The Canberra Raiders will finally get a shot at revenge when they face the Sydney Roosters in the grand final rematch on Thursday night.
We were barely three minutes into the Friday night grudge match between Wests Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles when Mr Spray Tan himself, Shayne Hayne, revealed his inner Amish, refusing technology and wrongly denying a certain David Nofoaluma try.
As hardened rugby league consumers, we loudly groan and throw our meat pies in the air when the video referee carefully inspects the 300th sideline angle on a simple put-down.
But Hayne’s speedy new resolution just doesn’t seem to be the best alternative.
On the plus side for Robbie Farah, the haphazard on-field calls allowed the Tigers’ captain to throw barbed wire jibes at his refereeing nemesis in the post-match press conference. Publicly calling Mr Hayne arrogant is surely a wish that many a captain would like to cross off on their list of leadership accomplishments.
But as whacked as the Tigers were in that Brookvale bashing, it was the Parramatta Eels who were out to do their best Brazilian football team impersonation. Conceding five goals by the 30th minute of a football match in a World Cup semi-final is pretty spectacular, but perhaps not the kind of thing a rugby league team should be trying to mimic.
Parramatta put in the most hopeless half of football anybody has seen this season. They even managed the impossible by losing a scrum against the feed. Not just that, they actually conceded a try in the process. But to rubbish the Eels is not entirely fair on their ruthless opponents.
The Warriors are on fire. Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins looked like they were having too much fun on the Mt Smart turf. Professional rugby league players should not be afforded the opportunities to smile so often. And when did the ever-inspirational Simon Mannering become a try-scoring behemoth?
Success surely lies ahead for the team from the Shaky Isles and every time that stocky boulder Konrad Hurrell rolls to the try line, this entertaining football side moves one step closer to a premiership dream.
The Bulldogs and the Storm played out a game of chess – tactical and slow, with figures occasionally falling over. Boring. The final missed penalty from Cameron Smith was the deserved finish to the match.
In saying this, the Bulldogs’ defence in the final minutes was admirable. But perhaps my perception of the match was put off by Fox Sports’ strange and dizzying camera angles. I’m not sure one is supposed to get sea-sick during a televised game of rugby league but then maybe I’m just missing the practical points of referee cam.
On Sunday afternoon we were treated to what many neutral supporters would dub the ‘battle of the wooden spoon’ at Remondis Stadium. It was disappointing to see the Sharks throw away their surprisingly successful formula of catch-up footy, stupidly deciding to play from in front instead.
At 18-0 up we all knew Paul Gallen’s team would be confused by the unfamiliarity of their situation and try something drastic. I’m not convinced that giving the lead back and attempting a very late comeback was the best option though.
Channel Nine presented this game without the fancy effects of Fox Sports, but with all the new techniques being used on Foxtel, perhaps now it is time for Channel Nine to introduce their own exclusive features, like a ‘mute Ray Hadley’s mic’ option.
And finally something to cheer about in Canberra. Young superstar Anthony Milford destroyed the Titans, proving that the future of the club is not so bad after all… Oh wait.
In the final match of the round, the Panthers and the Broncos played a highly entertaining game of touch football. Points here, points there, points everywhere. Matt Moylan and Jamie Soward were particularly impressive in a winning Panthers’ side.
There were some great tries, but the highlight came in the final seconds of the match, when the disappointment on Justin Hodges’ face was captured by some great camerawork, and broadcast to living rooms nationwide.
Also for those not aware, the Dragons’ impressive form under caretaker coach Mary McGregor has continued. Their demolition of the bye (and favourable results in other games this round) has seen the Big Red V jump into ninth place on the competition ladder. Let the Benji Marshall love continue.
Round 18, you had your moments.