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Graham

NRL Finals News, Previews and Predictions - GRAND FINAL WEEK

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If it's finals related this is the place to share it.

WEEK 1 2020

Panthers v Roosters in Game 1

Surely Panthers will win this, won't they?

They are on the crest of a wave.

On the back of a good win and the Minor Premiership they are expected to welcome back big guns Dylan Edwards, Viliame Kikau and Stephen Crichton who were all rested against the Bulldogs. 

Roosters had a mighty shock with that massive Round 20 defeat and come into this hoping to recapture their excellent form prior to that game.

Jake Friend and Sitili Tupouniua (concussion - both) need to pass protocols to be cleared to play. Friend has avoided a broken cheekbone as originally suspected. If he is out, Freddy Lussick will start at hooker. Joseph Manu and Isaac Liu will both return to the starting lineup after being rested against the Rabbitohs. 

If you had to predict this one surely you'd go for Panthers by up to 12 points? Wouldn't you?

Edited by Graham

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Canberra Raiders v Cronulla Sharks Game 2
The Raiders just missed out on a top four spot but dating back to Round 8, they have won every game except for their meetings against Panthers, Storm and the Roosters. They also play a brand of footy that I really enjoy. They have a strong following here in the UK for very good reasons.

Ricky Stuart had to face down a lot of criticism for resting a lot of players in Round 20. The criticism proved to be misguided as the Raiders took a deserved victory in that game. Anyway Josh Papalii, John Bateman, Elliot Whitehead, Jarrod Croker and Jack Wighton will all make their returns after being rested last week. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (rib), George Williams (head knock) and Jordan Rapana (knee) will also more than likely  be back in the side. How good is that?

Sharks look to have withered recently. Losing Shaun Johnson was a biggy for them. They'll be looking to returning Chad Townsend to give them the direction on the park.

What do you reckon?

For me Raiders will have too much firepower for Sharks and should turn out comfortable winners by 13+ points.

There are Cronulla fans on here. What do you think, am I wrong?

 

Edited by Graham

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Melbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels Game 3
The Eels and the Storm meet again in the finals after facing each other in 2017 and 2019.

Eels have tumbled into the finals and somehow managed to claim a top four place.

They have been sooooo unpredictable. At their best they move the ball sweetly and create some great chances. They can also look lost  in the same game! They have some cracking forwards too, who can give any opposition big problems.

Storm famously have their system and are consistent. If Eels have an off period in the game Storm will punish them.

Storm's rested players Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Josh Addo-Carr, Brenko Lee, Justin Olam and Nelson Asofa-Solomona will all come back into the side. Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring), Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (calf), Kenny Bromwich (ankle), Felise Kaufusi (knee), and Dale Finucane (calf) are all hoping to return as well.Tui Kamikamica (ankle) is doubtful, but is expected to be named. 

For Eels, Dylan Brown (ankle) is nearing a return, but it isn't expected he will be named in the halves. We'll know better tomorrow. It is probable he'll be named in the extended squad and given until match day to prove his fitness, while Marata Niukore (ribs) and Ray Stone (thumb) are likely to return on the bench.

Which way do you see this going?

Me: Storm by 13+ points

Edited by Graham

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South Sydney Rabbitohs v Newcastle Knights Game 4

How would you describe the Knights recent form? Shaky? Erratic?

They scored freely against Dragons and Sharks, but conceded heavily against the Warriors, Roosters and Titans.

Okay, Souths did slip up against Bulldogs but they do come into this in otherwise good to fantastic form. The way they put Roosters to the sword in that last game was as ruthless as it was a surprise.

Ponga lost out in Round 20. His forwards will need to give him a much better platform in this game if he is to cause Souths the problems he is capable of.

Rabbitohs:  Jaydn Su'a (suspension) set to return in the second-row. Liam Knight will likely drop to the bench, with Junior Tatola expected to start at prop. James Roberts (pectoral) Has a possible chance of returning in the finals, but isn't expected to be named. 

Knights:  Lachlan Fitzgibbon should be back and if so is likely start in the second-row, with Sione Mata'utia probably reverting to the bench. Jacob Saifiti was placed on report for a crusher tackle and will have to fight the charge and win to be able to play. Tex Hoy should be available for selection, butisn't expected to figure in this game. We'll know better tomorrow.

Come on then, how do you see this one turning out.

For me it's a Souths win by a lot. Conservatively I'll say by 13+ points.

In the tipping mood?

Why not enter your tips in our Finals Week 1 Tipping Competition? <-

Edited by Graham

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If Friend plays I’ll back the Roosters . If he doesn’t make it until the next week I’ll back the Panthers by 6. Raiders will give the Sharks a touch up . Unfortunately I can’t see the Eels trouble the Storm , and Souths will see off the Knights but I’d expect a bit more starch in the knights outfit 

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David, but for that last performance I’d probably have tipped a very narrow win either way. It was only one game, but Roosters completely gave up on that one. I suppose that massive defeat could have been some sort of ploy a la conspiracy theorists and Roosters fans. At their best Roosters probably do have the game and experience to beat Panthers. But will they? 
I’ll stick with the the feeling I have that the Panthers at home on the crest of a wave will have enough pluses to win it.

Edited by Graham

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3 hours ago, Graham said:

I’ll be watching your choices in our forum tipping comp with special interest this week, Irish Saint. 😀

I'll probably still tip some of them  but hoping they lose.. 

