Welcome to week one of the NRL finals, and it is shaping up to be a fair cracker of a finals series. For one, Newcastle haven’t somehow snuck in like they did last year (possibly the year before. Details are my life) and get in the way of the real teams.
Congratulations to Ben “Tony” Barba, who took out the prestigious Dally M award for being voted “Topsest Footy Player of the Year and That Hey” on whatever night it was on, beating some other bloke (Cooper Cronk) from the Storm and some other boofhead (Matt Bowen) from the Cowbs. Let’s be perfectly Francine here, everyone – if Cooper Cronk comes in the top three in anything, there’s probably something not-quite-right with the competition. That’s not to take anything away from Barbsy’s win – a medal at the special Olympics is still a medal.
Round 1 of the Finals, which is like Round 27 of the regular season:
This is actually a tough round to pick, despite me being the bestest NRL tipperer this side of the internet. I have only got one game wrong in each round for the last two or three weeks. Impressive, yes, but it’s still not a full fucking round, which means that I didn’t win my millions. Next year…
I’m going for the Doggies to beat the Manlies in what should be a rip-snorter of a cracker of a match. Both teams are in decent form with some big forwards, slippery halves and the obligatory quick men on the outside. In the end, it all comes down to using common sense to pick a winner, and my common sense is saying, “No one likes Many.” So… Canterbury it is.
The Storm have been playing a bit shit lately too. Slater’s at about 12% of himself with some kind of sponsorship injury or an endorsement strain that has been niggling him since State of Origin. Without a fully fit Slats coming up against some boofheads like Inglis, Taylor, Asotasi and Burgess, I don’t give Melbourne a sniffly sniffle in this game.
Brisbane vs Cowboys is a non-event. Even the Raiders are laughing about how bad the Broncos are, and wondering how they managed to sneak into the top eight. Still, if someone can cause an upset, it’s… fuck it, it’s not even the Broncos. They are officially the Newcastle Knights of 2012.
Bulldogs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos
GAME OF THE ROUND:
Canberra Raiders vs Sharks
Canberra and Cronulla have played each other twice this year; once the Raiders got towelled up by about 30, the other time they were the ones holding the towel. What’s it to be this weekend? You’d be fucking mad to go any other way than a lime green victory. I’m polishing my horned helmet as we speak. And yes, that is a euphemism.
Ben Barba - rugby league's bestest player.