Finals week two

Manly Sea Eagles (4th) vs Sydney Roosters (5th) – Friday night – BB Print Stadium (Mackay)

A tantalising match-up that has, I think, the two best players in the game (Trbojevic and Tedesco) facing off against each other for the first time this season. These sides did meet way back in round one when the Roosters won in a landslide, but Trbojevic was recovering from a 'shower injury', and we all know the Sea Eagles are an entirely different proposition when he's on the park. The Storm minimised his impact (again) in the first week of the finals, controlling much of the possession and most of the game. The Roosters were a little lucky to hold on against the Titans last week, but very good teams always seem luckier than the others. I suspect that if the Roosters had the same opportunity the Titans had to win that game in the dying moments they would have nailed it. The Chooks have lost Taukeiaho to injury and Verrills to suspension, which goes a long way toward evening up the forwards battle. Lachlan Croker returns for the Sea Eagles in that all important dummy half role. His late withdrawal last week wouldn't have helped. Few would question the courage the Roosters have shown this season, but at some point you'd think the tank is empty. They were running on fumes against the Titans, and courage only gets you so far when you're out of petrol. 

Verdict – Sea Eagles by 8

Result – Sea Eagles 42 defeated Roosters 6

Penrith Panthers (2nd) vs Parramatta Eels (6th) – Saturday night – BB Print Stadium (Mackay)

These sides have already met twice this season, but it's difficult to get a read on either of those results. In round 16 the Panthers were without Nathan Cleary, but still did enough to win 13-12. In round 25 the Eels rested most of their best and brightest and the Panthers won convincingly as expected (40-6). The Panthers have had a pretty good run with injuries and have named what is near enough to their best seventeen. Edwards and Leota have been named in the starting thirteen and seem likely, Sorensen has been named on the bench and is more likely than not, while Tyrone May can probably be rested for another week (although he may not have made the seventeen anyway). A few of the Eels (N Brown, Gutherson, Ferguson) copped some knocks last week but will play. Their line-up would be bolstered if Mahoney and Sivo were fit, but they can still take to the field with a strong squad. In round 24 the Eels proved they can mix it with the best of them when they convincingly beat the Melbourne Storm. The only other team to beat the Storm all year are the Panthers (and they beat them by 2). They're good enough, but they're not good enough all the time. To win a premiership you need to win three or four games in a row against the very best. In that regard, I have more doubts about the Eels than I do the Panthers, a team who have lost just six games in two years. 

Verdict – Panthers by 7

Result – Panthers 8 defeated Eels 6

Wally Lewis - finals week two (in bold)

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

  • SEA EAGLES vs Roosters
  • PANTHERS vs Eels


newbie from perth's picture

"Dia duit gach duine" i dteanga ní mo theanga féin,

How’s it going y’all? Hopefully everyone’s starting to get excited as the GF gets closer and closer. I know I am 🤪. As we know, just the 2 games this weekend and hopefully no blow outs. Well maybe just the one (Manly & Chooks) but more on that later.

Just sitting here finishing off this intro, munching on some Sour Cream & Onion chips and sipping on a cuppa. The chips actually taste really nice given they’re the Woolies “home brand” ones. They come in a long tube thingy like Pringles do, cost just $1.60 or thereabouts and (unfortunately) are made in Malaysia (not Aust). Having said that, if you have a $1.60 to spare and you like Sour Cream & Onion chips, give ‘em a try.

