NRL Finals Week 3 and NRLW Finals Week 1: The finalists all get what they deserve!


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It seems to me that the top four left in both the NRL and NRLW finals are the most deserving to be there. For the most part, they’ve occupied the top spots on their respective ladders for most of the season. Late runs by the Knights and the Roosters in the NRL were just that – late runs from too far back in the field. None of the surviving teams deserve to lose their spot to either of the frantic finishers. And although the final spot in the NRLW finals went down to the last game, the late season form of the Broncos was better than Canberra. So all finalists get what they deserve – a chance to win the premiership.



The Storm are never to be underestimated. Who saw their last minute win coming last week? Not me, that’s for sure. Undermanned and struggling for any rhythm, they somehow got the job done. The return of Hughes strengthens them this week and should help them with their structures. Not that Wishart had a bad game last week – he was great! Penrith get Luai and Tago back although they’ll both be a bit short of a run. But the Panthers are a formidable outfit and there is so much talent there that these two will easily slot into the well-oiled machine. I admire Bellamy’s ability to make the Storm into one of the most competitive teams in the league but I can’t see them getting past Penrith this week.


The Warriors were impressive in their win over the Knights with the home crowd rocking the stands as their team opened proceedings at a ferocious pace. They’ll need to bring a similar game to Brisbane if they want to tame the Broncos. The hosts built a strong base against the Storm in their last outing before powering away in the second half. I don’t think the Broncos will be afraid of a tussle. I expect it to be a real forwards struggle with both packs in fine fettle and up for an 80-minute battle. That’s where the game will be won or lost. I just feel that Brisbane may have more staying power after a week’s rest. Reynolds v Johnson should be a cracker. Both backlines have tremendous strike power but Walsh is the ‘X’ factor to ignite Brisbane. Tight for 70 minutes, then the Broncos bolt.


So my winners this week are the Panthers and the Broncos.



The top of the table Knights host Brisbane in Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. The Broncos have strung together a good run in the latter half go the season although they have never really shown the dominant style of a few seasons ago. Nevertheless, a team that features Robinson, Hufanga, Brigginshaw, Brill, Gray and Teitzel can’t be dismissed too readily. At their best, the Broncos will be competitive. The Knights are hot favourites in this game after a strong performance throughout the minor rounds. They’re strong across the park with Upton, the Southwell sisters and Clydsdale leading the way. With Upton in top form, Jesse Southwell back in the driver’s seat and big sister Hannah leading the forwards, it’s hard to see anything but a Newcastle win.


In the later game, the Roosters host the Titans at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. I’ve had my hesitations about the Titans all season but they keep proving me wrong. Their demolition of the Raiders to secure a finals spot was the performance of a very good side. Pelite, the Browns, Chapman, Mato, Bent and Hale form a very good basis with the evergreen Hancock coming off the bench. Don’t underestimate their potential! The Roosters were everyone’s pre-season pick for the premiership. On paper they’re the best squad in the competition; they have the best attacking record and the highest points differential; in the likes of Boyle, Kelly, Aiken and Baxter they have some of the very best players in the NRLW. I can’t go past them this week – the Roosters to crow!


And so my winners this week are the Knights and the Roosters.


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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 we are finally on the same page Ian! You know the old saying around fools seldom differing!

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