Finals week three

Penrith Panthers (1st) vs Melbourne Storm (3rd) – Friday night – Accor Stadium

If not for the heroics of the Storm in 2020, the Panthers would be lining up for their fourth premiership in a row this year. Since then, it's reasonable to argue that the Panthers have improved and the Storm have come down from their absolute peak. That's not to say the Storm can't reach those heights on their day - they just don't have those days as consistently as they used to. The form from week one of the finals was fairly ominous, and it's held up through week two of the finals. Those that finished in the top four at the end of the regular season are our last four teams. The teams soundly beaten in week one (Storm, Warriors) were the teams that won in week two. For me that franks the form of the top two teams, and makes them very hard to beat with an extra week to prepare. In a year where injuries have played a pivotal role in the prospects of so many, the Panthers have the luxury of naming their best possible side on Friday night. Luai and Tago return for this clash. Their only top 25 player that is unavailable is Taylan May, and I doubt he'd make the first seventeen at the minute. The Storm will have Jahrome Hughes back on Friday and he's a massive inclusion, but I'm struggling to visualise anything but a Panthers victory. In round 18, the Panthers beat Melbourne 34 to 16 in Melbourne. Munster was honest about that game, and described his opponents as a class above. He's right.

Verdict – Panthers by 19

Result – Panthers 38 defeated Storm 4

Brisbane Broncos (2nd) vs New Zealand Warriors (4th) – Saturday night – Suncorp Stadium

These sides have already met once this season, where the Broncos prevailed 26-22 in Napier. That was a genuine contest, but the Broncos side in that clash were without Haas, Carrigan, Flegler, Walsh and Cobbo. The Warriors, by comparison, were near enough to full strength. Those five Origin players listed are lining up for the Broncos on Saturday night, and they're playing at home, and they've had an extra week to prepare. Few have enjoyed the Warriors efforts this season more than I have, and I'd be genuinely happy for them if they progress to the grand final this year. But I think the best story in the NRL this season comes to an end on Saturday night. A Broncos victory means the best two teams in the NRL this year play in the grand final, and that's a good thing. 

Verdict – Broncos by 19

Result – Broncos 42 defeated Warriors 12

Wally Lewis - finals week three (in bold)

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

  • PANTHERS vs Storm
  • BRONCOS vs Warriors


The Thinker's picture

Greetings football fans

I have updated the tipping comp after week two of the finals. Both results went the way that most of us expected. Let me know if there are any issues with the scoring.

I'll have my tips and previews published on Wednesday or Thursday this week.

All the best

The Thinker

newbie from perth's picture

8512121505225182515145 …

I was gonna wait until Thursday night before posting but may as well be tonight. As of 7 hours ago, the NRL website is still saying that the Princess (Jarome Luai) is playing but I have my doubts. If he does in fact start then I’m wondering how long he’ll last (Storm might be targeting him) and if he gets hurt again he may miss out if the Panthers make the GF. Yeah, if it was me I’d rest him this week and take the punt they go again in a week’s time.

Interesting to see the Boss’ winning margin for both games is 19 points. Does he know something we don’t? 🤔 OK, let’s do this thing …

Panthers vs. Storm @ Accor
Probability @ 75-25
Ladder Position = Panthers
Bookies Favourite = Panthers

Verdict: The Panthers finished the regular season on top, only did what they had to do against the Warriors and they’ve had an extra week off to freshen.

The Storm struggled big time against the Broncos and again struggled against my BBB last week and are lucky to be playing Friday night (in my opinion anyway).

Stranger things have happened but the Panthers are clearly the better team in this contest … Panthers by 12.

Broncos vs. Warriors @ Suncorp
Probability @ 70-30
Ladder Position = Broncos
Bookies Favourite = Broncos

Verdict: The Broncos only missed out on top spot at the end of the regular season due to their points differential so that tells me something. They showed their class when they belted the Storm and they too have had an extra week off to freshen.

The Warriors are on an absolute roll at the moment and I think this will be a closer contest than Friday night’s game will be. I was very impressed with how they disposed of the Knights last weekend. To be a chance here the Warriors need to maintain their solid defence and Shaun Johnson needs to be on song again.

Having said that though, I feel the Broncos will be too strong here and should be deservedly heading to the Grand Final … Broncos by 8.

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

This one’s from possibly the best rock’n’roll band ever. Timeless song and timeless performance. No, the lead singer doesn’t have tattoos, they’re actually only “drawings”. Look out for someone from the Beatles in the crowd gettin’ down with it as well as someone from the Who right at the end. First time seeing this vintage classic and thought it was awesome. Hope some of you think the same. Cheers.

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

The Thinker's picture

One of the classics there Newbie.

Thanks again for all your previews all season - they've been terrific.

Re: 19 point margins for both prelims...I don't know a thing, but Cleary and Reynolds might want to have a practice field goal in a big game before the biggest game. Hence the unusual margin.

All the best

The Thinker

The Thinker's picture

It was interesting to see that free tickets were available this morning to the Panthers v Storm game tomorrow night.

This was always a risk moving this game to a larger stadium - Penrith have one of the smallest supporter bases of the Sydney clubs. Hopefully they can find enough people to make the place look reasonably full.

mark ashford's picture

Hey All,
I,ve just come back from another week in Tassie. was bloody freezing down there but we had some nice days. Happy to be back in QLD .
Sorry I've been a bit absent here lately but have had a bit on my plate.
We're at the end of this comp and I'd like to congratulate those on top.
I'm going for the Broncs on Saturday and the Panthers tonight, even though I don't like them. Good luck with your tips.
NEWBIE, the Stones have always been a favourite of mine. Loved all there stuff including that one. Hope you are well mate.

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