Just realised I’m yakking on about food, what the hell am I doing? Let’s do this thing…

Manly vs. Roosters @ Mackay
Match Rating @ 70-30
Bookies Odds @ Manly $1.31 vs. Roosters $3.50

Manly were simply outclassed last week against the Storm. Not sure if finals nerves got to them or not but they weren’t up to their opposition’s standard. They didn’t show enough determination and their defence was somewhat lacking. Their “big guns” failed to fire (excuse the pun), their discipline was poor and they made too many errors and gave away silly penalties. Unlike the Manly we know, they were pretty clunky it must be said. The Storm did their homework on Turbo Tom so much so that he went scoreless for the match and had very little impact. To be absolutely blunt, Manly were simply not up to finals footy standard but they will definitely improve from last week and they have a much easier assignment this week against the Roosters. A few words from Des Hasler … "You look at possession, you look at where our possession was - they made us come out of the corner the whole time. We didn't make them chew up any gas, we leaked them down the field both with our ill-discipline with the ball and also giving away too many penalties. It was nine in total tonight. It's just not going to get it done. We weren't smart enough. I don't think it is a harsh reality check. We did ourselves a real disservice tonight. Things...that you can't do against the Melbourne side, we did them. Very ill-disciplined with the ball, ill-disciplined with penalties, just too much negative play and gave them too much field position. But we will turn it around."

Possession - 39%
Completion Rate - 72% (21/29)
Line Breaks - 0
Tackle Breaks - 19
Missed Tackles - 36
Ineffective Tackles - 15
Errors - 9
Penalties Conceded - 9

There were a few contentious talking points after the Roosters’ 25-24 win against the Titans last week. Namely the Roosters being offside, using a wall (blockers) for Walker’s field goal (that won the match) and JWH not getting pinged for pulling back that Titans’ support player towards the end. You win some, you lose some. The football gods smiled upon us last week 🤪. It was a close game (obviously) where either side could’ve won. Four tries each, 3/4 conversions each and 1/1 penalty goals each. The only difference was the Roosters’ 1/2 vs. 0/1 field goal attempts. Contentious issues aside, the Roosters will (and should) take that win. The Titans were probably (maybe) better on the night but only have themselves to blame due to that butchered play from Herbert right at the death. It was a truly exciting game to watch but let’s be honest here, the Roosters were very lucky to get away with that one. Their defence was pretty average and if not for the effort from Tedesco they would’ve been beaten, and beaten well. Having said that though, the Roosters showed courage and never gave up. It may count for nothing this week though as they’re up against a Manly side who have a point to prove and who are a class rise from the Titans. The Roosters might be in big trouble unless they can turn last week’s effort around. They’ll also need to get Sam Walker on earlier than they did last week. Still can’t work out why he only came on for the last 9 minutes. A few words from Trent Robinson … "We can play better and that's what we're searching for. I love the fact that they keep working hard and keep trying to win, but that imperfect game that we're talking about, that continual search for perfect even though you may never get there, that's next week."

Possession - 50%
Completion Rate - 67% (26/39)
Line Breaks - 4
Tackle Breaks - 20
Missed Tackles - 46
Ineffective Tackles - 15
Errors - 12
Penalties Conceded - 4

Verdict: I’m pretty sure my beloved BBB will get (well) done on Friday night but I’m still gonna tip them, most probably for the last time this season 😍. Roosters. Begurk! 🐔 Begurk! 🐔

Panthers vs. Eels @ Mackay
Match Rating @ 65-35
Bookies Odds @ Panthers $1.25 vs. Eels $4.00

The Panthers got a rude shock last week with the 16-10 loss to the Rabbitohs and their plans have been scuppered somewhat. Instead of putting absolutely everything into the “expected” GF rematch with the Storm, now they will have to do it in the preliminary, assuming of course that they beat the Eels this week. The Panthers were outgunned and out defended by the Rabbitohs last week. Souths made the Panthers’ chief playmakers defend more than they were used to which saw Cleary getting jammed up for most of the match. To make it even harder, the Rabbitohs flipped their usual tactics and played right side football and that as we saw, caused the Panthers some headaches. The Panthers were just unable to play their normal free flowing style and try as they did, just weren’t able to get over the Bunnies. Mind you, the Rabbitohs' defence was something else 💪. It’s not too often you see the Panthers restricted to just one try for the entire match. One of the highlights for me was when Jarome Luai dropped the ball at dummy half right at the end. Glad he got a bit of karma back his way. All through this year, he’s been in the opposition’s face laughing and gloating when they make errors and last week he got his. Like I said … karma. I was very impressed with Isaah Yeo’s effort though. Tried his guts out big-time. A few words from Ivan Cleary … "We just couldn't quite ice it. A lot of times in the game they were able to get a leg up for just little things. High tackles, supposed crusher tackles. But credit to Souths, they obviously put a lot into that game."

