Friday, September 25, 2015

NRL Finals 2016 - Week 3: Hold onto your butts

We’re pretty much right down to the very pointy end of the season now, and by rights, each of the four teams left battling it out could win and it wouldn’t be a travesty if they did.  Unless it was Melbourne.

The Roosters held off a physical-as-fuck Bulldogs team last week, who went into the game with a weird beserker rage that would have been absolutely impossible to maintain for any extended length of time.  Full credit to the Roosters for withstanding the onslaught and copping a few big hits.  After the initial carnage, all the Chooks had to do was muscle up a bit and use their quick men a bit smarter.  And they did.  And it worked.  Then the ref decided to award tries to anyone who asked.  And then they decided to score at will.  And then they won by a lot. 

As for the North Queensland vs Cronulla game, the last time I saw a Cowboy fuck anyone that hard, Jake Gyllenhaal got an Oscar nomination.  It was honestly a pretty shit way for Cronulla to finish their season, although after coming last in 2014 and having to stop using their Dank supplements and hormone replacements and couldn’t inject their super-soldier-serum any more, they didn’t do a bad job.  I’m happy to have read about some reported in-fighting following the game, with old players pointing out the new guys, claiming that “youse didn’t dig deep enough” and the new players pointing to the old guys saying “yeah nah youse didn’t dig deep enough” and in the end everyone pointing at Paul Gallen and saying “youse only dig deep enough for Origin” and Paul Gallen squinting at everyone and saying “yeah nah it was a bad day at the office for us.”  It sure was, Paul.  It sure was.

In Mad Monday news (HOORAY), Dylan Walker and Aaron Grey were taken to hospital following an adverse reaction to painkillers.  That they suffered together.  At 3:45 in the morning.  This is totally normal, and I really wish people would stop saying that NRL players are stupid, or that they totally sit around being stoned on each other’s medications and washing it down with alcohol and peptides.  There’s totes nothing suss here, it was just an allergic reaction.  It has happened to me before – I usually get horribly allergic to alcohol after about thirty beers and some opiates too. 

Damn right, Joey
This week the Storm and Brisbane come back into the finals series after taking a week off.  No one ever really knows if winning your semi and not having a game the following week is a good thing – heheheheh winning your semi – sure, you might recover from some niggling injuries, but momentum is lost and the pace of the game might come back as a rude fucking shock. 

Brisbane vs Roosters
This is almost too close to call; I’ve switched allegiances a thousand times this week.  Mitchell Pearce is threatening to come back for the Roosters after a few weeks off for injury, and judging by his previous experiences in big games, will have to share Michael Jennings’ invisibility cloak to hide under.  Pearce really needs to pull his head out of his arse and perform this week, as his replacement, 14-year old Jackson Hastings is playing so well at the moment that I’m surprised his name hasn’t been mentioned as a bolter for Origin next year, an Australian rep side, or the pinnacle of today’s Australian rugby league echelon, the NFL.  It would also be great for Daniel Topou to apologise to his teammates for whatever he did last week, as I’m sure he’d like to be passed the ball at least once during this game.  Poor Toups. 

The Broncos have, in my beady little eyes, looked good all year – not always glamorous or even “Broncos had a good win last night, hey?” “Yeah nah, bit scrappy.”  “Got the job done, but.”  “Nah yeah.” kind of consistency.  They have shown that they can turn it on when it counts, but more importantly, they can grind out a win with solid defence and a good kicking game.  I reckon Hodges and Reed in the centres are deceptive liabilities in attack, but make up for this through solid defence and the occasional grubby close-range try.  I have also heard through the grapevine that Hodges is contemplating passing the ball in this, what could be his last game of rugby league, so that’s something to watch out for.  For me, Ben Hunt holds the key to this game - when he is fit and on the field, the Brisbanes fire up.  It gives Milford more freedom to play a support role instead of trying to make the busts himself, and when he does that he just ends up looking more like a 92 year old Asian woman who sits at the pokies at Jupiter’s Casino all night than a potential game-breaking athlete.

This should be a corker of a match, but I am going to tip the Roosters in a close one, based on gut instinct and what I think is a better forward pack, even though I haven’t mentioned them in about eighteen giant paragraphs.

Storm vs Cowboys
The Cows shrugged off their “slow starter” tag last week by blowing the Sharkies away from the first whistle.  Although if they had waited for the Sharks to get some points before playing properly, we’d still be waiting for the end of the game.  And as much fun as it would be to watch Cronulla fumble balls and trip over themselves, after a week it would probably start to be wearing a bit thin.  The North Queenslanders have named an unchanged team from last week, but they only really need to mention are “6. M Morgan” and “7. J Thurston” because they’re the only ones that anyone really knows or cares about.  Except for Tamou, and that’s just because he’d fucking eat you whole if he knew what you really thought about him. 

Melbourne may just have the edge in this game due to the Cowboys being a genuine title contender, which puts aside the Storm’s most obvious weakness: losing to shit teams.  The two met just three weeks ago in a game that sent everyone to sleep and then made everyone sit up and say, “Oh, the Storm won?  Well fuck me” before switching over to the late movie on Channel 10 – it was probably ‘Click’ or one of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies.  This game may be decided on just how much the Storm are allowed to cheat before JT starts crying to the ref about it.  Thurston, more like WORSTon, amirite? 

I’m tipping Melbourne in this one, based purely on the fact that they are unlikely to direct the Cowboys to the tryline like the Sharks did.  I also think that there are vulnerabilities with the Queenslander’s edges in both attack and defence. There’s something about their support players that I don’t trust either.  Probably because they’re from Queensland.  

The league's fastest player has retired from NRL to do... something. Good luck to you, Kevin Gordon, you fucking nutter.

No comments: