From the expertsThe low down from those in the know
Losing to a late Penrith field goal was a setback, but in my mind the Sydney Roosters are still the team to beat for the 2014 NRL title.
The first weekend of the NRL finals didn’t disappoint rugby league fans, with plenty of tension, excitement, upsets, controversy and scintillating play.
Key finals stars Anthony Watmough and Tariq Sims have both taken early guilty pleas at the NRL judiciary.
North Queensland coach Paul Green has sensationally claimed they did not bother to fight back-rower Tariq Sims’ shoulder charge ban because they have no faith in the NRL match review and judiciary process.
Parramatta District Rugby Leagues Club (PDRL) chairman Roy Spagnolo has been asked to stand down following allegations of bullying, harassment and membership/election tampering in his time at the Eels.
North Queensland are set to take Tariq Sims’ shoulder charge ban to the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night in a bid to keep the hard-hitting forward’s season alive.
English Super League side Catalan Dragons are facing competition from rugby union for the signature of disgraced NRL star Todd Carney, according to head coach Laurent Frayssinous.
North Queensland coach Paul Green’s inside knowledge of his former club the Sydney Roosters could be a crucial factor in Friday’s NRL semi-final, his ex-premiership winning players say.
Roy Slaven and H.G. Nelson will return to the commentary box for the 2014 NRL and AFL grand finals, bringing their unique brand of coverage to ABC Radio for the ‘Festival of the Boot’.
The delayed NRL game screened at 4pm to 6pm on Sundays, complete with ad breaks every 10 minutes, has long been one of NRL fans’ least favourite things about the game.
Manly is the only team still alive in the competition that can’t win it. Every other team has got a genuine shot at the title after an extraordinary weekend of football.
Well, that was a weekend and a half of football, wasn’t it? Despite being just four games compared to the regular eight, and only played over three days, rather than the five of rounds previous, it felt like a big weekend of NRL.
Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves can ill-afford a charge by the match review committee for a swinging arm on Penrith’s Brent Kite, given his dire record at the NRL judiciary.
It was a 300th game to forget for Anthony Minichello and the Sydney Roosters skipper knows he owes his teammates a big performance as the premiers fight to keep their title defence alive.
It was always going to take something special to keep try-scoring veteran David Simmons out of Penrith’s NRL finals campaign.
Those in the know at South Sydney believe Adam Reynolds has learnt from his undeniable role in the Rabbitohs’ preliminary finals choke last season against Manly.
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The Auckland Nines will reappear in 2015, following the huge success of the 2014 series held earlier this year, with AUD$2.4 million on offer this time around.
I know there’s a lot left in the season yet with finals and internationals still to be played, but who do you think are the front runners for the prestigious Golden Boot Award?
It seems that every Monday, the water-cooler chat is dominated by one thing – referees. We Aussies love a good whinge, one of many traits left over from our English forefathers I imagine.
For the first time since the introduction of the current AFL finals system, two sides who finished in the top four at the end of the regular season went out in straight sets.
On the weekend, the pre-game ABC Radio League panel hosted by Debbie Spillane was running a poll on why the NRL’s TV ratings were down. Interestingly it came to pass that a major contributing factor, in the opinion of the ABC listeners, was the poor level of commentary.
Modern day rugby league is a landscape of dwindling crowds, financially struggling clubs and a never ending debate about just how fair the salary cap really is. Over the course of the season many have asked how to fix the greatest game of all.
Isn’t September grand for rugby league fans? I spent the weekend with a massive smile on myself enjoying just about every moment of the four games that were played over the weekend. My favourite game had to be between the Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers.
When last year’s Rugby League World Cup concluded I thought England would be a force for years to come. Sure, the loss of Sam Burgess is a huge blow but I believe he will be back in a couple years.
If the weekend’s matches are anything to go by, we could have a surprise pair of grand finalists to decide this year’s premiership.
Well I love the NRL finals, its just a shame Sydney and Melbourne do not. After a year of disappointing crowd figures in the regular season, the same fans have decided not to turn up come finals time.
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Match recap: FULL TIME SCORE: Canterbury 28-4 Melbourne
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At the start of the season I placed a bet on the Penrith Panthers to be minor premiers. The squad looked good and fresh, and I thought that, for the generous odds on offer, they might be worth a punt. But I never really thought it was much of a chance.
Souths’ semi-final whipping of Manly should provide a wake-up call to the Brookvale boys.
After a disastrous 2013 season which saw Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson and Sandor Earl all depart the club in controversial circumstances, this year didn’t prove to be any better for the Canberra Raiders.
The North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos put their season and history on the line in tonight’s elimination final. Join The Roar from 7:55pm (AEST) for live coverage.
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MATCH RESULT: The Panthers are one win away from a grand final following one of their greatest ever wins over the Roosters.
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