NRL 2006: The Finals!

Even though the game had no bearing on the final eight I spent a lovely day in the sun at Leichhardt Oval yesterday drinking beer and watching the Tigers flog the Bunnies. Even with the both teams out of the finals there was that air of expectation as the crowd enjoyed the beautiful spring sunshine. As for the final eight, it has panned out as follows:

1. Melbourne Storm
2. Canterbury Bulldogs
3. Brisbane Broncos
4. Newcastle Knights
5. Manly Sea Eagles
6. St George/Illawarra Dragons
7. Canberra Raiders
8. Parramatta Eels

Back on August 13th I had another shot at predicting the 8 and got the teams right and apart from the Eels and Broncos, the final positions were close enough. The Broncos have really lifted their game over the past few weeks and maybe calls for Bennett’s head were premature. The incredible injury toll on the Eels front-row had been telling in the past two games. But with Nathan Cayless back and nothing to lose the Eels aren’t going to bow out meekly. They defied history by making the finals. Can they again defy history by becoming the first team placed eight to win in the finals? The head says no but the heart is all that counts on September.

The games for the weekend are (home team first):

Friday: Newcastle v Manly
Saturday: Brisbane v Dragons
Saturday: Bulldogs v Canberra
Sunday: Storm v Eels.

On form the home sides are the favourites. The Storm have won 20 games this year. The first side since Parramatta in 2001 to do so. But that means nothing in finals football. Last year teams four and five met in the Grand Final.

If the finals go to form then it will be a Storm v Bulldogs grand final via the League Unlimited finals calculator:

Week 1:
Knights defeated Dragons
Broncos defeated Sea Eagles
Bulldogs defeated Raiders
Storm defeated Eels
Week 2:
Knights defeated Sea Eagles (eliminated)
Broncos defeated Dragons (eliminated)
Week 3:
Bulldogs defeated Broncos (eliminated)
Storm defeated Knights (eliminated)
Grand Final:
Bulldogs v Storm

The real fun begins when you factor in the Eels or Canberra winning. In such a situation only the Storm and the Bulldogs are safe. If by a miracle all four lower place sides win then the Knights and Broncos will be eliminated.

The finals will be quite exciting this year and I expect a few upsets along the way. Hopefully one of them will be on Sunday.

Also the Dally M awards will be announced tomorrow night. Cameron Smith will be player of the year with Craig Bellamy picking up the coaches Dally M. Nathan Hindmarsh to win the Provan-Summons Medal.

This entry was posted in Sport - Rugby League. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to NRL 2006: The Finals!

  1. Michael G says:

    And I hope to god, that Joey forgets to eat his weeties on Friday night.

    btw, you’ve got the sea-eagles and the dragons mixed up. Doesn’t affect the final result though.

  2. Amanda says:

    Fair dinkum, how good was that? Oh, to be at Energy Australia Stadium …
    Sorry Michael. As sorry as a one eyed Knights fan can be, anyhow.

    Buderus is in strife though.

  3. Shaun says:

    You’re right Floppy. It was good. But Sunday will be better. ;-)

    I thought the Knights were gone at 18-6 but what a comeback with Johns at the helm. If the other three games are of this standard then what a weekend of footy it will be.

  4. Ken Parish says:

    And the winner is ……. Sean Hampstead. How does it happen that Buderis performs one of the most blatant and dangerous spear tackles you couold see, and Ben Kennedy gets sent to the sin bin for daring to object mildly? What a joke. At least Kennedy and Manly showed extraordinary sportsmanship in not spitting the dummy. Imagine how Johns would have behaved if that sort of disgraceful decision had been inflicted on Newcastle at a similar stage of a (possibly) sudden death semi-final.

  5. Shaun says:

    Btw, although it wasn’t that difficult my Dally M predictions were correct (though Hindy only lost by a point).

  6. Amanda says:

    if by “objecting mildly” you mean running in and sicking his knees in …. Anyway, I didnt want him sent off either and I’m resigned to losing Danny. I hate tackles like that, cant even watch it on replay.

  7. Shaun says:

    Oh well, at least they went down fighting. The defensive effort by the Eels was superb, that attack not so good and luck didn’t seem on their side. But for the Eels to even make the eight it was a superb effort. Bring on 2007!

    Good luck to Manly, Ken and to the Knights Amanda. Some good games this round and I shall be watching the rest (though as a dispassionate observer).

  8. Ken Parish says:

    I would like to have seen the Eels get through to next week, had it not been for the fact that it could only have been at Manly’s expense as things turned out. I reckon Manly should beat Brisbane next week. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. Whether Newcastle can beat any of the remaining contenders without Buderus (who certainly deserves to and will get zapped by the judiciary) is highly doubtful. I reckon any one of Canterbury, Melbourne, St George or Manly are capable of winning the grand final if they get there, although I think the Bulldogs and Dragons would be my co-favourites at this stage.

  9. Michael G says:

    Well, I’m pacified now.

    Sorry Shaun, but it really was too good to last, no? Shame your coach and a bunch of your players are running off. They really out to have stuck together and had another shot at it. And Ken, its Manly Vs Dragons and Newcastle VS Brisbane. I reckon any 2 of the 4 could win. And any, if they fire, could win the GF.

    The spear tackle was hard to watch, but Seage doing his knee before he even reached the defense, was sickening. Poor bloke.

  10. Michael G says:

    Appreciate your magnanamity (sp) Amanda. I wonder, though, how I would have reacted if I read it on Friday Night. Crazy Game.

  11. Shaun says:

    It was too good to last Michael but what a ride? It was worth every moment and I feel much better about bowing out this year than last year. I’m liking the Eels side next year. There are a few PL players that may get a chance and Hagan will be good for Tim Smith.

    Buderus is important though Johns would be a bigger loss. Given Hagan is coming the the Eels next year I’ll be watching the Knights closely.

    The Storm and The Bulldogs are far from unbeatable. Canberra dropped way to much ball last night (even given the conditions) but were valiant in defeat. And the Eels with a bit of luck may have had the Storm in the end.

    I’d say Dragons (though they have to convince me they have the mental toughness to cope) and the Knights as the other two contenders. But two great games and given how the finals can pan out Manly getting up would not surprise me. As for the Broncs, their final curse will continue.

  12. Ken Parish says:

    Thanks Michael. That’s not good. I don’t think Manly can beat the Dragons if the latter play as well as they did yesterday (then again, they’ve been very inconsistent this year).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *