Air of predictability zapping the fun out of finals footy

Jack Byrnes Roar Rookie

By , Jack Byrnes is a Roar Rookie

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    Parramatta, you’ve let me down. I needed you to win on Saturday night. I needed a change.

    I’m tired of seeing Brisbane, Melbourne, North Queensland and the Roosters surge deep into the finals every year. I’m over watching Cameron Smith and Wayne Bennett duke it out in the mind game stakes each September.

    As the 2017 season went up a gear after Origin, I genuinely thought we’d be in for something special come finals time. Manly continued to go from strength to strength until their lack of depth was found out, Parramatta looked to have timed their run to perfection while Penrith appeared to have finally clicked into gear.

    All three of these teams played their own unique style of football that, if sustained on a consistent basis, would have seen them make a more hardened dent on this year’s finals series.

    In reality, all three flopped.

    To be fair, Manly and Penrith seemed to have run out steam before the finals series began, but the optimist in all of us hoped the warmer weather might have galvanised their engines. Sadly, it didn’t quite happen.

    Parramatta on the other hand had it all going for them. After coming so close in week one against one of the greatest club sides of the modern era, many thought they’d meet the Storm again in the big dance.

    Before they did so however, they’d need to overcome a spirited yet seriously depleted Cowboys outfit missing their two most experienced (and best) players in John Thurston and Matt Scott. Light work it’ll be boys, save yourself for an all Sydney duel against the Roosters in the prelim… Or get your pants pulled down…

    Brad Takairangi Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    Brad Takairangi (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    Someone forgot to tell the Eels they were up against a team who know how to win at this time of year. Even without one of the greatest players of all time, the Cowboys still had a super coach, a $10million wrecking ball and a bloke named Michael Morgan pulling the strings.

    With the red carpet rolled out for them and 40,000 screaming Western Sydneyites gunning for a blue and gold white wash, Parramatta responded with a performance that was as subdued as it was reluctant. While I won’t say they didn’t leave it all out there on Saturday night, something tells me they might have been blinded by the lights.

    Now what’s left of the competition is about as stale as a two day old hot dog that’s been left to bask in the Queensland sun. Bennett’s one percenters, Craig Bellamy’s wrestlers, Trent Robinson’s perfectionists and Paul Green’s fighters. None of these teams get the juices flowing like an ’05 Tigers outfit…

    One thing that must be acknowledged though, is the sheer footballing quality that all four of these sides possess in abundance. Melbourne in particular are arguably one of the most ruthlessly brilliant organisations in Australian sport.

    Unfortunately however, being ruthlessly brilliant doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good to watch.

    Bring on the World Cup.