Almanac Rugby League – NRL Finals Week 1: the results

Week 1 of the NRL Finals provided the full gamut of possible results, from a 1-point nail-biter to an unexpected blowout. The quality of the matches also ranged from a classic to a bit of an embarrassment. At the end of the weekend, the NZ Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos are gone for 2018 while the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters have next weekend off as they booked spots in the Qualifying Finals in a fortnight.


Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs: What a classic, and one of the best games of the year! Somehow the Storm managed to get away with it via a wobbly Cameron Munster field goal late in the piece. You have to hand it to the men in purple. More often than not, they get the job done. Smith pulled strings, Slater was everywhere, Kaufusi pulled off one of the hits of the year, Finucane is an ironman and Munster showed that he will be one of the greats of the next generation of players. The Rabbitohs will be disappointed in themselves. Their forwards were far from their best – the brothers Burgess, Sutton and Crichton fell well below expectations. They will be better next week, for sure, and will face a battered Dragons outfit.


Penrith Panthers v NZ Warriors: The lads from across the Ditch started like a house on fire but were suddenly extinguished by three quick tries as only Penrith can do. The loss of Tuivasa-Sheck didn’t help. In the second half they were clueless, shapeless and mechanical, easy pickings for a predatory team like the Panthers. Maloney was very good and Peachey was electric at times. They’ll face a Sharks outfit determined to show that they’re better than they showed on Saturday night.


Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks: From the start, there was a feeling of inevitability about this game. The Sharks were brave and blew a couple of excellent chances but you always felt that the Roosters had better ammunition in their arsenal, and so it proved. Doesn’t Valentine Holmes glide across the turf beautifully? Tedesco is all bustle, strength and energiser bunny but I’d rather watch Holmes any day. Cronk repaid his salary with one sweet strike when it counted. The question mark will be over the availability of Latrell Mitchell after his crusher tackle on Dugan. He has carryover points and will miss one match unless he appeals. Will Chambers recently copped two weeks for not much worse. The cynic in me says he’ll somehow still be available for the next match.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Brisbane Broncos: This was the surprise of the weekend – not that the Dragons won, but how and the extent to which they smashed a pathetic Broncos outfit which had been on a hot streak. The lads from Brisbane went from the penthouse to the outhouse in seven days. Ben Hunt had a very good game, including the last third of the match without Widdop on the paddock, and the Dragons’ forwards were back to their early season best to pummel the hopeless horses. Widdop has been ruled out for this week and it remains to be seen if the injured James Graham and Jack De Belin will be available. They’ll need to be for the Dragons to have any chance against the Rabbitohs. What a sad exit for Sam Thaiday. The next question will be about the future of Wayne Bennett – can he survive this disaster?


In the NRLW, I missed the Warriors v Roosters match but the highlights I saw suggested that the NZ girls had just too much power for the Sydney lasses in a constricted game. By contrast, the Brisbane Broncos showed quite a bit of dash to register a big win over the Dragons. Some of the forward clashes were rib-tickling but, in the end, the experience of the northern girls overcame the enthusiastic, fledgling girls from Kogarah. I thought the standard was solid and, with an extra game or two under their belts, this comp can and will be a big success. In Round 2 this weekend, the Roosters and the Broncos will face off on Friday night while the Dragons and the Warriors will meet on Saturday evening.


I had a 50/50 weekend as far as tips were concerned. Two wins for the head (Roosters and Panthers) and one for the heart (Storm) in the NRL, and a win (Broncos) and a loss (Roosters) in the NRLW.


Next weekend, the NRL matches will see the Rabbitohs host the Dragons while the Sharks take on the Panthers. Let’s see how injuries impact the respective clubs before we make our tips later in the week.


In the QCup, Easts Tigers continued their hot streak against Ipswich while the Redcliffe Dolphins overcame the Burleigh Bears to advance directly to the Grand Final on September 23. Next weekend, the Tigers take on the Bears for the right to meet the Dolphins. When they last met just a few weeks ago, the Bears ran roughshod over the Tigers, but finals are a different beast. This could be a ‘last man standing’ clash.



Ian Hauser loves the finals because, ultimately, you get the lasting imprint on the season. That’s why he also engages in editing and proofreading – to get to that final manuscript which then gets imprinted onto the published page. You can check out his editing services here.


About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at


  1. george smith says

    It’s Wayne here. It’s typical of you media blokes to get stuck into me. it’s quite simple – they should have played better in the first half. It’s a simple game really, you score more points than the opposition – you win.

    I’m not bitter, it’s what I’ve come to expect…

    Honestly i don’t know why I bother… here am I a coach with A brain the size of a small planet, and I’m here talking to you media blokes. It’s the equivalent of parking cars.

    Why don’t you come and talk to me when you’ve won seven premierships?

  2. Ian
    I know next to nothing about Rugby League but I watched the Storm-Rabbitohs match straight after the Melbourne v Geelong AFL final. It was an absolutely brilliant contest, ebbing and flowing all night. A stunning contrast to the preceding AFL match, which was a low-skill slog between a team that was physically incapable of winning against a team that seemed mentally incapable of putting them away.

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