It was a fantastic week of Rugby League and one that will be remembered for some time.
The Warriors vs Tigers game was fantastic. The Broncos vs Dragons game was even better!
There were so many great stories as a backdrop to these games as well. It is what makes this time of the year so good. If you win, you move on. If you lose, thats it, the season is over.
That sort of stark, black and white consequence that hangs over everything that happens at this time of the year, that is what makes NRL Finals time so amazing.
So lets have a look at the two games and a couple of other things happening is the game as well.
The New Zealand Warriors Defeat The West Tigers 22-20
I tipped a Warriors win in this game and it was pretty clear cut. When the Warriors played up the middle of the field and challenged the Tigers pack around the ruck, they were unstoppable.
The West Tigers have one of the softest forward packs in the competition. Only the Gold Coast Titans have a softer pack. Hell, the supposed best forward in the West Tigers side plays out in the centers all bloody day!
Normally Benji Marshall has the brilliance to overcome this, but in the finals, it was one step too many and the Warriors got a well deserved win.
I really like the look of the Warriors and I think Lance Hohaia just added that little bit of extra direction to the team and play making ability. I think it was Mark Geyer who mentions earlier this year, the South Sydney Rabbitoh could do worse then getting Lance Hohaia to play in the halves for them next year. Hey, its better than nothing!
A lot has been made of Manu Vatuvei performance. I’m sorry but, I’m not going to throw a street parade every time the bloke doesn’t have a calamitous performance. He did the job he is very well paid to do.
The Warriors are going to be a great test for the Melbourne Storm next week. As for the Tigers, they will be so much better next year for having Adam Blair in the side and Groat with more experience under his belt.
The Brisbane Broncos Defeat The St George/Illawarra Dragons 13-12
What a bloody great game of Rugby League! The Dragons tried their guts out, the Broncos looked dominant but just couldn’t rack up the points. Great attack, great defense and an ending that will be remembered for a long time.
The sight of Brett Morris soaring high kamikaze style for a bomb and landing on a broken leg, done for the season, that takes balls.
Then we had Darren Lockyer, flat on his back, trying to hold his face together. The image of him struggling to his feet, looking down field at his team mates, waving the trainers away and he clinched his jaw and jogged back into the attack, amazing.
He knew his face was broken. His team mates knew, hell, he wasn’t able to talk to them. The Dragons knew, everyone knew. Yet, when it comes down to it, when the game was on the line, Darren Lockyer came through again and won the game. Amazing!
Its still 50/50 on whether he will play on the weekend against Manly. My head says he can’t. Everything I know about Darren Lockyer says he will.
As for the Dragons, they can start 2012 with a committed coach and committed players. That is a big difference from what happened this year.
Justin Hodges Hit On An Injured Brett Morris
Brett Morris catches the goal line drop out by the Brisbane Broncos and clearly injured his leg. He falls the the ground, still in possession of the ball and Justin Hodges comes in and hits him in a grounding tackle.
I have no problem with what happened what so ever.
First of all, it wasn’t like Hodges lined him up with a 40 meter run and crushed Morris, which he could have done and still would have had every right to do. He hit him hard enough, but what do you expect? This is an NRL Finals game! The winner is 80 minutes away from the Grand Final and the loser is done for the season.
Should Hodges have hit him like he did? Yes. Without question.
This is a game that went to Golden Point Extra Time. This was a close match.
Brett Morris knows better than anyone else after his performance in the State Of Origin, to win these big games, you have to go after them. You can’t stand back and be a spectator.
Phil Gould Calls For David Gallops Head
This wasn’t a shock. Gould doesn’t like Gallop for what ever reason and that is fine. They are both big boys, they can look after themselves.
However, Phil Gould is now employed by the Penrith Panthers in a very senior role, and as such, when he calls for the head of David Gallop, like it or not, he is doing so as a spokesman for the Penrith Panthers.
As a Panthers fan it does not sit well with me to have the Penrith Panthers General Manager publicly calling for the head of Gallop. Our club needs to be able to worth with the NRL and its CEO and to have a high profile administrator of the club constantly attacking the NRL is not going to do us any favours at all.
Also, if Gould wants to attack David Gallop, go right ahead, but wear it yourself. Constant references to the silent majority who supposedly feel the same way is a really bad look. If they are too gutless to stand up and say it themselves, its not Goulds job to be a voice for these people. Especially while he is wearing a Penrith Panthers blazer.
Falling Out And Not Talking To Anyone
It astounds me the amount of times you hear about people within the game having a falling out and not talking again. Seriously, some people in this sport act like teenage girls sometimes!
As a man, I can have a full on argument with someone about a lot of things, and front up to them again the very next day.
Because I’m not some unique and delicate flower who’s feelings need cradled in strawberry scented bubbles just to get by in life!
There are some people in this sport that need to man up, put their fragile little insecurities aside and just go on with their fucking job.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com