (34-13)
Errors (15-11)
Penalties Conceded (2-4)
Ruck Infringements (3-6)

Verdict: With blokes back this week, the Raiders should be able to repeat what they did last week, albeit by a slightly bigger margin.

Storm vs. Eels 65-35 @ Suncorp
Bookies Favourite = Storm

I’m thinking it’s somewhat pointless mentioning anything on the Storm from last week. They were missing 12 regulars and one would think that most of the guys from last week won’t be playing this week. I can’t see how you can compare apples with apples if there’s not gonna be any in the basket. Again, it seems pointless to me but I’ll mention some stats from last week anyway:

Possession (48-52)
Tackle Breaks (19-26)
Kicking Metres (474-677)
Kick Defusal (33%-67%)
Penalties Conceded (6-3)

Not a terribly convincing win for the Eels last week. Even after Marshall went off very early in the piece, the Eels still found themselves down 24-16 with just 15 minutes to go. But then they started to find some confidence through some extra possession and managed to grab themselves a 28-24 comeback win. If they’re as inefficient in attack this week as they were last week they’ll be in some trouble. Some stats possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (46-54)
Tackle Breaks (26-17)
Dummy Passes (6-24)
Ineffective Tackles (18-25)
Errors (8-13)

Verdict: The Storm will be all that much better with the return of their “almost complete” side this week and should progress.

Rabbitohs vs. Knights 70-30 @ ANZ
Bookies Favourite = Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs were just too strong for the Roosters last week. Their effort was a completely and utterly dominant one and apart from the first 10 minutes, they pretty well did as they pleased. I couldn’t quite believe they were the same side the Bulldogs beat the week before. To do what they did to the well renowned Roosters defence was simply outstanding. Wayne Bennet weaves his “magic” one more time 😉. As if leading 26-4 at half-time wasn’t enough, the Bunnies went on a points scoring rampage in the second half and ran out record-breaking 60-8 winners. Some stats possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (61-39)
Completion Rate (84%-66%)
All Run Metres (2090-1335)
Post Contact Metres (694-422)
Line Breaks (11-5)
Tackle Breaks (22-13)
Dummy Passes (33-10)
Tackles Made (245-445)
Penalties Conceded (1-6)
Ruck Infringements (1-6)

If last week’s results are anything to go on, the Knights are in trouble here. It was a pretty lacklustre effort to be honest. They never looked likely, their big guns failed to fire and their defence was sorely lacking. The Titans basically dominated them all through the match and the Knights lost a disappointing one 36-6. Look, the Knights have been pretty inconsistent lately and last week’s loss was not ideal as far as “fine tuning” goes for finals footy. Some stats possibly worth a mention from last week:

Possession (44-56)
All Run Metres (1394-2074)
Line Breaks (2-9)
Tackle Breaks (20-34)
Dummy Passes (2-32)
Penalties Conceded (6-2)

Verdict: The Knights don’t have a prayer in this one you would think. If the Bunnies bring 50% of last week into this game they win easily.

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

This one has over 1.5 billion views. Yes, billion with a “b”. Love this one…

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

Bronco Legend's picture

Hi Thinker,
You have written a book almost on the outcome of the Panthers/ Roosters clash for this week and we all appreciate your comments, believe me a lot of your comments have helped me for sure, but i heard Clearys comments on wild wold of sports on 4bc tonight with Levy and Gallen and they asked him who are the most outstanding players for panthers this year i thinkj and he said he could not pick one as all are doing well, that comment has made my mind up this week.
Bronco Legend

Coach Potato's picture

Why refer the grub Max King to the judiciary if he is pleading guilty. What a waste of time. What about your “Nonsense” retort to it all Belly-ache? Your player admitted he did it. Go and coach the Broncos buddy. You definitely qualify.

Mary S's picture

Hi Tiger,
Did you really mean to pick Eels to win their match against Storm this week or is this a "just woken up" error?

No offence Baggy, to the way your Boys have played this season, but they look they have struggled to win the last few weeks, and will meet a rejuvenated Storm side.


Baggy_Gee's picture

Not offended in the slightest, It will be a hard game, but I think is it a joke that King gets 3 weeks on the side line when he isn't going to play again this year. Wasn't picked in the side, so what is the punishment? Take 1 interchange from the Storm this week is an actual punishment for a "lack of duty of care" which is what we were called for the week before last. When did Max King last pull on a Storm Jersey this year?

tigerholic's picture

Hi Mary

No mistake on this occasion. I considered a lot when tipping Baggy's Boys, I thought they may just want this more than the Storm and when did the Eels win their last premiership?

I can see the Storm thinking they have an easy win here but the Eels will find their mid season form and sneak home and book a spot in the preliminary final.

I just thought as I was writing this replay to you, how many Storm fans are there on this site? Have a great week Mary S.


The Butcher's picture

An Israeli doctor says”In Israel medicine is so advanced that we cut off a mans testicles, put them in another man and in 6 weeks he is looking for work.
The German doctor says” that’s nothing, in Germany we take a part of the brain, put it in another man and in 4 weeks he is looking for work.
The Russian doctor says” Gentlemen we took half a heart from a man, put it in another mans chest and in 2 weeks he was looking for work.
The Australian doctor laughs” Your all behind us. We took a man with no brains, no heart and no balls and made him Premier of Victoria. Now the whole state is looking for work!

Mary S's picture

Hi Butcher,
I needed a good laugh.
You just provided the story to give me a good belly-aching one!!
I feel much better!

Christine's picture

Panfhers , raiders ,storm , souths for me but tiger might be right about eels ...

mark ashford's picture

The Butcher
Another classic tale from your collection. Thanks mate, like Mary I was in need of a laugh. I see you haven't crossed swords with Coach yet over Friday nights game. It will be the game of the round no doubt and may the best team win.

Christine's picture

Mark apparetly butcher has the balls to cross swords / knives with coach ...

Guru Craig's picture

Roosters - Because The Guru really wants them to win. The Chookies are going into this game as the underdogs after last weeks disaster. Bondi's Latte squad can win this, but The G thinks its dependant on the first 20 min. Penrith had an amazing record until recently of not being scored on in the first 20. The Roosters will want to be first to score and stay out in front. After getting properly done by the Rabbits the blue boys will be nervous and getting behind could be disastrous. The Guru feels the secret to success here is to be rough on the Pennies outside backs. Sydney will come out hard and aggressive, bash and intimidate the younger, smaller cats side, press the wide passes and hope to get an early positive.

Penrith will want to keep their fast confident game style going, but how they cope with finals football will probably be to their disadvantage as upping the effort and skill will slow that razzle dazzle down. Penrith must overcome the big Chickens forward pack who should be fired, angry and trying to take a few of those 9 lives. Getting done by 60pts then facing the Minor Premiers should be enough of a wake up to take this game as a threat to their crown.

Roosters by 7

Canberra - The Raiders have the talent, ability and drive to win big games, but hey also have a serious weakness, see below.

Last week the Raiders smashed the Sharks before getting run down late into the game, Canberra's B side were good enough to hold out for the win though, now with the A team up this week we should, hopefully see a dominate green victory. The problem is though, the A squad are known to drop balls, kick out on the full and miss goals en-mass. The Raiders don't finish teams off, they allow their enemy back into the game until the 80th minute through CONSTANT errors. Its so bad that as an enthusiastic tipster, you need to factor in that whoever the Green machine play will probably get an intercept try and win the penalty count plus probably get a try or two through dropped balls on tackle 1. So you can almost guarantee The Sharks will score 10 points...maybe 14. The good news is that Can- Berra, should get at least 4 trys and kick 1 or 2 goals.

Rickys Vikings are not the side they were last year, but they will be too good for The Sharks.

Canberra by 8

Melbourne - The Covid Stormers are primed and ready to pounce on the wobbly Eels. The comments coming out of the club are defensive not confident. They don't know if they can, and that lack of self belief is fostered by their inability to score points when needed. The way this team is playing they put themselves under too much pressure. Moses needs a better 5/8 alongside him and his kicking game in general play has not always been communicated to his chasers. The Guru cant see how Para can win this. Melbourne are rightly favourites and the Eels are rightly nervous and cant possibly go into this game believing individually that they can get the W. Team cohesion is very important in finals football and Para are missing a standout leader, The Guru feels that fullbacks dont make the best captains as they are not in communication range with their team mates.

Smithy wants this, Melb want this. Thats enough.
Stormers by 24

Bennet's Bunnies - How good were they last week? The surprise of the round and they shock of the Eastern suburbs, Rumours that Seibull said he could do that every week aside, Souths are the Lions here and Newcastle are the little wee mouse, RESTING, thats right, resting K to the L to the Ponga. Newcastle seem to have adopted the attitude that if they are scared of getting done by 50 they rest players instead of having a go. The Guru has no idea what Newcastle are doing, maybe focusing on 2021.

The Slow start of WBs side last week can be attributed to the dropped game the week before, intentionally giving away 20pts before starting to play left some muscle memory. Controversial? How much did Wayne want Bris to get the Spoon? really? Salty salt salt into the Seibull...crazy right?...hmmm or used to get two results...Fire and brimstone after being embaressed by the puppies and as above. Double Victory!

Quote going back to ANZ stadium in Brisbane, Bronco's just lost as red hot favourites to St George, whpo they would later beat in the GF..."we couldn't beat them twice, we knew that". That was a dropped game.

Souths wont be dropping this game or any others this year. The master coach has plenty to be cranky about this year and he WANTS to win. The Guru feels Souths are the danger side right now and He is confident Ivan is happy playing the Chooks and not the Super Bunnies.

Souths by 30+

Coach Potato's picture

Pretty funny how the team letting in 60 is so easily excused the next round. Honestly, the Broncos would have won that game last week, and where do they sit ?

Coach Potato's picture

The latest NRL poll of the wider footy community points to Panthers winning the Comp. More votes than Storm or Roosters. Would seem to suggest that this page is out of step.

Rocket Ryan's picture

How will the Panthers answer the pressure factor coach this page suggests not adequately enough lot of expectation from you.
I expect if they get scoreboard pressure on them they will unravel under the expectations
At least i am hoping they do.

Coach Potato's picture

Repeater repeater - suggest this page is out of step with the wider rugby league community.

Coach Potato's picture

Rocket, lets be honest, your take on how this season would pan out, was as belly-ache put it in his press conference the other day.

Rocket Ryan's picture

Coach i would like you to post a running commentary during the game get your thoughts live

B&G's picture

Hi all,
It may be Panthers, Raiders, Storms and Bunnies, but I won't be surprised if there were 2 upsets at the most, and the finals run become more interesting.

And thanks Butcher for a good laugh, needed one...


Coach Potato's picture

I’m not the organ grinder’s monkey.

Haven’t seen you post mid-game all year let alone afterwards. Loving your post-season interest Bronco champion.

mark ashford's picture

Mark to Coach
Coach a large number of our tipsters are going with your Panthers, must give you some heart.
Coach to Mark
Yes Mark, they are the intelligent ones.

Coach Potato's picture

Not saying who’s right or wrong. No one knows the future. These are just thousands of people out there who largely have the opinion that is vastly different to the, mainly Qld fans, on this page.
It was just an observation.
Please don’t try and put words in my mouth, the other Bronco champion.

Christine's picture

It woulf be nice if you could support your team without insulting & attacking people on here all the time , don't you get sick of it we do ...

Coach Potato's picture

Yes I agree, you big bullies

Christine's picture

That said it would be nice if you could try supporting your team without insulting & attacking other people on here don't you get sick of it we do give it a try jusg try noy insulting & attacking people on here we don'g all have to like penrith just because you do ...

Christine's picture

Thinker i am finished with dealing with coach ...

The Butcher's picture

Do you have a job or is this it?

a's picture

Coach ever thought about your behaviour oh shot why am I even freckin talking to you

Coach Potato's picture

Wow, struggling for comebacks so soon. The Butcher and easy meat go hand in hand.

The Butcher's picture

So I take that as a no?

Coach Potato's picture

Why do you need to know where I work? I probably make more in a week than you do in a quarter.

The Butcher's picture

I don’t care where you work I just wondered what you do

Coach Potato's picture

Look no offence, but the grooming technique is weirding me out.

See you all tomorrow post-game. Have a great Friday night.

The Butcher's picture

So if you ask someone what do you do for a living it’s grooming you are an idiot I bet your on spud seeker

The Butcher's picture

This is one roosters supporter that won’t be interacting with you post match ....weirdo

Baggy_Gee's picture

Daddy, I hate it when you and Mummy fight, please can you stay together for us kids?

Christine's picture

News in sbw ruled out for finals week one ...