Possession - 48%
Completion Rate - 75% (30/40)
Line Breaks - 4
Tackle Breaks - 21
Tackles Made - 370
Missed Tackles - 28
Ineffective Tackles - 17
Errors - 12
Penalties Conceded - 7

The Eels scored a couple of tries just before half-time last week and it looked to me that they would carry on in the second. The Knights had other ideas though and fought back from 22-10 to get within 2 points of the Eels with 23 minutes to go. The Eels weathered the storm until the 76’ mark when the Gutherson “drop kick” moment and the Penisini moment occurred. After some deliberation from the bunker the Eels were awarded that penalty try and the Knights’ season was over and the Eels got home 28-20. On balance I think the Eels were just a tad better on the day and they saw off the Knights’ comeback, albeit with a little help from the bunker. From my mind it (the penalty try) was a 50/50 call. If you decide Gutherson dropped the ball and didn’t kick it then there’s no penalty try. If you decide he did poke it on then it was definitely a penalty try. I just couldn’t say one way or the other if it was or wasn’t. “Them’s the breaks” as they say. Mitch Moses was instrumental in getting the Eels over the line and the try he scored was very good. Finals footy determination right there. This is what Brad Arthur had to say regarding Mitch’s game … "He was good, he ran the footy. He had a real focus around defence and kicking. His kicking wasn't great early in the piece. In that breeze it was very strong. But he soon corrected that and come up with some big goal kicks for us that helped." It was an engaging and gripping affair where the momentum swung back and forth but in the end the Eels were just that little bit better and they live to fight another day.

Possession - 55%
Completion Rate - 89% (39/44)
Line Breaks - 5
Tackle Breaks - 28
Bombs - 7
Missed Tackles - 28
Ineffective Tackles - 18
Errors - 8

Verdict: Just because of their “attitude” this year, I’d love to see the Panthers get knocked out of the race but deep down I don’t think the Eels have got enough to replicate the Rabbitohs’ tactics from last week and make that happen. I’ll have to stick with the Panthers’ class edge here and tip them for the win.

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

This one is especially for Jarome Luai…

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

Baggy_Gee's picture

Newbie it was Gutho's kick was exactly the same as Billy Slaters kick which I was livid about being called a fair kick. He lost it cold and the BOYS got lucky, even Gutho knew that in the post match. The call for the penalty try I agree was correct. They played well and for once I had no issue with the ref. There was that weird call after the Knights lost the ball leading to a try in the second half, the tackle was before the lost ball and it smacked of the Broncos having to defend a full set of 6 against Manly before they walked the ball back 50m and then Manly got a new set. My only worry is playing second on a small field as Rockhamton really tore up in the middle. Best of luck to the Roosters but sorry mate I can't back them.

Dragons-fanboy's picture

Hello everyone, hope you are all well! My tips for finals week 2/semi-finals are:

Manly by 8

Panthers by 14

Awesome! Good luck with those whose team is playing this week and with everyone's tips for this week. Cheers and for those whose teams will play their final game of the season, bad luck to your team and better luck next year at least your team has come this far.

newbie from perth's picture

@ Baggy

🔊 “Best of luck to the Roosters but sorry mate I can't back them.”