Penrith to go all the way they have been the best team

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The Panthers have won so many on the bounce that they have to lose one soon. It could be this week, giving them a second chance and an opportunity to get back to winning ways next week against the Bunnies. The Roosters are still a champion team. The Eels are going to get thumped (sadly) by the Storm and will have to play the Raiders next week. They will be too strong for a Johnson less Sharks. The Knights have done well to make the 8, but have gone as far as they can this year unless we see some real Ponga magic. Thus Souths will go through, but will lose in week 2.

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FINALS WEEK 1 - FRIDAY 2ND OCTOBER

Panthers v Roosters

Team news

Panthers: Winger Brian To'o jammed his ankle last round but didn't require scans and, having been named, looks on track to play. Coach Ivan Cleary said after round 20's win that his squad was otherwise healthy.

Dean Whare and Matt Burton were the two players dropped from the squad 24 hours before the match.

Fullback Dylan Edwards, centre Stephen Crichton and second-rower Viliame Kikau are back after being rested, with Daine Laurie, Matt Burton and Spencer Leniu dropping out. Utility Tyrone May and back-rower Kurt Capewell have reverted to the bench.

Roosters: Sonny Bill Williams won't face the Panthers after being omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. On Thursday night the Roosters said the star signing wouldn't play due to a "flare up of a neck complaint". Williams and Matt Ikuvalu were the two players dropped from the squad.

Hooker Jake Friend is out after a head knock last week but winger Brett Morris, centre Joey Manu, lock Isaac Liu and bench prop Lindsay Collins will all return after a rest.

Freddy Lussick has replaced Friend at hooker while Angus Crichton has dropped to the bench. The Roosters have won their past six finals matches.

So David, Friend isn't playing, so you'll be tipping Rooster then?

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1 hour ago, Graham said:

FINALS WEEK 1 - FRIDAY 2ND OCTOBER

Panthers v Roosters

Team news

Panthers: Winger Brian To'o jammed his ankle last round but didn't require scans and, having been named, looks on track to play. Coach Ivan Cleary said after round 20's win that his squad was otherwise healthy.

Dean Whare and Matt Burton were the two players dropped from the squad 24 hours before the match.

Fullback Dylan Edwards, centre Stephen Crichton and second-rower Viliame Kikau are back after being rested, with Daine Laurie, Matt Burton and Spencer Leniu dropping out. Utility Tyrone May and back-rower Kurt Capewell have reverted to the bench.

Roosters: Sonny Bill Williams won't face the Panthers after being omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. On Thursday night the Roosters said the star signing wouldn't play due to a "flare up of a neck complaint". Williams and Matt Ikuvalu were the two players dropped from the squad.

Hooker Jake Friend is out after a head knock last week but winger Brett Morris, centre Joey Manu, lock Isaac Liu and bench prop Lindsay Collins will all return after a rest.

Freddy Lussick has replaced Friend at hooker while Angus Crichton has dropped to the bench. The Roosters have won their past six finals matches.

So David, Friend isn't playing, so you'll be tipping Rooster then?

I’ll be tipping the Panthers with no Friend involved 

  • Like 1

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Roosters v Raiders - Friday

Roosters: They get a boost with hooker Jake Friend (head knock) and interchange forward Sonny Bill Williams (neck) named to return from injury. As a result Lussick has been left out of the squad and Nat Butcher has gone back to the reserves. 

Raiders: They came through in one piece against the Sharks and so Ricky Stuart has named the same 17 players for the game.

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Eels v Rabbitohs - Saturday

Eels:

Well Fergo has been named on the wing but whether he'll play or not will depend on whether he has time to recover from his leg injury.

Sivo on the other wing is definitely out so George Jennings takes his place there.

Stone gets a bench place in place of suspended Niukore

Souths:

The same 17 has been named as took the field last week. Jaydn Su'A has been listed to start and Liam Knight is on the bench but the pair may swap as they did against the Knights.

 

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I’m rooting for the Raiders to win and to reach the GF again , but I’m tipping the Roosters to win narrowly in an absolute cracker , although I wouldn’t be surprised if the green machine came through . Really looking forward to that . I’m tipping Souths to take out the Eels . Cody Walker is in sublime form , but the aforementioned Su’a has been outstanding all year 

Edited by DavidM

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Preview Roosters v Raiders

Sydney Roosters
Despite an impressive fight back they lost by the narrowest of margins last week against form team Panthers. They have been able to name a first choice 17, with the exception of Victor Ridley who has been injured long term anyway. Jake Friend, after not playing last week, is back after injury, which is a big plus. SBW is also back from injury.

Canberra Raiders

Raiders were given a scare by Sharks last weekend. That George Williams intercept was the turning point. Raiders then kicked on to a 32-20 win. Raiders will have the same 17 players available that beat the Sharks.

 

So last season’s grand finalist teams meet here and one of them will go out by the end of this game. Both these teams weren’t at their best last week. This game could go either way.

If Roosters put in the sort of defensive performance we have become accustomed to in recent years they should/could go on to win and that would be five victories out of the last six games between them and Raiders.

I see Roosters winning this do or die game, by a narrow margin.

The winners of this take on Melbourne Storm next week.

 

Edited by Graham

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