NRL Finals Week 2 and NRLW Round 9: Enthralling!



For general use


If last weekend’s footy didn’t engage or, indeed, enthral you then you’re pretty hard to please. In the NRL, the Panthers and the Broncos showed why they’ve been top of the tree for several months while the Roosters and the Knights showed what good old G&D is all about. In the NRLW, the class of the Knights shone through, the Titans showed us that they are a good footy team, and the Broncos showed tenacity to claw their way to a win.


What more could you ask for? More of the same, that’s what!



The gap between the top two teams and the rest was clearly on show in Week 1 of the finals. Few would now tip against a Panthers v Broncos Grand Final. But given the season we’ve enjoyed, might there yet be an odd twist or two before the dust finally settles on October 1?
This week’s two games should be absolute pearlers as the battle-scarred and the beaten-up meet to stay in the fight.


The Storm host the Roosters tomorrow night. Talk about beaten up and battle-scarred – both of them! The Storm were almost humiliated by the Broncos, putting on possibly their worst performance of the year. And, to rub salt into their wounds, lost Papenhuyzen to a gruesome injury and may well be without Coates as well this week. Throw in a couple of head knocks and it was a night to forget. Can they possibly be that bad again? Not if Bellamy has his way. Nor, for that matter, Jerhome Hughes – how about his chase down of Reynolds when the game was long gone but pride would not allow the Storm No.  7 to concede another try? Inspirational stuff! That part of the tape will be shown a few times this week at AAMI Park.


How did the Roosters ever win their clash against the Sharks? All the laws of rugby league and reason went out the window there. It was typical of many games throughout this season. But it came at a cost with Smith, Sua’ali’i and, possibly, Manu to be absent this week. (And with JWH still watching on from the sidelines.) Can they climb off the mat yet again? (Question: where was this Rooster spirit earlier in the year?)


Survival of the fittest, I’d say. And that just might be the Roosters. If there is such a thing as momentum in a finals series, then it rests with the boys from Bondi. I don’t know how they’ll do it – perhaps through the combination of Tedesco, Walker and Keary – but I think the Roosters will crow one more time before they get roasted next weekend.


The Knights v Raiders match last weekend was one of the games of the year. Not necessarily for the quality of the play but because of the intensity, the ebb and flow, the gladiatorial nature of the match and the refusal of either side to yield. A pity it had to be decided by that late penalty but it was there for all to see. This Knights side has a lot of heart with the capacity to turn on the special moments. Journeyman Gamble is having the time of his life. Let’s hope Hastings can take the field.


The Warriors were never going to beat the Panthers after the withdrawal of Johnson. That simply showed up their reliance on him even more obviously. So he becomes the key this week – as he always is. Let’s hope he’s fully fit. If he is, I think they win. The Knights will struggle to get back up after a draining 90 minutes last week and then having to travel to take on both the Warriors and the crowd. As much as I admire what the Knights have achieved in the past two months, I think they’ll meet their match this week and the Warriors will go on to meet the Broncos next week.


So my winners this week are the Roosters and the Warriors. (I got 3/4 last week while Matt O’Hanlon picked the card by studying the form guide.)



The top four for the finals will be decided on the last weekend of the regular season. The Knights and Roosters are assured of their places while the Titans, Broncos and Raiders fight it out for the other two spots.


We start tonight with the Wests Tigers hosting the Knights, pretty much a foregone conclusion, I’d say. After a bright start to the season, the Wests Tigers have faded away while the Knights have gone from strength to strength. Tamika Upton is all class! The Knights for me.


On Saturday the Roosters can lock up second spot on the ladder when they meet the Cowboys. Again, no real contest on my view. The Roosters for me.


The Dragons host the Broncos on Saturday night. Brisbane have scraped home in their past couple of games and will want to consolidate their position in the four. The Dragons have shown some improvement in recent times and could cause an upset. Something tells me they just might; the Broncos just don’t have that lethal edge anymore. I’ll go with the Dragons.


The Eels play the Sharks for pride. I fear that what has been a disappointing year for the Eels will end with more of the same; by comparison, a promising debut year for the Sharks will give rise to hopes for even better things next season. Back the Sharks.


And so it all comes down to the last match, the Raiders up against the Titans. Only a win will guarantee a finals berth for the Titans; a win might see the Raiders scrape in if the Broncos lose. A big Raiders win (by 24+) would see them progress even if the Broncos win while it would see the Raiders drop from third to fifth. Lots to play for indeed! I like Canberra’s desperation while I’m not convinced about the Titans.  But as to who progresses of these three, we’ll have to wait and see. Get on the Raiders.


So my winners this weeks are the Knights, Roosters, Dragons, Sharks and Raiders.








About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.


  1. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Well Ian – we are complete opposites this week as I have gone Melbourne and Newcastle!- same game’s different view- although like you I feel they are both about to meet their Jack Ketch next weekend and luckily for each it should be quick and relatively painless

  2. Matt, your form guide worked a treat last week, especially with the Sharks’ demise. Let’s duel it out this weekend!

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