Yeah mate, I hate to admit it but I’m with you 100% on that. As if our playing ranks weren’t bad enough, we lose Verrills for 2 weeks (BS decision in my book) and TKO through injury. It will be a miracle bigger than the fountain at Lourdes if we manage to win this weekend 🤪. Hoping young Ben Marschke can step up though. Regardless, pretty happy we’ve come as far as we have all things considered. Best of luck with your BOYS too. Cheers. 🐔 🐔 🐔

Baggy_Gee's picture

Thanks mate, thinking we might both be on the loosing side of the results as the Panthers need this win to re-start the rage. If a 2nd div team can be promoted and get a win and a draw out of their first few games then anything is a possibility.

a's picture

Right I’m tipping


MGM's picture

Baggy, Baggy, Baggy !!
Suss Ref decisions Throughout but the last 15 minutes had me screaming !!!
Do I sound like a sore loser ?... Maybe a little , but COME ON !!!!!

Mary S's picture

What an absolute cracker of a game!
I tipped Panthers to win, but found myself on the edge of the seat willing Eels to get the winning try. They were giving it their all, plus more.

So sorry Baggy, your team was unable to get that extra try, but you can be really proud of their performance.


MGM's picture

GO the STORM !
Karma says you CAN"T LOSE !

Rocket Ryan's picture

Well baggy you so unlucky to lose that game when I s*** call makes it even harder the cop

tigerholic's picture

Morning All

That was a great game last night, I don'y agree with the stoppage that the trainer has the ability to halt play no matter how important the play is.

I think this was a deliberate tactic from Panthers coaching staff, they were gone at that stage. Trainer induced stoppages have to be for head injuries only.

Have a good week folks.


MGM's picture

Hard to say Head injuries only , Tiger, broken bones are probably top of the list because so many head injuries are exaggerated these days ,
but " ouch, someone stood on my foot!", way off in back play not in anyone's way ?!
These trainers have way too much ability to influence play,..they hang around just behind the line with a water bottle in hand and a mic in their ear passing on coaching advice. Alfie took it to this ridiculous level where now some of them are on the field for 50% of the game.
If independant medics off-field can assess that a head contact is bad enough to order a player leave the field then they are surely the ones that should have this power to call for play to be halted, NOT some trainer via his mic (the coach!).
The ref also stopped play earlier for a (Penrith) player to have his knee strapped.
Mitchel Moses blatantly held back by Luai ... a professional foul that was totally ignored by all the match officials !
Penisini tackled off the ball as he chased a kick ... Nothing done!
Clint Gutherson also.
And Penrith holding up a "free" interchange for a player having rolled his ankle ... Blatant cheating and they say later "oh, that was an honest mistake".
Swearing deleted ... that'll do me !!

tigerholic's picture

MGM-Hard to argue, as did mostly everyone else I tipped the Panthers but the Eels were hard done by.

I still believe Ashley Klein is the worst referee going around.


Steel Panther's picture

Evening Tiger & MGM,

It was a good game last night, just a pity that there had to be a loser. Eels gave it their all and agree the blatant stoppages are just another way the coaches are finding cheeky ways to give their team a helping hand. Last week's talk was all about block plays on tackle 5. Next week it will be something else.

What's happened to my favourite Eels player Nathan Brown? Several mistakes then hooked after about 25 minutes, never to be seen again. Definitely has curbed his grubbiness but seems to have gone off the boil too.

Baggy_Gee's picture

It was rough, but in the Panthers defense Fergo did it as well as Waqa in the in-goal. It is a terrible rule only introduced by a true tragedy, that like the HIA is being abused by those who think outside the box. The one that had us raging during the game was Luia on Mitchell that the bunker didn't review.
This isn't sour grapes but with only 2 tries in the last 2 weeks I can't see where they beat the Storm. So another GF appearance for the non-league city :(

The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the tipping comp after week two of the finals. The Last Samurai will be hard to topple from first place from here, but by my calculations there are still ten tipsters in contention for a share of the prizemoney.

We already have a couple of qualifiers who have made the draw for the Getting under the cap comp. Anyone who tips 6 or more (out of 9) is in with a chance there.