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hey everyone, my tips for this week are:

Roosters by 4 – Roosters to just beat the Panthers here. The Panthers are coming into this one with some amazing form winning 15 in a row! The second half of the season though, they’ve mainly played the teams on the lower end of the table. Their stiffest competition in the last 2 months has come against Parra and they smashed them. They are a great chance in this one don’t you worry and they are deserved favourites but I just feel like the Roosters will really come out for this one and put on a clinical performance after their horrible game last week where they led in 60 points. They are a classy team after all the Roosters and I can see them turning it around in just a week. They have it in them as they have faced adversity this season with plenty of injuries yet they found a way to still be classy and got some big wins even without a lot of their players. So I think that the Chooks can turn it around here. It’ll be tough but they will find a way. This will be a cracking game and definitely will be the game of the week 1 finals series. This will get tight too and the crowd will be in for a treat. It’s sold out considering the limit. Panthers fans will dearly be pushing their team along the prelims but it'll be the Roosters who will spoil the party for the boys from Penrith. Many great battles on show here Edwards-Tedesco in Fullback, wingers battle is interesting, centres battle, halves battle between Luai/Cleary v Keary/Flanagan is most definitely key, the forwards battle, Friend will be a key miss but Roosters have great depth as they’ve shown throughout the season and Freddy Lussick has shown why when he has been required.

Raiders by 26 – Raiders should smash the Sharks here to knock them out. The Raiders got the win over the Sharks last week without their full team, I know the Sharks were missing a few too but if the Raiders can beat the Sharks without the majority of their team, I’m pretty sure that they can beat the Sharks by a bigger margin this time round. Rugby league can be a funny ol’game you know, take the Eels-Dragons in 09 for example, in the final round, the Eels were smashed by the Saints 37-0 then a week later defeated them 25-12 to keep their season alive so it can be done, the Sharks can get it done but they won’t. Only difference from that example and this game is that both teams are playing sudden death rather than just the one team in which was the Eels in 09. But I feel that the Raiders should be able to get the Sharks comfortably. They are in front of their home faithful and at full strength, Raiders will be way too good and too classy for the Sharks. Sharks haven’t beaten a top 8 side all year and they can kiss their season goodbye on Saturday night.

Storm by 18 – This one may get interesting. The Eels are coming into this one with back to back victories with one coming up against the wooden spooners for this year in the Broncos and they didn’t demolish them, and then they just snuck past the Tigers in the end. That isn’t really flashy form in my eyes. The Storm on the other hand, if you minus last week because c’mon they only had like 2 or 3 players playing this week in that side, they are coming into it with some really good form. They did lose last week but I highly doubt that’ll shake the teams’ confidence. Craig will fire his troops up for the finals for sure. It’s up to Brad Arthur to fire his boys up too and for the Eels’ players to play their skins out in this finals series, I can definitely see Gutho play his skin out but hey, rugby league is a team sport. Mitchell Moses is a key for the Eels and he’s critical for the Eels if they’re going far in this finals series, he usually cracks under pressure though. Dylan Brown is another key. Forwards need to muscle up here for Parra too led by RCG. It could happen, it really could but it just won’t. The bounce back factor in which the Storm are usually so good at will go to the way of the Storm and in a big way too. Note the location as well, this isn’t going to be played in the Sunshine Coast but played at Suncorp and if there’s anywhere that the Storm play better at than the Sunshine Coast, it’s at Suncorp. They’ve got some massive wins over there over the years and I can see this one being another big win for Melbourne over the Eels in Suncorp. Storm way too good here and will progress to prelims this time round.

And finally… Rabbitohs by 36 – If we see the Rabbitohs play like they did against the Bulldogs, than they’ll probably lose but play like they did against the Chooks, even half of that at least, than they win for sure. The Knights just aren’t geared for finals footy. They got taught a lesson by a team in the bottom 8 and it isn’t the first time that was the case either this season and that other time against the Warriors wasn’t too long ago either. Expecting the Rabbitohs to be able to back up from last week’s masterclass as that would’ve given them all the confidence in the world. The key for the Bunnies is to not overplay their hand and get overconfident then they may come into a Knights side who may actually come out and beat them. Remember Dragons against Broncos two years ago, it can happen but again it just won’t. Rabbitohs will be way way too good at home here. And I think the Rabbits can put such a score on the Knights that they embarrass them and send them out on a sour note. They just have way too many talents and great players the Bunnies including both Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds who were both amazing against the Chooks last week. They combined so very well together. Johnston was a try scoring machine and the forwards were very formidable and made the Roosters’ forwards look piss weak and that in itself is a very hard thing to do. It’s up to the Knights to step it up big time if the Rabbitohs are in a mood, they have it in them the Knights but I just can’t see it happening judging by last week and just their second half of the season they seem to be really up and down and they’ve been down to some teams that they’ve should’ve beat like the Titans and the Warriors. Clearly judging on last week, the Knights aren’t geared for the finals series this season unless Adam O’Brien is able to give his boys an attitude adjustment in which let’s hope for the Knights’ sake that he has. But at the end of the day, it’ll be the Bunnies who go through and Knights to be the second team who will kiss their season goodbye! Pearce and Ponga have to be key if Knights win, the spine will be key and the forwards battle in which I see the Rabbits winning both.