I will have the tipping page for week three of the finals published as soon as possible.

All the best

The Thinker

p.s. that's two games in a row Luai has gotten away with something a bit dodgy without even a penalty. Surely his luck has to run out soon.

mark ashford's picture

Hi All,
Been away again in my lovely ladies camper van. This time up to Rosewood about 30 odd k,s west of Ipswich. Mainly to catch up with her Pals who are trying to get back to Tassie. Sorry for my absence but I have been having fun. Rosewood has a population of around 3000 but at the least 1 mill flies.
Anyway the weekend games went as we thought. Storm is surely the favs with only the Sea eagles to worry them. Keep well all.

Esra Star's picture

I think the Bunnies will give the eagles a run for their money mate,and i am not a bunnies fan.

mark ashford's picture

Hi Esra Star
Yes the Rabbits touched up the Panthers well and truly the weekend before last. Maybe the master coach (wayne) has his boys ready for a charge. Still can, go past Storm.

Mary S's picture

Maybe a Storm/Bunnies GF????


Esra Star's picture

I think so,Mary.

Esra Star's picture

Yep,,be very hard to beat i think mate.

Mary S's picture

Hi to all,
Found the following today on NRL website re the Panthers' trainer stopping play -
"The NRL has issued the Panthers a breach notice proposing the club be fined $25,000 and a trainer be banned from the field of play and sideline for the remainder of the season.

The breach notice alleges the trainer stopped play incorrectly in the 76th minute of Saturday night’s match against the Eels.

The game's Operations Manual makes it clear that a head trainer can only stop play after making an initial assessment that circumstances require a doctor to enter the field of play.

The Panthers have 5 business days to respond to the notice. A provisional suspension applies until the club's response has been received."

There is more to come on this story.

In the report yesterday, Graham Annesley "also conceded the Eels should have been awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Panthers pivot Jarome Luai clearly held back Mitchell Moses as Blake Ferguson made a break down the right wing."

Shame it is after the event!!!


The Thinker's picture

Thanks Mary S

And (potentially) 15 interchanges for Penrith. Not sure if anyone has trawled through the game and tried to count them all.

That's the second time this season that particular trainer has done that. It's a deliberate tactic - and by tactic I mean cheating.They know it and the NRL know it.

Eels fans have every right to be frustrated.

MGM's picture

With all detailed statistics immediately available during a game (metres gained for each individual player, tackles, assists, linebreaks etc,etc, all continually updated in real time) it is ludicrous and unacceptable that anyone should have to trawl through a replay of the game to determine the number of interchanges a team has had during a match !
It should be as easy as checking the F*#*ing score !!!
What sort of an amateur outfit is the NRL that can allow any of what happened in the last quarter of that Penrith match (a Finals match no less!!)
And isn't it time that Grant Atkins was sacked and given a job at Penrith Panthers instead ?... He has demonstrated his bias for that club all to often in the past. WHO in the NRL appointed him to the bunker in a finals match that includes the Panthers given his form??
WHO was responsible for THAT decision?.... WHO? - Seriously - can anyone tell me who, because I don't believe this was an accident nor an oversight ... the NRL benefits from a Storm v Panthers rematch even if it is in the semi-final instead. Probably better for dramatic effect that way.
Something STINKS in the NRL and this should not be swept under the rug. Everyone can smell it and the only ones happily sniffing it are the Penrith fans. What team wouldn't happily pay $25k to get through to this preliminary final and the rematch that so many were salivating for?... My dream result would be to see the win taken away from those cheats and for some heads to roll in the NRL!
Dream on,I guess.

Steel Panther's picture


Hope you are well.

Any thoughts on your Tigers retaining Michael Maguire as Head Coach?

tigerholic's picture

Hey Steel
I was thinking maybe that was a good decision, then I read a quote that said"that's how the Tigers fix 10 years of misery, change nothing".

Maguire has only had 3 years but we need results, we need players, we need development department that can secure talented platers and turn them into top quality players.

I guess Steel, I'll have to accept another failed year in 2022. To counter that I am going to try and improve things in my life like getting myself a Monday - Friday job instead of shift work for the next 8 years.

Who are you thinking for the two prelim finals this weekend??


Christine's picture

I don't see villiame kikau going too another club I think he would take a pay cut before he did that , just my opinion

Christine's picture

Tiger what are your thoughts on maguire as a coach do they sake him or not , what us your thoughts on it & can they turn it around ???

Christine's picture

That was sack him or not

Steel Panther's picture

It's a tough gig for Maguire, Tiger. Tough probably for any coach who hasn't got a good roster. Wests just don't seem to be able to attract any star players, yet if my memory serves me correct, didn't both Koribete & Addo-Carr originally play for Wests before going on to greater things? Average players when they left, yet became superstars at Melbourne.

The Dogs on the other hand have secured a way better roster for next season & could be a dark horse in 2022.

I hope Penrith get what they deserve this week, but have to say the other game is a lot harder to tip. Bennett is a master coach. Maybe leaning Manly but the Bennett factor is worth a 12 point start.

Esra Star's picture

I think the dogs and the Broncos will go well next season.

MGM's picture

Hi Thinker,
When I borrowed your phrase "trawl through the game" it occurred to me for a moment that you might think I was having a go at you, but then thought "nah, he knows I wouldn't do that".
Because I have nothing but respect ... you don't allow yourself the luxury you give the rest of us to blow up a bit and have a rant.
It was just that I have seen a lot of commentators & articles (the Roar, Nine WWOS, 2GB continuous call team etc) say similar things about going thru the "play-by-play" on
I figured you'd agree that it should be as easy as checking any other stat and be kept a close eye on by match officials DURING the game, and I'm sure you do ..... I just want to check you didn't take that personally when I used your phrasing.
Also it's regrettable that a long career and years of hard work can be too easily overlooked due to a relatively small amount of mistakes
( I admit that as a mere mortal I'm not qualified to judge Atkins' carreer ... that Eels match just made my blood boil)
Please feel free to put all this in the comments section, I just wanted to be sure that we're all good.

The Thinker's picture


We are definitely all good.

It was a great game of football - such a shame it was tarnished by some poor decisions. And a real shame for the Eels to lose like that. They may have lost anyway, but it's the "if onlys" that will have them grinding their teeth at night.

All the best

The Thinker

The Thinker's picture

Just on the interchanges in the Panthers v Eels match. You are allowed 8 interchanges in a game - plus an extra two (free) interchanges if a player comes off after foul play by the opponent. Those two free interchanges are more like four, because a player can come off and then come back on again. my reckoning you can have up to 12 interchanges in a match.

Against the Eels, Penrith had 15. Doesn't add up to me.


Baggy_Gee's picture

There is the loop hole that Melbourne started with the HIA and other teams are following, a HIA occurs, a fresh forward comes on for a half, the half spends 30 seconds on the sideline getting checked out, and then comes back on for a tired forward. All legal as per the NRL and very obvious when you follow the NRL play by play on their website. Even the Commentary team refer to it as a free forward interchange. Yes Interchanges are abused no end, and I still don't understand how when Kenny came off, not through foul play, the Panthers got a free interchange.
This come back to what I said last year or 2019 about the penalty reset inside the attacking 20m, sin bin the first guy, sin bin the second guy, keep binning them till they stop and if you come down hard and start hard for the start of the year no matter how much Robinson, Bellamy Ricky, or other coaches whinge keep doing it, you will see it cleaned up. Same as the Jamie Lyon dive, if you can get up straight after the penalty, reverse the decision and bin the player. Abdo and Lady don't have the spine to change the game for the better.

a's picture

I’m tipping


NRL tipping is easier if you follow the NRL news