Awesome! Good luck with those whose team’s is in the finals for this week and with everyone’s tips for this week. Cheers and enjoy your long weekends and enjoy finals footy! Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christine's picture

Butcher he thrives on any retaliation so don't give it to him ...

Mary S's picture

Hi Christine,

My take on it, is that Butcher likes poking the Bear.

Hope you have a good weekend.


tigerholic's picture

Morning All
Just wanted to share some good news, not footy related but means a lot to me. I have been cleared for a return to full duties from next Monday, now for my last 9 years in prison.

Enjoy the footy folks and Butcher, you are playing into the Couch Potatoes hands mate with every comment. It appears he has the lost art of just talking footy without having to insult everyone. I am looking forward to the Panthers and Roosters match tonight, it should be a cracker.


mark ashford's picture

DFB & DFG and maybe little DFK's to come!
Enjoyed your comments as usual probably because we are going down the same road. I don't support either team and really don't care who wins but the Panthers/Roosters game will be something to see. Just hope it is clean and fast and the best team wins.
Can you or anyone else explain what a "hip-drop tackle" means? I've watched it a couple of times and can't see where the infringement occurs. The Storm player (King) got 3 weeks which won't matter to the Storm as he is not a regular run-on player. Just interested.

mark ashford's picture

That is indeed good news and may I be the first to congratulate you on your return to full time work. Only 9 years to go and you can join me in retirement. Retirement is good, I get to go fishing whenever I want, have a coffee with Manyana, eat whatever and whenever I want and of course enjoy a drink in moderation. Look forward to it mate it's worth working for.

BigPeteBx's picture

@ Mark A - what's that excitement over the other side of Bribie.
You guys making western movies or something.

@Tiger H - well done mate and welcome back to the grind of it.
I'm in the Mark group, but not as yet class (as in classification).
My months are ticking down - not years, but a few decisions to make with what's going on.

Cheers all here and may your tips go well in finals week 1.
Big Pete Bx

BigPeteBx's picture

Mark A - sorry I meant to include in previous post.
The media appear to have brought the name Hip-Drop tackle into the game. A hip drop occurs, when an additional defender drops their body weight on to the ball carrier's legs, to buckle him to the ground, while he is being held up top. Say like three in a tackle.....buggers they are.
It occurred last weekend and as much as Storms tackling technique, often gets questioned, it is something that isn't coached, but happens like in wrestling.

Cheers mate
Big Pete

mark ashford's picture

Big Pete
Yeah a bit of excitement here in Gods waiting room. The story goes two 27 year olds shot a 27 year old woman in the back (claiming it was an accident) and dropped her at a relatives with a request they call an ambulance. After an argument they drove to Bribie closely followed by the police. The car was abandoned just over our bridge and 2 firearms were found inside. Bribie has one road on and one road off so they weren't very clever. One was found hiding in a holiday home and the other surrended to police. Sirens and Choppers all over the place but it ended well with two in custody.

mark ashford's picture

Big Pete
Seems to me there are three tacklers in most contact, all struggling and falling on the ball carrier. Where has this come from? Please don't say the Storm as every club is gang tackling and doing what they can to slow down the play the ball. Like me you are without a team in the finals so all I can say is good luck next year.

Guru Craig's picture

Let's goooooo Roosters

newbie from perth's picture

@ Coach
Congratulations on the win mate. Panthers won the first half easily and the Roosters won the second. That 15 minutes from the Panthers in the first half really hurt us. I knew trying to counter Luai and Cleary was gonna be difficult 😱. Win by a point or win by 60, it’s the win that matters eh? Well done brother.

… at least we have one last crack next week so I suppose there’s still hope. 🐔 🐔 🐔

Coach Potato's picture

Great game Roosters. So close.

To all a good night, and especially to all the Roosters supporters out there, sleep well and to help, you drift off here’s a lullaby, and a little banjo. Oh yes because It’s sweet, sweet. sweet 16. (Baby)


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